What Two Countries Have The Best Caribbean Beaches?
This tropical island paradise allows you to choose a ‘country du’ jour’ over breakfast! In St. Martin/Sint Maarten you’ll visit the cultures and traditions of two countries in one trip! Part French, part Dutch, this island continually serves up amazing beaches, beautiful scenery, outstanding food and incredible water views!
My recent stay was in the town of Cole Bay on the Dutch side, close to the St. Maarten airport, at The Royal Palm Beach Resort. This St. Maarten resort is in the perfect location! A short walk to great restaurants, shops, groceries, liquors and the marina negates the somewhat dated lobby and rocky beachfront area. The condo was clean, comfortable and well-stocked. The view was fantastic. It didn’t just end with a beautiful beach scene from the balcony, the entryway was positioned to enjoy a pretty parade of yachts and sailboats through the inlet into the Lagoon Marina. As a bonus, it was the perfect spot to witness the awesome firework and lightshow for the Grand Opening of the St. Maarten Causeway Bridge! By the way, plan on renting a car… it’s the best way to get around and the causeway bridge makes navigating the island a whole lot easier!
By day, it’s all about the beaches and watersports in St. Maarten. My favorite, Orient Bay Beach, is on the French side. This is a very long stretch of beach with hut type restaurants. They offer beach chairs and umbrellas as well as beachside service. Yes, that’s right ‘cabana boys’ (or girls)! Be careful when choosing where to position yourself on the beach, you are making a commitment to the restaurant by choosing one of their chairs! Although most of the French beaches are ‘clothing optional’, the majority of the nudists keep to a specific section. I try to steer clear of that section as experience has shown me that those who take their clothes off in public, really, really, should not! Just sayin’…
Duty free shopping is a major attraction of the island. Phillipsburg is the Dutch capital which welcomes the majority of the cruise ships coming into port in St. Maarten. The town itself has a lot to offer. You’ll find great restaurants, many duty free shops and a large beach. The area can get a little sketchy at night. It’s best to do your sightseeing during daylight hours. The French capital, Marigot, is a little more upscale with many duty free boutiques set among the old creole buildings.
For gamblers, Casino Royale is the largest on the island and is located in the quaint little village of Maho Bay. This tiny village is packed with lights, glitz and night life. A must see is the Sky Beach Rooftop Beach and Lounge!
A restaurant that I would like to mention is Crave, owned by a ‘passionate about food’ husband and wife team, Naz and Ace. This is a great experience if you’re a ‘foodie’. The dishes were Mediterranean in nature and not like anything I’ve had before. Treat yourself and your taste buds! All in all, the food in either country on the island, was close to perfection the majority of the week!
It’s all about the view… another great find was Kokoma on Cay Bay. Located in a secluded cove, this is one of the prettiest areas on the island! The restaurant’s food is pricey and just okay, so plan on just a drink and maybe a quick appetizer while you soak in the sensational ambience!
There are approximately 36 St. Maarten beaches to choose from, each with it’s own atmosphere. Be sure to try a few. From Orient Bay’s au natural vibe, to Cay Bay’s awesome cove, to Sunset Beach plane spotting! Doesn’t everyone’s bucket list include a day on the beach with blown out ears, sandstorms and jet fuel exhaust in your face? I’ve checked it off my list.. Done!
Please feel free to share your experiences in St. Maarten in the comment section below!