St. Martin, located in the Caribbean, is a stunning island known for its vibrant culture, beautiful beaches, and delicious cuisine. Split between two nations, the northern part belongs to the French side known as Saint-Martin, while the southern part belongs to the Dutch side known as Sint Maarten. This unique division gives visitors the opportunity to experience the best of both worlds.
One of the highlights of St. Martin is its pristine beaches. Whether you’re looking for a lively atmosphere with beach bars and water sports or a secluded spot for relaxation, you’ll find a beach that suits your preferences. Orient Bay Beach is a popular choice, known for its soft white sand, clear turquoise waters, and beachfront amenities. Maho Beach, on the Dutch side, is famous for its close proximity to the airport, allowing you to witness planes flying just a few feet above your head.
Exploring the island’s culinary scene is a must-do in St. Martin. As a fusion of French and Caribbean cuisines, the island offers a diverse range of culinary delights. Indulge in freshly caught seafood, succulent grilled meats, and flavorful Creole dishes. Don’t miss the chance to visit the local food markets, such as Marigot Market on the French side, where you can sample delicious local produce, spices, and traditional snacks.
For history and culture enthusiasts, a visit to the capital city of Marigot is a must. Explore the charming streets lined with colorful colonial buildings, browse local boutiques and art galleries, and visit the historic Fort Louis for panoramic views of the island. On the Dutch side, Philipsburg offers a vibrant atmosphere with duty-free shopping, lively casinos, and the chance to stroll along the famous Front Street.
Nature lovers will be enchanted by St. Martin’s natural beauty. Hike through the lush green hills of Pic Paradis, the island’s highest point, and be rewarded with breathtaking views of the coastline. The Loterie Farm is another must-visit, offering a peaceful oasis where you can enjoy zip-lining, hiking trails, and refreshing swims in natural pools.
Water activities abound in St. Martin, from snorkeling and scuba diving in vibrant coral reefs to sailing and jet skiing along the crystal-clear waters. Take a boat tour to explore the nearby islands, such as the uninhabited Tintamarre Island or the picturesque Pinel Island, known for its tranquil beaches and beachfront restaurants.
When it comes to accommodations, St. Martin offers a range of options, from luxurious resorts and villas to cozy guesthouses and boutique hotels. Whether you prefer a beachfront retreat or a hillside hideaway with panoramic views, you’ll find a place that suits your preferences and budget.
With its stunning beaches, diverse culture, culinary delights, and abundance of activities, St. Martin offers a memorable Caribbean escape. Embrace the unique blend of French and Dutch influences, soak up the sun, and create unforgettable memories in this tropical paradise.
Here are the top 5 locations for a crewed yacht charter in St. Martin:
- Marigot Bay: Marigot Bay is the capital of the French side of St. Martin and a popular starting point for yacht charters. This picturesque bay offers a charming waterfront lined with colorful buildings, quaint cafes, and boutique shops. Enjoy the vibrant atmosphere, explore the local market, and indulge in French cuisine at waterfront restaurants.
- Orient Bay: Located on the northeastern coast of the island, Orient Bay is famous for its long stretch of soft white sand and crystal-clear waters. The bay is home to numerous beach clubs, offering water sports activities, beachfront dining, and a lively atmosphere. Relax on the beach, swim in the calm waters, or try your hand at windsurfing or paddleboarding.
- Anse Marcel: Tucked away on the northwestern coast, Anse Marcel is a secluded and serene bay that offers a tranquil escape. Surrounded by lush green hills, this picturesque bay boasts a pristine beach with calm waters ideal for swimming and snorkeling. The marina nearby offers dining options and the opportunity to explore nearby cays and islets.
- Grand Case: Known as the culinary capital of the Caribbean, Grand Case is a charming village on the French side of St. Martin. The town is famous for its gourmet restaurants, offering a wide array of international and Creole dishes. Enjoy a stroll along the waterfront promenade, browse art galleries, and experience the vibrant nightlife.
- Simpson Bay Lagoon: On the Dutch side of the island, Simpson Bay Lagoon is a large natural harbor that provides access to various marinas and is a hub for yacht charters. The lagoon is surrounded by restaurants, shops, and entertainment options. Explore the lagoon’s mangroves, visit the charming town of Simpson Bay, or venture to nearby islands such as Anguilla or St. Barths.
These top locations in St. Martin offer a mix of beautiful beaches, scenic bays, vibrant towns, and culinary delights, making them perfect for a crewed yacht charter experience. Explore the coastal beauty, immerse yourself in the island’s unique culture, and enjoy the relaxed and luxurious lifestyle that St. Martin has to offer.
Tips & FAQs
Practical tips for traveling to St. Martin:
- Passport and Visa Requirements: Ensure that your passport is valid for at least six months beyond your intended stay. Depending on your nationality, you may also need a visa to enter St. Martin. Check the entry requirements well in advance and make necessary arrangements.
- Currency: The currency used in St. Martin is the Euro on the French side and the Netherlands Antillean guilder (also known as the Florin) on the Dutch side. It’s recommended to carry some cash in the local currency for small purchases, as not all establishments accept credit cards.
- Language: The official languages of St. Martin are French and Dutch, but English is widely spoken, especially in tourist areas. It’s helpful to learn a few basic French or Dutch phrases to communicate with locals and show respect for their culture.
- Weather and Packing: St. Martin enjoys a tropical climate with warm temperatures year-round. Pack lightweight and breathable clothing, swimsuits, sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses, and insect repellent. Don’t forget to bring reef-safe sunscreen to protect the marine environment.
- Health and Safety: It’s advisable to check with your healthcare provider regarding necessary vaccinations or medications before traveling to St. Martin. Keep yourself hydrated and take precautions against mosquito bites, as mosquito-borne illnesses can occur in tropical regions. Ensure you have travel insurance that covers medical emergencies.
- Transportation: Renting a car is a popular option for exploring the island, but driving is on the right side of the road. Taxis and public transportation are also available. Be aware that traffic can be congested, especially during peak tourist seasons.
- Electricity: St. Martin uses 220-240V electrical outlets, and the European-style two-pin plugs are standard. If your devices use a different voltage or plug type, consider bringing a universal adapter.
- Respect Local Customs: St. Martin is a diverse island with a mix of cultures. Respect the local customs and traditions, dress modestly when visiting religious sites, and ask for permission before taking photos of individuals or their property.
- Water Activities: St. Martin offers excellent opportunities for water activities like snorkeling, diving, and swimming. Respect the marine life and coral reefs by practicing responsible and sustainable tourism. Avoid touching or stepping on the coral, and refrain from feeding or chasing marine creatures.
- Travel Insurance: It’s highly recommended to have comprehensive travel insurance that covers medical emergencies, trip cancellations, and lost or stolen belongings. Review the policy carefully to understand the coverage and exclusions.
Here are a few frequently asked questions (FAQs) about traveling to St. Martin:
Q: What is the best time to visit St. Martin?
A: The high tourist season in St. Martin is from December to April when the weather is dry and pleasant. However, the island can be visited year-round, with the shoulder seasons of May-June and November offering fewer crowds and more affordable prices.
Q: What currency is accepted in St. Martin?
A: St. Martin is divided into two sides: the French side uses the Euro (€) as the currency, while the Dutch side uses the Netherlands Antillean guilder (NAƒ). Most businesses accept major credit cards, but it’s a good idea to have some cash for smaller establishments and local vendors.
Q: Is English widely spoken in St. Martin?
A: Yes, English is widely spoken in St. Martin, especially in the tourist areas. However, French and Dutch are the official languages on the respective sides of the island. It’s always appreciated to learn a few basic French or Dutch phrases to interact with the locals.
Q: Do I need a visa to visit St. Martin?
A: The entry requirements vary depending on your nationality. Visitors from many countries, including the United States, Canada, and the European Union, do not need a visa for stays of up to 90 days. It’s important to check the visa requirements specific to your country before traveling.
Q: What is the voltage and plug type used in St. Martin?
A: St. Martin uses 220-240V electrical outlets, and the European-style two-pin plugs (Type C and Type E) are standard. If your devices use a different voltage or plug type, you will need a suitable adapter.
Q: Is it safe to drink tap water in St. Martin?
A: It is generally safe to drink tap water in St. Martin, as the island has good water quality. However, if you prefer, bottled water is widely available and can be purchased at stores and supermarkets.
Q: Are there any specific customs or cultural norms to be aware of in St. Martin?
A: St. Martin is a diverse island with a mix of cultures. It’s important to respect local customs and traditions. Dress modestly when visiting religious sites, such as churches, and ask for permission before taking photos of individuals or their property.
Q: What are some popular activities to do in St. Martin?
A: St. Martin offers a range of activities, including water sports like snorkeling, diving, and sailing. You can also explore the island’s beautiful beaches, visit historic sites, enjoy local cuisine, go shopping, or take part in cultural events and festivals.
Q: Is it necessary to have travel insurance for St. Martin?
A: While travel insurance is not mandatory, it is highly recommended to have comprehensive travel insurance that covers medical emergencies, trip cancellations, and lost or stolen belongings. Review the policy carefully to understand the coverage and exclusions before your trip.
Remember to check the latest travel advisories and guidelines issued by your government before planning your trip to St. Martin. Stay informed about local regulations, and any specific entry requirements.
See & Do
Apart from its exquisite cuisine, St. Martin offers a range of activities and attractions to explore. Here are some top things to see and do in St. Martin:
- Beaches: With its stunning coastline, St. Martin is home to numerous beautiful beaches. Spend your days sunbathing, swimming, and snorkeling in the crystal-clear waters. Orient Bay Beach, Maho Beach, and Baie Rouge are popular choices.
- Watersports: Take advantage of the island’s pristine waters and engage in exciting watersports. Go snorkeling or diving to discover the vibrant marine life and coral reefs. Try your hand at windsurfing, paddleboarding, jet skiing, or sailing. You can also go deep-sea fishing or enjoy a relaxing boat trip around the island.
- Shopping: St. Martin is a duty-free shopping destination, offering a wide range of boutiques, duty-free shops, and open-air markets. Explore the colorful streets of Marigot, the capital of French St. Martin, where you can find local artwork, fashion, jewelry, and unique souvenirs.
- Historic Sites: Discover the rich history and cultural heritage of St. Martin by visiting its historic sites. Explore Fort Louis, a well-preserved 18th-century fort offering panoramic views of Marigot Bay. Visit the St. Martin Museum in Marigot to learn about the island’s history, heritage, and artifacts.
- Day Trips: St. Martin’s location allows for easy access to nearby islands. Take a day trip to the neighboring island of Anguilla, known for its pristine beaches and laid-back atmosphere. Visit the nearby island of St. Barths, with its chic boutiques, upscale resorts, and beautiful landscapes.
- Nightlife and Entertainment: As the sun sets, St. Martin comes alive with vibrant nightlife. Enjoy live music, dance to Caribbean beats, or try your luck at the island’s casinos. The famous Sunset Bar at Maho Beach is a popular spot to watch airplanes land and take off while enjoying a cocktail.
- Nature and Hiking: Explore St. Martin’s natural beauty by going on a hike or nature walk. Visit Loterie Farm, a nature reserve with hiking trails, zip lines, and a refreshing natural pool. Explore the protected areas of the French side, such as the Reserve Naturelle de Saint-Martin, which offers hiking trails and stunning views.
St. Martin offers a perfect blend of relaxation, adventure, and cultural experiences. Whether you’re looking for beachside relaxation, thrilling water activities, shopping, or exploring the island’s history, St. Martin has something for everyone to enjoy.
Eat & Drink
In St. Martin, you’ll find a delightful culinary scene influenced by both French and Caribbean flavors. Here are some must-try dishes and drinks when visiting the island:
- Fresh Seafood: Being surrounded by the Caribbean Sea, St. Martin is renowned for its fresh seafood. Sample dishes like grilled lobster, crispy fried fish, and succulent shrimp are prepared in various styles. Head to local seafood shacks or upscale waterfront restaurants for the best seafood experience.
- Creole Cuisine: Embrace the local flavors with traditional Creole dishes. Try “accras” (fried codfish fritters), “callaloo” (a hearty soup made with leafy greens), “conch stew” (a flavorful stew made with conch meat), and “plantains” (sweet or savory fried banana-like fruit).
- French Delights: As a French overseas territory, St. Martin offers a taste of France in the Caribbean. Indulge in French classics like escargots, foie gras, coq au vin, and bouillabaisse. Don’t forget to sample the delectable pastries, such as croissants and éclairs, and pair your meal with a glass of fine French wine.
- Rum Cocktails: The Caribbean is known for its rum, and St. Martin is no exception. Sip on refreshing rum cocktails like the famous “Ti’ Punch” (rum, lime, and cane syrup), “Painkiller” (rum, pineapple juice, coconut cream, and orange juice), or the island’s signature “Guavaberry Rum” made with local guava berries.
- Johnny Cakes: A popular local treat, Johnny Cakes are small, fried bread rolls made with cornmeal or flour. They can be enjoyed on their own or filled with various ingredients like ham, cheese, or saltfish. Grab a few Johnny Cakes as a snack or for a quick breakfast on the go.
When it comes to dining and drinking in St. Martin, you’ll discover a delightful fusion of French and Caribbean flavors, offering a culinary experience that is rich, diverse, and memorable.
This sample itinerary allows you to experience the beauty and attractions of St. Martin during a 7-day crewed yacht charter. Please note that the itinerary can be customized based on your preferences, weather conditions, and the offerings of your chosen charter company.
Day 1: Arrival in St. Martin
- Arrive at the airport and transfer to the marina to meet your crewed yacht charter.
- Settle into your accommodation and enjoy a welcome briefing.
- Explore the marina area and nearby attractions.
- Have a delicious dinner onboard or head to a local restaurant for a taste of St. Martin’s cuisine.
Day 2: St. Martin Exploration
- Start the day with a leisurely breakfast onboard.
- Sail to Orient Bay, a beautiful beach known for its crystal-clear waters and vibrant atmosphere.
- Enjoy water activities like swimming, snorkeling, and paddleboarding.
- Have lunch onboard or at one of the beachside restaurants.
- Afternoon sail to Grand Case, a charming village known for its culinary delights.
- Explore the streets lined with gourmet restaurants and sample local delicacies for dinner.
Day 3: Anguilla Excursion
- Depart from St. Martin and sail to Anguilla, a neighboring island known for its stunning beaches.
- Anchor at Shoal Bay, one of the most picturesque beaches in the Caribbean.
- Spend the day lounging on the beach, swimming, and snorkeling.
- Enjoy a beachfront lunch at one of the local establishments.
- Sail back to St. Martin in the late afternoon.
- In the evening, head to Marigot, the capital of French St. Martin, and dine at a waterfront restaurant.
Day 4: Tintamarre and Pinel Island
- Sail to Tintamarre, a secluded island known for its pristine beaches and vibrant marine life.
- Explore the island’s nature trails, swim in the turquoise waters, and snorkel along the coral reefs.
- Have a beach picnic or enjoy lunch onboard.
- Afterward, sail to Pinel Island, another beautiful spot for swimming and snorkeling.
- Relax on the beach and soak up the sun.
- Return to St. Martin in the late afternoon and dine onboard or at a beachfront restaurant.
Day 5: Simpson Bay Lagoon and Maho Beach
- Explore Simpson Bay Lagoon, a large inland lagoon on the Dutch side of the island.
- Cruise through the lagoon’s calm waters, passing by marinas, luxury villas, and picturesque landscapes.
- Anchor at Maho Beach, famous for its close proximity to the airport runway.
- Witness the exhilarating experience of planes landing and taking off just a few meters above the beach.
- Enjoy the beach atmosphere and have lunch at one of the beachfront bars or restaurants.
- Return to the marina in the afternoon and spend the evening exploring local shops and dining options.
Day 6: St. Martin Beaches and Snorkeling
- Spend the day exploring the beautiful beaches of St. Martin.
- Visit Baie Rouge, a stunning sandy beach known for its calm waters and scenic views.
- Engage in water activities like snorkeling or paddleboarding.
- Have lunch onboard or at a beachside restaurant.
- Continue to explore other nearby beaches such as Mullet Bay or Happy Bay.
- Enjoy the sunset onboard your yacht and have a memorable dinner experience.
Day 7: Departure
- Enjoy a final breakfast onboard before disembarking from your crewed yacht charter.
- Say goodbye to the crew and transfer to the airport for your departure.
St. Martin enjoys a tropical climate, characterized by warm temperatures and relatively consistent weather throughout the year. Here are a few key points about the climate in St. Martin:
- Temperature: St. Martin experiences warm temperatures year-round. Average temperatures range from the mid-70s°F (mid-20s°C) in the cooler months to the mid-80s°F (high 20s°C) in the warmer months. The hottest months are typically July and August.
- Rainfall: St. Martin has a wet and dry season. The wet season runs from May to November, with the highest rainfall occurring between August and October. During this time, brief showers or thunderstorms can be expected, usually in the afternoon. The dry season, from December to April, sees less rainfall and more sunny days.
- Hurricane Season: Like many Caribbean destinations, St. Martin is in the hurricane belt. The official hurricane season runs from June to November, with the highest likelihood of hurricanes and tropical storms occurring between August and October. It’s essential to monitor weather updates and consider travel insurance during this time.
- Trade Winds: St. Martin benefits from the trade winds, which provide a pleasant breeze and help keep the temperatures comfortable. The trade winds are more prevalent during the drier months, offering relief from the heat.
- Water Temperature: The water surrounding St. Martin remains warm throughout the year, ranging from the mid-70s°F (mid-20s°C) in winter to the mid-80s°F (high 20s°C) in summer. It’s perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and enjoying various water activities.
It’s important to note that weather patterns can vary, and it’s always a good idea to check the latest forecasts before your trip. Regardless of the season, St. Martin’s climate provides a pleasant environment for enjoying outdoor activities and exploring the island’s beauty.