Would you rather go to the country of St. Martin or the country of Sint Maarten? Great news – you can go to both in one day! This week’s destination is a two-fer…experience the lively, tourist-catering Dutch side of this island, Sint Maarten, or the relaxed, sophisticated French side, St. Martin.
This wonderful destination is the third island I’m spotlighting from the research study that LetsGetChecked, a health insights company, published in September 2020. The Wrath of Diseases study identified the Caribbean as one of the safest places in the world, and specifically mentioned five Caribbean islands. Check out my blog for info on the previous two spotlighted islands Barbados and St. Lucia.
Let’s dive into my top five reasons to go to St. Martin AND Sint Maarten!
1. Two countries on one island. In 1648, an agreement was peacefully struck between France and the Netherlands to share the island. Legend has it that a Frenchman and a Dutchman set off in opposite directions agreeing to partition the island when they met on the other side. The Frenchman walked faster so the French ended up with the larger part of the island. St. Martin is the northern part and is 21 square miles. Sint Maarten is the southern part of the island and is 16 square miles.
2. The wide range of accommodations. On the Dutch side you’ll have your pick of large resorts located near a vibrant nightlife of casinos, and variety of duty-free shopping areas. Philipsburg is the capital and you’ll fly into this bustling city at Princess Juliana Airport, or stop at it’s well developed cruise port. On the French side, you’ll encounter boutique hotels, houses, and smaller resorts in a more relaxed atmosphere.
3. The Gastronomic Capital of the Caribbean. Where there are French, there is exquisite food! Head over to Grand Case, 4 miles northeast of the French side capital of Marigot. This quaint village has just one main road – but what a wonderful road! Internationally trained and local chefs offer a dizzing variety of French cuisine to island specialties. The cafes, bistros, and intimate eateries are close to each other making it easy to sample from multiple venues.
4. Sunbathing under landing airplanes. Take that iconic picture on Sonesta Maho Beach on the Dutch side as an airliner makes its final approach. Or escape to the seclusion of the less crowded beaches on the French side. Be forewarned – the beaches on the French side are topless.
5. The natural beauty of Ilet Pinel and Ile Tintamarre. Grab a rental car for the day and head north to catch a ferry to Ilet Pinel and Ile Tintamarre. These two small islands lie within the protected waters of a marine preserve. So the snorkeling and diving is phenomenal. Ile Tintamarre is farther and less visited but worth the effort. Uncrowded white sand beaches are a great escape, and don’t forget to slather the mud all over your body which allegedly has healing powers.
Still have questions about this stunning island? Schedule your complimentary Caribbean Tropical Escape Session at a time that is most convenient to you at https://calendly.com/caribbeanfamilycruises/vacation-planning
Before traveling to St. Martin and Sint Maarten, check the latest travel conditions and protocols at:
St. Martin Tourist Office (French-side)
St. Maarten Tourist Office (Dutch-side)
Take a sneak peak at the wonders of this destination at: