This small island has 2 different personalities and is actually part of 2 different European nations and has 2 different capital cities.
Saint Martin, the French side, is in the northern part of the island. The capital city is Marigot. You’ll find some of the best restaurants in the town of Grand Case. Sint Maarten is the Dutch part of the island. The Dutch side is a bit smaller in area than the French side and covers the southern part of the island. The capital city is Phillipsburg. This is also where the cruise ships dock. There is no physical border between the Dutch and French side of the island and you can travel freely between both sides of the island and get a taste of 2 worlds within 1 small island.
Where is St. Martin?
St Martin is located in the heart of the Caribbean. It’s midway between Puerto Rico and Guadaloupe and is the closest part of France to the United States border. It’s north of Barbados and Antigua and South of the British Virgin Islands. It’s a short 3 1/2 hour flight from the NY/NJ area, 2 1/2 hours from Miami and 45 minutes from San Juan, Puerto Rico. It’s close to Anguilla, Saint Barth’s and Saint Kitt’s and Nevis.
When is the best time to go to Saint Martin?
St Martin is a relatively dry island and like most of the other Caribbean Islands, it has a tropical climate. The average temperature is around 80 degrees and is usually the warmest in the summer months of June-September.
The East coast of the island may be a bit rainier and that keeps the windward coast lush and green. The trade winds on the East coast tend to keep the temperatures even more comfortable. The West coast (leeward coast) is drier and the landscape will be less lush.
The dry season runs from December to April and corresponds to the peak tourist season. The wintering season (May-November) comes with higher temperatures and a more rain (since it is hurricane season). During the “wet season”, it rains pretty frequently, but usually never more than a few minutes each time and it’s not uncommon to see the rain and sun out at the same time.
What makes Saint Martin so unique?
Let’s face it, there are lots of islands in the Caribbean so what makes St. Martin different? Well, aside from the fact that it is 2 nations in one island, 2 languages are spoken (French and Dutch, along with English) and 2 currencies are used (Euro on the French side and the Florin on the Dutch side). They also use 2 different electric sockets (220V/60Hz on the French side) and the American sockets (110V/60Hz) on the Dutch side.
Bordering both the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean sea, there are 37 different beaches in Saint Martin, including some very well known beaches, including Orient Bay, known as the Saint Tropez of the Caribbean and a popular beach that many cruisers will visit on their cruise stop in St Martin. Red Bay is considered one of the most beautiful on the island. Terres Basses (past Simpson Bay Lagoon) is considered one of the best. Lover’s beach is nestled along a rocky coastline and is the smallest beach. It was named Lover’s Beach because it can only accommodate 2 people at a time! Baie Rouge has pearly pink sand and Baie Longue is the beach destination of the rich and famous. Maho Beach is famous for being at the end of the runway and crowds gather on the beach to watch the jets take off and land.
What is there to see and do and experience in Saint Martin?
Obviously the beaches are a major draw to St Martin, with great marine life for snorkeling as well as lots of other water sports to enjoy. You can go surfing, windsurfing, jet skiing, kite surfing, water skiing, kayaking, body boarding, diving to shipwrecks and deep sea fishing- just to name a few.
If you don’t want to spend all day, every day on the beach, you can explore St Martin’s natural beauty, sports and culture.
- Take a bike tour along the Bellevue Trails which are a series of cow trails that have been marked for mountain biking enthusiasts or bike along fields and the ruins of a 300 year old sugar cane plantation.
- Take a day trip to Anguilla or Saint Barth’s
- Dive to the wreck of the HMS Proselyte a British war ship which sank in the 1800’s.
- Horseback ride
- Check out the butterfly farm (but go around 11am when they are active)
- Rent a car for the day and explore the history of St Martin–
- Fort Louis (overlooking Marigot Bay with views clear across to Anguilla)
- the Old Prison in Marigot
- the old Spring Sugar Mill
- Pic Paradis- the highest point on the island and the Loterie Farms offers a zip line experience with an obstacle course in the tree tops.
- Hope Estate Archaelogical Site (the remains of an old Arawak Village)
- National Nature Reserve, starting at Anse Marcel
- Fort Amsterdam and Fort Willehm I, on the Dutch side
- OR BETTER YET, rent a motorcycle and explore the island.
- Try your luck at one of the casinos located on the Dutch side of the island (open noon to 3am)
- Shop ’til you drop in Marigot and Phillipsburg
What about food in Saint Martin?
The food is one of the most outstanding parts of a honeymoon in Saint Martin….It’s known as the Gourmet Capital of the Caribbean! With over 300 restaurants, there are more pattisseries, boulangeries and bistros per square mile than anywhere else in the world. With French and European cuisine mixing with Caribbean flare, dining on St. Martin is a treat.
The town of Grand Case is the Mecca of dining with seafront restaurants offering breathtaking views of the Caribbean. From January through April, Tuesday nights are the place to be after 6pm. The main street is closed to traffic and the dozens of craft and art stands are set up along with street entertainment.
If you want something different, check out the food trucks on the side of the road. In Grand Case, try the Lolos (Creole BBQ joints tucked away in corners of the market areas). For around $15, you’ll get a massive plate of food. Bring US $ since they will usually accept US currency on an even level with Euros!
What kind of hotels are there in Saint Martin?
From boutique hotels to luxury resorts, St Martin has a mix of accommodations to fit most budgets. The majority of the hotels will be more moderate in rankings, the Belmond La Samanna is probably the most luxurious. The Riu recently opened up an all inclusive property on Anse Marcel beach and is getting good feedback. If you are looking for the adult only all inclusive resorts in Mexico or Jamaica, you won’t find them in St Martin.
How can My Vacation Lady make your honeymoon to Saint Martin unique?
Most recently, My Vacation Lady has been offering our honeymooners a split stay in Saint Martin and Anguilla to give them a bit of a different type of honeymoon vacation. This will give our honeymooners a bit of fun at a somewhat lower price in St Martin with the luxury of the Anguilla to end their honeymoon. If that’s not in the budget, how about a day trip to Anguilla or St Barths?
My Vacation Lady prides ourselves on taking the time to get to know our clients so that we can match their dreams and budget to the honeymoon that will create lifelong memories. We are the top rated New Jersey basedhoneymoon specialists on both Wedding Wire and the Knot. If you are looking for a honeymoon as unique as you are, contact us.