St. Maarten Travel Guide (St. Martin) Best Places To Visit!
I had so much fun in St. Maarten with my parents and old friend Jenna. Even though I’m still sun burned at this moment (anyone know where I can find an aloe plant?) it was totally worth it. The island has the perfect mixture of Caribbean culture while being a developed country. It felt very safe to drive around everywhere and very little poverty. Being of Haitian decent was a nice perk as there were so many Haitians on the island you could get by just speaking creole! It also helps that I can understand French. But everyone on the island speaks English so if you’re not bi-lingual you’ll be just fine.
Check out some tips and my Travel Guide after the photos!
Here’s a little guide I learned from trial (and some error) on my trip!
If you want your tripped planned out like mine was including tours, snorkeling, and a whole lot of fun! I highly recommend reaching out to Ami from Caribbean Concierge Services. She and her team did a fabulous job coordinating activities for us!! (firstname.lastname@example.org ) Our trip would not have been the same without them!
We stayed at the Westin Dawn Beach Resort and Spa in St Maarten and it was gorgeous. It’s right on the beach with cabanas you can reserve. It has a pool bar and hot tub, casino, two restaurants and a spa where me and my mom got the best hot stone massages. Also the staff was very friendly and helpful which is nice to have when you are in a new country. We had a gorgeous pool view from our balcony, not to mention a beautiful and spacious 2 bedroom 2 bathroom suite including a living rooming, dining room, and kitchen area. It was absolutely perfect!
Since you’re already there you might as well visit Anguilla and St. Barts because they are only short ferry rides away so you can go there just for the day!
Rent a car. It’s much cheaper and taxis are expensive. Unless you don’t plan on exploring (which you would be silly not to).
Be careful when driving. Roads are mostly paved but can get rocky in some areas. We def got a flat tire when someone’s car key went straight into our wheel! I recommend renting a small JEEP.
Also you may find cows just in the middle of the road as we did and there are no stop signs or lights and a TON of rotaries so you have to drive cautiously and defensively.
Delicious foods/drinks to try:
It’s a liquor and definitely something that St. Maarten is known for so definitely a must try.
Our tour guide picked these for us by the ocean, they are a very interesting fruit I never tried before and had an interesting salty yet sweet flavor.
This fried bread is a MUST
Places to Visit…
The first thing you must do once you touch down is get an island tour. We toured with William and he was great. He showed us all the little parts of the French side and Dutch side that we would have totally missed out on had we chose to tour by ourselves. The island is easy to tour in a day as it is only about 35 square miles. That way you can bookmark all the places you want to go back to visit on your own in a non-tour setting.
A bunch of tours leave from Dock Maarten Marina and they are a must! You get to see the island from a water’s view and the tours include snorkeling, bottomless drinks, swimming in the middle of the Caribbean ocean while jamming to great music. We met new friends on our trip and swam on some of the most gorgeous beaches. We definitely got sick towards the very end because 8 hours on a boat is a lot for me and I suffer from bad motion sickness. The waves were very bad the day we went so I recommend bringing some sort of sea sickness medication if you get motion sickness like me. This tour will give you an oceans view of the island and views you would never be able to see unless you are in the water.
Ami from Caribbean Concierge Services can plan both the tour and Catamaran for your trip! (email@example.com )
This place is really cool. It’s an old plantation turned reserve where you can have an afternoon of drinks food and pool time. The pool is gorgeous with waterfalls and jungle like views. It’s 25 per person or you can rent a Cabana in the trees for $200 with up to 10 people which is a great deal if you’re traveling with a lot of people. There is also zip lining which looked like so much fun even though we didn’t try it! lol
If you want to know good food spots on the Island that aren’t so touristy, ask the locals. I’m Caribbean and we were looking for authentic Caribbean food and not the touristy food. We did have a delicious dinner at Canoa Restaurant which is touristy but I highly recommend it.
This is where you can watch the planes fly right over head into the airport. It best to just spend the day and lounge out have food at the bar and enjoy the planes. But be careful where you stand on the beach because you can get blasted by the jets on the plane. The day before we went a local was telling us about a man who got knocked out and thrown into the ocean. He goes into much more graphic detail but I’ll spare you. So please be careful and listen to the signs!
Also apparently people like to PARTY in St. Maarten. We headed to Tantra on Wednesday night with some new friends we made on the island (ladies night- free drinks all night) and it was so much fun! It was LIT as the kids would say. There are plenty of other clubs in Maho Bay as it’s one of the main spots for night life and clubs are open until 4am so you don’t have to be grannies like us and get to the club at 10:30 lol.
The only place we were able to find ice cream! Seriously it’s like a delicacy or something cause it wasn’t everywhere! Grand Case is an old fishing village that has a strip of yummy restaurants and yes…ice cream.
Philipsburg (The Dutch Capital)
Philipsburg reminded me a little of Canal St in NY. Stores on top of stores on top of stores with street vendors in between. Definitely a cool spot to park and just walk around and do some shopping and eating.
AND ANOTHER THING…
We traveled to the island during off season in August and I’m told their high season is around our late Fall/Winter time. Cons of going in off season: The heat is unbearable. Pros: The island is so much more easier to navigate. During high season many cruise ships dock in St. Maarten so the population literally quadruples in a day. At times when we were there the traffic and navigating was really bad so I honestly can’t imagine how it is when there are 4 times as many people!
The only Pro I see from going in high season is that everything stays open. Because we were off season we missed out on a few restaurants we wanted to try because the owners were on holiday.
If you’re planning a trip to St. Martin hopefully this helps. I honesty can see this island becoming a reoccurring vacation for my family and I. We loved it!