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Barbados or St Lucia – An Honest Guide To Help You Choose in 2023

Rebecca Crowe
Last Updated: August 18th, 2023

Looking for the differences between a beautiful vacation to Barbados and St Lucia? Well then, you’re in luck because that’s exactly what we’re going to dive into right now!

Barbados is great for those of you who want all the main attractions right on your doorstep and want to hit up a lot of tourist hotspots. The majority of the top things to see and do are located near the capital, Bridgetown, so you can just travel to one place and experience all the history, culture, and great atmosphere all in one place.

On the other hand, St Lucia has much more of a laidback Caribbean attitude. If you’re into outdoorsy pursuits like hiking, ziplining, or snorkeling, St Lucia is going to be great for you thanks to the dormant volcanos that dominate the island. On the coast, you’ll also be able to sit back and relax on world-class beaches.


A Quick Overview & Comparison: Barbados vs St Lucia

Quick Answer: Personally, I love the off-the-beaten-track vibes of St Lucia, but if it’s your first time in the Caribbean, I’d definitely opt for Barbados.


  • Easier to get around the island with public transport
  • More touristy and family-friendly activities
  • Better beaches
  • More historic sites

St Lucia

  • Great for hiking
  • Much more laidback
  • More of a couple or honeymoon destination
  • Has a dormant volcano!


Let’s be honest, both Barbados and St Lucia are outstanding holiday destinations and are super popular options for so many reasons. However, there are some things where one island is definitely better than the other.

For example, if you’re looking for a relaxing beach holiday where you can soak up the rays and work on your tan, then Barbados is going to be a much better option for you. The crystal clear waters are some of the best in the world if snorkeling is high on your priority list.

On the other hand, if you’re into hiking and spending time in the great outdoors, you need to book your flights to St Lucia. With a dormant volcano and an incredible tropical rainforest, there are so many amazing day hikes and outdoor adventures to be enjoyed and explored.


If you want a holiday where everything is on your doorstep with a ton of touristy activities all in one place, then Barbados is going to be more up your street. However, if you’re looking for more of a laidback, classic Caribbean-style vibe, St Lucia is a much more chilled destination.

Barbados vs St Lucia: A Quick Guide to Choosing

Want to choose between Barbados and St Lucia? We’ve got you covered!


Barbados Mini Guide

  • Location Size – 430 km²
  • Population – 281,200
  • Rainy Season – July to November
  • High Season – Mid-December to Mid-April.
  • Top Sights – Harrison’s Cave Eco-Adventure Park, Bridgetown, St. Nicholas Abbey
  • Major Airports – Grantley Adams International (BGI)

Barbados is a great option if you’re looking for a small island with a ton of things to do. From historic sites like St. Nicholas Abbey to more fun and modern adventures like the Mount Gay Distillery, there are so many great things to see and do.

As it’s so small, it’s also really easy to get around and the bus routes around the island are relatively decent. You’re never too far away from an amazing beach, a delicious place to eat and drink, or something fun to explore!


St Lucia Mini Guide

  • Location Size – 617 km²
  • Population – 179,651
  • Rainy Season – June to November
  • High Season – December to April
  • Top Sights – Gros Piton, Diamond Falls Botanical Gardens & Mineral Baths, Pigeon Island National Park, Marigot Bay.
  • Major Airports – Hewanorra International Airport (UVF)

Some of the best things to see and do in St Lucia are in the great outdoors. From national parks to dormant volcanos to botanical gardens, St Lucia’s vibe is all about making the most of the natural world.

Whether you go on a wildlife hike through the rainforest, jump in a 4×4 to get views from the top of the island, or hang out in the mineral baths, there’s something here in St Lucia for you.

The 4 Key Differences Between Barbados and St Lucia

So, what are the main differences between a vacation in Barbados and a vacation in St Lucia? Let’s find out more!

How Do The Beaches & Landscapes Compare?


When it comes to Caribbean beaches, Barbados is hard to beat. It has gorgeous white, soft sands and warm waters that are sought-after all over the world. Other than that, the island is pretty flat, so if you’re wanting hikes or mountain biking, this probably isn’t the island for you.

St Lucia

Essentially, St Lucia is the opposite of Barbados when it comes to beaches and landscapes. With the dormant volcano, varied landscape, and tropical rainforest, it’s perfect for spending time hiking, biking, or off-road driving. The beaches in St Lucia are still amazing, but if you want a beach holiday, Barbados is going to be the better option.

Which Is Better For Activities?


Barbados is full of amazing activities like Harrison Caves, the Kensington Oval, and the George Washington House, so if you like more traditional family-friendly day trips and attractions, Barbados is a great option. It definitely has more of a touristy scene than St Lucia!

On the other hand, the popular activities in St Lucia pretty much all revolve around outdoor pursuits. The best activities are about enjoying national parks, checking out the landscapes, and even ziplining through a tropical rainforest! If you’re into outdoorsy activities, there’s no better place in the Caribbean than St Lucia.

Which Is Cheaper?


There’s no getting around it, Barbados isn’t cheap. It’s been a popular Caribbean destination for years now, so there are plenty of expensive resorts, hotels, and excursions to be enjoyed. That being said, there are a lot more flights to Barbados, so you might save money on this part of the holiday.

If you’re looking for affordable accommodation in the Caribbean, St Lucia is a much better option than Barbados. There are way more affordable choices in St Lucia than in Barbados, but the flights might be more expensive.

Which Is Easier Around?


With a pretty robust tourist economy, Barbados has a decent level of public transport around the island. It’s also a much flatter and smaller island so it’s inherently easier to get around Barbados than St Lucia.

On the other hand, St Lucia is a mountainous island that’s covered in rainforest. It’s not the easiest to get around. Hiring a 4×4 car for your trip is going to give you the most freedom, but be careful on those muddy mountain roads!

3 Questions to Help You Decide to Travel to Barbados vs St Lucia

To help you decide between Barbados and St Lucia, we have four simple questions to help you make your decision.


Which Flights are Easier and Cheaper?

With a ton of flights each day to Barbados from the US and Europe, chances are that flights to Barbados are going to be easier and cheaper. St Lucia flights are getting more common, but at the moment just aren’t as regular and as cheap as flights to Barbados. They also only leave from the larger international airports, so you might need to book flights with a stop or two to actually reach beautiful St Lucia.

Who Are You Traveling With?

Although both islands have activities and elements that are great for both families and romantic couples, there is a better choice for each. Barbados is a lot better for families with the number of different tourist attractions and watersports. St Lucia is a lot more laid back and chilled, with outdoor adventures, so is often better for couples or groups of friends.

What’s the Vibe of Your Vacation?

Are you looking for a relaxing vibe with an outdoorsy twist, or are you wanting more of a full-on, excursion-filled beach vacation? If you said yes to the former, then you want to go to St Lucia, but if you’re more of a beach, history, and excursion kind of traveler, Barbados is the trip for you.

Barbados or St Lucia: Which Is The Better Choice?


Regardless of whether you go to Barbados or St Lucia, you’re going to have a great trip. However, if you want a quintessential beach, rum, and sunshine-filled vacation, Barbados is going to be the perfect destination for you. On the flip side, nature lovers and outdoorsy types are going to love everything that St Lucia has to offer!

About The Author

Rebecca Crowe

Rebecca Crowe is a freelance content writer who specializes in writing about travel, food, drink, and adventure. You can find her latest adventures at wanderingandwine.

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