It’s time to decide where to go on vacation. You’ve got plenty of options, but the Caribbean island of St. Martin should be at the top of your list! Once you’ve scrolled through these reasons for visiting St. Martin, you’ll know why.
Here’s a fact you may not know: St. Martin or Saint Martin, is actually an island divided into two separate countries: the northern French side, called Saint Martin, and the Southern Dutch side, Sint Maarten. In this article, we’ll give you 10 reasons why you should pack your bathing suit and capris and head to this sunny island as fast as possible!
1. Grand Case Beach
This is the perfect place to find that aquamarine water and sparkling white sand you’ve been looking for. It’s beautiful, clean, and family friendly– and within walking distance of some great dining. Known for its warm water and gentle waves, this vibrant beach offers services such as chair and umbrella rentals. The water is so clear that you can reach down and grab giant starfish as they swim among the soft, sandy ocean floor.
2. Prickly Pear Cay
This fantastic cay near Anguilla affords excellent snorkeling opportunities. The transparency of the water is indescribable– it’s something you’ll have to see to believe. Many tourists and islanders reach the cay by sailboat or catamaran. Although the coral reef here is still recovering from the effects of 2017’s Hurricane Irma, this secluded cay is still more than worth a trip.
3. The Butterfly Farm
This is one of those unexpected gems that you may not think you would find on a Caribbean vacation. Nevertheless, this butterfly sanctuary in Quartier D’Orleans will have you wishing this lush tropical garden were located in your own backyard! Guides will teach you about the different species of colorful butterflies that call the farm home, as well as point out the life cycles of each. The tour lasts only 15 minutes, but it’s sure to be one of the highlights of your Caribbean getaway. The sanctuary also houses giant butterflies with wings painted in vibrant, metallic colors, as shown in the picture below.
4. Fort Louis
If you’re a history buff, head on over to Fort Louis. Located in Marigot, the Fort is easy to access. A short hike to the top will reward you with a fantastic view of the Marigot port. The best time to go is at sunset– you’ll see why in the photo below!
However, romantic sunsets aren’t the only reason to visit Fort Louis. You’ll get a taste of history as you explore the ancient walls and walkways dotted with informative placards. A few old cannons still remain intact, as a reminder of the Fort’s history as a protection site for the island, built in 1789. In fact, a battle took place there between French and English forces in the 1800s.
5. Duty-free shopping
This is an incredible find for shop-a-holics and casual shoppers alike! Many tourists indulge in Philipsburg’s shopping district for a day or two of non-stop store hopping. There you’ll find an affordable array of jewelers, antique shops, and clothing stores, among other businesses. And amazingly enough, all shopping in St. Martin is duty free! Don’t miss Joe’s jewelry, which has been named the #1 gift shop in St. Martin on Trip Advisor.
6. Boating and Water Sports
St. Martin is the perfect place to rent a boat or book a tour to experience some adrenaline-fueled water sports. Parasail high above the azure waters of St. Martin for a birds-eye view, or rent a jet-ski for some exciting fast-paced cruising. Speed boats and scuba gear are also available to rent, or to enjoy with guided instruction. You can even book a private sunset cruise on your very own yacht.
7. Zipline in the Jungle
Several jungle exploration tours in St. Martin offer zipline experiences. What sets these zip lining excursions apart from the rest? The amazing views, of course! Sky Explorer’s Sentry Hill zipline experience begins at altitudes of about 1,125 feet! You can take a chairlift up the mountain, ski-resort style, and swing your legs freely over the breathtaking, lush rainforest below. Then, let a guide strap you into your zipline gear, and fly over the gorgeous landscape below you! The world’s steepest zipline is actually located in St. Martin. Book your flight to this amazing island and experience it for yourself!
8. Sightseeing by “Scoot”
If you’ve never heard of a scoot, you’re probably not alone. There aren’t many places where you can use one. However, using one is one the best ways to see St. Martin. These brightly-colored, 3-wheeled vehicles are like tiny convertibles that let you feel the wind in your hair as you gape at St. Martin’s gorgeous scenery. Grab one on a guided tour and learn a bit about the island’s culture and history while you ride!
9. Swim with Dolphins
Is it even possible to resist the chance to swim with dolphins and learn about these majestic, yet playful creatures? Plenty of companies host excursions and packages that include guided interaction with dolphins in calm, shallow water. Be sure to book your tour early, since the number of packages is limited, in order to protect these noble sea creatures. Don’t forget to take some keepsake photos to remember your Caribbean vacation by!
10. Plane spotting at Maho Beach
This isn’t something you’ll find just anywhere in the world! Head to Maho Beach and take part in this “extreme sport”: spotting planes as they land at Princess Juliana International airport! This sandy spot is renowned for its proximity to the airplane landing strip. Watch planes approach and fly right over your head as they land! Be sure to take some pictures or video while you’re there. This is probably one of the best “Instagram” friendly spots you can find. However, tourists must be aware of the dangers of “jet blast” and take the necessary precautions.
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