St Maarten vs Antigua (Which Island Is Better To Visit?)

St Maarten vs Antigua. For some, the choice of which island to visit can be difficult. You want a vacation that will satisfy your appetite for natural beauty and fun activities.

The two islands we will explore are St Maarten and Antigua. These islands have been ranked by travelers as one of the best destinations in the Caribbean region, but they each offer something different.

In this article, we will compare these two tropical islands with stunning beaches to help you decide which is right for you!

St Maarten vs Antigua Comparison

When it comes to choosing a Caribbean island to visit, there are many factors to consider. Two of the most popular islands are St Maarten & Saint Martin and Antigua & Barbuda.

Both have their own unique attractions that make them appealing to different types of travelers. Here is a comparison of the two islands to help you decide which is best for your trip.

St Maarten is a Dutch territory with a mix of cultures and influences. The island is known for its stunning airport, beaches, expansive resorts, and vibrant nightlife. There is something for everyone on St Maarten, from nature lovers to party animals.

Antigua, on the other hand, is a British territory with a more laid-back vibe. The island is known for its beautiful beaches, coral reefs, and pirate history. Antigua is perfect for those who want to relax and soak up the sun.

1. Size: The island of St Maarten is only 37 square miles, while Antigua has the larger population, and is 8 times larger at 108 square miles. This means that Antigua has more beaches and coastline to explore, as well as more mountainous areas.

If you’re looking for a smaller island with plenty of activities and nightlife, then St Maarten is the better choice. However, if you’re after a more relaxed holiday with plenty of space to wander around, then Antigua is the better option.

2. Beaches: The beaches on Antigua are definitely more impressive than those on St. Maarten. There is more variety on Antigua, with both calm and rough waters available depending on your preference. In addition, the sand is white, and the water is crystal clear.

St. Maarten does have some good beaches, but they can’t compare to Antigua’s. The island is quite small, so the beaches are all crowded and there isn’t much room to spread out. The sand is also not as white nor the water as clear as on Antigua.

3. Nightlife: If you’re looking for a more lively atmosphere with more nightlife options, St Maarten is the better choice. Antigua is a bit quieter and slower paced, while St Maarten has casinos, nightclubs, and bars that stay open late.

So if you’re looking for an island getaway with plenty of excitement and nightlife options, head to St Maarten – but be prepared to pay a bit more for your trip.

The famous Maho beach at dusk.

4. Activities: St Maarten is known for its beautiful beaches. There are many lovely stretches of sand to choose from, and all sorts of water sports can be enjoyed here, including swimming, surfing, windsurfing, and diving.

In terms of activities, Antigua offers more options than St. Maarten. There’s everything from sailing, fishing and diving to golfing and horseback riding available on the island.

Antigua is also home to some excellent beaches, as well as coral reefs that make for great snorkeling. Antigua is known for its stunning beaches, clear waters, and coral reefs. 

5. Cost: Let’s compare the cost of a trip to each island. Overall, St Maarten is more expensive than Antigua. Accommodation, food, and drinks all tend to be more expensive on St Maarten. However, Antigua is not without its own expenses – particularly when it comes to transportation and activities.

So what’s the bottom line? If your priority is budget, Antigua is the better choice. But if you’re looking for a slightly more luxurious vacation experience, St Maarten is the way to go.​​​​​​​

6. Weather: The weather on both islands is fairly similar, with temperatures in the mid-80s year-round. However, Antigua tends to be a bit more humid than St Maarten.

7. Shopping: St Maarten is home to world-famous shopping districts like Philipsburg and Front Street. These areas are teeming with high-end boutiques, art galleries, and souvenir shops. Antigua, on the other hand, has a more laid-back vibe and its shopping options are more limited.

However, what Antigua lacks in quantity it makes up for in quality; the island is home to some of the best craft markets in the Caribbean, where you can find unique souvenirs and artisanal goods.​​​​​​​

8. History: St Maarten has a longer history as a tourist destination, with people coming to enjoy its beaches and crystal-clear waters since the early 1900s. Antigua only started to be developed as a tourist destination in the 1960s, so it doesn’t have quite as much history as St Maarten.

However, Antigua has more natural beauty than St Maarten, with its lush rainforests and stunning coastline. Another key difference between the two islands is that St Maarten is divided between France and the Netherlands, while Antigua is an independent country.

9. Crime: St Maarten is a Dutch territory and is home to both Dutch and French culture. This makes for an interesting mix of architecture and food. It is also well known for its beaches, which are considered some of the best in the Caribbean.

However, St Maarten is more developed than Antigua and has a higher crime rate. Antigua is a British territory and has a more laid-back atmosphere than St Maarten.

The beaches here are also beautiful, but they aren’t as crowded as those on St Maarten. Antigua is also considered safer than its Dutch counterpart, with a lower crime rate.

10. Location: St Maarten is located in the northeast Caribbean Sea, and is divided between France and the Netherlands. The Dutch side is known for its casinos and lively nightlife, while the French side is more relaxed and features stunning scenery.

Antigua is located in the Leeward Islands, just south of St Maarten. It’s known for its 365 beaches, as well as its British colonial history.​​​​​​​

Is Antigua or St. Martin better?

Which Caribbean island is the best for a vacation? Antigua or St. Martin? Both islands offer beautiful scenery, plenty of activities, and lovely beaches. So which one is better?

Antigua is a great choice if you are looking for a quiet and relaxing vacation. The island has many gorgeous beaches, including Dickenson Bay and English Harbor. Antigua also has a number of historical sites, such as Nelson’s Dockyard National Park.

St. Martin is a good choice if you are looking for more excitement. The island has a mix of French and Dutch culture, and there is always something to do. Some popular attractions include the beach at Orient Bay and the casinos in Philipsburg.​​​​​​​

Antigua and Barbuda.
Antigua and Barbuda – Photo by Rick Jamison on Unsplash

Is Antigua close to St Maarten?

Antigua and Sint Maarten are two Caribbean islands that are relatively close to each other. The distance between the two islands is 148 km. Although they are close, there are some differences between the two islands.

Antigua is much bigger than Sint Maarten, and it has a more mountainous terrain. Sint Maarten is flatter and has more beaches. Both islands are popular tourist destinations and offer a variety of activities for visitors.

Can you take a ferry from St Maarten to Antigua?

There are no ferries that travel between the islands of St Maarten and Antigua. If you are looking to take a ferry from St Maarten to Antigua, your best option would be to take a flight. There are 13 flights a week, and the flight duration would take just 44 minutes.

Which is better Anguilla or Antigua?

When it comes to deciding which Caribbean island is better, anguilla or antigua, it really depends on what you are looking for. Antigua has a more developed infrastructure with restaurants, bars and resorts dotting the coastline. While anguilla is known for its secluded beaches and luxury villas. 

If you are looking for a lively nightlife scene and plenty of activities to keep you busy, then antigua would be the better choice. But if you are looking for a more relaxed and romantic atmosphere, than anguilla would be the better option. 

Overall, both islands have their own unique charms that make them special places to visit in the Caribbean. So it really comes down to what you are most interested in experiencing.

Is St Maarten Eastern or Western Caribbean?

Is St. Maarten Eastern or Western Caribbean? That is a question that has been asked by many people, and the answer is not always clear. The island of St. Maarten is divided between the Dutch and French sides, so that can add to the confusion.

Technically, St. Maarten is in the Eastern Caribbean, but its proximity to other islands in the region (including Puerto Rico) means that it often gets lumped in with the Western Caribbean. One way to tell if St. Maarten is Eastern or Western Caribbean is to look at its history.

The Eastern Caribbean has a longer history of European colonization, while the Western Caribbean was mostly colonized by Spain. If you’re looking for beaches and resorts, then both regions have plenty to offer – but the Eastern Caribbean might be a bit more luxurious, thanks to its Dutch heritage.

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  • Karin K

    Meet Karin, the passionate author and founder of My love affair with St. Maarten began in 1994 during a memorable trip. The island's allure was so captivating that I decided to make it my permanent home. Since then, I've been committed to sharing the beauty and wonders of St. Maarten through my adventures and insights. Join me on this incredible journey!