St Lucia or Antigua – Where Should You Visit?
May 25, 2024

St Lucia or Antigua – Where Should You Visit?

St Lucia and Antigua are both classic Caribbean holiday destinations, home to beautiful beach scenery and diverse cultural attractions. If you’re considering visiting a Caribbean island, these two contenders might be at the top of your list.

There are plenty of benefits to visiting both St Lucia and Antigua, with both islands offering relatively similar experiences with some unique highlights. In this article, we compare some of the main features of both islands to help you decide whether to visit St Lucia or Antigua.

How Far is Antigua from St Lucia?

The distance from Antigua to St Lucia is 363km, with several Caribbean islands in between. A St Lucia and Antigua twin-centre holiday isn’t the most obvious choice for a multi-destination Caribbean break because of this distance, but some holidaymakers still choose to visit both to get a taste of the different atmospheres and activities.

The Best Time to Visit: St Lucia vs Antigua

If you’re choosing whether to visit St Lucia or Antigua, the time of year that you’re planning your trip may impact your decision. Here’s a rundown of when it is best to visit each island.

St Lucia

St Lucia has classic Caribbean weather, with high temperatures all year round and a defined wet season and dry season. The dry season between December and May is the most popular time of year to visit because the weather is better for spending time outdoors, but also comes with an increase in crowds around the festive period.

If you’re looking for the best time to visit St Lucia then February and March are ideal, as temperatures are high, chances of rain are low and tourism isn’t quite at its peak. Average temperatures of around 25°C mean it’s not too hot to explore the island, but it’s also ideal conditions to spend time on the beach.

Sunrise in St Lucia

Antigua

The weather in Antigua is pretty similar to that of St Lucia, with high temperatures all year round and both a warm, dry season and a hot, humid rainy season. If you visit between January and April you’ll have the highest chance of avoiding any storms, but this is also the busiest time of year for tourism on the island, so resorts and beaches will be busy and flights will be more expensive.

Between August and October you’ll experience pleasant and sometimes hot weather between the short-lived showers. If you’d like to visit Antigua when the weather is on the drier side, March and April will still have great conditions without being as busy as at the start of the year.

Beaches: St Lucia vs Antigua

Beaches are one of the main appeals of a holiday on a Caribbean island. Both Antigua and St Lucia have plenty to offer if you want to spend your trip lounging on the sand by the sea, with lots of beaches to choose from.

St Lucia

If beautiful beaches surrounded by natural scenery are your favourites, St Lucia has what you’re looking for. The island is known for its variety of landscapes, and the beaches here offer incredible views, shade from nearby jungles, and bright golden sand.

The best spots for beaches in St Lucia are clustered around the north and south of the island. Whilst beaches close to the towns and resorts will get busy in the high season, some of the more remote beaches in St Lucia will offer a very peaceful and unspoiled experience.

Places like Reduit Beach are a classic choice for St Lucia holidaymakers seeking a large beach with good facilities, whilst Anse des Pitons is more popular amongst snorkelling fans and has incredible views of the famous Pitons landmark.

Antigua

There’s more to choose from with beaches in Antigua, with plenty of picturesque stretches of coastline dotted all around the island. It’s famous for having a beach for every day of the year, so unless you’re planning a 365-day trip, you’ll have to come back if you want to explore every cove!

If you’re seeking a classic tropical beach experience with white, powdery sand, clear blue water and palm trees, Antigua caters to this perfectly. Many of the beaches have been geared specifically towards tourists and have nearby amenities like restaurants, bars and shops, so you can easily spend an entire day by the sea.

Some of the best beaches in Antigua include the famous Dickenson Bay, the snorkeler’s haven Pigeon Point Beach, and the remote but beautiful Half Moon Bay.

Culture: St Lucia vs Antigua

If you’re seeking a cultural experience on a Caribbean island, Antigua or St Lucia both have a good number of attractions on offer.

St Lucia

St Lucia is a great Caribbean island to visit if you like history, as the French, English, and Dutch all tried to colonise the island between the 17th and 19th centuries. Traces of their military presence and examples of colonial architecture can be found around St Lucia, with Fort Rodney and the Vieux Fort being popular places to visit.

Other cultural attractions in St Lucia include the Saint Lucia Folk Research Center, the Diamond Botanical Gardens in Soufrière Estate, and Pigeon Island National Park which features a museum. It’s worth noting that the infrastructure in St Lucia isn’t hugely developed, but as long as you hire a car you’ll find it east to reach cultural highlights and sightseeing spots.

View of Pigeon Island

Antigua

The culture in Antigua is heavily influenced by the local population’s African heritage, as well as British colonialism which has left it with plenty of historic forts around the coast. The island’s position meant that it was a strategic location in naval operations, and visiting the various ruins is a great way to explore the history of the island.

Antigua’s history has a dark side of slavery, linked to the sugar trade that dominated the island in the 18th century. Betty’s Hope is a key attraction showcasing the remains of a plantation, and many other sugar mills are dotted around the island.

Cuisine: St Lucia vs Antigua

When you’re staying on a Caribbean island, sampling the local food is a must. When it comes down to St Lucia vs Antigua in terms of cuisine, both destinations have a lot going for them. 

St Lucia

St Lucia’s authentic cuisine centres around seafood, with shellfish and lobster firm favourite ingredients in local dishes. The fresher the better is the rule when it comes to St Lucia seafood, so be sure to book a table at a restaurant by the beach and sample the catch of the day.

Other signature flavours and features in St Lucia cuisine include green bananas or “figs”, which are a major export on the island and part of the national dish, Caribbean conch which is served in the popular dish lambi, and a classic Caribbean rum or the local Piton beer.

Antigua

Antigua is well-regarded for its culinary offering, taking influence from a range of different cultures whose populations have settled on the island over the years. Jerk chicken is a classic option, along with other typical Caribbean options like conch, ducana and roti.

Saltfish and fungie is the national dish of the island, featuring classic salted cod and sautéed balls of cornmeal and okra. Another highlight from Antigua is black pineapple, which is an incredibly sweet variety enjoyed with breakfast or as a snack.

Jerk Chicken

Nightlife: St Lucia vs Antigua

Nightlife in St Lucia revolves around bars, lounges and events in resorts, with options catering towards tourists and local people. You won’t find big clubs on the islands, but there will be classic Caribbean music and lots of rum cocktails!

St Lucia

If you’re on a night out in St Lucia, your options can range from street parties and festivals to live music in bars and cocktails in a restaurant. In places like Soufriere and Marigot Bay, there are plenty of places to enjoy a drink as the sun sets over the sea, but Rodney Bay is considered to be the nightlife capital of the island.

A highlight of nightlife in St Lucia is the Gros Islet Jump Up; a street party in the fishing village with food vendors, live music and various pop-up entertainment that ranges from dancers to artists. If you want to live it large in Rodney Bay, head to one of the nightclubs on the strip, which hosts a great variety of events all year round but particularly in the peak tourist season.

Cocktails in St Lucia

Antigua

Again, Antigua doesn’t have a lot to offer in terms of huge nightclubs, but the nightlife here is quintessentially Caribbean and a lot of fun if you’re visiting the island. A lot of the beaches near the towns on the island are home to bars which stay open very late, and when the evenings are warm it’s easy to stay out late enjoying the atmosphere.

If you’re looking for live music then there are a range of lounges around Antigua which will deliver tropical tunes and Caribbean cocktails to match the vibe. A popular event on the island is the Sunday evening barbeque at Shirley Heights, which not only offers brilliant views of the nearby harbour but also freshly cooked food and lively music.

Which Is Better: Antigua or St Lucia?

When you’re weighing up Antigua vs St Lucia, there’s not a clear winner in terms of which island has more to offer. They both have plenty of positives as holiday destinations, so choosing between the two really comes down to what you’re looking for on your trip.

Both islands have great offerings for local cuisine, and whilst neither is known as a particular party destination, they both have vibrant local nightlife scenes that visitors are welcome to be part of whilst they visit. You’ll find lovely scenery around Antingua and St Lucia with a range of accommodations around the islands, and both have beaches that provide a classic Caribbean experience of pale sand, clear blue sea, and radiant sunshine.

Summary

The great news is that both Antigua and St Lucia are brilliant holiday destinations with a lot to offer, so whichever one you choose, you’re guaranteed a wonderful experience in the Caribbean. To really get the most out of your stay, we recommend booking a trip for at least a week and enjoying the comforts of a private villa so you can explore your destination in your own time and then return to a luxurious holiday home to relax.

If you’re planning a trip to Antigua or St Lucia and wondering where to stay, take a look at our exclusive range of luxury villas in Antigua and villas in St Lucia which are perfect for families and groups.

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