St Thomas is an overseas territory of the United States of America (USA). Similarly, St Martin is an overseas dependency of France.
Both Caribbean islands are fantastic spots to consider for a vacation.
In this article, we explore the similarities and differences in these two amazing destinations to help you make a prudent decision for your next vacation.
As a general rule, St Thomas is better for travelers who are interested in beaches, snorkeling, island hopping and duty free shopping. Alternatively, St Martin is ideal for a visitor who loves food, island hopping to nearby islands and enjoying tranquility on Tintamarre Island.
Read on for further details and explanations comparing St Thomas and St Martin. This article was written by a Caribbean National familiar with both islands.
St Thomas Vs St Martin- Which Island Is Bigger
St Martin is the larger of the two islands but only marginally.
The island is 37 square miles and the highest point of elevation being Paradise Peak or in French Pic Paradis which stands at 1,391 feet.
St Martin is an extraordinary Caribbean island in that it shares its landmass with the Dutch nation of St Maarten.
On the other hand, St Thomas is 32 square miles with the highest point of elevation being Crown Mountain at 1,555 feet.
St Thomas Vs St Martin- Entry Requirements
As a dependency of the United States of America, traveling to St Thomas for US citizens is considered an internal flight and hence a passport is not required.
Contrastingly, for entry into St Martin a passport is required for US citizens and visitors must have a proof of a return ticket.
St Thomas Vs St Martin- Can You Hop To Other Islands
Both islands offer excellent opportunities for hopping to neighboring islands.
St Thomas presents the option for visitors to travel to other US Virgin Islands such as St Croix, St John and Water Island.
Additionally, ferry services are available for seamless transfer to the British Virgin Islands (BVI). US citizens are required to have a passport for entry into the BVI.
Likewise, St Martin also has exceptional opportunities for island hopping. From St Martin, ferry services are available to St Barts and Anguilla.
Also, St Martin has the advantage that of providing easy transfer from its Dutch counterparts St Maarten.
From St Maarten, ferry services are available to Saba, St Eustatius, Anguilla and St Barts.
St Thomas Vs St Martin- Which Island Has The Better Nightlife
Generally, both islands are not hot spots when it comes to nightlife in the Caribbean.
There are restaurants and bars available for entertainment.
In St Thomas, there are a number of restaurants are bars in areas such as Red Hook, Frenchtown, Charlotte Amalie and Haven Sight areas.
These restaurants and bars are nearby so it is very easy to go bar hopping on foot. Restaurants and bars usually feature live music from local bands.
Nevertheless, in this category St Martin has an edge. St Maarten which is the Dutch side is one of the best places to enjoy a vibrant nightlife atmosphere in the Caribbean.
Popular nightlife spots on the Dutch side are Red Piano and Lotus Night Club.
St Thomas Vs St Martin- Does The Currency Differ?
The official currency of both islands differs. As a dependency of the USA, the US dollar is the official currency of St Thomas.
Contrastingly, the best currency for St Martin is the Euro which is managed by the European Central Bank.
Bank notes are available in 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 Euro dollars.
Coins are available in 1 and 2 Euro dollars and 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 cent pieces.
St Thomas Vs St Martin- Which Has The Better Cuisine
When it comes to cuisine, St Martin is the clear winner in this category. Grand Case is the town known for its fine restaurants and bars in St Martin.
From Grand Case you can get a view of the Anguilla. Foodies can enjoy items such as croissants and French pastries, johnny cakes and several types of street foods.
Popular restaurants in Grand Case include The Villa Restaurant, Le Cottage and Spiga Restaurant. Be sure to try several of the lobster dishes on the French side.
On the other hand, the food in St Thomas is the typical West Indian cuisine which features dishes such as roti, seafood and callaloo soup.
St Thomas Vs St Martin- Which Island Has Better Beaches
Both islands have white sand beaches. However, St Thomas has better beaches than St Martin.
Magens Bay is a beautiful one mile stretch of white sand. 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.
Contrastingly, Orient Bay is a popular beach for both and visitors to the island.
Orient Bay Beach is excellent for water sport activities such as snorkeling and many individuals prefer it for swimming and sunbathing than Great Bay Beach.
This beach also has a clothing optional area.
Orient Bay Beach is the most popular beach in St Martin, so expect there to be a crowd.
There are several beach bars such as Waikiki Beach, Kakao, Perch Bar & Grill, Bikini Beach and Kontiki Beach in this area.
If white sand and turquoise waters are your priority, them St Thomas is the ideal island to consider.
This is due to its proximity to St John which has one of the most iconic beaches in the Caribbean, Trunk Bay Beach.
This beach has over a quarter of a mile of white sand with underwater snorkeling trail.
There is an entrance fee as well as amenities such as beach chair rentals, restrooms, beach bars and life guards.
St Thomas Vs St Martin: 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 Martin
Explore Loterie Farm– located on the French side, this paradise is perfect to relax and reconnect with nature.
While at this sanctuary, one can enjoy drinks, the pool, great meals and tree top adventures.
Visit Tintamarre Island– this small remote island also called Flat Island can be reached via a boat shuttle from St Martin.
Visitors and locals usually frequent the island to enjoy the beach and relax.
The beach is beautiful and perfect for snorkeling and swimming. There are turtles in this area so you may swim with them while there.
Visit the Scenic Fort Louis– this is a perfect attraction for history enthusiasts and for those who love panoramic views.
Located on the French side, Fort Louis offers scenic views of Marigot and even Philipsburg and Simpson Bay.
The access to the Fort is via steps and it is an uphill climb. Nevertheless, it is not a stringent hike.
On a whole, St Thomas is an ideal choice for a traveler who wants to enjoy beautiful natural scenery at Drake Seat as well as duty free shopping. Alternatively, St Martin is an exceptional choice for a traveler who loves food and wants a laid back vacation while relaxing in nature at Loterie Farm.
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