This little island is divided into a french (St. Martin) and dutch (St. Maarten) side. It’s romantic seeing the french culture still intact on its side but totally absurd the two sides have not reconciled inane differences like cell phones services, electric outlets, and acceptable forms of cash. Be prepared to deal with these annoying inconsistencies. The most beautiful beaches are on the french side and all the casinos and night clubs are on the dutch side. We decided to live on the french side and party on the dutch side. party on the dutch side. party on the dutch side.
Housing-Our trip was 10 days long so we opted for a condo rental over a Hotel. Best idea ever. Also happened to be my idea. I searched many websites, but eventually found it through http://www.loperimmo.com. I thought it was a little risky when I was asked to wire over cash for a reservation, but it turned out to be the cutest furnished apartment on the marina.
Car Rental-It is imperative that you rent a car while you are there. The island is small enough for driving not to be too difficult, but large enough so that walking everywhere isn’t really an option. Don’t bother reserving your car ahead of time, it’s smarter to rent straight from the airport because the car rental booths are all set up next to each other so you can arrange your own price bidding war. We were lucky to have found an SUV with Avis for about $20 a day.
Food-We ate on too many occasions at the row of overpriced tourist infested restaurants on the Marigot Marina, mostly because of it’s convenient location. Apparently when your muscles are sore and your stomach is growling, you’re not too picky about where you eat. I highly recommend the “Lolos” in Grand Case. For those of you that know what I’m talking about…”can I get a YUM YUM?” The best darn barbecued ribs and chicken on the fly. Bonus Tip: The mouth on fire salsa that will change your life is the one that lists “scotch bonnet peppers” as its first ingredient.
Rhino Riders-Ride your own two person water craft in a 2.5 hour tour through boths sides of the island and spend an hour snorkeling on Creole Rock. Much better than jet skiing. You get to ride through rough waters at ridiculous speeds. Warning: The faster you go, the higher your boat flies up into the air and the harder it slams back. My jaw misaligned after one such jump. TOTALLY WORTH IT.
Loterie Farms-An extreme zip-line tour, treetop. It wasn’t just a series of zip-lines (approximately 10), but also an obstacle course of rope swings, and log bridges. Definitely an amazing experience to be flying through air 1000ft above ground.
Beaches-Once we found Orient Bay, it became our beach of choice. In my opinion, it is by far the best beach on the island, not only for it’s vast size, and beach bars, but mostly for the people watching…The beaches on the french side allow total nudity, but don’t require you to be of a certain age or physicality, ifyouknowwhatImean…good times.
Fort Louis-originally built in the late 1700’s as a barrier to protect Marigot from invaders, now is a scenic historical monument with panoramic views. You climb a series of steep steps to a peak that overlooks the entire Marigot harbor. The sight is breath taking and you can even see Anguilla from a distance.
Marigot Market-Basically a flea market with a french flavor. Great area for buying crafts and fresh produce. Only open on wed, fri and sat.
Nearby islands-It is relatively easy to visit nearby islands such as Anguilla and Saba by ferry and catamarran http://link.ai. Plan this event in advance as the ferries only run on certain days and tickets need to be purchased in advance. We learned this the hard way 😦
Nightlife-The island is small with many bars and casinos but only a few could be considered “hotspots”. In our experience (jan23-feb1), Tuesday was *the* night to go out. Pineapple Petes is great for live music and pool playing and Bliss is the only “club”, packed every night, for those of you that like techno/house crap.