10 things I wish I knew before going to Sint Maarten
Sint Maarten is a wonderful tourism destination in the Caribbean. There will be no shortage of sun, sea, and beach during your travel to Sint Maarten, but the island has a lot more to offer. The Sint Maarten weather allows enjoying the steepest hiking trails, beautiful small islands, tropical forests, and of course, luxurious Sint Maarten hotels. The planes over the world-famous Maho Beach, near the Sint Maarten airport, are much more exciting than it sounds. You can find many interesting facts about Sint Maarten, which may encourage you to travel to Sint Maarten. Nevertheless, you will need tips on what to know about Sint Maarten before your travel there. Therefore, in the following points, you can find the essential things about where is Sint Maarten, is Sint Maarten safe to travel to now, what are the best Sint Maarten hotels to stay, what to do in Sint Maarten, how is the Sint Maarten weather, what to know about Sint Maarten, what are the most interesting facts about Sint Maarten, etc.
1. Where is Sint Maarten?
Sint Maarten is an island in the Caribbean Sea, which belongs to the Leeward Islands. The island consists of two parts. The southern half belonged to the former Netherlands Antilles until 2010 and is now an independent country within the Netherlands' Kingdom. The northern half, Saint Martin, is officially part of the country of France. The island is admirable for its nature, tropical climate, and relaxed life. Although the French part is often seen as the most beautiful part of the island, both sides are equally charming. If you are to compare Sint Maarten with Curacao or Aruba, I would tell that there are more differences than similarities. The big similarity is that all three islands were the colonies of the Netherlands and have a Caribbean atmosphere. Furthermore, Sint Maarten, above all, has a character that you should get to know.
2. Is Sint Maarten safe to travel to now?
In 2007 the island was struck by the terrible Irma Hurricane, but is Sint Maarten safe to travel to now? Occasionally, the island is hit by hurricanes, which does not mean that it is unsafe to travel there. They are predictable beforehand; that is why you can follow the precautions and enjoy your travel to Sint Maarten.
3. What to do in Sint Maarten?
The island has many beautiful white beaches, scuba diving, and rainforest-like landscapes where you can take beautiful walks. And after that hike or an afternoon of diving, you can relax and enjoy one of the many fine French restaurants on the island. Thanks to its central location, this tropical paradise is an excellent starting point for exploring other Caribbean Islands.
The steepest zipline in the world
The Rainforest Adventure Park is an eco-adventure park where sustainability and respect for the environment are paramount. Also, you can, of course, experience the adrenaline, which is the purpose of an adventure park. The most sensational attraction is the Flying Dutchman, the steepest zipline in the world. From your launch, you can enjoy a fantastic view of 850 meters. Of course, if you dare to look.
Relaxing on beaches
Sint Maarten is famous for its 37 pearly white beaches and azure blue sea. Wherever you are on the island, you can catch a glimpse of the water and the beautiful colours of the sea almost everywhere. The vast, lively beach at Great Bay Beach near Philipsburg and the spectacular Maho Beach are the two best-known beaches, but the other 35 are all the most paradisiacal.
Crossing the French-Dutch border
Saint Martin and Sint Maarten are two identities on one island. This is the only place in the world where France and the Netherlands border with each other. There is no real physical limit to be detected. You do hear French versus Dutch, and you pay with Antillean guilders or with the euro. All in just 87 square kilometres.
Caribbean's culinary capital
Sint Maarten is also popular as the culinary capital of the Caribbean. At a beautiful luxury holiday destination with an earthly vibe, you cannot miss the delicious food. The melting pot of European and Caribbean influences on this island gives you a delicious combination of the best of the two cuisines.
With a height of over four hundred meters, Pic Paradis is the highest point on the island. Anyone who does the climb up walks through a very green landscape towards the top. Pay special attention to the many butterflies that you will spot. Once at the top, you can enjoy a stunning view of the island.
4. The best Sint Maarten hotels
The accommodation depends, of course, on your personal preferences, your budget, and the availability of a particular place. But, if you need, I can recommend you to stay at one of the most comfortable Sint Maarten hotels: Sonesta Ocean Point Resort, Oyster Bay Beach Resort, Simpson Bay Resort, or Royal Palm Beach Resort.
5. The Sint Maarten weather: tropical savanna climate
A location where is Sint Maarten allows the island to have a tropical savanna climate. The Sint Maarten weather is warm every month with both a wet and dry season. The average annual temperature on the island is 27° C, and there is 741 mm of rain in a year. There is almost always a cloud in the sky, but the sky can also be clear blue or almost dark grey from the clouds. You can spot wonderful days during the dry season, but also days with showers or periods with heavy rainfall. However, one thing is certain about Sint Maarten: you will have to deal with tropical heat. The best time to travel to Sint Maarten is January-December when there is a pleasant or warm temperature and barely rainfall.
6. Maho Beach and Sint Maarten airport
One of the most famous beaches in Sint Maarten is Maho Beach. This special beach is located at the beginning of the runway of the Sint Maarten airport. Beach guests can watch an impressive spectacle here. The planes fly to or from the Princess Juliana International Airport so low over the beach that it seems that you can touch them. The bars around the beach are also popular places to enjoy the view of the descending planes.
7. The most pleasant and capital city of Sint Maarten
Philipsburg is the capital of the Dutch part of Sint Maarten. The old courthouse in the city had quite a few functions. It was a court, prison, post office, fire station, and town hall. Most of the shops are located on the city's two main streets, Front Street and Back Street. The most pleasant place in Philipsburg is the Boardwalk, in my opinion. This car-free boulevard runs along the beach and is a great place to enjoy a snack or a drink.
8. What to do in Sint Maarten capital?
At the end of the Boardwalk, a square was opened at the end of 2015 with nice coloured houses, a small museum, some restaurants, and shops. The colourful square has water fountains in the middle that not only provide some extra atmosphere but also are wonderful to take Instagram photos with.
The Sint Maarten Museum
It is a small educational museum about the history and culture of Sint Maarten. In this way, Dutch history is highlighted, but also the presence of the Arawak Indians before the Europeans discovered this area. You do not have to pay an entrance fee to visit the Sint Maarten Museum.
The Great Bay
The beach of Philipsburg is one of the largest beaches in Sint Maarten. Great Bay Beach is a pleasant tropical sandy beach located on the lovely large bay. The azure blue water contrasts beautifully with the light beach sand. On the beach, there are palm trees here and there that give that extra tropical touch.
Tasting a Guavaberry Colada
Guavaberry is Sint Maarten's national drink and is consumed all over the island. The liqueur is made from rum and local berries, and the tradition is hundreds of years old. In the past, the drink was mainly brewed at home, but the bottles of Guavaberry that you see in every beach bar have been produced in Philipsburg since 1985.
9. The French side of the island
Sint-Maarten is a special island, as it has a Dutch and a French side. On both sides, you will find beautiful beaches and nice hotels, but there are some subtle differences. I, therefore, recommend you to visit the French side for at least one day and to taste the environment of Saint Martin. Places of interest include the capital Marigot, Fort St. Louis, the Loterie Farm, and Grand Case Beach.
10. Interesting facts about Sint Maarten
● Sint Maarten is the only place in the world where France borders the Netherlands. The northern part of the island is French (Saint Martin), the southern part belongs to the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Therefore, on the French side, you pay in euros.
● The island is 5 hours earlier than in the countries it belongs to, the Netherlands and France.
● Sint Maarten is an overseas territory of the European Union. Sint Maarten does not have the status of an outermost region that the French part of the island does.
● The most spoken languages on the island are English, French, Dutch, and Papiamento.
Shamil is from Azerbaijan. During his childhood, he was interested in geography and knew the world map by heart. Now, he is a young student and likes to travel and explore new places. His biggest dream is to visit extraordinary but lesser-known destinations and make these popular among all.