A Weekend in St Maarten : Pocket Guide for First Time Visitors

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Picture yourself dipping your feet into the clear warm turquoise waters. Or maybe discovering popular unique venues. Better yet, just tasting the exquisite local cuisine, with top notch customer service. All of this can be found on the Caribbean island of St. Maarten. Sounds like a dream, doesn’t it? St. Maarten ensures a pampering experience during your time off from work with a long-overdue weekend getaway. Still trying to make your mind up on what to do during this short stay? Here are some recommendations that will make you want to book your trip to this magical island right away!

For a very memorable trip, we definitely recommend renting a car for a cheaper and more convenient medium of transportation within the island rather than taxis or public buses. Greater independence and exploring the island on your desired time are both advantages that are established once you reserving a rental car. There’s no need to work your schedule around catching a public bus or taxi. 

This friendly island is home to 37 white soft sandy beaches. All beaches on St. Maarten are public, but topless and nude bathing is restricted to a handful of designated spots on the French side only. As approaching the Princess Julianna International Airport, you are welcomed by a crowd of tourists just like yourself on the Maho Beach. But people don’t flock to the sands of Maho for sun and sand, rather to experience and capture the closeness of their favourite airlines flying just meters above their heads.

One of the must visit beaches is Orient Beach which is located on the French side of the island it is known as the “Saint Tropez of the Caribbean”. Orient Beach offers a full range of tourist amenities, these include bars, beach restaurants, hotels, water activities and stores, all laid upon two miles of beach. Orient Bay is a favourite celebrity and jet setter hotspot. 

Although most people come to St. Maarten/St. Martin for sun and fun, they leave complimenting the tasty cuisine with more than 400 restaurants to choose from. We have decided to narrow down a few restaurants that you can sample the best dishes from France, Italy, and, of course, the Caribbean. Because this list is so lengthy, we have you covered! Check out the best local Creole cuisine restaurant, The Lolo’s of Grand Case, located on the French Side. Open every day for lunch and dinner, around 11 AM to 10 PM. The sweet smell of BBQ chicken and ribs is to die for! We suggest ordering BBQ chicken and fish, plantains, rice, and peas your taste buds will be buzzing. 

You cannot leave without tasting the delicious fresh fish this island has to offer. Big Fish with a bright, upbeat and contemporary ambience sits in Oyster Pond. Not only does this restaurant has several varieties of succulent fish on its menu, it also has sushi and sashimi among its many popular appetisers. There’s more! Wendell Laurence is the chef, a two-time winner of SXM’s prestigious Crystal Pineapple Award who was just also named Chef of the Year in St. Maarten. Let’s just say at Big Fish your taste buds are in for a memorable treat!

The best way to discover the way of life and customs of Sint Maarten/Saint Martin is to take a stroll through its towns and its villages. Marigot is the main town and capital of the French Side of Saint Martin. Marigot is typical of Caribbean towns, with brightly coloured gingerbread houses, sidewalk bistros, and lively produce and craft markets. One of the largest forts on the island, Fort Louis was once the site of armed battles between the major European powers of the Caribbean, and today some rusting cannons can still be seen peeping through the lookouts. It’s the breathtaking panorama views is what keeps the crowds coming back! It’s 180-degrees view of Marigot harbour, the hills above Bellevue, and even the silhouette of Anguilla in the distance can be seen when the skies are clear!

Phillipsburg the capital of the Dutch Side, is a prominent hub for tourists and the most developed city on the island it sits on a narrow stretch of landmass between the Great Salt Pond and Great Bay. A place of intense history, which offers travellers tax and duty-free shopping, casinos for entertainment, multicultural dining selections, ample water sports activities, and a popular boardwalk. Unlike Marigot. Phillipsburg is home to some of the island’s best craft stores, with local fabrics and bespoke clothing gracing the shelves next to handmade jewellery it’s the perfect place to take advantage of all the shopping deals.

You will definitely love Pinel Island, it lies within the heart of the Nature Reserve and its a must see on your visit! It is the place where residents of St. Martin/St. Maarten go to relax, especially on weekends! How to get there? There’s a local boat in Cul De Sac that travels to and from Pinel Island every 30 minutes from a small boat shed you can’t miss it this trip is about $12 dollars per person. Even though the island is a few minutes away from St Marting there a very nice beach restaurant and bar that serves delicious meals and tasty drinks. This paradise is ideal for kayakers, stand-up paddle boarders, snorkelers, and hikers.

We also recommend you to experience these two activities that you will never forget:

  1. Passaat Sunset Cruise: Enjoy a sunset dinner with your love one or family. Passaat Schooner would like to invite you for a sunset and dinner sail along the beautiful coast of St. Maarten. A Caribbean 3- course Dinner will be served aboard upon return in port whilst at anchor. With excellent reviews, customers recommend adding this excursion to your weekend stay. One customer praises, “This was a perfect evening, beautiful sunset and memories to last a lifetime! Thanks so much for your hospitality! We loved it!”.

  1. Rhino Safari: This is definitely a must try! The Rhinos are easy to operate. You will be guided through a very scenic route. We highly recommend buying a waterproof camera or a waterproof pouch for your cell phone cameras as there a lot of exotic ocean wildlife at the creole rock and we know that you will definitely want to snap some photos.

From landing to take off, spending a weekend on this beautiful island will ensure both a relaxing and entertaining vacation which will cater to your needs. We say Bienvenue and Welcome!

 

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