St Thomas and St Kitts are both popular tourism destinations in the Caribbean especially for cruise ship travelers.
St Thomas is a part of a group of US overseas territory called the US Virgin Islands ( USVI) while St Kitts is a dual nation in the Eastern Caribbean with the island of Nevis being its dependent.
The other major islands that comprise the USVI group are St Croix, St John and Water Island with St Croix having the largest landmass of all the islands.
As a general rule, St Thomas is better for travelers who are interested in duty free shopping, island hopping to other Virgin Islands and tranquility. On the other hand, St Kitts & Nevis is the destination of choice for visitors interested in forts and Caribbean history.
Read on for further details and explanations on how these two stunning Caribbean Islands compare. This article is written by a Caribbean national familiar with both islands.
St Thomas Vs St Kitts – Which Island Is Bigger
St Kitts has the larger landmass of the two islands being 69 square miles while St Thomas is approximately half the size of St Kitts at 32 square miles.
According to Worldpopulationreview.com, the population at the time of writing was 53,544. The highest point of elevation is Mt Liamuiga which stands at 3,792 feet.
Contrastingly, the highest point of elevation in St Thomas is Crown Mountain at an elevation of 1,556 feet.
According to The Virgin Islands Consortium, based on a US census as at April 01st, 2020, the population of St Thomas was 42,261.
Therefore, St Thomas is more densely populated than St Kitts.
St Thomas Vs St Kitts- Entry Requirements
As an overseas territory of the United States of America, no passport is required by US citizens for entry into the island.
Contrastingly, US citizens are required to have a valid passport for entry into the St Kitts and proof of a return ticket.
St Thomas Vs St Kitts – Which Island Has Better Nightlife
Entertainment is comparable on both islands. At nights, the Frigate Bay part of the island comes alive.
There are a various range of restaurants and bars in this area of the island.
Three of the most common restaurants in this area are The Shiggidy Shack Beach Bar, Rock Lobster and Cathy’s Ocean View Bar and Grill.
There are also casinos on the island as well as several golf courses.
There are four of golf courses on the island with Robert Trent Jones course at Pinney Beach in Nevis and Royal St Kitts Club located between Half Moon Bay and North Frigate Bay in St Kitts.
St Thomas does not have so much variety when it comes to nightlife. There are several restaurants and beach bars in the Red Hook, Frenchtown and Haven Sight areas.
These are located near to each other so it is easy for individuals to bar hop.
St Thomas Vs St Kitts – Does The Currency Differ?
The currency of both islands differs. As an overseas territory of the United States of America, the US dollar is the official currency of St Thomas.
On the other hand, the Eastern Caribbean dollar is the currency used in St Kitts.
The Eastern Caribbean Dollar has been pegged to the US (United States) dollar since July 7th, 1976 at a rate of USD $1 to XCD $2.70.
This currency is also shared by seven other Eastern Caribbean islands and is managed through a regional central bank which is based in St Kitts.
Several persons from each of the Caribbean island work at the central bank.
The US dollar is generally accepted at most business places on the island.
As with other countries, businesses at times may be skeptical accepting higher denominations. US notes that are worn and torn are usually rejected.
St Thomas Vs St Kitts – Which Island Has Better Beaches
Hands down St Thomas is the clear winner in this category.
Magens Bay is a beautiful one mile stretch of white sand and is one of the most popular in St Thomas.
Located on the Northern end of the island, this beach is the island’s most popular with both locals and tourists alike.
The water is usually very calm which makes it perfect for small children.
Another well-loved beach in St Thomas is Coki beach. In terms of snorkeling, Coki beach is one of the best options in St Thomas.
This beach is perfect for beginners and individuals new to snorkeling.
Alternatively, Cockleshell bay and Banana Bay are some of the must visit beaches in St Kitts. However the beaches are not as beautiful as those in St Thomas.
St Thomas Vs St Kitts- Can You Hop To Other Islands
Both islands offer excellent opportunities for island hopping and are therefore wonderful options for budget travelers.
From St Kitts, Makana Ferry Services offers transportation services to the island of St Maarten. From there, there are onward connections to Saba and St Eustatius.
There are also other providers with ferry services to Anguilla and St Barths. St Maarten also shares its landmass with St Martin and is also an excellent option if you will like to explore French cuisine.
Likewise, there are numerous ferry services available from St Thomas to other the USVI.
Additionally, one can access the British Virgin Islands (BVI) from St Thomas via ferry. However, US citizens require a passport to enter the BVI from St Thomas.
St Thomas Vs St Kitts- Which Island Is Better For Shopping
St Thomas is the better of the two islands for shopping. Brands such as Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Little Switzerland, Diamonds International and Bebe have a presence on the island.
Yacht Haven Grande is a premium waterfront development which features a marina and a number of medium to high end stores.
In addition, to some of those previously mentioned, Coach and Bulgari have retail operations at Yacht Haven Grande.
Contrastingly, the duty free shopping is limited when compared to St Thomas. The most popular place for shopping on the island is Port Zante.
There are over 60 stores selling items such as perfumes, local craft and jewelery. Brands such as Kaye’s Fine Jewelery and Noble Jewelers have stores at this location.
St Thomas Vs St Kitts- What Are The Unique Things To Do
Unique Things To Do In St Thomas
Visit Coral World Ocean Park– This Park is an amazing way to see and learn more about sea life in St Thomas.
There are activities available for all ages such as educational shark and sea lion tours.
In addition, you can enjoy kayaking with the dolphins while at the park. This location is perfect for multi-generational families.
Visit Mountain Top & Drake’s Seat– These two areas are must visit spots to take in the panoramic views of the island.
Mountain top is 1500 feet above sea level and provides a stunning view the other Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands. From mountain top you can see a total of 20 islands.
Explore Fort Christian– This is one of the key landmarks located in the capital city of Charlotte Amalie and is the oldest structure in the US Virgin Islands.
Built between1672 to 1680, Fort Christian has a red exterior with a Victorian clock at the front.
A tour explores the history of the Danes and slavery. The admission fee is $10 for non-locals.
Climb 99 Steps- is another key feature that stands out in Charlotte Amalie.
These steps were constructed from bricks brought to the island from Denmark and are used to connect the streets in the city.
At the end of 99 steps is Blackbeard Castle which is another must visit historic site while on the island.
Unique Things To Do In St Kitts
Visit A UNESCO Heritage Site– St Kitts is the only island of the two that has a UNESCO world Heritage site which is The Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park.
This location is magnificent for panoramic views of the island.
The Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park is a 17th and 18th century military fort that is of historical, cultural and architectural importance on the island.
The fort officially became a UNECO World Heritage site in 1999 and was built by African slaves to protect the island from attacks.
Take A Scenic Train Tour- Get an opportunity to experience the last railway in the West Indies via a 3 hour tour in St Kitts This adventure makes a 30 mile circle around the island.
Eighteen miles of the tour is by a narrow gauge train and the remaining 12 miles on a bus.
The rail was built between 1912 and 1926 to bring sugar cane from the plantations to sugar factories on the island.
On a whole, St Thomas is an exceptional choice for a traveler whose priority is going the beach, snorkeling, island hopping and duty free shopping. Alternatively, St Kitts is an excellent choice for a traveler who loves forts and wants to ride on the last railway in the West Indies.
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