There are many reasons to visit the island of St. Maarten. St. Maarten is famous for its exquisite views, incredible shopping, it’s extraordinary culinary cuisine and so much more. There is an endless array of beauty that can be seen on the island from the 37 beaches that line the coast to the friendly disposition of the locals. All of these things and more make visiting Saint Martin a truly unforgettable experience. The top ten reasons to visit St. Maarten are listed below.
- Island view
- Shopping experience
- Diving experience
- Natural landscape
- Friendly citizens
- Combined culture
- Caribbean kitchen
Table of Contents
- 1. Island View
- 2. Shopping Experience
- 3. Diving Experience
- 4. Nightlife
- 5. Beaches
- 6. Natural Landscape
- 7. Friendly Citizens
- 8. Combined Culture
- 9. Weather
- 10. Caribbean Kitchen
- When is the best time to visit St. Maarten?
- Is St. Maarten expensive to visit?
- Do you need a visa to visit St. Maarten?
- What are the best areas to stay in St. Maarten?
- What are the famous St. Maarten foods?
1. Island View
Both Dutch Sint Maarten and French Saint Martin are known for being one of the Caribbean’s most beautiful islands. The crystal blue water, the abundant fruitful trees dispersed throughout the island, and the sugary soft sands will give a splendid experience to all those visiting St. Maarten. The weather on the island is always sunny and bright and tropical, making Sint Maarten the quintessential vacation spot to soak in the most gorgeous views. The top 5 restaurants with spectacular views in Saint Martin are listed below.
- Tortuga Maho
- La Cigale Restaurant
- Rainbow Cafe
- The Sun Beach Clubber
- Guy’s Driftwood Boat Bar
2. Shopping Experience
One of the reasons that people from all over the world love to visit St. Maarten is because of the island’s duty-free shopping status. Sint Maarten is the only destination in the Caribbean that is legitimately duty-free, meaning there is no import tax, sales tax, or any value added to the items you buy on the island. This makes it a shoppers’ haven for those who want luxury items for much less money.
There are various places to shop on the island of Sint Maarten such as Maho Plaza, Front Street, the Sint Rose Shopping Mall, Wathey Square, Le West Indies Mall, and Plaza Caraïbes.
3. Diving Experience
With 55 different dive sites located throughout the island, Saint Martin is the perfect destination for tourists looking to discover the underwater world of reefs. Sint Maarten has a vast array of beautiful marine life and colorful coral reefs dispersed throughout the beaches along the coast. Divers in Sint Maarten can expect warm tropical waters with temperatures that range from 79-82°F (26-28°C).
Sint Maarten is a prime location for partygoers and those who want to experience thrilling nightlife on their vacation. The Dutch side of the island is full of nightclubs, bars, and casinos. The warm weather in St. Maarten makes it possible to have both indoor and outdoor venues, each venue having live music, dancing, and a variety of other entertainment that contribute to the vibrant evening scenery.
There are 37 brilliant beaches to enjoy on St. Maarten. These beaches of St. Martin range from the more secluded and naturally pristine beaches in French Saint Martin to the exciting and action-packed tourist-filled beaches in Dutch Sint Maarten.
Each tourist can find the type of experience they’re looking for on the beaches in Saint Martin. Whether you’re looking for a more private beach for a romantic getaway or a kid-friendly beach where your whole family can enjoy fun in the sun or a beach to enjoy all of the fun water sports that are available on the island.
6. Natural Landscape
Saint Martin is truly a gem within the Caribbean known for its rugged natural landscape, beautiful golden sandy beaches, crystalline waters, lush green palm trees, and breath-taking sunsets.
One of the best views that can be seen on the island is from Pic Paradis or as it’s also called Paradise Peak. Pic Paradis, located in French Saint Martin, is the highest point on the island. At 434 meters high, Pic Paradis offers a sweeping panoramic view of the entire island as well as nearby islands.
7. Friendly Citizens
The island of Saint Martin is home to over 130 nationalities. The culture of the island is very welcoming and accepting of all kinds of people. The locals have a very friendly and helpful disposition towards tourists, this is the reason why St. Maarten is affectionately called “The Friendly Island”.
8. Combined Culture
The island of St. Maarten is truly one of a kind within the Caribbean with its dual heritage stemming from Dutch and French culture. Both of these European cultures interact unlike anywhere else in the world since this is the only border that France and the Netherlands share in the world. Both of these cultures combined with the local Caribbean culture contribute to the unique flair of Saint Martin.
The year-round tropical and sunny weather of Saint Martin makes it an ideal vacation spot. The daily average temperature on the island is 77 F (25 C), with the maximum temperature being 89 F (32 C). At night the temperature rarely drops below 68F (20 C). The fairly steady temperatures on the island lead it to be a prime location for tourists looking to enjoy some bright and sunny tropical weather at any time of year.
10. Caribbean Kitchen
The combination of cultures on the island of Saint Martin leads it to be one of the culinary capitals of the Caribbean with an excellent cuisine of food. The trio of French, Dutch, and Caribbean influences contribute to a unique culinary experience in Sint Maarten. Saint Martin has over 400 different restaurants on the island, ranging from gourmet restaurants to lolos “open-air food shacks” found alongside the road featuring local Caribbean dishes.
When is the best time to visit St. Maarten?
The best time to visit the island of Saint Martin is between the months of January and June. Although the weather remains sunny all year long in Saint Martin during these months there tends to be less rain than during the months of July to December. Most tourists travel during this time to avoid hurricane season.
Is St. Maarten expensive to visit?
Saint Martin is relatively inexpensive compared to other surrounding islands in the Caribbean. The average price for a seven-day stay on the island is around $1,800 U.S. Dollars per person. Saint Martin can also be considered relatively inexpensive because of its duty-free status which allows tourists to save money when buying luxury goods on the island.
Do you need a visa to visit St. Maarten?
Visas are not a travel requirement by those who are citizens of the United States, Canada, The European Union, Britain, and Australia. Those traveling from territories outside of the United States, Canada, The European Union, Britain, and Australia need a visa to travel to Saint Martin. A Caribbean visa can be obtained by applying for it at the local French or Dutch embassy in the country where you are a legal resident.
A visa is not needed to cross between the French and Dutch border. If you hold a visa from Saint Martin, then you do not need a second visa to enter into Sint Maarten. Travelers can cross freely between both sides of the island.
What are the best areas to stay in St. Maarten?
The best areas to stay in Saint Martin are listed below.
- Dawn Beach
- Simpson Bay
Located on the far Eastern coast of Sint Maarten, Dawn Beach is famous for and also named after its breath-taking sunrises and views of Saint-Barthélemy island to the east. The beach is known for its surrounding luxury homes, beach clubs, and yacht clubs. Dawn beach faces the stronger waves and current of the Atlantic Ocean which makes it a hotspot for surfers on the island.
Simpson Bay Beach is the center for nightlife on the island, the 2 km long beach that is lined with luxury resorts and beach bars that have exciting entertainment, and delicious food and drinks. A prime location for a fun night out on the town.
The capital of Dutch Sint Maarten, Phillipsburg is known for its bustling tourist-filled streets, shopping centers, and rich culture. Phillipsburg is located near a cruise port, so thousands of passengers flock to the area day in and day out. Located nearby are many white-sand beaches that offer captivating views of the Caribbean Sea.
The French lowlands or as it is also called “Terres Basses” is a luxurious neighborhood built on the rolling hills of western St. Martin. Home to some of the island’s most spectacular beaches such as Baie Longue, and Baie aux Prumes. The beaches in the lowlands are famous for their secluded natural beauty. A perfect destination for couples on a romantic getaway.
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What are the famous St. Maarten foods?
St. Maarten is one of the culinary capitals of the Caribbean. Full of local eateries and fine dining establishments. Immigrants all over the Americas have helped the island to cultivate a rich culinary experience. Some of St. Maarten’s most popular foods are listed below.
- Conch and Dumplings: A spicy dish made from a large sea snail that is seasoned with many herbs and spices and cooked in a pressure cooker. This dish is usually paired with round, fluffy dumplings and topped with gravy.
- Johnny Cakes: Similar to American pancakes, except they are made with cornmeal. Johnny cakes are very popular with the locals on St. Maarten and are often served with breakfast. They are smaller than American pancakes and fried in corn oil and served with honey butter, syrup, or jam.
- Locri: A simple and delicious meal made of rice chicken and a medley of vegetables and seasonings. Cooked together in one pot while the flavors mix into one another. It is a staple of St. Maarten cuisine and is often compared to Spanish paella.
- Codfish Fritters: Fish sautéed with onions, green pepper, thyme, tomato, celery, and local hot sauce. It’s blended with flour, milk, and eggs and deep-fried in corn oil.
- Callaloo: A Caribbean staple, a hearty soup made with fresh kale, spinach, and callaloo (which is a spinach-like vegetable) and seasoned with thyme, pepper, and local hot peppers.