St. Maarten vs. St. Barts: A Complete Comparison


The Caribbean is known to virtually every traveler and aspiring traveler all over the world. This collection of beautiful, tropical island-nations in the North Atlantic Ocean. Of these islands, St. Maarten and St. Barts are two of the most pristine and popular. Characterized by white sandy beaches, friendly locals, and a diverse culture surrounded by tropical splendor as far as the eyes can see, which of the two is better in a direct comparison?

If you are seeking a more luxurious vacation, St. Barts is likely the better choice for a vacation. St. Maarten has a fast-paced approach that characterizes the vibe of the island, whereas St. Barts is more leisurely and eager to cater to vacationers who are seeking a  tropical vacation. 

St. Maarten vs. St. Barts
CategorySt. MaartenSt. Barts
Cost Per Person (One Week)$2,200$2,345
Main AttractionsSt. Maarten Zip Line, Loterie Farm, Maho Beach, Topper’s Rhum, Mullet Bay, PhilipsburgColombier Beach, Grande Saline Beach, Gustavia, Baie de St-Jean, Fort Gustav
FoodThe food of St. Maarten combines many of the flavors of both European and Latin American cuisine into a unique hybrid’ tropical foods and seafood are also distinctive of the countryThe food of St. Barts combines many of the flavors of both European and Latin American cuisine into a unique hybrid’ tropical foods and seafood are also distinctive of the country
WeatherSt. Maarten features a warm tropical climate all year, with hot and humid summer, and mild and humid wintersSt. Barts features a warm tropical climate all year, with hot and humid summer, and mild and humid winters
SafetySt. Maarten is a generally safe place to spend a vacation; no instances of violent crime are prevalent, and rare cases of petty theft are known to occurSt. Barts is a generally safe place to spend a vacation; no instances of violent crime are prevalent, and rare cases of petty theft are known to occur
TransportationFerries and boats are available, as is public transportation including buses; taxis and ride-sharing apps are also availableFerries and boats are available, as is public transportation including buses; taxis and ride-sharing apps are also available
CustomsYou must have a valid passport to enter St. MaartenYou must have a valid passport to enter St. Barts as well as proof of a return ticket out of the country

Upon first glance, it can be easy to not notice many differences between these two Caribbean islands, yet there are some key points to remember about St. Maarten and St. Barts. Both islands have a different vibe, with varying levels of accommodation and things to do. This article will explore a comparison between these two islands through a range of categories to find out which is better in a vacation comparison. 

Cost of Stay

Both of these destinations represent some of the finest vacation sites in the Caribbean, therefore, the cost of a one week’s vacation to either will reflect this. A one-week vacation to St. Maarten will typically cost about $2,220, which represents a standard hotel and average daily expenses. The cost can skyrocket easily if you indulge in the numerous fine dining establishments or shopping excursions that litter the region. 

St. Maarten vs. St. Barts

St. Barts also provides a one-of-a-kind vacation experience in stunning surroundings with many places to visit. A standard one week vacation to this island will cost about $2,345. This cost is slightly lower than what is seen in St. Maarten. St. Barts offers many more options for luxury and even resort destinations than what is frequently available on St. Maarten, therefore, the cost is a bit elevated but not by much. 

Affordable Hotel Options

You may be thinking that no such thing as affordable hotel options exist in either of these destinations, yet there are some affordable options hidden away. 

On St. Maarten, a stay at the Parapel Hotel offers a scenic view of the pristine Caribbean coastline with all of the comfortable amenities and accommodations that make any trip to the Cayman Islands a memorable experience. The rooms are not all glitz and glamour as you would expect in the Caribbean paradise, yet they are stylishly tropical, with a restaurant and bar on site. 

In St. Barts, nothing can beat the incredible price that you can find at Salines Garden Cottages. This modestly-priced suite of cottages is located within a convenient walking distance to stunning views of Saline Beach, with a hot tub, bar, and pool on location. The rooms are quite stunning, and the comfort and cleanliness that is guaranteed are certainly worth considering due to the prime location. 

Main Attractions

Both of these destinations are well-known for their beaches and stunning accommodations, yet there are also many more types of attractions to take in. 

On St. Maarten, a visit to Loterie Farm offers a great way to experience a relaxing day amidst the tropical splendor that characterizes the island of St. Maarten. This destination is a bit like a resort, yet it is more of a luxury hideaway nestled within the pristine natural landscapes of the island. YOu can spend the day sunbathing by the large pool or playing recreational sports. Hiking and simple nature walks are also some of the popular pastimes here. 

St. Maarten vs. St. Barts

In St. Barts, there are many seaside attractions to take in, which will likely make up most of your vacation, to begin with. A great way to spend a day in St. Barts is to spend a day in the island nation’s capital city, Gustavia. Named after an eighteenth-century Swedish king, this city is almost like an entirely different destination within the tropical splendor of the rest of the island. You can spend the day visiting the local shops and learning about the history of St. Barts.  

Food

On St. Maarten, there are many restaurants to try. If you can only choose one, be sure to visit the Lady Lizard Beach Bar and Grill. This unique and lively restaurant features a wide array of seafood dishes and authentic Caribbean cuisine to choose from. 

In St. Barts, seafood is also a large staple of the local cuisine, and one of the restaurants that best captures this on the island is Le Tamarin. This casual French restaurant features beautiful coastal views as well as an array of distinctive seafood with a European twist. 

Weather

Both nations feature distinctive tropical climates. The spring and summer months are warm and hot with high humidity. Fall and winter are only ever mild, and never cold with high humidity as well. 

St. Maarten vs. St. Barts

Safety

Both nations are generally safe. The only real occurrences to keep an eye out for are instances of petty theft or fraud. Be sure to be aware of your surroundings at all times and just exercise basic common sense in situations. 

Transportation

Ferries and boats are available throughout both of these nations, as is public transportation including buses, taxis, and ride-sharing apps. If you ever want to travel around interconnected islands, be sure to take one of the many ferries that leave at scheduled times during the day. 

Customs

You will need a valid passport to vacation in either country. In St. Barts, you will also need to show proof of a return ticket to ensure you can leave the island. 

Conclusion

So, which of these island nations compares the most favorably? There is more to do and see on St. Barts if that is what you are wanting out of your trip

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