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Antigua or St Martin

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Jul 22nd, 2014, 10:58 AM
  #1
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Antigua or St Martin

Which island should we choose?
Several years ago, I did a query like this and chose Barbados from the responses we got. Barbados was great! Now we want to do another island and have come down to these two (Antigua and St. Martin). We like beaches, but do not want to spend our whole vacation on the beach. We like island touring, dining out, shopping, snorkeling, water excursions. Both in our early (healthy) 70s
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Jul 22nd, 2014, 01:36 PM
  #2
 
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Maybe this will hep:

More and better dining and shopping on St. Martin.

Neither island has great walk-in snorkeling. Boat access snorkeling is slightly better on Antigua.

Equal as far as water excursions are concerned.

More beaches on Antigua.

St. Martin is smaller (34 Sq. miles) than Antigua (104 sq. miles). Since both have similar population (75K people for St. Martin, 80K for Antigua) St. Martin will "feel" more crowded.

St. Martin has both French and Dutch "feel". Antigua has more of a "Caribbean" vibe.
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Jul 22nd, 2014, 04:57 PM
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IMO, both are awful--move on!
BTW, we liked Barbados also.
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Jul 22nd, 2014, 05:09 PM
  #4
KVR
 
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I agree, there are better choices out there than those two options, but given the two, I would go with Antigua over St. Martin. However, I've been to many Caribbean Islands and have not made it to either of those, so that says a lot right there.
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Jul 22nd, 2014, 08:43 PM
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We went to St.Martin last July. We have not been to Antigua outside of a day trip due to a cruise ship stop. The beaches are nice in Antigua from what I saw we spent the day on Dickesons Bay. St. martin was ok but it is not an island I would return. Just my opinion but there are some who love it there. You might try traveltalkonline.com they have a st. martin forum there. It will probably prove more positive then here. We stayed at a divi resort in St. Martin which had a great beach. You would need a car for getting around.
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Jul 23rd, 2014, 02:10 AM
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Antigua is definitely not an awful island. The beaches are beautiful, if you are interested in history, then Nelson's Dockyard is worth a visit, as is Shirley Heights. The scenery is beautiful from SH. There are many old sugar mills dotted around the island, most famous one being Betty's Hope. You can take a day trip to Barbuda and Montserrat to see the volcano, or stingray city which is similar to the one in Grand Cayman. It is not the best island for snorkelling nor shopping (unless you want local things, little to no upscale shops apart from a renovated area in St Johns called Heritage Quay) and dining out you can do in Dickenson's Bay.
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Jul 23rd, 2014, 03:45 AM
  #7
 
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Neither island is my "style" -- I'm all about really getting away (Bahamas Out Islands being my favorite, followed by Nevis). Having said that, I have been to both St. Martin and Antigua, and my personal preference between the two is St. Martin.

Antigua's principal charm (to me) is its sister island, Barbuda -- which feels like it unmoored itself from the Bahamas and drifted south before stopping off Antigua's coast. There are lots of nice beaches on Antigua, and the Nelson's Dockyard/English Harbour area are amazing, but I found the restaurants mediocre and the residents less than friendly. The larger resorts feel like they could be anywhere with palm trees. And when the cruise ships arrive, things get crowded.

What makes St. Martin work for me is that I've found in the village of Grand Case a perfect little enclave. It's got a Mediterranean vibe, terrific dining, a decent beach (there are better ones on the island), friendly people, some shopping. The rest of the island can get crowded and congested, especially when the cruise ships are in. But I've never experienced the chilly attitude that I got in Antigua.

Neither island is a place where you can really let your guard down. Petty crime is an issue in both places.

Any reason you've narrowed it down to those two? There are others that might meet your wish list.
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Jul 23rd, 2014, 04:55 AM
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I am glad Callaloo was a bit more straightforward then myself. St. Martin had an uneasy feeling, heavy police presence in many places. You cannot leave anything in your car locked or unlocked per the rental agency. We were told my hotel not to venture to Grand Case in the p.m. as it was a drive in many "unsettled" areas.
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Jul 23rd, 2014, 05:33 AM
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<> You should not leave anything in your rental car in any country, ever.
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Jul 23rd, 2014, 08:14 AM
  #10
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I'm discouraged. Maybe we should be looking at Hawaii
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Jul 23rd, 2014, 09:31 AM
  #11
 
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Don't get discouraged because St. Martin or Antigua aren't a good fit for you - just look at different islands. For example:

If you crave snorkeling check out St. John (USVI's) or Virgin Gorda (BVI's) .

If you want "fine dining" consider Anguilla or St. Barth's.

If shopping is your main desire look at St. Barth's or St. Thomas.

Plus, you'll find some nice beaches, plenty of water sports/excursions and "island touring" on all those islands.

If you are willing to "give" a little on the quality of the beaches and you want to spend more time exploring the history of an island but still have access to "water excursions" consider Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Grenada or Dominica.
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Jul 23rd, 2014, 07:19 PM
  #12
 
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If St. Martin was interesting to you don't give up on it because of the reponses you have received on this forum. Everyone's opinion is valid but this forum doesn't tend to have a lot of St. Martin fans for some reason. As suggested, try Travel Talk on Line or even Trip Advisor. Personally, I really like St Martin and have been several times. It can be crowded in areas but it's also has great restaurants, great beaches and if you are interested there are fun nightlife options. In addition, there are easy day trips to Anguilla or St. Barth's. I like Grand Case and Orient Beach but not as much a fan of the Dutch side. Regarding safety, I have never had a problem on St. Martin. For what it's worth, I also really like Puerto Rico and San Juan in particular and that's another place that many people aren't too fond of....so take my opinion as a person who likes busy islands.
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Jul 23rd, 2014, 07:31 PM
  #13
 
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ODIN rental agency told us firmly not to lock our cars don't even lock them. "I don't want my cars broken into." that were his exact words. He said do not even conceal anything in your truck unseen.

OP can always check the us.gov page for recent updates. I almost did not go to SXM due to this forum last July. We went and had a fine time. Everything was ok, and we stayed on the Dutch side.
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Aug 3rd, 2014, 05:54 PM
  #14
 
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I highly recommend Galley Bay in Antigua for an amazing retreat. Adult only beachfront all inclusive stay see www.nicolemerigellitravel.com or email [email protected] you can search the name in trip advisor and read reviews of the service. Special sale rates for 2014/2015
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