The Caribbean island of Saint Martin or Sint Maarten is unique in its charm, both culturally and naturally, which has attracted visitors for many years. The island, which covers 87 square kilometres, with a population of more than 100,000 people, has been governed by two distinct nations, France and the Netherlands, for more than 360 years.
The peaceful coexistence of two distinct cultures, divided on the same island, puts both Saint Martin and Sint Maarten in a totally different light from bright path Caribbean holiday destinations.
With plenty of activities to choose from and so many locations to visit, here’s a list of five must-see places to help you organize your itinerary on the island:
1. Philipsburg, Sint Maarten
The capital city of the Dutch side of the island, Phillipsburg isn’t just the commercial center of Sint Maarten but also acts as the main gateway to the Caribbean. Phillipsburg is the home of Princess Juliana International Airport, from which the world-renowned Maho Bay beach is easily accessible.
The planes depart near the beach and then fly over it at a low altitude. The city is also full of beautiful ports anchoring fantastic vessels and cruise vessels.
Phillipsburg is a shopping paradise. Boutiques with exclusive designs and luxurious stores that line Front Street, attract wealthy American and European tourists with their exquisite fashion, jewelry, and accessories from branded brands. For those who are on a tight budget, there is the bustling market on Back Street, with a completely different atmosphere.
There you can get a variety of products at moderate costs, provided you master how to bargain. From leather bags, clothes swimming suits, water sports equipment, souvenirs, spices and crafts, you can buy everything you want here.
2. Mullet Bay, Sint Maarten
If the natural beauty of the ocean and its pristine beaches are your top priorities, Mullet Bay is a must-visit. With its vast white stretch of sandy beaches, dotted with palms, Mullet Bay beach is one of the most stunning beachfront locations in Sint Maarten.
This beach is perfect for water sports and excursions. It is possible to enjoy parasailing, sea surfing, snorkelling, and lots of other water activities here. People who aren’t so athletic can also enjoy playing beach volleyball, listening to music, sunbath, and bathing at Mullet Bay beach. On the other side of the beach are bars, restaurants, pubs, and casinos for a relaxing time with your family and friends.
3. Marigot, Saint Martin
Marigot is the capital city of the French Collectivity of Saint Martin, located in the northern part of the island. The tiny town is charming, unique, and has a charm that attracts tourists. The town has an air of Parisian elegance, paired with Caribbean energy.
The beautiful marina and the outdoor market that is bustling on Wednesdays and Saturdays, with the most popular attractions in the town. Shopping is tax-free on the island.
Similar to Back Street in Phillipsburg, you’ll find trendy clothing and swimwear, souvenirs, trinkets and a wide range of merchandise to buy at a lower cost as compared to the exclusive shops in town.
4. Orient Bay, Saint Martin
Your trip to the beautiful tropical paradisiac island located in Saint Martin would be incomplete without a trip to Orient Bay. This is where you can experience the classic French attitude paired with the Caribbean casual lifestyle. The beach has much more to offer holidaymakers who visit in hopes of having the time of their lives.
The stunning sunrise and a reserve marina to ensure safe diving are the main attraction. Those who wish to unwind can go to an area that is more private. The Club Orient section has the official, clothing-optional beach located in Saint Martin.
5. Loterie Farm, Saint Martin
Get in touch with nature and soak in the natural beauty of Loterie Farm, located near the base of Pic du Paradis, or Peak Paradise. Nature lovers and adventurers will enjoy the vast 135 acres, of green nature reserve intriguing and offering an excellent opportunity to test out some thrilling activities, such as climbing mountains, hiking or trekking, as well as flying over the canopy of trees.
Walking through the lush tropical forest provides you with an insight into the island’s diverse wildlife and plants. You can stop at the Hidden Forest Café to dine and enjoy some delectable French food and wines, before hiking up the hill.
Pic du Paradise is the highest point on the island, which offers an incredible panoramic view of the entire island. Simply put, Loterie Farm offers a unique eco-tourism that makes your Caribbean vacation unforgettable.
In conclusion, the top five places that you must visit on this Caribbean island divided between France with Saint Martin and the Netherlands with Sint Maarten, are Philipsburg, Mullet Bay, Marigot, Orient Bay, and Loterie Farm. Each of these destinations offers something unique and exciting that you won’t want to miss out on. So, be sure to add them to your list of travel priorities!