Opinions BVI v St Maarten


Aug 9, 2011
Beneteau 310 Cheney KS (Wichita)
Planning another bareboat island trip this fall. Been to the BVI a few times. Usual 7-10 day loop out of Tortola hitting multiple islands including Anegada and Jost VD.

Been to Sint Maarten before - on the island and close offshore helping run a World Champs regatta but not sailing around.

Looking at doing the BVI again or exploring the possibilities of St Maarten/Anguilla/St Barths.

Timeframe is last week of Oct or first week of Nov.

Would like some opinions.

How does the sailing compare?

How do the onshore sites and activities compare?

Appreciate your feedback.

S/V Slainte
First 310
Jul 29, 2014
beneteau oceanis 45 south haven, mi
Have done both several times. The BVI are great easy sailing with small island venues. St Maarten is more cosmopolitan. Simpson Bay and Marigot offer great restaurants and some shopping. Have not been to Anguilla. The 12 mile sail to St Barts is a nice reach. There are moorings in Gustavia harbor but almost never open. Anchoring out is pretty good. We drug there once. The restaurants on Barts are phenomenal. Also pricey. Try LeRepair for great French cooking. The bakery is to die for around the corner. A sail to Kitts is a fun sail, albeit open water for ca 35 miles. Kitts has really developed. Take a tour of the island with Percy. He answers Ch 16. Everyone knows him.
One other benefit: there is a lot more skin visible especially on Barts. Try Le Saline beach for entertainment.
Have fun.
Jun 2, 2011
Hunter H33 Port Credit Harbour, ON.
Our first charter experience was out of Moorings in St. Martin. We made many stops throughout the 10 days and made it down to Nevis before heading back up. Had a cheeseburger in paradise in St. Barts. (cheeseburger sucked tough).

Have been in BVI 5 or 6 times and heading back in December 2016 with 4 boats. As stated above the sailing is short and easy.

The St. Martin trip was the best and will go back at some point. Here are some thoughts on each.


Longer sailing routs, long times between seeing other boats while in transit, more anchoring vs mooring, customs clearance at each island, less protected from the ocean swells in some areas. Nothing bad just observations.


Short distance between stops, easy navigation, no customs clearance at the different islands, mostly mooring, easy organizing with multiple boats. again,nothing bad just observations.
Jul 1, 2015
Beneteau 461 ?
I prefer the BVI's , but it depends on what you are going for. If you are going to eat and drink and shop, with some longer passages , then St Martin is for you . If you are like me and looking for snorkeling , diving , beaches and beach bars and hiking with short day sails and many choices of anchorages , then the BVI are for you.

Something makes me think clearing in and out of Anguilla might be difficult or tedious . Could be wrong.

Kept a boat in the BVI's for 10 years and chartered there for many more..........never tired of those islands .

Love the National Parks snorkel and dive Mooring systems .

Now if you looking to explore the Caribbean a bit more then I guess you should try new destinations , then you too will find your favourite.