Perhaps you don’t know too much about the idyllic island of St. Martin. No worries– we’ll fill you in! Once you know what this beautiful Caribbean country has to offer, you’ll want to book the first flight available so you can see it for yourself!
Situated in the northeast Caribbean sea, St. Martin graces the ocean about 300 km east of Puerto Rico. It belongs to the Lesser Antilles, a group of islands that form a long, curved line stretching between the Greater Antilles and the continent of South America. It’s only about 34 square miles in size, but it has so much to offer!
Part of the island is controlled by the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and the other is under the sovereignty of France. That means you’ll hear both French and Dutch being spoken, as well as English and English-based creole. Ethnic variety is celebrated here: you’ll find locals of Afro-Caribbean, White, Chinese, East Indian, and mixed descent.
Why visit St. Martin?
With 37 white sandy beaches, you’ll never have to worry about whether there’s enough beach space to go around. St. Martin also has plenty of private hideaways far from the tourist-congested streets. The island has something for everyone: tropical forests, rolling hills, delicious cuisine, and water sports. Take a look at what sets this vacation destination apart from the rest:
For those seeking adventure
Thrill seekers rejoice– St. Martin is packed with adventure! For snorkeling enthusiasts, crystal-clear waters around the island offer divers visibility of up to 100 feet. A sunken British frigate from 1801, the HMS Proselyte, provides the perfect place for scuba diving. Simpson Bay Lagoon, a completely enclosed body of water, is a popular place for water skiing. Many travelers have found Mullet Bay and Guana Bay to be fantastic locations for windsurfing and snorkeling.
Cruise on the ocean’s glassy service in a sailboat or catamaran. Sailing is ingrained in St. Martin’s culture, and while there you can witness spectacular racing competitions such as the Heineken Regatta.
Or, glide below the ocean waves in an Atlantis submarine. You can explore the incredible coral reef, teeming with exotic marine life, and feast your eyes on some of the Caribbean’s most colorful fish.
Want to try something a bit more daring? St. Martin offers you the opportunity to try a wide variety of water sports, new ones as well as traditional ones. For land lovers, there’s horseback riding, hiking, and mountain biking.
For those who love to shop
It’s a little known fact that Front Street in Philipsburg boasts about 500 duty-free shops. You can find everything from Italian leather to French perfume here, often at discounted prices.
Since tourism is one of the islands main sources of income, there’s no shortage of souvenir shops. And the best part? You’ll be able to find goodies from all over the world in Philipsburg’s bustling marketplace.
For those who love to explore
Despite its small size, there is so much to do and see on St. Martin! Taking the car around to explore is a breeze. In fact, you can drive across the island in as little as 1 1/2 hours! Of course, you’ll probably want to stop every five minutes to take pictures of the gorgeous landscape, so the trip will inevitably take much longer.
On foot, there are strenuous hiking opportunities to be had, as well has leisurely ones. An observation platform on Cole Bay Hill will allow you to see various nearby islands from above, including Anguilla and St. Kitts and Nevis.
For those who love wildlife
Apart from marine life, the island boasts a wide variety of Caribbean and South American flora and fauna. St. Maarten Park, located in the St. Maarten Zoological and Botanical Garden, is the perfect place to see birds such as toucans and owls, and reptiles such as boas and toads. You may see a dappled ocelot, a bush dog, or even a giant land snail as you explore this tropical paradise!
St. Martin is the place where Caribbean cuisine meets European fare. Famous dishes include shredded codfish in vinaigrette (chiquetaille de morue), codfish fritters, and pigeon pea soup. Recipes mix local seafood and meats with chayote squash, annatto spice, and a host of other traditional ingredients. In addition, you’ll find flavors from all over the world, including China, West India, and Indonesia.
Delicious drinks abound on the island as well. Grab your Caribbean cocktail and indulge in delectable St. Martin rum. Be sure to try the delicious Guavaberry, a traditional alcoholic drink savored by St. Martin families during the Christmas holiday season. It’s made from local guavaberries, and is often blended with coconut cream and fresh nutmeg.
If there ever was a place to indulge your appetite, it’s St. Martin. After all, that’s what vacations are for!
For those who love the nightlife
This tiny island sure knows how to throw a good party! Check out one of St. Martin’s European-style casinos and have the time of your life in the restaurants, bars, and nightclubs. There’s nothing like music and dancing to the backdrop of the ocean setting over the Caribbean sea. Many of the local bars feature live musicians every night!
Also, if you fancy something a bit “different, don’t miss the old-fashioned piano bar located in Simpson Bay called “The Red Piano” that features jazz pianists from all over the world.
Your own personal hideaway
Looking for a place to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life? Want to go somewhere “off the beaten path”? St. Martin has an incredible number of private resorts and luxury villas where you can kick off your shoes and dig your toes into sand that hasn’t been trod on by hundreds of tourists. You won’t believe how delicious it is to breathe fresh, unpolluted air and enjoy the soothing sounds of the crashing waves.
For an unforgettable vacation, choose St. Martin. Whether you’re taking some time off from work to go on a long weekend with your significant other, or taking the kids on their first Caribbean vacation, St. Martin is the getaway destination of your dreams.
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