A Travel Guide to St Martin

by Bre, 7:55 AM
Are you planning to book one of the St Martin vacations to relax by the beach and enjoy the water sports? If so, check out this mini-travel guide to get some ideas of the best places to visit and unique experiences on the Friendliest Island in the Caribbean.

The Essentials Things to Know:

Most tourists arrive at Princess Juliana International Airport, which is on the Dutch Sint Maarten. This part of the island is more centered around tourism. It has an active nightlife, shopping and casinos to entertain foreign tourists. Several resorts and vacation rentals are available in this part of the island. Saint Martin, the French region, gets fewer visitors but is famous for world-class food. Grand Case has a reputation for being the Gourmet Capital of the Caribbean.
Most visitors will rent a car when they arrive for at least the first few days of their vacation. The island is small and easy to get around. Tourists can travel from one side to the other without facing any problems.

Watch the Planes at Maho Beach:

One of the most popular activities in St Maarten is to watch the airplanes take off and land a few meters above the ground at Maho Beach. The runway of Princess Juliana almost touches the beach and is separated just by two fences. Some people will hold onto the fence to feel the blast of jet air, but this is dangerous and a woman recently died after hitting her head on the concrete floor. If you do watch, hold on to your belongings. The blast is strong enough to blow cameras and beach towels into the air.

Romantic Experiences:

What can be better than witnessing the sunrise over the blue Atlantic Ocean into the cloudless sky on a tropical paradise? Out of the 37 beaches on the island, Dawn Beach sitting near the border of the Sint Maarten has the best view. The Westin Dawn Beach Resort blocks the view, but tourists are more than welcome to use their beach chairs.
After seeing the sunrise, the sun setting over the Caribbean Sea is just as magical. Cupecoy Beach is the best spot. Cupecoy consists of three smaller beaches sitting at the base of cliffs to produce a dramatic backdrop. Several beach bars serve cold beers and cocktails to make the experience even more rewarding.

Have a Local Experience:

If you want to get away from the tourists and hang out with the locals, Friar’s Bay is the place to go. The waters are calm and shallow and it’s a popular place for local kids to learn how to swim. Snorkeling in the clear water is also a fun activity with a plethora of colorful fish swimming just off the coastline. The sandbars extend out and it makes a great place for relaxing and getting the perfect photograph.
Another great way to get a glimpse into the local’s way of life is to visit some of the smaller towns, villages, and hamlets around the island. Residents are generally warm and welcoming to visitors as tourism is a major part of their economy. You could also take the bus rather than relying on taxis to experience transport with the locals.

Unique Experiences:

Simpson’s Bay Lagoon is the largest lagoon on the Island of St Martin and is home to a large fleet of yachts, luxury marinas, and gigantic toys of the rich and famous. A number of bars, restaurants, and cafes are within walking distance of the lagoon. You can also see the two bridges that connect the lagoon to the Caribbean Sea. One belongs to St Maarten and the other to French St Martin.
Taking a selfie in front of the obelisk that separates the Dutch and French parts of the island is something you can only do here. The Island of St Martin is unique because it’s the smallest landmass shared by two countries. An agreement between the French and Dutch, the Treaty of Concordia, abolished borders and allowed free movement and trade. An obelisk on Union Road marks the official border between St Martin and St Maarten. But, don’t expect everything to be the same. St Martin speaks French and uses the Euro whereas St Maarten has the Antillean Guilder with Dutch being the official language. Most people use English as a second language.

Take a Day Trip:

Grand Case is the perfect place to spend the day with the family. This small town in French St Martin has a beautiful beach with soft waves and offers a range of good food including barbeques and fresh seafood. Local kids come to learn how to swim and it may be a good place to introduce your kids to snorkeling for the first time. If not, relaxing on the beach whilst chilling out to the local music is heaven in itself.
Anguilla, a British Overseas Territory, is a short ferry ride from Marigot and a popular day trip for tourists on St Martin. Boats leave every 30 minutes or so taking passengers across the sea where they can experience a different culture, way of life, and visit some of the art galleries. If you visit Anguilla, you need to bring your passport.

An Island of Unique Experiences:

When you visit the Friendly Island, a range of different experiences awaits from beautiful beaches and magnificent marine life to gourmet food to satisfy any palate. Tourists get their jollies on the Dutch Sint Maarten and eat some of the best food in the Caribbean in French Saint Martin. There’s something for everyone on this tropical paradise.
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