Credit: Elliott Howell @iamelliott
Credit: Elliott Howell @iamelliott

Why You Should Plan a Vacay on the Tropical Island of St. Maarten

Grab Your Passport! This Caribbean Island Is a Dream (Vacation) Come True

As the smallest dual-governed landmass in the world, St. Maarten may be little, but it’s full of fun. This Caribbean island gives a taste of two distinct cultures in the convenience of one island. The north part of the 37-square-mile island is controlled by the French government (where it’s called St. Martin), and the southern part is a territory of the Netherlands Antilles (St. Maarten). The locals say the island has no borders, but each side offers a unique way to experience this beautiful destination. St. Maarten Itinerary

Credit: Elliott Howell @iamelliott

Travelers from all over the world venture to this multicultural land, making it a hot spot for activity. While some Caribbean islands are known for low-key beach time, complete with a book in hand, St. Maarten is the Caribbean island you visit when you’re looking for some action (though the beaches are fab, too). 

St. Maarten Itinerary

What to Do

Credit: Elliott Howell @iamelliott

Start your St. Maarten vacation off with some daytime fun at the French Rainbow Beach Club. Then, make your way over to the Dutch side to check out Da Waterhole on Mullet Bay Beach. This part of the island is home to some incredible beaches, including the famous Maho Beach, where you’ll experience what it’s like to have an airplane fly so close overhead that it feels like you could touch it (just watch out for the blast of jet fuel that follows). 

Tap into the local culture by taking a steel pan lesson with Mighty Dow of the Dow Musical Foundation; he will show you the ropes when it comes to playing some of your favorite calypso music. The nightlife on this island is thriving, so if that’s your cup of tea, you want to be on the Dutch side. Here, you’ll stumble across all kinds of bars and nightclubs, including Lotus, a sultry destination known for its infectious beats. If you venture over to the French side, be sure to hit up Blue Martini for drinks and some house music.  

Gambling is also a major attraction on the Dutch side. Even if you’re not a big gambler, you’ll still have fun playing at the $5 blackjack tables at Casino Royale

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St. Maarten Itinerary

Where to Eat

The food on St. Maarten varies depending on what side you are on, but there is some crossover that you’ve got to get your hands on. And that means going to any of the lolos (open-air food stands) on the island, where you’ll get your fill of ribs, chicken, fish and lobster. An iconic eatery on the island that you can’t miss is The Captain’s Rib Shack, where you’re guaranteed to leave with messy hands and a happy belly. For fresh vegan food—much of which is grown on-site—venture to Freedom Fighters Ital Shack. The family that runs this joint is dedicated to serving only food that is organic and natural, and trust us when we say you can taste the difference.   

Where to Stay

Credit: Elliott Howell @iamelliott

If you’re looking for bigger resort vibes in a central location, then book your stay at Simpson Bay Resort. It has all the amenities you need to make your stay on the Dutch side of the island a comfortable one, including multiple tasty on-site restaurants. If you’re traveling with a family or friends, the resort has villas that can accommodate up to six people. But if you’re looking for a boutique hotel experience, then we highly recommend the French Hotel L’Esplanade. This stunning oasis is tucked into the hills, where you can enjoy morning yoga and fresh pastries from a local bakery each morning. St. Maarten Itinerary

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