Though it is less than 38 square miles in total size, the Caribbean island of St Martin (also called St Maarten) is home to two countries! There is the French side of the island, which takes the most common name of St Martin, and then there is the side belonging to the Kingdom of the Netherlands, which is commonly referred to as St Maarten. Clearly, with two unique nations in such a geographically small space, the island is home to an amazing range of culture.
Reason #1 Cultural Diversity
After all, travelers come for the European flair found on both sides of the island, but there are also the Caribbean, African and Creole influences. More than 70 different nationalities are living on the island, with a handful of languages in use. There are multiple religions, many kinds of music, and then there are the delicious foods that belong to each culture.
If someone were eager to enjoy a truly cosmopolitan experience in a tropical paradise, then all of this cultural diversity alone would be reason enough to book your winter holiday in St Martin, but there is actually a great deal more to consider. Let’s begin with the most obvious, the flawless setting the island provides…
Reason #2 The Island Itself
With nearly perfect year round weather, the island offers a perfect environment to savor a holiday, but especially when winter’s freezing, wet and overcast conditions have you down. Afternoon trade winds keep everything cool, and though the island does not have a tremendous amount of land-based activities (with the exception of amazing shopping, dining and some great museums and markets), it does offer nearly perfect conditions for sailing, windsurfing and diving/snorkeling.
Reason #3 The Beaches
Just consider this: the island is less than 38 square miles, but it has more than 35 excellent beaches! This means that, whatever your preferences, you will find a beach to suit your tastes! While all of the beaches are noted for the clarity of the waters, beauty of the sands, and general appeal, there are some that are ideal for beachside dining, those that are perfect for fans of water sports, family-friendly beaches, and even some hidden or secluded options. Whether your winter getaway to St Martin is meant to find you sitting ocean side sipping cocktails, catching trade winds while windsurfing, or picnicking with the kids, there are several options to enjoy.
Reason #4 The Food
While we did mention food when emphasizing the cultural diversity of St Martin, one definite reason to book a winter holiday to the island is the food. Taking a trip to St Martin, and spending time sampling its many eateries is similar to a trip around the world. After all, you can sip darkly roasted coffees while nibbling French pastries in one neighborhood, dive into the generous servings of grilled chicken or local Creole favorites in another area, and savor five-star dining at yet another. The ingredients will always be some of the freshest, and often local. Think lobster, conch, goat, and the very freshest produce imaginable and you have an excellent portrait of dining in St Martin. Winter is also when Harmony Nights occur in Grand Case, and these are evenings dedicated strictly to food.
Reason #5 The Events
When you book a winter to early spring visit to St Martin, you may provide yourself with opportunities to partake of some of the most exciting events imaginable. There is the annual Heineken Regatta in March, which is the world’s largest warm water regatta and event that most sailing enthusiasts have at the top of their bucket list. Of course, the Carnival events on the island’s Dutch side draw huge crowds for its wonderful blend of cultures. There is an arrow root celebration in February, the SXM Music festival, and more.
Hopefully, these inspire you to book a holiday in St Martin in order to enjoy a luxurious break from winter’s chill.