Antigua and St. Lucia are two destinations sheltered within the Caribbean with crystalline turquoise waters and breathtaking beaches. Both islands are the perfect retreat for honeymooners and adventure seekers hoping to record some memories for their journal books.
Many are conflicted on where to go as most people think that all islands across the Caribbean Sea are the same – but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
In this article, we’ll explore them both and figure out which one is best for your next vacation, Antigua or St. Lucia. We’ll be looking at the places you could visit, activities to enjoy, and the nightlife each place has to offer.
Antigua VS St. Lucia: Things to See and Do
Located in the Caribbean standing strong at 27 miles long and 14 miles wide, St. Lucia is the second largest of the Caribbean islands. It is a volcanic island with lush mountains where you can find beautiful scenery with warm beaches, deep rainforests, and tall mountains.
19,000 acres of rainforests may be harder to navigate and trickier to get through but they make up for it by providing tourists with a long and peaceful walk giving you the best mother nature has to offer.
As you walk across the capital of the island, Castries, you’ll be greeted with the historic infrastructure of Derek Walcott Square. You’ll be first greeted with the statues dedicated to two of the island’s Nobel prize winners, and then relax in the shade of the ancient monkey pod tree.
After you’ve let off some steam under the monkey pod tree, take a look around the beautiful pastel-colored buildings around the capital. Then, make your way to the Basilica where there is a magnificent showcase of murals and cultural colors that gives you the perfect blend of ancient African, Caribbean, and Western traditions.
St. Lucia is filled with collectibles, souvenirs, and delicious food. If you’re in the mood for shopping you can make your way down to Castries’ Central Market and grab the fresh fruits harvested from the island’s rich, volcanic soil. Once here you’ll also find many stalls offering delicious home-cooked foods making you feel part of the local community.
Food isn’t the only thing you’ll find here. You can stay at the central market and look at some handicrafts and souvenirs or a walking distance from Central Market visit Eudovic’s Art Studio to discover craftsmen mastering the art of carving magnificent wooden art pieces scattered throughout the studio.
When you’ve taken in the fresh clean air of the rainforests and have had an awe-inspiring view of the land, be ready to dip your toes in the warm blue waters of St. Lucia’s beaches. Due to its volcanic origins, you may come across more black sand beaches and not be able to see a lot of white sand beaches.
Amongst its beaches, the Sugar beach of St. Lucia is one of the best and most visited beaches there. It offers you all the sights and activities a beachcomber could ask for. Beat the heat by diving into the clear water, relaxing on the fine sands of the beach, or deep diving into a snorkeling session.
If you find yourself in Soufriere, get yourself an enduring boat ride to Anse Chastanet, one of the finest resort beaches on the island. For the more adventurous types, the twin Pitons – a great volcanic range – is a great place for hiking and jungle trekking. You can also get yourself a ticket to the cable car that will give you a bird’s eye view of the jungle and all its beauty.
The most unique experience St. Lucia would have to offer compared to Antigua is its volcano drive-in. Drive through the dormant volcano and experience it from the inside as you awe at the view of the molten hot gravel and the smell of the earthy mud. Speaking of mud, stop by the Sulfur Springs where you can take mud baths by coating your body with the earthy mud and reap its healing properties.
Finally, travel through the Tet Paul Nature Trail and reach the peak of the jungle. This landmark offers a breathtaking view of the jungle making it a great spot to catch the sunset before you go on to enjoy the nightlife.
St. Lucia might seem like the ideal abode for adventure lovers but if you’re looking for a nice relaxing stay at some of the world’s finest white sand beaches, Antigua will take good care of all your needs.
Stretching for around 54 miles, separating the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, Antigua may be smaller than St. Lucia but it offers no less in terms of natural scenery. Famous for its 365 beaches, one for each day, you have endless options to explore during your stay.
Compared with St. Lucia, Antigua is the clear winner when it comes to the best white sand beaches. The landscape of Antigua also makes it easy to navigate. Unlike St. Lucia, it is not filled with huge rainforests and tall mountains and has a rather flat surface with smaller hills. This means getting a cab or driving through the forest will be much easier to travel on the island.
When first stepping foot, you’ll be eager to sunbathe at one of the many beaches. We’d suggest going to Dickenson Beach to get a feel of the calm nature of Antigua and the luxury of the splendid beach resorts there. It’s the most popular beach in the Antigua region so expect fellow tourists to beat you there.
If you want something more remote , you can head to Half Moon Bay which is a rugged beach with limited facilities. But, fewer things to do means fewer people and a more peaceful afternoon.
After exploring the beaches you’d most definitely find yourself squandering the English Harbor. Which was once the Royal Navy’s core base of operations is now one of the most beautiful towns in South Antigua. Here you’ll be able to see hi-tech yachts and ships as well as boutique hotels featuring some ancient infrastructure.
Go through the English Harbor and you’ll reach Clarence House. This landmark was once home to admirals, governors, and royalty, which is now open to the public. Walk up the hill and lean on its balcony to enjoy the view it has to offer on the island.
Climb higher up the mountains and you’ll reach Shirley Heights enabling you to catch a light breeze and a glimpse of the sunset.
After you’ve experienced the highs and lows – quite literally you can travel from English Harbor to St. Johns, the island’s capital.
The ride to St. Johns is one long and slow journey giving you enough time to experience the warm embrace of the stunning beaches you come across whilst running your hands through the deep blue waters hugging the coastline.
You’ll pass through Pigeon’s Point Beach across the Pigeon Island National Park, Carlisle Beach, Turners Beach, and Valley Church Beach – all delightful options to plan your next swimming or snorkeling destinations. These beaches also give you the choice of swimming side by side with real-life stingrays, so if you’re in an adventurous mood, definitely check that out.
Antigua VS St. Lucia: Costs and Budget
The perfect honeymoon or vacation doesn’t come cheap which is why no matter where you end up, both Antigua and St. Lucia are expensive travel destinations.
The daily cost for Antigua is estimated to be around $282 whereas in St. Lucia costs $169 with the bulk of your expenses being hotels, transportation, and food – usually in that order.
St. Lucia costs less than Antigua due to it placing a lesser emphasis on tourism and limited facilities as compared to Antigua, which hopes to give you the dream vacation you’re after.
Antigua VS St. Lucia: Nightlife
Many nightlife activities in Antigua keep you going. With no shortage of bars, parties, and events, Antigua offers a great local experience for tourists who are looking to grab a bite and have fun.
You’ll find many bars in the Antigua region but our favorite is Cloggy’s which is located in the English Harbor, on the second floor of the Antigua Yacht Club Marina. Cloggy’s has a great dinner scene going and if you find yourself wandering there late at night, it’s not uncommon to see people partying.
If you want to experience something closer to the beach, you have other options. The Kon Tiki Bar & Grill is a swim-up bar at Dickenson Bay. You can swim your way whilst at the bay or hire a kayak to get there.
The bar is notorious for its delicious food, which you’ll find an abundance of, and boasts a nice nightlife with bigger crowds of tourists.
Shirley Heights is another popular destination for experiencing the nightlife as it has a plethora of events and entertainment for you to enjoy.
The Shirley Heights Lookout is a popular restaurant and bar here where you can experience live music, BBQ, and some of the finest rum to drink. Every Sunday they host the “biggest and best” party with an awesome barbeque and gather huge crowds of people there.
Finally, you can experience all the joys of Antigua’s great night festivals. Discover the Antigua Carnival at St. Johns or attend the Antigua Sailing week in the Caribbean.
St. Lucia boasts a better and much more vibrant nightlife than Antigua. During your stay, you must visit the Rodney Bay area which shines brightest at night. It is the island’s de-facto night central with many food options including some of the best Mexican, Chinese, and Indian cuisines.
Once at the bay, you’ll find karaoke nights in full light and live music at various venues. Every Friday, you’ll be immersed in the Gros Islet Street Party, a large party with dance music, street performers, vendors, and sizzling barbeques.
On Friday evenings you can also get yourself a bite of the fresh catch of the day and the best seafood Anse La Raye Fish Fry or the Dennery Seafood Fiesta.
Antigua VS St. Lucia: Places to Stay
Tropical Garden Cottage – Overall Best Option
If you’re traveling as a couple, the Tropical Garden Cottage located in St. Johns provides a magnificent one-bedroom place for your stay.
It has a nice mix of peace and romance where you and your significant other can wind down without breaking the bank. Relax in the hammocks right alongside the Caribbean Sea and listen to the sound of gentle waves.
Siboney Beach Club – Best Budget Option
Giving you the best beach experience at the most affordable rates, the Siboney Beach Club is located directly at Dickenson Bay giving you an amazing view of the turquoise waters.
Since it’s near to the water, you’ll also find a lot more activities here to enjoy including on-site snorkeling, swimming in the pool, massage and spa services, and tantalizing cuisines.
Carlisle Bay, Antigua – Most Luxurious Option
Carlisle bay tends to go all out with its private beach, children’s club, and surplus water and boat activities on the island.
Over here you’ll be treated like royalty thanks to their exceptional service, high-end facilities, and many other excursions like tennis courts, swimming pools, and exquisite cuisine.
Since there are other famous options in Antigua, we also suggest taking a look at Hermitage bay, one of the most popular resorts in the Antigua region.
Zamaca Bed and Breakfast – Overall Best Option
Located near the island’s two airports, Zamaca offers a great place to rest with a hint of adventure.
The balcony provides you with a breathtaking view of the beach whereas the private beachfront is great for sunbathing. Over here you’ll get a taste of the Caribbean with local cuisines and tropical breakfast.
This hotel takes our #1 spot due to it being closer to other attractions, like St. Lucia’s natural reserves and various nightlife locations.
Tet Rouge Resort – Best Budget Option
For couples, the Tet Rouge Resort is an adults-only resort that offers a beautiful view of the Caribbean with a spacious terrace and allows you to watch the sunset on the Gros Piton.
It also includes an infinity pool and a bar with a covered patio where you can sip on your favorite cocktail whilst enjoying the beachfront.
Tet Rouge is the ideal hotel for tourists looking to fully explore the island as it is nearer to attractions like the Gros Pitons, stunning beaches, cocoa plantations, and botanical gardens.
Cap Maison Resort & Spa – Most Luxurious Option
A 5-star resort resting in the heart of Smuggler’s Cove, the Cap Maison Resort and Spa offers a memorable stay at St. Lucia.
It is conveniently made on top of a white sandy beach offering some of the most gorgeous views of the Caribbean Sea. Over here you’ll find all the modern facilities you need including a fitness center, a fine dining restaurant, a spa, and a walk-in wine cellar.
What makes it truly luxurious is its discounted golf course, complimentary water sports, and a huge 46-foot private boat!
Antigua VS St. Lucia: Finding the Perfect Caribbean Retreat for You
Although both Antigua and St. Lucia offer breathtaking natural scenery that’ll leave you awe-struck, both destinations widely vary in the experience they offer.
Antigua is more tourist-oriented with better roads, 365 white sand beaches, beautifully built resorts, and crystal clear, turquoise water.
St. Lucia on the other hand offers you a more authentic local experience as the rugged and lush landscape embraces you. It has dense rainforests, high mountains, a dormant volcanic range with the world’s first volcano drive-in, and thrilling nightlife.
If you’re looking for adventure, St. Lucia will turn that into reality, but if you’re planning on sunbathing on a relaxing beach with your significant other, visit Antigua to live your dream honeymoon.