St Maarten the Best Caribbean Islands
St Maarten is a Caribbean island that has a lot to offer in terms of hotels resorts, villas, things to do, shopping and beaches. St Maarten or St Martin is an island divided between 2 countries but on this website you will find information on both sides.
Where is St Maarten ?
St Maarten is a Caribbean island located in eastern part of the Caribbean sea. Sint Maarten is part of the Leeward Islands; islands that are at the junction of the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.
St Martin is located on the east of the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
Why St Maarten is called St Martin ?
St Maarten is a small island divided in 2 nations : France and the Netherlands Kingdom. So Officially the island is called Sint Maarten for the Dutch side and is called often St Maarten. Saint Martin is the official name for the French side but is called St Martin. So that’s 4 names for a small island !!
And many locals called St Martin “SXM” regardless of the side they live. The name SXM is coming from the identifier of the Princess Juliana International Airport given by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
St Maarten weather
St Maarten as a Caribbean island knows only one season : SUMMER !!
Indeed, the average temperatures in St Martin throughout the year is around 90°F (30 °C). Even when it rains the temperature are high which make the rainy very agreeable !
From June to November it’s the Official season of Hurricanes in St Maarten like in Florida. And as we have seen in 2017 with the Hurricanes Irma, Jose and Maria it can be tough in the Caribbean islands. So if you happen to be in St Martin St Maarten while a Hurricane is on its way the best option is to leave the island. But it doesn’t happen every year. The previous Hurricane that hit St Maarten was in 1995 and it was Hurricane Luis.
So if you want to come to St Maarten and you worry about the weather, don’t !
Most people come during the winter because it’s cold through the US. And it’s the most busy part of the year and the most expensive too.
If you want to come during summer time, St Maarten won’t be as crowded and yet the temperatures will still be high. The St Martins’ hottest month in term of temperature is August.
37 Beaches in St Maarten St Martin !!
With over 40 miles of coastline, St Maarten has plenty of spaces to offer the best beaches located either toward the Atlantic Ocean or toward the Caribbean Sea.
St Martin features some of the world’s finest seascapes. From unspoiled, quiet shores to lively hubs of activity, every single one of St Maarten beach is unique and reflects the rich diversity of the island itself.
St Maarten has 37 beaches and many of them rank among the finest and the best beach in the Caribbean.
Whether you want to see sunset or sunrise,whether you want to relax or party, whether you want to enjoy fine lunch or local food, whether you want to practice some water sports or do some snorkeling you will find a St Martin beach that correspond to your envy and mood of the day. You have the choice between 37 beach in St Maarten.
You will find below a short description of every beach in St Martin ordered by popularity :
Maho Beach or Airport beach is world famous for its unique location right under the St Maarten Airport runway.
People enjoy the turquoise water, the beach, the restaurants and gather to watch the plane landing over their head or get the blast of the jets when the planes take off.
This is a must see and must experience ! Just be cautious !
Orient Beach is located Known as the “St Tropez of the Caribbean”. Orient beach, situated in the north eastern part of St Maarten island in Orient Bay, is one of the island’s largest and most popular beaches.
A naturist or nudist beach can be found to the extreme south of Orient beach.
Cupecoy beach has beautiful sandstone cliffs creating beautiful coves and caves, and as it faces the South West of St Maarten making it a nice spot to admire sunsets.
Simpson Bay Beach
Simpson Beach is running along St Maarten Airport (Princess Juliana International Airport) and the picturesque fishing village of Simpson Bay, this undeveloped strip of fine sand runs to the foot of the “Pointe Burgeaux” rocks.
Mullet Bay Beach
Mullet Bay Beach is very popular with locals and tourists. The beach is fine sanded and stand on the edge of the golf course.
Pinel island is a small ilet off coast St Martin on the french side. To get there you need to take the Pinel island ferry at Cul de sac and there is a rotation every 30 minutes starting at 9.30 am
Tintamarre island is an inhabited island part of the French Natural reserve. Tintamarre has 2 beaches with one very protected from the wind while the other is open to the wind and is better fitted for snorkeling St Maarten.
Anse Marcel Beach
Anse Marcel Beach is a sheltered and well developed beach in the north of St Martin island. As the bay is protected on both sides, the water here is calm.
Baie de l’Embouchure Beach
Baie de l’Embouchure Beach is Swept by the trade winds and protected from the Atlantic swell by a coral reef and the rocky islands of Coconut Grove, the bay offers perfect conditions for windsurfing all year round.
Burgeaux Beach is small beach nestled between the rocks of “Pointe Burgeaux” and Maho Beach.
Cay Bay Beach
Cay Bay Beach is a small and very pretty cove beach.
Dawn Beach is a pretty beach that is fairly well protected.
Friars Bay Beach
Friars Bay Beach is a nice and very famous beach thanks to its restaurants.
Galisbay Beach is a small and extremely calm beach located in Marigot.
Geneve Bay Beach is a very small beach and is more known for its natural pool.
Grand Case Beach
Grand Case Beach is one of the longest beach of St Maarten island. The beach is in the heart of Grand Case, St Martin
Grandes Cayes Beach is a long beach in the northern part of Saint Martin island.
Great Bay Beach
Great Bay Beach is in the heart of Philipsburg,St. Maarten the capital of the Dutch side.
Green Cay is a small island with a quiet beach just in front of Orient Beach.
Guana Bay Beach
Guana Bay Beach is a nice little beach on the Dutch side of Sint Maarten island.
Happy Bay Beach
Happy Bay is a small beach but very popular especially among the locals.
Indigo Bay Beach
Indigo Bay Beach is a nice beach on the Dutch side of St. Maarten island.
Kimsha Beach is a beach just off Simpson Bay road with some nice beach bars and water sports activities.
Little Bay Beach
Little Bay Beach is a beach just outside Philipsburg St. Maarten.
Long Bay Beach
Long Bay Beach is a very exclusive beach with Luxury villas and the worldwide renowned Hotel La Samanna.
Lovers’ Beach is a tiny beach just outside Marigot, Saint Martin. It’s called “Plage des Amoureux” in French.
Lucas Bay Beach
Lucas Bay Beach is the last beach on the French side of St Martin before the Dutch side on the eastern part of the island. Sometimes this beach is also called Coralita Beach.
Nettle Beach is long stretch of sand outside Marigot, St Martin with plenty hotels, resorts and restaurants.
Pelican Key Beach
Pelican Key Beach is composed of several little stretch of sand dispersed among villas and several hotels resorts on the Dutch side of St Maarten island.
Petites Cayes Beach
Petites Cayes Beach is a small reclusive beach located on the French side of St Martin island.
Plum Bay Beach
Plum Bay Beach is a very exclusive beach on the French side of St. Maarten island .
Red Bay Beach
Red Bay Beach is a long beach located on the French side of St Martin island.
Philipsburg is the capital of St Maarten and as such is the heart of the Dutch side of the island. Not only you will find all the government buildings and its associated agencies but also many stores that make Philipsburg St. Maarten a paradise for would be shopper especially with a duty free shopping policy!
Philipsburg (not the town in Montana!) is also home of the St Maarten cruise port that welcome all the cruise ships and nearly 2 millions passengers every year.
So when you want to spend a day in Philipsburg St. Maarten you have many options on things to do. And what is interesting with Philipsburg is that you can all do together.
Imagine a day where you can go the beach, eat in a good restaurant, do some shopping and also sightseeing historical buildings. Phillipsburg has it all !
While walking on Frontstreet to hunt for the best bargain for your St Maarten shopping you will see the Beautiful Philipsburg Methodist Church (right picture) that is built entirely in wood and surrounded by vegetation. It’s very nice.
Frontstreet Philipsburg is home to many jewelry stores, electronic stores and fashion stores with US and International brands and is where many tourists will go for their duty free shopping in St Maarten.
Backstreet is home to even more stores that front street with many small shops and some big department stores. Backstreet in Philipsburg attract more locals than tourist but it’s also a good place to make pretty good deals during your St Maarten shopping spree (don’t hesitate to negotiate to get easily 10% or 20% discount !).
And Philipsburg is also a Great Beach ! Indeed Philipsburg is located in Great Bay and the color of the water is amazing ! So going to the beach is a must when in Philipsburg. And it’s easy since the beach is by the boardwalk with plenty shops, beach bars and restaurants. You just need to find your lounge chair !
The Philipsburg Court House (left picture) is one of the most Famous monument of St Maarten. Located on Wathey Square and Fronstreet you can’t miss it ! Whether you arrive by water taxi from a cruise ship, Wathey square is right in front of the pier by the boardwalk. And if you arrive by car or taxi then you will see the building standing in the middle of Fronstreet the street to do your duty free St Maarten shopping.
Marigot is the capital of the French side of St Martin and all government buildings are located there. The French side of St Martin is part of France and its Official name is “Collectivite territoriale de Saint Martin”. Since St Martin is a french territory all french and EU laws apply and the official currency is the Euro (but the US dollar is widely accepted). But all St Martin shopping is duty free !
Many buildings in Marigot are colonial buildings and are in rather pretty good shape. It gives a particular atmosphere to the town.
Beside Fashion shopping in Marigot you can also enjoy the market on the boardwalk where you can spices, fresh fruits, vegetables and fish.
In Marigot you also have some nice galleries and among them one stand : Roland Richardson Gallery is amazing. You also have a small gallery on the boardwalk representing many different artists.
To do your St Maarten shopping in Marigot you have plenty choice between mainly Freedom street (rue de La Liberte), Republic street (rue de la Republique) and the West Indies Mall. Women in particular will appreciate Marigot with so many fashion stores and a wide array of choice.
For the Marigot sightseeing you have the Catholic church on your way to Fort Louis which offer a great view of Marigot bay and Galisbay.
Simpson Bay is in the middle between Philipsburg and Marigot in St Maarten. Simpson Bay St Maarten is the longest bay of all the island. It comprises 3 beaches : Simpson beach the most well known, Kimsha Beach (or kim sha beach)and Pelican Key Beach.
Not far from Simpson Bay is St Maarten airport since it runs along Simpson Beach.
So you can already see that Simpson Bay offer a lot and is very convenient. But that’s not all !
Simpson Bay has many marinas : Igy marina, Isle del sol, Palapa marina, Princess Port de Plaisance is just across Simpson Bay lagoon.
Once your day is over you may want to eat something, no ? Well there no lack of restaurants in Simpson Bay. From beach restaurant to pizzeria to french restaurant to lobster restaurant to burger one or Lebanese kitchen there are plenty St Maarten restaurants in Simpson Bay.
After that you might want to go to the Casinos, to nightclubs, to bar pub or to adult clubs. There are a lot of possibilities in Simpson Bay.
Or you want to go back to your hotel resort. Simpson Bay is home to a lot of hotels resorts which is very practical because you don’t have to drive to go to sleep !
It comprises 3 beaches : Simpson beach the most well known, Kimsha Beach (or kim sha beach)and Pelican Key Beach.
Not far from Simpson Bay is St Maarten airport since it runs along Simpson Beach.
You have also an extensive offer in matter of water sports center in Simpson Bay around Kimsha beach, pelican key and Simpson Bay Lagoon. These waterspsorts center offer private boat tours, open boat excursions, catamaran excursions, sailing cruise, sunset cruises, jet ski tours, flyboard, hoverboard,diving, snorkeling, deep fishing boat tours and much more. You don’t know what to do in St Maarten ? They certainly have the answer !!
Maho is comprised of Maho Beach and Maho village.
Maho Beach is known worldwide thanks to its position at the beginning of St Maarten airport runway.
You can see the planes landing above your head while on the beach, in the turquoise water or having a drink at the Sunset Bar or the Driftwood beach bar.
And when the time of the take off comes be careful if you decide to go behind the jet blast because it will really blast you !!
Maho village is composed of all inclusive resorts hotels, restaurants, bars and fine shops that you will love for your St Maarten shopping. In fact Maho is a destination within a destination that has truly redefined few years ago St Maarten nightlife, entertainment, restaurants, shopping and gaming in a vibrant resort atmosphere.
Maho village is really an open mall by the beach with its numerous stores that range from beauty products to jewelry to women’s clothes to cigars. They are around 30 duty free stores in Maho. So if you want to enjoy the St Maarten shopping tax free Maho is definitely a place to visit.
And after that you can enjoy the Casino Royale, the bar piano or the open sky bar !
The Casino Royale located in the heart of Maho is spectacular from the outside and its name could make you believe that you are James bond!
And when you go inside the casino they every game you can imagine. The Maho Casino is the largest in St Maarten boasting 21,000 square feet of gaming. With 21 tables of gaming including roulette, black jack, craps, poker (Three Card Bonus Poker, Let It Ride Bonus, Caribbean Poker, and Texas Hold’em). The casino has also 410 slot machines including a variety of classics and modern video slots. Casino Royale is the home to the only Sex in the City, Hangover, Wheel of Fortune and Betty Boop games on St Maarten. The casino also has a private “high-roller” poker table area with the highest table limits on St Maarten island. You can also bet on your favorite sports. No need to go to Las Vegas !
Restaurants and bars are also numerous and diverse in Maho village. From sushi to pizza to french food there are restaurants for any envy !
In Maho you have 3 hotels resorts that are among the best in St Maarten.
The Sonesta Maho Beach island is a St Maarten all inclusive resorts that is quite spectacular. The resort offers so many activities and thing to do in St Maarten that you will have to come for another holidays to do them all !!
They offer relaxation treatment, spa, a large pool with cascading waterfalls, 4 tennis courts, a specific program and activities for children. The Sonesta is really a world class all inclusive resort that happen to be by the famous Maho Beach in St Maarten and in Maho village. That’s even more things to do in st maarten while in holidays.
The 5 stars Sonesta Ocean Point Resort is in the Sonesta Maho Beach resort but is apart ! The Ocean Point hotel is the only St Maarten all inclusive resorts for adults only.
The Ocen Point resort has 3 pools, 3 bars, a restaurant, 24 hour room service and private concierge. It’s truly a Luxury hotel.
The Royal Islander Club is a condo resort with kitchen and all the modern amenities that you can expect from an hotel.
Orient Bay is home not only to the Famous Orient Beach but also to numerous private villas, boutique hotels, resort, fine restaurants, grocery store, hair salon and many other stores.
Orient Bay St Martin is a mini town of its own. Once you are there you don’t need to go out if you want. Orient Bay is mostly a private town open to the public (without fee) but with gated entry. So Orient Bay is very safe.
Access to Orient beach is free as it is the case on all St Maarten beach. Orient Beach is famous for its restaurants on the beach that offer fine food, drinks and incredible parties. Orient Beach is called the “St Tropez of the Caribbean” due to the parties and the VIP that come enjoy the sun and the sea. In addition to that you can practice most of the watersports activities that exist.
Orient Beach is also famous thanks to its southern part that is a public clothing optional beach. This part of Orient is also home to Club Orient a clothing optional resort (in fact you have to be nude to stay at Club Orient St martin).
Orient Beach is about a 2 miles long powdery white sand beach and is worth a visit!
Beside Orient beach and its restaurants you can go to Orient Bay village where you will find fine dining restaurants for dinner. There you will the choice between different style of cuisine (french, thai, italian) and every restaurant is worth the visit ! So I hope you’ll stay long enough to try all of them !
You also have some other restaurants in Orient Bay such as La Plantation or L’Astrolabe that worth a try too !!
Yes, St Maarten restaurants are pretty good so get ready to taste unbelievable plates.
Oyster Bay is at the junction of the Dutch side and the French side of St Martin island. Oyster bay covers Oyster pond which is a small open lagoon with a marina and is divided between the 2 countries. Oyster Bay covers also Dawn Beach which is on the Dutch side of St Maarten.
In Oyster Bay you will find some nice hotels and resorts that are either on the beach or on the verge of Oyster Pond St Martin. You have the Oyster Bay Beach resort, the Westin hotel resort,the Princess Heights Condominiums dominating on the hill on the Dutch side. You have the Captain Oliver on Oyster Pond and Les Balcons d’Oyster Pond that are very nice too.
Also if you want to take the ferry to St Barts, Oyster Pond is one solution.
There are also some fine restaurants around Oyster Pond in Oyster Bay. on both side of St Maarten (Dutch and French sides).
Grand Case used to be a small fishing village and also living of the industry of salt (extracted from the pond). While this activities have mostly disappeared, Grand Case St Martin has retained all its authenticity through its houses.
At night the main street “Boulevard de Grand Case” get animated with tourist and locals who go to bars, restaurants and shop that open late at night.
During the month of February every tuesday you have parades through the street which is fun.
Grand Case also has a long sandy beach with many beach bars and some fine restaurants. Grand Case is also home to some very nice boutique hotels and the Grand Case Beach Club.
Nowadays Grand Case is well known for its restaurants. And many of the Grand Case restaurants are housed in the traditional houses or huts which give them an additional charm.