St Martin, a leading travel destination in the Caribbean, has it all – from powdery white sand beaches to fabulous restaurants to an electrifying night life. A convenient flight to Princess Juliana International Airport (code: SXM) will transport you to this tropical paradise. Plan a trip any time of the year to enjoy temperatures in the mid 80 degrees and a world of activities. Islanders of more than 80 nationalities welcome you to experience the natural beauty of this island of shallow blue lagoons, turquoise ocean waters and green mountains. Visitors will discover that St. Martin offers something for everyone, from eco adventures to exceptional gourmet restaurants and, of course, duty-free shopping. Spend the day wind surfing, snorkeling or scuba diving and then marvel at the glorious sunset from a casual beach bar. After dinner, the glittering St. Martin night is yours to discover at a trendy nightclub or casino. Make sure to schedule an island-hopping excursion to explore the nearby islands of Anguilla and St Barts.
The dual national status of St Martin is highly unique. The northern half of the island is the French side named Saint Martin while the southern half of St Martin is the Dutch side and officially titled Sint Maarten. In all, the island is relatively small with 34 square miles. Circumnavigating the island is easy with a main ring road that takes about 40 minutes without traffic. Guests can spend their days on Orient beach and their evenings in the Maho and Simpson Bay area where there are a lot of nightlife options such as restaurants, bars and casinos.
What's the difference between either side of the island? Not much. There are no visible borders between the two halves. The main differences is that the French side tends to be French speaking and their electrical outlets are 220V. However, English is spoken throughout the island and US dollars are accepted everywhere.
When selecting your villa rental, we recommend focusing on select areas rather than French side or Dutch side. Selecting the ideal area is paramount to finding the perfect St Martin vacation rental. For guests that want to enjoy the best of the island, we recommend Terres Basses and Cupecoy. For those that want to be spend their days on a beautiful beach with access to the great restaurants of Grand Case then nearby Orient Bay or Happy Bay are optimal areas. Contact our St Martin experts for ideas and recommendations.
Things To Do on St Martin
Planning a St Martin vacation can range from a relaxed week at your St Martin villa replete with private St Martin chef services and indulgent spa services to an adrenaline filled week with zip lines, go carts, and water sports. St Martin is one of the most active islands in the Caribbean by offering a host of experiences and excursions. Here are our top 5 suggested things to do on St Martin
Sail to Anguilla or Prickly Pear
Isle Blue can arrange a private boat charter or group sail along the coast or to nearby Anguilla or the deserted island of Prickly Pear. Allow the winds to gently carry you on a gentle sail from St Martin to a unique beach setting of powder white sand from crushed coral and pristine turquoise waters.
The Flying Dutchman
Experience the steepest zip line in the world called the Flying Dutchman at Rockland Estate, St Maarten. Take a chair lift up to the top of the mountain to enjoy 360 degree views then zip to the bottom.
Spend a Day at Orient Beach
A day at this world famous beach is a must. The mile long beach is populated by chic beach bars that feature nouveau and traditional French fare in a relaxing and chill atmosphere. There is plenty of water sports from parasailing to wave runners. For kitesurfers, there are outfitters that will set you up for a memorable day on Galleon Bay featuring 10m to 14m sails. The beach is dotted with chic beach bars such as Kontiki beach bar, Kakao or Bikini beach bar. Coco Beach is our favorite St Martin Beach Bar and a must visit.
Find your Favorite Bakery
There is nothing like a Parisian bakery in the gorgeous Caribbean. The island's heavy French influence renders an amazing dividend of sublime bakeries and tantalizing cafes and restaurants. Find your own favorite bakery and start your morning right with sampling a variety of pastries while bringing back fresh baguettes to your afternoon lunch at your St Martin villa. Our favorites are the Chez Fernand in Marigot or the L'Express bakeries around the island.
More Things to do on St Martin
St Martin's Best Restaurants
La Cigale is one of our favorites and a sure fire hit with our guests. Located on Simpson lagoon in Nettle Bay, this romantic French restaurant is the ideal choice for those seeking to try the very best of St Martin as well as special occasions. Hosted by Claudine and Olivier, La Cigale is a required night out.
Mario's Bistro is annually rated as one of the best restaurants on the island. Located in the marina of Porto Cupecoy, the waterfront French restaurant offers an impeccable menu that continues to incorporate new influences.
Any Grand Case Restaurant
Grand Case is regarded as the culinary capital of the Caribbean. Front Street in Grand Case is loaded with amazing restaurants so stroll along the ocean side street and take your pick for numerous options in Grand Case. Several restaurants we highly recommend in Grand Case are Bistrot Caraibes, Le Cottage, La Villa, L'Auberge Gourmande, or Le Pressoir. In particular, we highly recommend Ocean 82.
Our St Martin Restaurant Guide
Where to Stay on St Martin-St Maarten
There are plenty of St Martin villas, vacation rentals and hotels on the island but location matters. Finding the correct area on St Martin is highly important and will govern how you enjoy your vacation. Staying at a St Martin beachfront villa such as Casa de la Playa is an ideal option but beachfront St Martin villas do carry a price premium. However, the hillside villas on St Martin offer elegant alternatives at tantalizing prices. In fact, St Martin has the best luxury values in all of the Caribbean. Some of our most popular villas are Encore, Grand Bleu, Mirabelle and Bamboo to name a few. Isle Blue recommends the following locations as the most desirable for our guests.
Terres Basses is the French translation for lowlands. The gated community of Terres Basses is located in the southwestern quadrant of the island and hosts many of the best villas on St Martin. There are three beautiful beaches in this area Baie Rouge, Baie Longue and Plum Bay (aka Baie aux Prunes). We typically recommend this area for a variety of factors. First and foremest is the exclusiveness of the gated enclave. Each villa is located on 2.5 acres that ensures great privacy and serenity. The villas tend to be western facing so guests can enjoy all day sun as well as brilliant sunset views. With all day sun, the days feel longer. Secondly, the area is highly convenient to great restaurants, shopping, grocery store and the airport (about 10 minutes away).
Terres Basses Villas
Cupecoy Beach is an ideal option for first time visitors. Whether you choose to stay at a Shore Pointe villa or a luxury condo in Porto Cupecoy, this highly convenient location offers a grocery store, restaurants, boutiques, and access to Cupecoy beach, famous for it's sandstone cliffs.
If you want to spend your vacation days at a chic beach bar drinking cocktails or Red Stripes while enjoying fabulous cuisine then Orient Beach is a fabulous area to focus on. In addition to the beach bars, there are plenty of activities in the area such as kite-surfing, wave runners, parasailing or snorkeling adventures. In the evening, the restaurants of Grand Case are about 15 minutes away.
Orient Beach Villas
Happy Bay is an upcoming and increasingly popular destination for guests. Happy Bay beach is regarded as one of the most beautiful and pristine on the island. Access is difficult unless you are staying in a nearby Happy Bay villa that offers paths directly to Happy Bay beach as well as Friar's Bay beach. There are some great value villas in this area such as Sea Dream. Our most popular villa in the area is aptly named Happy Bay Villa.
Happy Bay Villas
St Martin Vacation Planning Tips
When to Travel to St Martin
St Martin is a ten month destination beginning on November 1st to end of August. The peak times of travel are Thanksgiving week, Christmas & New Years, Presidents day week (mid February), Heineken Regatta (early March), SXM Music Festival (mid March), and Easter. For extraordinary luxury value, low season rates begin April 15th and end on December 15th.
St Martin Weather
St Martin enjoys fabulous weather all year round with temperatures ranging from the low to high 80's. The weather in the winter months is around 83-85F degrees during the day and low 70s in the evening. The summer months are comfortable as well due to the trade winds with 87F degree days and evenings in the mid 70s.
View St Martin Weather Forecast
How to get to St Martin
Getting to St Martin is primarily via air. The main airport for St Martin/St Maarten is Princess Juliana Airport (Phillisburg/Simpson Bay, St Maarten). The airport code is SXM. The island has direct flights from many eastern US cities as well as Amsterdam and Paris.
Our St Martin concierge service is an integral part of a successful vacation experience. Our team can assist with the following services:
Arrival Logistics & Pre-stocking
St Martin Rental Cars
Activity and Excursions