Sint Maarten is an island in the Caribbean Sea, belonging to the Windward Islands. The island consists of two parts. The southern half belonged to the former Netherlands Antilles until 10-10-2010 and is now an independent country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The northern half, Saint Martin, is officially part of the country of France. Here you simply pay with euros. The island is loved for its nature, tropical climate and relaxed life. Although the French part is often seen as the most beautiful part of the island, we believe that both sides are equally charming. Anyone who wants to compare Sint Maarten with Curaçao or Aruba will have to report that there are more differences than similarities. The big similarity is that all three islands have been colonies of the Netherlands and that there is a Caribbean atmosphere. Furthermore, Sint Maarten above all has its own character that you should definitely get to know.
Top 10 sights of Sint Maarten
Bounty beaches, trendy beaches, quiet beaches, ideal beaches for children, beaches with many water sports options, everything is possible and can be found on Sint Maarten. At Little Bay Beach it is more suitable for children and for diving, Great Bay Beach is nice and hip and happening near the boulevard, Dawn Beach is wonderful for walking and for diving or snorkeling through its beautiful coral reef. Maho Beach is located in the most special place, namely under the flight path of the Princess Juliana airport. From the beach it almost seems as if you can touch them.
#2. Spotting planes
Princess Juliana International Airport is known for its spectacular landings for the public. The planes suddenly appear above the sea and then land just above Maho Beach. The bars around the beach are popular places to enjoy the view of the descending planes, but when you stand on the beach itself it is completely impressive. Watch out for the planes taking off. Before departure, the jet blast causes an enormous wind displacement above the beach.
Philipsburg is the capital of the Dutch part of Sint Maarten. The old courthouse has had quite a few functions. It has been a court, prison, post office, fire station and town hall. Most of the shops are located on the two main streets of the city, Front Street and Back Street. However, in our opinion, the most pleasant place in Sint Philipsburg is the Boardwalk. This car-free boulevard runs along the beach and is a great place to enjoy a snack or a drink.
#4. Pic Paradis
With a height of more than four hundred meters, Pic Paradis is the largest hill on the island. Those who make the climb up walk through a very green landscape towards the top. Pay special attention to the many butterflies you will spot along the way. Once at the top you can enjoy a beautiful view of the island.
This capital in the French part of Sint Maarten has two ports: Port St.Louis and Marina Port La Royale. This is the place to be for more exclusive dining and shopping. Often there are also some markets with local delicacies and souvenirs.
#6. Island hopping
Because of its central location, Sint Maarten is very suitable for visiting other islands from there. Other small paradises such as Saba, St. Barths & St. Eustatius are nearby.
By boat you can travel to Anguilla (from Marigot) or Saint-Barthélemy. The relaxed Anguilla has the most beautiful beaches and the fashionable St. Barths has the most expensive beach bars. Both islands are perfect for a day trip.
#7. Fort Louis and Fort Amsterdam
Of course Sint Maarten used to have to be defended against pirates and against other countries that wanted to take over power here. A few forts were built for defense, such as Fort Louis near Marigot and Fort Amsterdam west of Philipsburg. The best preserved is Fort Louis, built in 1789. From the center of Marigot you can walk up the hill where the fortress stands. From here you have a beautiful view over this part of the island. Much less remains of Fort Amsterdam.
#8. Grand Case
For lovers of good food, a visit to the village of Grand Case is an absolute must. This town is blessed with a number of more than excellent restaurants, some of which have a beautiful view over the wonderful sandy beach. Grand Case has been nicknamed the ‘Gourmet Capital’ of the Caribbean for a reason.
Diving is possible in many places, but probably not as special as around Sint Maarten. The underwater world at this pearl of the Caribbean offers a lot of diving pleasure. The more famous dive sites are Great Bay and Cable Reef, each with its own sunken ship. There are also options for booking a diving safari, where you can feed sharks. Diving on Sint Maarten is possible all year round.
Of course the entire Caribbean Sea is suitable for sailing, but sailing from Sint Maarten is well known for it. Various races are also organized there, including the famous Heineken Regatta. It is possible to rent a sailing yacht with or without crew and thus discover the beautiful surroundings of Sint Maarten from the water.