10 Greatest Issues To Do In St. Maarten Throughout A Day In Port

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Whereas I had visited St. Maarten many occasions on cruises, I had by no means left for a cruise from this port till I sailed with Windstar Cruises in December. My husband Eddie and I flew into St. Maarten and used the ship’s switch to shuttle us to a lodge. We wished to be sure you dodge any sudden change of journey plans earlier than cruising the next afternoon. There was time to expertise just a little extra of the dual-nation island than previously, which was a pleasant change of tempo. Here’s what we discovered to be the perfect issues to do in St. Maarten throughout a day in port.

St. Maarten, Dutch (Netherlands), and St. Martin, French, make up the two-nation, 37-square-mile island within the Lesser Antilles Archipelago.

I used to be hosted by Windstar Cruises on a press journey. All opinions and opinions are 100% unbiased and my very own. 

1. See The Marigot Waterfront

St. Maarten’s capital, Marigot, has many boutiques and quaint outside French cafes, bistros, and sushi eating places. Colonial buildings, plus some modern, are located between pastel-colored procuring arcades.

Purchasing and eating — named among the finest within the Caribbean — are primo at this picturesque location. You’ll discover Rosemary’s, a restaurant written about in main magazines and books, reminiscent of Journey and Leisure and Lonely Planet.

Professional Tip: Don’t miss the sculpture of the Market Girl, finished by native artist Martin Lynn and devoted to the St. Martin Market Ladies. It’s one in all St. Martin’s most acknowledged artworks. 

Hotel patio in St. Martin.
Homage Resort & Residences (Picture Credit score: Melody Pittman)

2. Arrive Early

Arrive on the island of St. Maarten — typically written Sint Maarten — a day earlier than your cruise, so you will have an opportunity to unwind and revel in the place to begin a bit. We stayed on the Homage Resort & Residences, a contemporary lodge on the French facet, St. Martin, with an enormous bed room and well-lit toilet. Tropical work, vibrant colours, and accent items actually made our room pop. A small patio with lounge chairs was proper outdoors our room via sliding glass doorways, which led proper right down to the sand. We have been steps from the seaside. 

The Homage Resort had a shocking infinity pool and loads of house to wander with social distance. Be ready to really feel such as you’ve been transported someplace wonderful throughout your keep right here. Palm timber have been plentiful, and your entire resort was lined with distinctive art work and sculptures. The Homage had an onsite restaurant and bar, which was good since nothing was very near us. Eddie and I completely loved the tropical vibe, cute spots to hang around alongside the waterfront, and the chill-out Ibiza music taking part in all through.

Cuisine with pork tenderloin and mushrooms at Be Kool.
Be Kool (Picture Credit score: Melody Pittman)

3. Discover St. Martin

St. Martin is on the French facet of the island and has a completely completely different really feel and vibe from its counterpart, St. Maarten. Eddie and I had an excellent night time out right here with new buddies we’d made on the lodge who have been additionally occurring our cruise. We took a cab to Marigot for dinner at Be Kool. The restaurant sat on the waterfront and was in a superb location. We every had a bowl of French onion soup, luscious and wealthy. My fundamental course was a implausible pork tenderloin with mushroom sauce. 

You gained’t need to miss the high-end retail and fancy designer retailers within the daytime and the open-market bazaar in St. Martin. There are additionally vendor stalls with contemporary produce, locally-made jewellery, and clothes to fulfill your procuring wants.

Professional Tip: Please notice that this space, like a lot of the US, is experiencing a employee scarcity, so be ready to spend 2+ hours at dinner. 

4. Take An Island Tour 

We had fairly a little bit of time to kill after disembarking our Windstar Cruises ship earlier than heading to the airport, so we signed up for the 3-hour, post-cruise island tour. Our information was implausible — full of information and enjoyable, relatable information, plus cheery and happy-go-lucky. We made a loop of your entire island and had a number of photo-ops and free time alternatives. 

The group spent 25 minutes or so strolling round Marigot at our personal tempo. Use this time to seize a French pastry, baguette, or nice cup of espresso. We had round 45 minutes to discover downtown Phillipsburg. That is the place many giant cruise ships come into port, so there are many issues to see and do. We discovered an Indian restaurant on a facet road off Entrance and had a scrumptious meal. For a bonus, there was free WiFi and the homeowners have been very gracious for our enterprise.

Professional Tip: Yacht racing is widespread in St. Martin — you will notice loads of pricy vessels value a photograph.

5. Go to The Butterfly Farm

Being a nature lover, I attempt to go to any institution that has a chance to see and {photograph} butterflies, birds, and flowers. The Butterfly Farm in St. Martin is a particular little place with over 100 completely different butterflies. I may actually spend hours right here.

Professional Tip: St. Maarten/St. Martin’s tourism is simply beginning to rebound after COVID-19. This attraction is at present closed, so look ahead to it to reopen. 

St. Maarten souvenirs.
Melody Pittman

6. See Downtown Phillipsburg

Downtown Phillipsburg has 16 blocks of practically every thing you could possibly want to buy duty-free, principally jewellery, clothes, electronics, and sneakers. I discovered the charming little courthouse to be a pleasant change in surroundings, wanting prefer it was transported from New England.

Voorstraat has casinos — slots, blackjack, and roulette — and duty-free retailers, plus a Arduous Rock Cafe that sadly closed and broke my coronary heart as I used to be craving a juicy cheeseburger. 

Boardwalk Phillipsburg
Boardwalk Philipsburg (Picture Credit score: Melody Pittman)

On the seaside facet of Nice Bay, you’ll discover the cool boardwalk, a superb place to benefit from the salty air, people-watch, and purchase souvenirs. Well-liked souvenirs embody magnets, postcards, tote baggage, rum, and tropical clothes. It was Christmas on our go to, and Heineken had a Christmas tree show for a giant occasion that topped all vacation decorations for the entire journey.

Pastel mural of woman in St. Martin.
Melody Pittman

Professional Tip: There are some enjoyable murals to see round downtown Phillipsburg, too. 

Market lady sculpture at St martin, marketplace.
Melody Pittman

7. Store The Phillipsburg Market

Entrance Avenue, which runs alongside the jap Caribbean Sea’s waterfront in Phillipsburg, the Dutch facet of the island, is lined with flags, road lamps, and pure white sand seashores. Market stalls, or kiosks, provide all kinds of handmade items on the Phillipsburg Market, reminiscent of license plates, jewellery, toys, and t-shirts. 

If tablecloths excite you as they do us, try Mr. Tablecloth Too, with custom-made items, placemats, and desk runners. Lace is an artform on this island, and the fragile items make one-of-a-kind souvenirs. 

Professional Tip: Whereas costs are negotiable, I encourage you to not barter and assist the locals who depend on tourism to place meals on their tables.

Blue waters and doc at caribbean in St. Maarten.
Caribbean Waterfront (Picture Credit score: Melody Pittman)

8. Go Fishing

St. Maarten is a year-round fishing vacation spot, so use your time to constitution a ship and take a look at it. And even go deep-sea fishing, which is an choice with Viator, a TripAdvisor firm that I’ve used world wide. Sailfish and marlin are widespread through the summer time months, whereas kingfish, wahoo, and mahi-mahi are extremely wanted. 

9. Get pleasure from The Seashores

Cruise ships dock at A.C. Wathey Pier, in Dutch St. Maarten. It’s known as the “St. Tropez of the Caribbean.”

St. Martin boasts essentially the most well-known seaside on the island, Orient Seashore. Count on frolicking sunbathers; girls in colourful clothes, promoting over-priced items and providing to braid your hair; and attractive, cosmopolitan eating places on the seaside with the perfect beef carpaccio you’ve ever tasted. 

For those who want to take pleasure in a day on the seaside, look no additional. Carry some money to order a lounge chair and umbrella, must you want, and feast your eyes on the magical crystal blue water and sometimes the athletic children taking part in volleyball or chasing waves. Orient Seashore is regularly voted one of many world’s most stunning seashores.

I’ll warn you that there’s a clothing-optional seaside, so be ready. It’s considerably on the sting of Orient Seashore and within the Membership Orient part. Don’t count on large events there or one thing MTV-worthy, as these are primarily individuals simply dabbling in naturalism. Please don’t use a digital camera, and respect their privateness.

Whereas St. Martin has Orient Seashore, St. Maarten has an thrilling alternative that’s unmatched wherever on this planet. You’ll be able to watch the airplanes land at Princess Juliana Worldwide Airport on Maho Seashore. And by watching, I imply you may really feel the drive of the wind from the planes so strongly that you could be must brace your self. Sandblasted is what they name it. The airport sits alongside the seaside, with a mountain on the opposite facet. 

For a quieter choice in St. Maarten, take into account going to Mullet Bay Seashore, excellent for snorkeling and having fun with water sports activities. Enjoyable truth: The island has a whopping 37 seashores in whole. 

Professional Tip: Order a well-known Sint Maarten Guavaberry Colada. This three-ingredient drink is created from Guavaberry liqueur (the island’s nationwide liqueur), cream of coconut, and pineapple juice. 

10. Go Horseback Using

It’s all the time an exhilarating alternative to experience horses on the gorgeous sandy seashores, so why not verify off this bucket checklist exercise while you’re right here?

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