The capital of Saint Martin has rows of patisseries and smart bistros that sit side by side with luxury fashion houses and colonial architecture. Take a stroll on Rue de la République with its 19th-century traditional facades and visit one of the many historical buildings like Marigot Church, the Old Prison or Durat Bridge.
This thrilling boat tour will take you to some great spots around St. Maarten and the knowledgeable staff will tell you some interesting stories about the island. Snorkeling in the clear blue sea and lunch at a beachside restaurant will wrap up a perfect day.
Back in 1648 the French and Dutch signed a contract dividing the island into two parts. Since then, the two sides have lived in peace and harmony. Apart from the language, the only indicator of the border is a border obelisk marking 300 years of peaceful coexistence by the two nations.
A true oasis of fauna and flora, the triangle-shaped Reserve covers over 3000 hectares of sea and land including the islands off the east coast: Pinel Island, Petite Clef, Green Cay and Tintamarre. With its rocky coasts, cliffs and beaches, the reserve is home to a host of different species like seabirds, iguanas, sea turtles, and dolphins.
At Seaside Nature Park, there is something for everyone to enjoy whether you love the water or you're more of a landlubber. Some of their more popular activities include guided horseback riding tours across the beach, snorkeling in the waters of Cay Bay and hiking tours through the park.
Film buffs will really get a kick out visiting the Yoda Guy Movie Exhibit, which houses a number of pieces of movie memorabilia. Some pieces are works created or co-created by the artist and owner Nick Maley, who has worked on films like Star Wars, Superman and Highlander.
Along the coast from Fort Amsterdam in St. Maarten, Maho Beach is surrounded by rocks, which makes it a fun location for exploration, hiking, and snorkeling. The beach is very close to the Princess Juliana International Airport and a popular site for plane spotters, so come here and be dazzled by the KLM Boeing 747 landing right overhead.
Located right on the beach, this waterfront restaurant serves authentic French cuisine, with a particular focus on traditional fish dishes, such as its renowned lobster thermidor, always accompanied by a glass of French wine. Meat dishes like roast chicken and crispy duck are on the menu as well.
Amazing food, amazing service, amazing atmosphere: everything at Temptation has something special. Chef Dino and the friendly staff will spoil you with creative dishes. You can choose from an expansive menu of gourmet cuisine, while tasty cocktails and the piano bar will top off your dining experience.
This waterfront bistro has been a mainstay of Saint Martin's culinary scene for many years and its French cuisine has definitely become a must-try for many tourists heading there. They also offer a full selection of continental dishes, from appetizers to dessert. Table reservation is recommended, since the restaurant usually gets very crowded.
With its impeccable professional service as well as local cuisine at its finest, Bistrot Caraïbes will not fail to impress you. They boast a wide selection of lobster dishes, such as lobster thermidor, lobster soup and grilled lobster, so make sure you don't miss any of their specialties. Their ginger flavored rum will be the pleasant final touch to your experience.
If you are searching for a magical place to have an intimate dinner, then there is no need to look any further: La Villa has everything you would expect from a classy restaurant. Caribbean specialties meet here with traditional French cuisine, creating a unique combination of flavors.
The combination of delicious Persian cuisine and casual ambiance makes this restaurant a special place to enjoy a savory meal without spending a fortune, and besides, the knowledgeable staff will carefully describe your choices: the spicy lamb shanks, pistachio meatballs and chicken kebabs are not to be missed.
Your taste buds will want to savor whatever delectable treat finds its way to your table at Vesna Taverna. Once a humble bagel house, this place has now become a St. Martin institution serving up full, hearty breakfasts as well as lunch and dinner. Vesna Taverna's rich and varied menu includes Greek food as well as Caribbean and American dishes.
Bistrot Caraibes is consistently named one of the top restaurants in Saint Martin. In this relaxed, yet elegant French bistro the finest culinary skills and top notch ingredients are brought together to create rich and flavorful delicacies, such as beef in sauce and lobster thermidor.
Enjoy your meal at Top Carrot on a terrace complete with palms and shrubs. The menu here is varied and includes many vegetarian dishes and drinks; their juices and smoothies are among the best you will find on the island. This venue also features a small ethnic shop with souvenirs, jewelry and books.
At this family-owned open air bar and grill you can enjoy great views while eating fabulous food and sipping specialty cocktails. Located right on the beach, the Lazy Lizard earned its reputation over the years and is now a favorite of both locals and tourists.
Located just in the middle of Simpson Bay littoral zone, this little gem combines great seafood and drinks with live music sessions. The staff even provides its clientele with chairs and umbrellas to enjoy the turquoise waters and the fine sand, thus enhancing the whole experience.
Every Tuesday, from January to April, Grand Case turns into a never-never land, with amazing festivities, local music, arts and crafts exhibitions as well as traditional dance shows. Street food, beach-facing restaurants, drum beats and booths selling trinkets will surely make your day.
Here at The Palms, size doesn't really matter: this little restaurant offers many options in a range of culinary styles, including some old family recipes to die for. Come here and savor their renowned specialties, like the drunken ribs and the jerk chicken wrap, or just join the karaoke contest and showcase your talent.
Marigot is a Caribbean hub of elegance, luxury and hi-tech equipment. Due to its tax-free status, it has become a duty-free shopping heaven. The Marina district boasts a host of little restaurants ready for the lunch crowd, as well as high fashion hot spots where boutiques sell everything from designer clothes to jewelry.
On the Dutch side of the island, Front Street and Back Street in Philipsburg are the alternative to Marigot's French boutiques. The promenade along the waterfront is lined with a vast range of restaurants and bars as well as boutiques, jewelry stores and souvenir stalls selling perfumes and clothing.
For those looking for some hustle and bustle, the lively Marigot Market is the place to go. It can be best described as a melting pot of colors and smells located in open Creole huts along the waterfront. Locals sell fruit and vegetables, spices, local meats and fresh fish as well as handicrafts. Make sure to sample some flavored rums.
Rum-based liquors have been the main business of the island for decades and are part of its tradition. Here at Sint Maarten Guavaberry you can retrace the evolution of this historical trade by purchasing and sampling quality homemade rums as well as a variety of fruit liqueurs and hot sauces.
If you are looking for a shopping experience like no other on the French side of the island, look no farther than Le West Indies Shopping Mall. Located on the waterfront in Marigot, this shopping center provides shoppers with the opportunity to explore high-end shops and eat in classy restaurants while taking in the beautiful and fascinating architecture of the building itself.
Upon arrival at Princess Juliana International Airport all passengers must present an Embarkation and Disembarkation card, generally handed out in the plane before landing. A valid return or onward ticket and a reservation for an accommodation in St. Martin must also be presented. A passport that is valid upon entry and for the duration of stay is required to enter St. Martin; if you come from a country whose citizens require a visa, you must have a valid visa sticker in your passport and the passport must be valid for 3 months after the intended stay. If you are not sure whether or not you need to apply for a visa, we recommend you to contact the embassy or consulate in your country. Visitors and goods can travel freely between the French and Dutch sides of the island.
The best time to visit St. Martin is between May and June or November and mid December: torrential rains are not frequent in these weeks and airfare and room prices lower consistently. The weather on the island is generally pleasant throughout the year, but bear in mind that the rainy season starts in June and protracts until the end of October. Try to avoid the period between winter and spring, which is peak season in St. Martin: the island gets very crowded and prices rise dramatically.
St. Martin and St. Maarten are served by the Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM), which is located 15 km west of Philipsburg and near Simpson Bay. The Grand Case Airport, in the north of the island, is used only for regional flights. Taxi services are provided outside both airports. There are also rental cars available and some hotels will arrange transfers.
Hiring a car is the best way to get around. Motorcycles and mopeds are also available for hire, or you can just hop on a jitney – the usual mode of transport for islanders, which is an inexpensive way to explore the island. Group taxis (minibuses) cover most areas of the island, however, there is no strict schedule.
Taxis can be hired at Princess Juliana International Airport and at all major hotels. They have no meters, but drivers must follow official rates for travel throughout the island. Marigot: +590 590 875 654 Philipsburg: +1 721 542 2359 Princess Juliana International Airport: +1 721 546 7713 Grand-Case Espérance Regional airport: +590 590 875 303