Saint Martin is part of the Leeward Islands in the Caribbean Sea. It comprises 2 separate countries, divided between its northern French side, called Saint-Martin, and its southern Dutch side, Sint Maarten. St. Martin is known for fusion cuisine, vibrant nightlife and duty-free shops selling jewelry and liquor. Both sides of the island offer a touch of European culture along with a lot of laid-back Caribbean ambiance. Water sports are everywhere to include diving, snorkeling, sailing, windsurfing, and in early March, the Heineken Regatta. With the soft trade winds cooling the subtropical climate, it’s easy to relax on one of the 37 beaches, stroll Philipsburg’s boardwalk, and peruse the shops on Philipsburg’s Front Street or the rues (streets) of the very French town of Marigot.
When cruise ships are in port, and there can be as many as seven at once, shopping areas are crowded and traffic is pretty slow. Spend these days on the beach or the water, and plan a shopping excursion for the early morning or at cocktail hour.. Still, the feel of the sand between your toes or the breeze through your hair, gourmet food sating your appetite, and visiting two nations on one island is a slice of heaven. To learn more about all the beautiful beaches on St. Martin, visit here. Now view our St. Martin travel guide to help plan your next St. Martin vacation!
St Martin Weather – When to Visit
Like the other islands in the Caribbean, Saint-Martin has a tropical climate. The average annual temperature is 80.6°F, peaking at around 89.6°F. Temperatures rarely dip below 68°F. The temperature on St. Martin is stable and benefits from the trade winds. There is no rainy season as such and the showers are rather short In spite of the stable temperature on the island, there are two seasons : the dry season from December to April, and the wintering season from May to November.
The best time to visit St. Martin and St. Maarten is May and June or between November and mid December. These select weeks are times when hotels advertise their best rates. The island’s weather is pleasant year-round, but these are times when rain showers are less likely. Summer and early fall are not good for a vacation; many hotels close in this off-season and there’s a chance of hurricanes. Also avoid visiting in winter if you can. That’s when St. Martin and St. Maarten milks its wealthy vacationers.
St Martin Attractions
St. Maarten Museum
Arawak pottery shards, plantation-era artifacts, period photos and a few items from HMS Proselyte, the frigate that sank off Fort Amsterdam in 1801, are among the displays at this island history museum, along with exhibits covering 1995’s devastating Hurricane Luis, the salt industry and slavery. The little shop downstairs sells an assortment of Caribbean arts and crafts.
Wander along Boardwalk and take in the sights of the bustling area. Forming a vein separating the beach from the restaurants, bars, hotels, and shops on the other side, the boardwalk serves as a great place to meet people from all over the world as they amble in the sun, or watch the glistening ocean in the distance. Peruse the various shops and pick up a souvenir or two, rent a segway to get around, or simply people-watch. Note that the boardwalk can get busy when cruise ships come in to dock.
Loterie Farm is a private nature reserve where they have several treetop adventure obstacle courses as well as hiking trails. On top of that they also have our restaurant, Brasserie Loterie Farm, the Treelounge Tapas Bar and a pool area, L’eaulounge.
The Butterfly Farm
At the Butterfly Farm you will be escorted by your guide who will lead you through a specially created exhibition area of landscaped gardens. This is the butterflies own lush tropical garden playground! Here you will see hundreds of rare and exotic butterflies fluttering freely around you. The guide will identify different species, point out courtship and mating displays and tell butterfly facts and stories.
Simpson Bay Lagoon
Simpson Bay was the home of a Danish fishing community and for many years there was no bridge over the marshy area that allowed flow in and out of the lagoon. Things change. Today a large drawbridge opens six times a day to let mega-yachts into the Isla del Sol Marina and Princess Juliana Airport is next door. In 2012/3 a causeway was built from the airport to the Dutch side of the border on the eastern side of the lagoon. The area is ringed with hotels, casinos, and restaurants.
St Martin Tours & Activities
The Original Eco Tour – Full day around the Island of Sint Maarten / St Martin
Cruise around St Maarten with stops at Tintamarre, Creole Rock and Grand Case on this full-day sailing excursion. Explore the lovely natural beauty of Tintamarre, then head to Creole Rock for some of the island’s best snorkeling. Go ashore in Grand Case, the St Maarten’s culinary capital, for a gourmet lunch including wine. Cruise down the coast after lunch past Marigot Bay and Sunset Beach while enjoying an open bar. Round-trip transportation from St Maarten hotels is included. Read more about St Maarten Sailing and Snorkel Tour
Private Sailboat Charter
Let a crew take care of the day’s itinerary for you on a private catamaran charter off the coast of St. Maarten, with stops at secluded areas far from the crowds of Philipsburg. In addition to an open bar, enjoy a homemade lunch prepared on board and unlimited use of snorkeling gear, kayaks, and paddleboards. Unlike large group tours, a private charter offers an intimate, tailored experience. Read more about Private Sailboat Charter
St Martin Jet Ski Sunset Cruise
Watch the sunset from the back of a jet ski, glass of champagne in hand, during this 1.5-hour tour on St Martin. With your expert adventure guide and a small group, cruise out to a perfect vantage spot and float peacefully in the sea while the sun sinks below the horizon. On the way, visit a few beaches with the option for some snorkeling. All equipment is provided and no experience is necessary. Read more about St Martin Private Jet Ski Sunset Cruise
Full Day Trip Around St Martin
Charter your own speedboat and explore the entirety of St. Martin over the course of a day. Plan your itinerary for the day with your captain based on your interests and set out for a day of fun and relaxation. Visit areas such as Tintamarre and Creole Rock for pristine snorkeling, Pinel Island for a picturesque barbecue lunch, and La Sammana for a relaxing swim. Read more about Full day trip around St Martin Maarten
Best St Martin Restaurants
Restaurant at La Samanna $31 – 60
Recognized as one of the top restaurants in the Caribbean, with a bevy of awards, The Restaurant features contemporary French cuisine with a touch of the Caribbean. You’ll find an assortment of wonderful dishes to tempt you: an absolutely fabulous lobster sampling with five different preparations, pan seared foie gras, seared scallop on zucchini flower-parmesan risotto, roast squab breast, and braised veal cheeks. The resort’s wine cellar has earned Wine Spectator’s Best of Award of Excellence. Telephone: 590-590-87-6400 Web: Restaurant at La Samanna.
Restaurant Le Santal $11 – 30
The award-winning Le Santal has been earning raves since it opened in 1976. The cuisine is decidedly French, from appetizers such as lobster bisque, foie gras terrine and caviar with vodka, to chateaubriand for two, Provençal style prawns and scallops, and roasted lobster with champagne sabayon, right through to impossibly light dessert soufflés, crème brûlée, and crepes Suzette. The perfect place to impress a date or celebrate an anniversary! Spectacular views and impeccable service add to the overall fine dining experience. Telephone: 590-590 -87-5348 Web: Restaurant Le Santal.
Sol É Luna $31 – 60
Recognized by local publications for its romantic ambiance, this fine restaurant offers gorgeous terrace dining and incredible views from even the interior tables. The cuisine complements the scenery beautifully and features such dishes as scallops and shrimp on saffron risotto, a lush cioppino, pasta with lobster medallions, and a signature lamb that’s carefully spiced and cooked for seven hours. A great crème brûlée heads the list of desserts, and the wine list is primarily French. Telephone: 590-590-29-0856 Web: Sol É Luna.
Bistrot Caraibes $31 – 60
Whether you decide to try the house specialty of Lobster Thermidor, or the notoriously flavorful grilled rack of lamb, you can expect to have some of the best food that you have ever had in your life. Best of all, the foods that are served are always made with the freshest ingredients. Guests often marvel at the rich sauces that accompany dishes, the tender meat that often falls right off the bones, and the beautiful presentation of every single dish. Telephone: 1 059-029-0829 Web: Bistrot Caraibes
JAX Steakhouse & Cocktail Bar $31 – 60
JAX puts the modern steakhouse and lounge together in one sexy package. With an atmosphere and style unlike anywhere else in St. Martin. The ambiance is great, the staff is amazing and it’s not super expensive. Telephone: 1 721-588-8884 Web: JAX Steakhouse & Cocktail Bar
Best St Martin Beach Bars
Sunset Bar & Grill
Nestled between the runway and sea, the Sunset Bar has perhaps the most photographed beach in the Caribbean. Once a quiet place to have a cocktail and watch planes come and go, the Sunset has become a scene over the past few years…The planes come and go on schedule but the bar tends to be less scheduled and more…unscripted. Telephone: 721-545-2084 Web: Sunset Bar & Grill.
Mr. Busby’s Beach Bar
Dawn Beach is one of St Maarten’s most beautiful beaches. Located on the beaches north end, tucked under palm trees and sea grapes, you will find Mr Busby’s Beach Bar and Restaurant. You’ll also find very good food and a good friendly vibe. Telephone: 721-543-6088 Web: Mr. Busby’s Beach Bar.
Located right on Simpson Bay Beach on a quiet and calm stretch with soft sand just perfect for the whole family. The eclectic Karakter is open 9am-10pm and serves simply amazing food. Telephone: 721- 523-9983 Web: Karakter.
This beach bar will celebrate a 22-year anniversary this July. The iconic beach bar has stood the test of time for good reasons: location, location, location! Orient Beach is like a ground zero for beach party goers. And it’s a must on a tour de bar of St Martin or the Caribbean. Telephone: 0690-74-34-29 Web: Bikini Beach.
Lazy Lizard Beach Bar
Lazy Lizard Beach Bar and Grill is located right on the Philipsburg Boardwalk. They have delicious homemade food – with an island twist, of course – along with impeccable service and a gorgeous ocean view setting. Join them for lunch, drinks, or just relax on their beach chairs, while they serve you our hand crafted cocktails, appetizers and entrees. They also make their very own infused rum! And love to offer samples of all of their yummy flavors! Web: Lazy Lizard Beach Bar.
JabJabs Boat Bar
Hands down one of the best island experience
Best St. Martin Hotels
Belmond La Samanna
Belmond La Samanna offers a spectacular private beach, two poolside terraces, 83 luxurious rooms and suites and 8 recently renovated 4600sq. ft. villas with private pools. Enjoy its sophisticated food offerings and award winning wine cellar, indulge in its European Elysees Spa, or simply enjoy the privacy and relaxation of this sophisticated and sensual French-Caribbean enclave. Gourmet dishes are served in the elegant Trellis, and Baie Longue Bar offers pool-side dining and views of Baie Long Beach. Dine on your private terrace and later enjoy a drink from the wine cellar.
Grand Case Beach Club
Intimate and relaxing, small but large enough to have just the right amount of service that brings back our guests year after year. We are constantly improving and have updated and upgraded nearly every aspect of our resort, and will continue to do so.
Marquis Boutique Hotel
The Marquis is an intimate and exclusive 4star boutique hotel located in Anse Marcel Cove on St Martin’s French side. The 18 spacious room & suite accommodations have private terraces and a dramatic view of the ocean. Breakfast & restaurant services can be enjoyed in your room or around the pool. A full service at the beach is provided for hotel guests and a shuttle is at their disposal anytime. This secluded paradise’s reputed personal service adds to its appeal.
Divi Little Bay Beach Resort – All Inclusive
Explore the beauty and otherworldly charms of St. Maarten when you vacation at Divi Little Bay Beach Resort. This resort is completely renovated and opening May 2018. Nestled on a private peninsula between two crystal clear bays — Little Bay and Great Bay — our Caribbean resort offers stunning beaches and close proximity to Phillipsburg, the Dutch capital.
Holland House Beach Hotel
The Holland House offers great charm, a unique ambiance and a rich Caribbean experience. Meet the friendly Islanders, relax and enjoy all that St. Maarten has to offer. The hotel is also located on Front Street, where you will find the best shops and boutiques on the island, all still Duty Free! The Hotel offers 54 rooms and suites all recently renovated, an award winning restaurant and wine cellar, a beautiful outdoor lounge deck and a magnificent beach right in front of the hotel with personal and attentive service.