Experience St. Maarten
What brings visitors to St Maarten?
People are drawn to ‘The Friendly Island’ made up of two separate countries, two nationalities, and two unique experiences. The northern portion is home to the sophisticated French side, called Saint-Martin, and the southern Dutch side is cosmopolitan Sint Maarten, both destinations are home to tranquil beaches, secluded coves, award-winning cuisine, world-class shopping, and a vibrant nightlife. Enjoy two distinct lively cultures in the dual governed island with 35 beaches to choose from, sparkling waters for swimming, snorkeling, and sailing, charming ports with luxury shopping opportunities, and mouth-watering cuisine.
What are the outdoor activities to do in St Maarten?
St Maarten is full of fun attractions, adventures, and excursions both on land and at sea. The Rainforest Adventures Rockland Estate Eco park is an action-packed, adrenaline-filled adventure park featuring the world’s steepest zipline, dropping 2,800 feet the “Flying Dutchman” and the scenic soualiga sky explorer a four-passenger chair lift, or the SXMschooner ride where you surf down the mountain on an inner tube. The island offers 37 spectacular beaches with tranquil turquoise waters that offer some of the most amazing sailing opportunities in the Caribbean. There are sailing classes, windsurfing, kitesurfing, and other sailing sports offered in St Maarten. Island hopping is possible with many surrounding idyllic islands to visit on day trips or diving and snorkeling tours with peaceful coves, colorful natural reefs, and abundant marine life. Hike up Pic du Paradis, the highest point on the island reaching 1,400 feet offering two viewing areas with unobstructed views over the island and a great location to capture an enchanting sunset. Sunset sailing is another great opportunity to see the island from a different perspective and sip on cocktails while sailing around the amazing waters.
What are the best shopping opportunities in St Maarten?
The island of St Maarten offers some of the best shopping opportunities in the Caribbean. The duty-free bargain shopping options can be found throughout the island, especially in Marigot, and Philipsburg harbors where unique boutiques, fine jewelry stores, discounted designer boutiques, and impeccable handmade goods. The island also boasts many charming open-air markets and shops dotted along the beaches where you can pick up local authentic items and souvenirs. The colorful buildings that line Front Street in Philipsburg harbor are filled with leading brands from Tiffany to Tommy Hilfiger, this is a popular spot for cruise ship passengers to get their duty free shopping in, and Marigot boasts quaint French inspired boutiques decorated with colorful striped awnings and wrought-iron balconies.
What are some good activities to enjoy with kids in St Maarten?
Kids love the beach, so any of the 37 beaches found on St Maarten will be a great day out for the children (do keep in mind there are nude beaches on St Maarten, so do your research before your beach day). The calm clear waters around the island provide endless opportunities for children to play, swim, snorkeling, even learn how to sail or surf. Many of the resorts offer kid-friendly amenities such as playgrounds, playgroups, water activities, and more, there are water sport activities like sailing, snorkeling, and parasailing. Visiting Loterie Farm is a great family filled fun day out offering zip lines, rope zips, an obstacle course, hiking trails, a restaurant and lounge for dinner and entertainment.
What are the beaches like in St Maarten?
The astounding 37 beaches of St Maarten island are the main draw to this idyllic island location. Many accommodations are dotted along the shores allowing easy access to soak up the soft white sand, sunshine, and breathtaking turquoise waters. There are also tons of restaurants, bars, and cafes that line the beach serving up delicious food, ice-cold drinks, and breathtaking views.
Maho Bay is the famed beach that sits 114 feet from the end of the runway at Princess Juliana International Airport, where the planes fly right over beachgoers to land. This beach sits in a curved bay and features the Sunset Beach bar and unbelievable views of the planes coming into land. The bar posts the flight arrival and departure times on a surfboard so you can be ready for the show.
Plum Bay is situated between Pointe du Canonnier and Falaise aux Oiseaux in Terres Basses boasting golden sands and waters with every shade of blue, a peaceful and serene spot with calm weather, a great beach for snorkeling.
Long Beach on the Dutch side is one of the longest beaches on the island stretching from the resort at La Samanna to Pointe du Canonnier, a quiet beach and a great spot for sunset at La Samanna’s beachfront restaurant bar.
Mullet Bay Beach is one of the top beaches on St Maarten, the nicest beach on the island with a long stretch of soft white sand, brilliant blue waters all in a protected cove. There is a nice selection of food and drink vendors along with beach loungers for the perfect place for a sunny beach day. There is an 18 hole golf course that borders the beach lined with palm trees.
Nude beaches are a thing in St Maarten, so clothing is optional at some beaches and resorts on the island. On the French side, nudity is permitted at the Club Orient Beach (Papagayo Beach) and at the southern ends of Prune and Rouge Beaches.
Where should I eat in St Maarten?
Dining in St Maarten is a dream come true with some of the best food and high-end restaurants in the Caribbean. Both sides of the island offer a combination of almost 500 restaurants with highly trained culinary chefs serving up some of the most delicious food and best fine dining experiences around. There are numerous beachside restaurants spread throughout the island, hotels also offer upscale dining and there are plenty of American restaurants on the Dutch side including fast-food restaurants including McDonald's and Pizza Hut. Marigot offers some fantastic restaurants along the waterfront at Marina Port la Royale and Philipsburg boasts many fine eateries along the famed Front Street. Freshly caught fish and seafood can be found on many of the menus on the island along with a rich variety of cuisine including high-end French, Lebanese, Italian, Creole, Mexican, Chinese, American, and traditional Caribbean cuisine. There are restaurants, bars, cafes, roadside food trucks, and beachside shacks offering casual dining options and great food at affordable pricing. The famous Sunset Beach Bar at Maho Beach is a popular spot to sip cocktails and watch the planes taking off and landing at the nearby airport.
What is the nightlife like in St. Maarten?
The island of St Maarten offers a myriad of exciting nightlight opportunities. The first thing to do on your evenings is to find a great spot to capture a wonderful sunset with a sundowner in hand. There are 37 beaches on the island, so finding a beachfront bar is not a difficult task with many nestled right on the soft white sands boasting breathtaking views of the ocean. The nightlife choices across the island range from beachfront bars to casinos, clubs, and entertainment rolling into the wee hours of the morning. Sunset booze cruises or chartered catamarans are big on the list of early evening options. Strolling along the Philipsburg Boardwalk is a treat in the early evening, with bustling restaurants, busy bars, and night shopping to enjoy. Live bands can be found all over St Maarten especially in Simpson Bay and Orient Bay with live music most nights of the week and happy hours to take advantage of. Bamboo Bernie's offers a happy hour that is hard to beat, 30 minutes of free drinking and after that, the highest-priced drink is a dollar!
What are some romantic escapes in St Maarten?
St Maarten is a lovers paradise with its magical beaches and turquoise waters with luxury beachside accommodations for an exquisite romantic couples getaway. The island is a desirable destination for newlyweds and for wedding ceremonies held amidst the spectacular scenic tropical surroundings. Picturesque beaches and azure waters are a dream setting for any wedding or couples retreat with magnificent sunsets and romantic walks along the sand and intimate candlelit dinners. Many of the accommodations in St Maarten offer some great options for relaxation and romance including couples massages and spa treatments, romantic sunset sailing trips, sunset cocktail hours, delicious meals in high-end restaurants, shopping along the streets in Marigot and Philipsburg, and island hopping.
What is the culture like in St Maarten?
St Maarten is a small island filled with rich, vibrant cultures a mixture of French, English, and Dutch heritage can be experienced on both sides of the dual nation island. Both sides of the island strive to preserve their own history through different celebrations and festivals highlighting their respective cultures. The annual carnival event attracts visitors to the island each year with a huge celebration in early February with fun-filled street parties, live music, and entertainment.