THE SAINT MARTIN TRAVEL GUIDE
In need of an idyllic, tropical, sea surrounded hideaway? Then fly to Saint Martin – the French other half of Sint Maarten. Receive some instant bounty beach flavours and the tropical splendour that you were so desperately craving for.
If you want a guarantee for sunshine, turquoise waters, and a warm tropical temperature, then heading off to the Caribbean is the safe, and always winning bet. That being said, if you have difficulties choosing the best Caribbean option, we have the solution for you: go to Sint Maarten, and Saint Martin, which are basically two countries located on one island. And above all, it’s the hub for the surrounding islands. For instance, in only twenty minutes by airplane, or 1,5 hour by ferry you can reach he islands Saba, Sint Eustatius and Sint Barths. Therefore you don’t have to choose, but might as well just visit all of them while you’re at it.
Two countries, one island
So back to those two countries, located on an island no bigger than 87 square KM – what is that all about? Well, about one third is Dutch (although independent from the Netherlands since 2010) and two third is French. Which makes it the smallest inhabited island that is divided between two nations. With different rules, laws and languages, yet there is no border and you don’t need a passport to cross. We can guarantee one thing: this island will catch you totally by surprise, not only because of its quirky uniqueness, but mostly because of the variety it has to offer.
Especially on the more spacious and tranquil French side of Saint Martin. You’ll find mountains, stunning paradise beaches, and even some tropical rain forest. Oh and very important: plenty of parties for the taste buds too, thanks to the present French cuisines. Don’t worry, we’ll give you some not to be missed spots right away!
To fill your cup, and your plate
Culi Carib heaven, yes, that could be a nickname for Saint Martin. Last November they organised a Festival de la Gastronomy, for the very first, but certainly not the last time. Different restaurants competed against each other for a variety of awards; such as best hospitality, best (beach) restaurant, best dessert, and more. Overall winner of the festival was – not by coincidence also our own absolute favourite – La Villa Hibiscus. This is the private home of Chef Bastian and his wife Sabine, who cook for you while they invite you into the beautiful house. With no more than five tables outside on the veranda, high up in the mountains, with a striking view on the island. Where they serve you the most extraordinary beautiful dishes, with flavour combinations that will blow your senses.
Winner in the beach restaurant category – and yes, again also our favourite – is Coco Beach. This very elegant beach bar & restaurant located on the popular Orient Bay Beach is definitely worth spending the day. Get some beach beds, an umbrella, and put your relax mode on. For best breakfast on the beach, go to the Rainbow Cafe on the Grand Case beach. With delicious fresh smoothies, colourful breakfast bowls – and one of the very few places where they serve coffee with plant-based milk, for the vegans amongst us.
Did you know? Saint Martin has the most beaches per square mile!
Amazing accommodations on Saint Martin
Since there are no awards handed out yet for best hotels on the island, we have decided to just do that ourselves for you, right here right now. We’ve explored the whole island and found two very special places, that stand out in the crowd. Number one is the exotic, secluded and also very romantic Karibuni Lodge. Karibuni has six lodges only, situated on a hill, surrounded by lush nature and a stunning ocean views. Very private and the most tranquil, peaceful hideaway that you could wish for. And Karibuni has the most gorgeous beach too, on the super tiny Pinel Island, which you cross by boat from the hotel in only two minutes. Stop by at Karibuni Restaurant, which is an absolute hotspot for the freshest lobster lunch.
And then there is the famous Grand Case Beach Club. The cutest, loveliest hotel with rooms built practically on the beach itself: so you can almost roll straight from your room into the warm ocean. Expect turquoise crystal clear waters, VERY white sand, palmtrees, and an average water temperature of 27 degrees. Oh, as well as delicious food, sun-beds under the trees. Add the super friendly staff and the best spot for watching the sunset on the whole island. Do we need to say more?
Text & Photo’s by Yvette Bax
Yvette is a Dutch travel journalist who travels more than staying in her hometown in Amsterdam. The world truly is her oyster and she has many tales to tell which she will occasionally share on our platform. Curious where she is now? Follow her on Instagram!