Saint Martin to the north and Sint Maarten to the south are two nations sharing quite a small island. The term SXM is typically used by tourists of the island as a whole. Saint Martin, or Saint-Martin, comprises about 60% of the island. There’s typically no hassle in passing back and forth between the two countries.
Saint Martin is a French territory known for beautiful beaches – many of which are clothing-optional and quite secluded, brilliant-blue seas and fabulous boutiques and outdoors markets. St. Martin is generally considered a better destination for couples and singles than for families with young kids.
While a part of France, English is the lingua franca due to the cosmopolitan blend of people from many parts of the world. Local dialects are also spoken. A variety of heritages are reflected in Saint Martin including African, European and Caribbean.
The climate is pleasant and dry from January to April. Early summer is lovely too, though the weather gets a bit hot and steamy in late summer. A rainy season from August in to December might not be the best time to visit, though St. Martin usually has a good holiday crowd.
Life in Saint Martin is Sunny and Sophisticated
The culture here is smart yet relaxed. The resorts, restaurants and shops tend to be upscale establishments. Visitors to St. Martin choose it for the urbane ambience and distinct European feel. Here’s a sample of the culture you’ll experience:
- Cuisine in Saint-Martin: The French food is outstanding. Its preparation and presentation are second to none. Enjoy a traditional favorite, or try something with a dash of exotic spices and herbs. A tasty blend of Italian restaurants and those that serve Caribbean fare rounds out your options. Impressive wine and drink menus are part of the attraction in most restaurants, and, of course, rum-based drinks are among the favorites.
- Music in Saint Martin: Caribbean styles dominate here, so get ready to hear some outstanding calypso, soca, zouk, merengue and reggae! Live music can be heard most nights in bars and clubs in Marigot, the largest town.
Things to Do in Saint Martin
The natural beauty is outstanding, but it’s the “scene” that most people head to Saint-Martin to enjoy. Here are both – the top activities in Saint Martin.
- Dine Like Royalty: Fine dining in St. Martin is high on the list of reasons to venture here. Several Michelin-rated restaurants are the cream of the crop, but there are many fantastic places to premium food and service. French, Italian and Caribbean recipes are the most popular.
- Dance All Night: The nightlife here is as dynamic as anywhere in the Caribbean, though not as large in terms of sheer numbers as you find in cities like Kingston.
- Do Nothing on a Beach: A light night followed by a lazy day on a beautiful stretch of sand is the choice of many here, and a recent traveler from Sweden suggested that you, “select any beach. They’re all amazing!” The best beaches on the island as a whole include Orient Bay Beach, Happy Bay Beach and Le Galion Beach.
- Dive the Deep Blue Sea: The reefs off the island offer wonderful snorkeling and scuba diving in Saint Martin. You’ll find all the gear you need. PADI instructors and guides are here too. Other options for the water are surfing, windsurfing, wakeboarding, kayaking, jet skiing, sailing and deep sea fishing.
- Dabble in Art: Galleries of art and art workshops cater to aficionados and those who want to try their hand at creating something unique. One visitor from New York said, “the local art scene is vibrant and interesting.”
Who Should Consider Visiting Saint Martin?
This is a fantastic location for a honeymoon, anniversary or a “just because” romantic romp. Singles travel here too for the opportunity to mingle. There are family-friendly resorts and hotels in Saint-Martin, but the general vibe of the island is more suited to adults.
Saint Martin Tourist Office: http://www.stmartinisland.org/home.html