St. Martin-Sint Maarten is a little island but it packs a big punch. If offers everything you could ever want in a Caribbean escape – clear, azure waters, over 70 km of sugary white coastline, lush, rolling hills and hot sunny days – but consider the additional benefits of gourmet restaurants, world-class duty-free shopping, vibrant nightlife and a cosmopolitan atmosphere, and you have a place where the tropics combines seamlessly with European chic.
Offering visitors three distinct cultures on one 87 km² island, enjoy French savoir-faire on St. Martin and Dutch charm on Sint Maarten, all the while soaking in the very best of a classic Caribbean getaway.
The borders here are barely noticeable, so most visitors cross back and forth without realizing they are entering a new country. Each side has managed to hold on to the personality of their own national cultures – Dutch Sint Maarten has a busy port and festive atmosphere that brings visitors from all over the island to its bustling boulevards, especially for the nightlife, while French St. Martin emphasizes elegant, upscale amenities along with pristine and quiet beaches. Whatever flag is flying though, chic resorts provide swank accommodations island-wide, and the restaurants are some of the finest in the Caribbean.
Set sail for the day and pack your snorkel gear to enjoy the incredible remote islands just off the shores of Sint Maarten. There are multiple catamaran tours available including treks to nearby islands belonging to Anguilla, or even chic St. Barts. Prickly Pear Cay and the pristine Dutch island of Saba are favourites of visitors for their scenic landscapes and crystal clear, calm waters.
Pinel Island is approximately a 15-minute sail from the French Cul de Sac pier. The island offers some wonderfully relaxed restaurants and beautiful beaches; however the main attraction is the fantastic underwater trails designed for some incredible snorkeling and scuba diving. Tintamare, a tiny private island known mainly for its beautiful beaches, lies 4 km off the northeastern coast St. Martin, and is the ideal romantic afternoon getaway, so pack a picnic basket and settle in.
On Dutch Sint Maarten, you will find wedding spots galore, with venues that are both romantic and welcoming, and with many options that can easily accommodate a larger guest list. If you are planning on something intimate with your closest friends and family, you're sure to find a private beachfront restaurant that offers just the right scenic elements your vision demands. Both the French and Dutch sides possess modern facilities that can easily manage sizeable corporate events.
St. Martin-Sint Maarten is considered by many a seasoned traveller as the culinary capital of the Caribbean. Take Grand Case, Philipsburg and Marigot in particular – there is no shortage of superlative dining choices and the influence of French, Caribbean and Dutch cuisine throughout the island is unmistakable. Indulge you palate with island specialities such as cod fritters, stuffed crab and delicious fresh papaya, mango and even tamarind juices. The roadside snack shacks on St. Martin are also a treat considering the generous servings of fresh, barbecued seafood and local game prepared in a genuine Caribbean fashion.
St. Maarten famously serves up the best selection in nightlife choices. Salsa clubs and large discotheques abound in Simpson Bay, Orient Bay and Philipsburg. Lively beach bars featuring live steel drum and reggae bands dot the coastline of Orient Bay. And of course if you're feeling lucky, the slots await at a variety of first-class casinos.
Marina Fort Louis, located in Marigot is the perfect port to set sail from as it accommodates every type of vessel from larger yachts to small catamarans.
Nestled between the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, mainland St. Martin-Sint Maarten has 37 world-class beaches to discover and even more on its smaller offshore islands. The variety of beaches covers every experience, from refined quiet shores to very lively, social hubs.
If adrenaline pumping activities are what you're after try Orient Bay, the busiest stretch of coastline on St. Martin, which buzzes with water sports options including jet-skiing, windsurfing and parasailing. There are also zip-lining opportunities available on Sint Maarten, offered at several inland jungle locations; there's no better way to explore the wildlife than by flying through the treetops.
One island with three distinct personalities; where the sultry and upscale French meets the airy and boisterous Dutch, and all combines in a colourful and festive Caribbean setting. The island is also renowned for its clear waters and specifically the spectacle that lies beneath – the enormous reef eco-system. So whichever half you're on, be sure to experience the wonderful world just off the coast, whether on a sailboat or with a pair of fins.