Sint Maarten is a Caribbean Island Country that is a part of the Netherlands. The cumulative island is split between Saint-Martin of France and Sint (Saint) Maarten of the Kingdom of Netherlands. The Island, while split into two countries, has an open border and people belonging to countries in these lists need not worry about their visa requirements.
Both countries have some of the most scenic beaches, vibrant nightlife, casinos and fantastic shopping areas in the Caribbean. Let’s take a look at what the island has to offer.
1. Maho Beach in Sint Maarten
Have you ever seen that video that shows planes flying literally right above you on the beach? That’s this place…
One of the most iconic tourist landmarks in the Caribbean, Maho beach is infamous for its proximity to the airport in Saint Maarten, with aircrafts landing within 35 meters of the beach below, so close that they touch your towels! To enhance your experience, check out the Sunset Bar & Grill that close by for some great food and a good view. There’s a regularly updated chalkboard with the take-off and landing timings written.
The beaches are pristine, accompanied by a clear blue ocean and calming waves. Carry sunscreen and hold on to your belongings to make sure they don’t fly away. Really!
2. Orient Bay Beach in Saint Martin
On the French side of the island is the equally impressive Orient Bay Beach, giving Maho Beach a run for its money with chalky white sand, crystal blue water overlooking green hills and cliffs. There’s a lot of fun music, relaxing spas and clothing is optional to bolster the proverbial “weight off my shoulders” into reality!
3. Butterfly Farm in Saint Martin
For a $15 per person entry fee, you can experience several new and colourful species of butterflies at the butterfly farm in Saint Martin. Some of these butterflies are unique to the Caribbean. Access is unlimited for the entirety of your stay in Saint Martin, with tour guides showing you some butterflies as big as your head! A good change of scenery from the 30+ beaches you will find on the island if ever you get bored of sunbathing!
4. The Boardwalk in Philipsburg in Sint Maarten
With goods sold duty-free, St Maarten is one of the best places to shop in the Caribbean.
Philipsburg has one of the best shopping districts in the Caribbean, and they mean business with tons of duty-free stores, bars and fantastic restaurants. We recommend Kool Vibes Restaurant & Bar and Dirty Sanchez bar, which has some fantastic specials running throughout the day, with a lot of laughs, banter and home to an overall fun environment.
5. Loterie Farm in Sint Maarten
Nature and trekking enthusiasts will love Loterie farm.
This 130-acre private reserve is a place of tranquillity, adventure and trekking. The short hikes are around 45 minutes long, while the longer ones can be 2-3 hours. Getting around might be difficult if you tire easily or have difficulty trekking, but if you do, the scenery is an eye catcher! The farm also has a zip line for you to enjoy, with zip lines passing through lush trees and freshwater pools, besides which are the restaurants and bars where you can relax and enjoy a time of quiet and relaxation.
A 9 hole golf course is in the works, so if that’s something you enjoy, there’s another thing on the list!
6. Frontstreet in Philipsburg in Sint Maarten
Another shopping district in Philipsburg, Frontstreet has some great liquor and jewellery without any taxes or duties. It’s also right next to the ocean and can be a lot of fun on a quiet day. While the place was devastated because of Hurricane Irma, Frontstreet has almost come back to normal after all the renovation work undertaken by the shop owners.
Sundays usually have a lot of business because cruise ships find themselves in the port, so tons of tourists come in to buy things. Weekdays are the best bet for a quiet day of shopping.
7. Prickly Pear in Marigot
Snorkelling is very popular in Marigot
Marigot is an uninhabited island which sees several tourists come in because of its status as a “paradise island”. The sand on the beaches is pristine and white, with trees dotting the rest of the island. There’s a healthy amount of food and drinks available on the island, but it’s best known for its snorkelling, with some of the bluest and clearest waters you can see and massive stingrays swimming beneath the cover of the blue sea. The beaches are covered with small and large sand dollars and are quite a sight to behold.
There are many cruises that ply to the island, but we recommend taking the Bluebeard charter for a catamaran ride to the island.
8. Little Bay Beach in Philipsburg in Sint Maarten
Running alongside the shopping district, Little Bay Beach is one of the calmest beaches in the entire island, with little to no waves rocking the shoreline. It’s perfect for a relaxing and rejuvenating swim. Snorkelling is also possible along the rocky end, with breathtaking blue waters. Paddle-boarding is also something people partake in since the waters are calm.
9. Mullet Bay in Sint Maarten
Mullet Bay is frequented by locals more so than by tourists, so the likelihood of finding picnics, cheap food and free parking is very likely. The water is clear and blue, even if a little rough and it is close enough to Maho Beach and the airport to see the planes without the huge crowds and loud planes/people.
Cliff jumping is also a possibility, with rocky cliffs in close proximity to the beach.
10. Pinel Island in Saint Martin
Pinet Island has pristine white beaches!
In close proximity to Saint Martin, getting to Pinel Island is fairly inexpensive, with round trip cruises starting at $7. We recommend taking the water taxi from the dock at the Front street near the shops at downtown Philipsburg.
It’s a gorgeous island with lots of aquatic/tropical animals with Iguanas all around the island along with crabs. Snorkelling on the island is a treat and the food and drinks are excellent throughout the island with a quaint Caribbean ambience.
Sint Maarten and Saint Martin are amazing retreats and give a glimpse of what paradise can look like. There’s a lot one can do on the island and it never fails to deliver, taking one’s breath away for its natural beauty and never-ending beaches. It’s a must visit if you want to go someplace warm and have a relaxing retreat!
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