Sint Maarten is a tiny island that has a BIG place in my heart. The culture, the scenery & the local people are beautiful and so amazing. Sint Maarten is known as "The Friendly Island" & you will feel their loving, humble & friendly attitude from the first moments you are there. Living on this island was a dream & I will treasure the memories I made there forever! Hurricane Irma took it's toll on the island but it is safe & welcoming tourism this summer. It's the perfect time to take a trip!
Sint Maarten, Netherland Antilles
18.04 °N, -63.06 °E
When To Go:
Tourist Season: December 1- May 30
Hurricane Season is June 1- November 30
December to May is the prime time to visit the island. Weather is steady. Hot & tropical but not miserable. There is also less rain & there aren't any storms. The last time I visited the island we went the first week of February. The weather was perfect!
After the hurricane, every hotel on the island closed it's doors. The only hotel currently open is The Atrium in Simpson Bay. It is a beautiful hotel, right on the beach & in walking distance to grocery stores & fun restaurants. The island is slowly being rebuilt & more hotels will soon be open. My suggestion is to rent through Airbnb. Ask for current, post hurricane pictures to ensure the quality. We stayed in an Airbnb on our recent trip & it was a great experience. I loved being able to have a kitchen!
Anywhere on the island is a great location because it is so small & everything is close together but my recommendation for first time visitors is to stay in Cupecoy, Simpsons Bay, Philipsburg, or Pointe Blanche. These are all on the Dutch side of the island.
There are so many amazing beaches on this island. Sint Maarten is famous for the airplane beach named Maho Beach. There is a fun bar right next to the beach & my all time favorite Taco Restaurant, Taco Macho.
Kimsha Beach is in Simpsons Bay. It's the beach that The Atrium Hotel is on. My favorite restaurant, The Green House is on that beach as well. My favorite things on the menu are the Bang Bang Sliders & don't forget to get a pina colada!
Mullet Beach is in Cupecoy. It is beautiful & in a beautiful area right on the golf course. The waves are pretty big. I love this beach & never felt unsafe but I don't recommend it to anyone who can't swim or has little kids. This beach is a prime skim boarding location though!
Philipsburg Beach is wonderful. There is a fun boardwalk lined with fun shops and authentic food from around the world. This is where the cruise ships port. The water is the most unreal shade of blue & is crystal clear.
The French side of the island has a few nude beaches so if that's your thing, go for it! If you want to read about my experience on a nude beach, check out this Instagram post haha!
What to do:
If you are cruising & you want to experience the whole island in just a few hours, I suggest taking an ATV or Jeep tour around the island. When I lived there, I loved being able to drive around & see the beauty of the island. When I went back with my mom we took an ATV tour & it was so fun.
Shopping in Marigot was one of my favorite things to do when I lived in Sint Maarten. Marigot is on the French side. My favorite shops in Marigot are Promod, Jennyfer's, Pimkie & then there's a men's store called Celio. There is a French bakery on every corner. So much of the French side got destroyed but Marigot is by far the most rebuilt. Go shopping & eat some crepes by the marina.
Philipsburg is another stellar place to spend your day. Between Front Street, Back Street & Old Street there is plenty of shopping. There are lots of spots to buy souvenirs, fine Caribbean jewelry, diamonds & gems & designer stores like Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren, Lacoste & Alex & Ani. For lunch & dinner head to the boardwalk by the ocean.
What to Eat:
While we are on the topic of Philipsburg, there so many cute little restaurants on the boardwalk. I love Antione's, & the Peruvian restaurant next to it. If are in the mood for some American food go to the Hard Rock Café. My girl Valerie works there & she is an amazing server! Ask for her!
If you are spending time at Maho Beach watching the planes & jumping in the big waves, go to the Mexican Restaurant to your left. It's called Taco Macho. The burritos are tiny but the tacos are so good. My order is 2 ground beef tacos & 1 shrimp taco.
There is a bar on every corner & more alcohol than is even imaginable. Party hardy if that's your style but if it's not or you're underage, treat yourself to virgin pina colodas all day & yummy cherry cokes (coke with grenadine).
One word. SHWARMA. Shwarma is literally the best thing I've ever eaten & the best Shwarma is at Abu Ghazi in Simpsons Bay.
Comment, tag me, or email me when you visit the island! I would love to see your adventures in this beautiful place!