Last updated on March 13, 2023 by Wandering our World
When it comes to dream getaways, St Lucia and St Kitts & Nevis are two destinations that should be at the top of most people’s lists.
Both of these Caribbean paradises can offer amazing experiences, especially if you’re looking for sun, sea, and a bit of adventure. However these islands, despite their similar size, are actually very different.
For example, St Lucia is more tourist-orientated and home to the majestic Pitons, two iconic peaks that are great for hiking and photos.
St Kitts & Nevis, on the other hand, has more of a local vibe, is easier to get around and is also cheaper than St Lucia.
However, that’s just the beginning when it comes to how these two destinations differ.
Luckily, having visited both we compare them below, and show you what each has to offer. We show you which has the better beaches, what excursions are available, compare the culture, food, nightlife and lots more!
- A Quick Overview & Comparison
- How Do The Beaches & Landscape Compare?
- How Does The Culture & Vibe Compare?
- Where To Stay According To Your Budget
- Which Has Better Nightlife?
- Which Is Better For Couples & Honeymoons?
- Which Is Better For A Family Vacation?
- Which Is Safer?
- How Does The Cuisine Compare?
- Which Is The Better Choice?
A Quick Overview & Comparison: St Lucia vs St Kitts & Nevis
Both islands have comparable beaches and a friendly vibe. Although the duel island of St Kitts and Nevis is much easier to navigate and drive about on than St Lucia.
That’s because St Lucia has a lush mountainous inland made up of 19,000 acres of rainforest. Although that opens up many opportunities for walking, jungle trekking and exploring, the winding roads on this island are difficult to drive on. So getting from town to town is harder than it is in St Kitts.
St Kitts and Nevis also has its fair share of pretty mountains, rainforests and sugarcane fields.
But based on landscape alone, St Lucia is definitely the more striking destination due to the Pitons – two spectacular volcanic spires.
Both are relatively low-key destinations which avoid much of the tourist crowd too. though St Kitts is more off the beaten track.
While part of the reason for that is their relative remoteness, it’s also true that some of the reason is also because the beaches on both islands are not as spectacular as the beaches in the Bahamas, or Barbados, for example. However they make up for that with other aspects of their landscape.
In terms of expenses, St Lucia – which does have a bigger tourism sector than St Kitts and Nevis – is a more expensive destination.
Below we look at some of our favorite natural sights and spots in both, before comparing what to expect culturally in each. All so you can work out which destination suits you best!
How Do The Beaches & Landscape Compare?
By looking at what the beaches and landscape offer in both, you can see which destination will suit your personal preferences best.
St Lucia: The Beaches & Landscape
Although St Lucia has some excellent beaches, this Caribbean paradise is a place to enjoy all aspects of nature. It’s rugged, lush, and dramatic, and is perfect for the sun-seeker who wants some adventure too.
It’s an island that feels cut off from the rest of the world with its winding roads, quaint villages, and less-tourist orientated vibe.
When it comes to accommodation options, St Lucia is a more affordable choice than many other Caribbean islands too.
For beaches, head to Rodney Bay where you can find Reduit Beach. This is one of the longest strips of sand on the whole of St Lucia.
The golden sand, set against lush green hilly vegetation and the Caribbean Sea, makes it a perfect spot to relax. If you’re looking for white sand, then Anse des Pitons is the place to go.
St Lucia is also home to incredible coral reefs which are teeming with life. For one of the best snorkeling spots in the Caribbean, head to Anse Chastanet.
Not only is the snorkeling world class there (and arguably better than in St Kitts), the backdrop of mountains against the beach is spectacular. There’s also many whale watching tours as the seas around St Lucia are full of different species of these gentle giants.
This dive map shows the best spots on the island. A great underwater camera – such as this one – is a must.
But the real beauty of St Lucia lies away from the coastline. The phenomenal Pitons – two volcanic spires – rise up against the backdrop of blue near the town of Soufrière.
This majestic must-visit World Heritage Site is a great place for hiking and jungle treks – many of which lead to waterfalls. There’s also a cable car that provides a view of the jungle from the canopy top – it’s pretty special.
The Pitons have more to offer than hiking too – they’re home to the world’s only ‘drive-in volcano’ – another completely unique aspect to St Lucia.
Here you can drive to Soufriere Volcano and experience the sights and smells of this dormant monster – don’t forget to take a dip in the mud baths on the slopes before you leave!
St Kitts and Nevis: The Beaches & Landscape
If shimmering turquoise water and white sand beaches are your priority then a holiday in the Bahamas may suit you better than one in St Kitts and Nevis.
However this island nation has a bit of everything, and provides an exciting vacation for an adventurous traveler who likes avoiding the tourist crowds as you’ll get less tourists here than many other places, including St Lucia.
You can still get gorgeous stretches of coastline here, and locals often regard Cockleshell Bay Beach as the best. The warm shallow water is perfect for swimming, and the sand is soft and enticing. This is a place many families come at the weekend to enjoy a picnic under the swaying palm trees.
A quieter spot, and our favorite, is Major’s Bay Beach. This beach on St Kitts offers a spectacular view across to nearby sister island of Nevis. There are no facilities, but that makes this place peaceful, and quite romantic.
Related: The Ten Best Beaches in St Kitts
If you’re a scuba diver then Booby High Shoals on Nevis is a fantastic dive spot which is full of life. Expect to swim alongside sting rays, nurse sharks, and sea turtles at this colorful underwater world.
Of course a trip to St Kitts isn’t complete without visiting the large dormant volcano that dominates the island – Mount Liamuiga. You need a good level of fitness to trek this 1,156 meter peak, but the views are spectacular. Green vervet monkeys live in the rainforest on the slopes, so keep you eyes on the trees as you hike!
Another place for panoramic views – and a bit of history – is the UNESCO World Heritage Site Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park.
This fort – built by slaves – is one of the best preserved historic forts in the Americas and sits on a lush hilly green slope that looks across the island and the Caribbean.
How Does The Culture & Vibe Compare?
Along with the natural scenery on offer, both St Lucia and St Kitts & Nevis have a wealth of attractions and cultural experiences worth checking out.
While St Kitts feels more authentically Caribbean with less emphasis on tourists, there’s still lots to see and do like in St Lucia.
St Lucia: The Culture & Vibe
This island is a melting pot of cultures, most heavily influenced by African, French and English traditions. The colorful homes here are indicative of the vibrant Kreole culture that has emerged from that mix.
As a country that was fought over for years by colonial powers, St Lucia is home to countless relics. In the north-west, Pigeon Island National Park has to be visited, and is home to many colonial relics left over from when the French and British battled it out for St Lucia.
Staying in the colonial period, head to Diamond Falls Botanical Gardens in Soufrière. Tropical plants and gorgeous colors are everywhere in this garden that’s set on an estate from the 18th century.
For something more local, modern, and lively, then you must join in the Gros Islet Jump Up. This street party is full of food, good conversation between locals (and tourists!), and dancing to great Caribbean music. It happens every Friday night.
St Kitts and Nevis: The Culture & Vibe
Unlike many Caribbean destinations, St Kitts and Nevis are two islands that aren’t reliant on tourism. So life still revolves around several different sectors such as agriculture. That means it’s still possible to get an authentic insight into Caribbean life here.
One of the best ways to see the real St Kitts is to visit the quaint towns that dot the landscape and sit on the island’s hills and slopes.
An excellent way to do that is the St. Kitts Scenic Railway – a 29km long railway that takes you through these pretty villages and towns in the most leisurely way.
St Kitts was colonized by both the British and French, and the imprints of that time remain throughout the island.
Built in 1701 as the residence of a French military commander, the Fairview Great House and Botanical Gardens, is a preserved and working remnant of that history. The guided tour of the house and its lush gardens, as well as the rum tasting, are well worth doing.
For something more lively, if you are traveling during the end of November to the start of January you can witness – and take part in – the St Kitts and Nevis Carnival!
This festival is the biggest event on the island’s calendar, and whole streets become kaleidoscopes of color. Expect music, dancing, great food, and events up and down the island. It’s a real experience!
Where To Stay According To Your Budget
You’ll find far more hotels and accommodation choices in St Lucia as it has a bigger tourist sector, and due to that competition you can often find a bargain.
In contrast, while St Kitts is, in general, a cheaper destination, the lack of accommodations can drive prices up.
That said, here’s a few of our recommendations of where’s good to stay split into three budget categories: Shoestring, Budget, and Luxury.
Shoestring: If you’re looking for a place to stay on a backpacker budget, look no further than Zamaca Bed and Breakfast. The balconies and sizable shared veranda overlook an unspoiled private beach and a lush valley.
Expect friendly service and exceptional Caribbean cuisine too. A hearty breakfast with fresh tropical fruit and juice is included in the nightly rate.
Zamaca is also close to one of the island’s two international airports and is a short drive to many of St Lucia’s attractions, including its distinctive natural reserves and lively nightlife. See photos and rates here.
Budget: Tet Rouge Resort is an adults-only resort that offers a romantic getaway with stunning views of the Caribbean Sea, an infinity pool, and a covered patio with bar – but at a budget most can afford!
The world-famous Pitons, stunning beaches, waterfalls, botanical gardens, and cocoa plantations are all just a few of the tourist hotspots nearby. See photos and rates here.
Luxury: When you arrive at the Cap Maison Resort & Spa, you’ll know that you’ve arrived somewhere special.
This five-star luxury resort was meticulously built and combines exquisite attention to detail with highly personalized service. It is beautifully situated above a secluded sandy beach with gorgeous views and even has luxury private villa suite with rooftop pools. See more photos and rates here.
Shoestring: CosyNest is a lovely apartment perfect for those on a tight budget. You’ll be based in the capital of St Kitts, so close to all the action, but also have access to a tropical garden and outdoor swimming pool.
The interior is basic, but for the price this is a great choice. See photos and rates!
Budget: Situated in Frigate Bay just a few minutes walk from the beach, Royal St. Kitts Hotel is a great option for families on a budget.
You’ll have access to a big outdoor swimming pool, lovely views across the bay, and be close to many amenities like shops and restaurants. See photos and rates!
Luxury: Set on Banana Beach in Christophe Harbour, the five-star Park Hyatt St Kitts is the place to stay on the island if you’re looking for exceptional service, celebrity treatment and world-class facilities.
While direct access to the beach is a big draw, the main event has to be the rooftop pool which has stunning view across the water to the island of Nevis. What a place to have you evening cocktail. See photos and rates!
Which Has Better Nightlife?
Both countries have a similar type of nightlife, with a chilled out Caribbean vibe and lots of lounging at beach bars watching the sun go down.
However that said, the nightlife in St Kitts & Nevis is more widely known than St Lucia’s. That’s because St Kitts is one of the most popular spots in the Caribbean for nighttime entertainment at the beach.
Below we look at the nightlife highlights in each island so you can see which will suit you best!
St Lucia: The Nightlife Scene
St Lucia isn’t really known for its evening entertainment, but there are still a good number of night entertainment options.
When the sun goes down, St Lucia often lights up with festivals on the streets and parties on the beach.
And of course, you can just walk into the nightclubs in the biggest towns to find locals and tourists mingling from dusk til dawn. The biggest party area of the island is in Rodney Bay on the north coast.
If you’re a fan of jazz music, you’ll find a few spots here that meet your interest too.
There are several clubs and bars where you can enjoy live music in an intimate setting, including Sky Lounge at Bay Gardens Hotel and Blue Olive Restaurant.
St Kitts & Nevis: The Nightlife Scene
St Kitts & Nevis is arguably the best place in the Caribbean for beach nightlife.
People love partying on the beach in St Kitts, with bars and beach clubs lining South Frigate Bay on St. Kitts, especially in The Strip area.
Due to this fun beach night scene, cruise ships touring the Caribbean often stop by St Kitts & Nevis for a cocktail on the beach. Interestingly, about 90% of tourists in St Kitts & Nevis are cruise ship passengers!
What makes the beach bars even more attractive are the affordable prices – much more affordable than other islands.
One of the most popular nighttime hangouts at The Strip is Vibes Beach Bar. Aside from the drinks on, the place also serves as a sports bar.
Another great spot is The Monkey Bar, a fine-dining restaurant that turns into a nightclub at night. What people love the most about the place is the dance floor’s open-air concept, allowing visitors to dance under the stars.
Which Is Better For Couples & Honeymoons?
When it comes to choosing a honeymoon destination, it depends on what kind of honeymoon trip you’re looking for.
St Lucia is a great choice for couples that love activities and keeping busy, while St Kitts & Nevis might be better suited to a honeymoon trip where you’ll never leave the coastline.
However, it’s also worth noting that St. Lucia also has a wider range of hotels, including luxury resorts, than St Kitts & Nevis.
Let’s look at both islands in more detail!
St Lucia: For Honeymoons
One of the best things to do for couples in St Lucia is snorkeling. After all, St Lucia is home to a variety of marine life, including colorful fish, sea turtles, and vibrant coral reefs.
And why not take your partner to explore the underwater sculptures at the Coral Gardens or the nearby Pigeon Island National Park.
Aside from snorkeling, St. Lucia is also great for water sports. The warm waters of the Caribbean Sea offer a range of activities, from kayaking and sailing to jet skiing and wakeboarding.
Popular water sport areas on the island are Soufriere Marine Management Area, Rodney Bay, and Anse Chastanet.
After a day full of activity, take a break and melt your stress away by taking a dip together at Sulphur Springs on Soufriere Drive-in Volcano. It’s certainly not your regular hot spring, and you will come out all covered in mud (!), but nevertheless it will be a memorable honeymoon experience.
For a more lowkey couples’ afternoon activity, take a stroll through the stalls of Castries Market. Market dates have been gaining popularity lately, and no wonder as you can walk together hand in hand enjoying the view of colorful stalls and sampling local foods.
As for resorts, the most popular honeymoon resort on the island is Jade Mountain Resort, which has private beach access. Another choice is Serenity at Coconut Bay, an adults-only resort offering impeccable service and amenities.
St Kitts & Nevis: For Honeymoons
When it comes to a honeymoon in St Kitts & Nevis, you’ll most probably be beach hopping. After all, from Cockleshell Beach and Pinney’s Beach to Turtle Beach, this nation has many stunning secluded beaches.
However there’s also a popular beach for couples on Nevis appropriately named Lovers’ Beach. It’s an extremely secluded beach that’s hard to get to, and funnily enough, it’s said that there’s an unspoken rule to come back later if you see another car parked so that couples can have privacy!
Ultimately, St Kitts & Nevis is a great honeymoon destination if you’re looking to relax and just spend time in each other’s company.
Simply put, it’s a great option for couples looking for a dream tropical honeymoon on white sand beaches.
But even though we stated that there are more resorts in St Lucia, St Kitts & Nevis also boasts several big-chain resorts. Some of the people’s favorites for honeymoon are Park Hyatt and Marriott on St. Kitts, and Four Seasons on Nevis.
Which Is Better For A Family Vacation?
Which island is better for a family vacation usually depends on a couple of factors: what family friendly activities exist, and whether there are good kid-friendly resorts.
In that respect, one island is better than the other…
St Lucia: For A Family Vacation
And that island is St Lucia!
Due to the wide range of activities and landscapes in St Lucia, it’s a great place for an adventurous family trip. From snorkeling the warm sea to hiking the iconic Pitons, this is a great place to keep children occupied.
Another activity in St Lucia that’s very popular for families is whale watching. There are plenty of tours that will take you on a boat ride to see magnificent whales and dolphins up close.
The best time for whale watching is during the winter months between October and February when these gigantic animals are swimming away from the Arctic.
Another family-friendly attraction we haven’t mentioned is Treetop Adventure Park. Situated in a lush jungle, this place has as many as 12 zip lines!
A similar place is the Rainforest Adventures Ecological Park which is known for its forest cable car.
Kids will also love Splash Island Water Park, an inflatable obstacle course located along Reduit Beach. And this fun park isn’t for kids only. Plenty of the rides are a good challenge and make for a fun workout for children and adults alike.
The good thing about St Lucia is on top of all that, there’s plenty of family friendly resorts too.
One of the best family-friendly resorts in St Lucia is Coconut Bay Beach Resort on the south coast. It even has its own water park!
St Kitts & Nevis: For A Family Vacation
From Brimstone Hill Fortress to St. Kitts Scenic Railway, St Kitts & Nevis is filled with historical sites that could interest families with older kids.
But of course, there are also exciting places where you can enjoy nature too. Dolphin Discovery is one, and there you can have an interactive experience where visitors get to swim with dolphins.
However the fact remains that St Kitts & Nevis doesn’t really have many children’s theme parks or big water parks.
Although there is the Splash Ventures Aqua Park SKN located at Cockleshell Beach in Nevis, which is an inflatable water park. However, it’s much smaller than Splash Island Water Park in St Lucia.
Other than that, you can find kids’ pools and kids’ zone in big resorts. But again, they’re just not as big as those in St Lucia.
All in all, St Kitts & Nevis may be good choice for those who want a more laid-back family trip, particularly families with babies and toddlers. But if you have older children, then St Lucia and its many activities and family-oriented resorts would be the better choice.
Which Is Safer?
According to the recent travel advisory by the US government, both St Lucia and St Kitts are safe for travel.
However it’s worth noting that the crime rate in St Lucia has increased since 2021, specifically the homicide rate related to gangs. However, this doesn’t really affect tourists.
Just exercise general safety precautions such as not showing off any luxuries and jewellery, alongside refraining from walking around secluded places at night.
The bottom line is that both countries are generally safe for travelers, however St Lucia does have a higher crime rate.
A Taste Of The Caribbean: How Does The Cuisine Compare?
Both countries will provide a treat for your taste-buds, with cuisine focused around seafood.
St Lucia: The Food
Seafood is a big part of St Lucian cuisine, but in particular shellfish and lobster are favorites here.
When visiting St Lucia, eating freshly caught lobster and lambi (conch) is a must. It’s going to taste great whether from a restaurant or a street vendor.
For a traditional appetizer or side, then baked plantain is the way to go. This is St Lucia’s version of French Fries.
If you want a very local experience, the quaint fishing village of Anse La Raye is for you. Every Friday night this tiny village hosts the ‘Fish Fry’ where street vendors sell grilled and fried fish, lobsters, and much more – all with drinks flowing and music playing!
St Kitts & Nevis: The Food
For such a small island nation, St Kitts and Nevis packs a real culinary punch. The food here is very good, and much of it is based on locally caught seafood.
Like St Lucia, conch is very popular. Try conch fritters – this snack involves conch meat fried in golden batter.
Goat water is another popular dish up and down the islands, and while it doesn’t sound appetizing we promise you it is delicious. This is a goat meat stew garnished with chilies, onions, papaya, and yams.
For a delicious dessert, try Tourment d’amour. While this traditional coconut jam, vanilla custard and shortcrust pastry treat is popular throughout the Caribbean it originates from St Kitts and Nevis.
St Lucia Or St Kitts & Nevis: Which Is The Better Choice?
Both St Lucia and St Kitts & Nevis provide a Caribbean holiday that is off the beaten track, adventurous, and away from the main tourist crowds.
The more beautiful of the two is probably St Lucia due to the majestic Pitons, however this island is difficult to navigate and hard to get around.
St Kitts & Nevis is easier to get around than St Lucia, and also cheaper, which may make it a better holiday choice for some.