The best time to go to St.Martin/St.Maarten is between the months of November through to June. The climate is pleasant year-round but during this time you will be able to indulge in the best weather where it is sunny and tropical with an average temperature of 26°C.
April through to June are the best months to visit the island as the weather is still glorious and warm. Airlines, hotels and resorts tend to drop their prices as the peak season begins to come to an end, so you should be able to pick up a good bargain.
During the summer months from July to October is hurricane season so rough storms and greater rainfall are to be expected.
So, lets get to know St.Martin a bit better!
This beautiful island is separated into two captivating places of paradise, the French side (Saint Martin) and the Dutch side (Sint Maarten). They are completely different to each other but equally as exquisite in their own way.
The Dutch side of Sint Maarten is more tourist focused with an abundance of luxury hotels, resorts, nightlife and casinos, whereas the French side tends to be more relaxed with incredible restaurants to dine at and amazing places to visit, however both sides have incredible beaches, trade winds and really friendly people.
Saint Martin/Sint Maarten is located just south of Anguilla and to the east of the Virgin Islands. The French side of Saint Martin speak French whereas English is predominantly spoken on the Dutch side, despite the official language being Dutch.
Capital City: Philipsburg is the capital of the Dutch side. Marigot is the capital of the French side.
Currency used: The Dutch side officially uses the Netherlands Antillean Florins while the French side uses Euros. However, on the Dutch side the US Dollar is predominant and most common currency used. Make sure when travelling to the region that you obtain the correct currency as the French side of Saint Martin will not accept US Dollars.
Main Airports: On the Dutch side is Princess Juliana International Airport | On the French side is L’Espérance Airport
Visa & Entry Requirements: You must carry a valid passport and return ticket. Most countries do not require a Visa. You can check out any further requirements here.
Average temperature: St.Martin/Sint Maarten more or less has a constant temperature of 26°C so the climate is tropical throughout the year.
Now, St.Martin has some incredible things to do here, be sure to check these out!
What to do in Saint Martin/Sint Maarten
- Take in the views from the top of the chairlift on Sentry Hill, and zoom down the mountainside in an inner tube.
- Visit Simpson Bay, Marigot and the uninhabited island of Tintamarre to snorkel and swim with sea turtles.
The festivals here are some of the best in the Caribbean, definitely look into these once your here!
Culture & Festivities
The French and Dutch side of St.Martin share a similar culture to one another but also have their own very distinct qualities. Both are influenced by African and European ancestries that can trace their roots back to the Netherlands, France and Africa. The people of St.Martin have formed their own way of life and celebrate many traditions and festivities to this day.
Held over the month of February you can experience the St.Martin Carnival where locals come together to celebrate once of the most anticipated events in the calendar. Take to the streets and see people dress up in colourful, florescent clothing and masquerades. The towns of Saint Martin come alive with music, parades, dancing and singing right through into the night.
It’s said that this is the best time to go to St.Martin to experience the Carnival in all its glory.
Dutch side Carnival
Another chance to get the see the Carnival if you arrive between mid-April to the start of May. As St.Martin is an island of two nations, it means double the celebrations. The Dutch side of Sint Maarten put on an incredible performance similar to the St.Martin Carnival where you can see fantastic costumes, parades, singing, dancing and music being played from the local bands set up around Sint Maarten.
The Heineken Regatta
One of the biggest sailing competitions in the Caribbean. The Heineken Regatta has be running now for almost 40 years and brings together thousands of sailors from 35 countries to compete over a four-day race. It is held during the last week of February where the biggest names in sailing go up against one another with over 300 boats competing. It truly is an incredible sight to see when you look out towards the horizon and see dozens of colourful majestic boats sailing along the coastline.
As it is Heineken that run the event, there is never a shortage of performers that come to St.Martin during the Regatta hosting amazing artists like the Black Eyed Peas, UB40 featuring Ali, Astro & Mickey, Akon, Wyclef Jean, Shaggy, The Commodores, and Red Foo and the Party Rock Crew.
The Billfish Tournament
Held towards the end of June, the Billfish tournament is recognized as one of the leading sport fishing tournaments in the Caribbean.
It invites fishermen from all over the world to compete in catching some of the largest Billfish, Tuna, Marlin, Wahoo and Spearfish.
Spectators are treated to entertainment and live music throughout the tournament and are able to get a taste of the local fish delicacies caught just offshore.
The beaches here are simply breathtaking, these are some you need to visit!
Best beaches in St.Martin/Sint Maarten
St.Martin/Sint Maarten boast some of the Caribbean’s most draw-dropping white sandy beaches with warm colourful cerulean waters that invite you to swim and bask in all of its glory.
During peak season most of the popular beaches tend to get crowded but arriving early at any one of these beaches, you will be able to find your own spot of sand to set up for a day of sun-worshipping.
Located at the north-east end of the island, around a 20-minute drive from the capital of Marigot, you will discover a long, lovely stretch of sand known as Orient beach. The bay here is protected by a coral reef, allowing the waters to be much calmer and granting excellent opportunities for snorkelling and swimming. The white sand is powdery to the touch and is nothing short of a typical Caribbean beach.
There are restaurants available here such as Waikiki Beach and Bikini Beach that offer excellent food. There are a good deal of water sport vendors on the beach where you can try your hand at boogie boarding, parasailing or jet skiing.
Simpson Bay beach
Literally a 4-minute walk from the Princess Juliana International Airport. Simpson Bay is a 2km long curved white sand beach that is relatively quiet. With its calm waters it is perfect for swimming and snorkelling. Facilities here are minimal that there are a few restaurants such as the Karakter Beach Bar that serves tasty food and drink. Sitting on this beach you can really take in the natural beauty and simply watch sailboats sail by in the horizon.
Maho Bay beach
Looking to experience the jet blast of planes flying low overhead as the come in to land, then look no further. Maho beach is located just in front of the runway for Princess Juliana International Airport and is one of the world’s most popular destinations for plane enthusiasts to see 747’s flying meters above their heads. But take away this claim to fame and you can enjoy the natural beauty of its palm-shaded sands, with beautiful turquoise water that is terrific for swimming and wind-surfing.
Little Bay beach
Little Bay beach has a very natural, untouched feel to it even though you will notice some luxurious hotels and resorts just in the backdrop. It is located just a 7-minute drive west of Philipsburg and is the perfect beach for families with small children as there is plenty of room and with off-shore reefs and quiet waters, it is ideal for swimming.
There are a few places to grab a bite to eat such as Gizmos Bar & Grill where they serve tasty food and cold drinks.
Mullet Bay beach
You can find Mullet May beach just a 4-minute drive north of Maho beach. This busy, spectacular beach offers stunning white, powdery sands that are dotted with swaying palm trees. As this beach does tend to get busy, especially during peak season it is advised to arrive here early in the morning to pick out your own spot.
The water here is generally quiet and calm, so swimming and snorkelling should be encouraged where you can see small tropical fish swim around your ankles.
You can take advantage of some tasty food at the Mullet Bay Beach bar where they also offer some great cocktails.
Grand Case beach
Travel to the north end of St.Martin and you will come across the captivating Grand Case beach. It is a 15-minute drive from the capital of Marigot on the French side. This white sandy beach leads into eye-catching turquoise waters that have a surf that is generally mild so is great for swimming in.
Just down the road from Grand Case beach, you will experience a wealth of beachside bars and restaurants such as Le Pressoir, Blue Martini Steakhouse and Escapade.
Check out some of these fantastic restaurants once your here, you’ll not be disappointed!
Where to dine
St.Martin/Sint Maarten is a very diversified island that has a population of people from many nationalities from around the world. With this, it brings many culinaries together from far ends of the world which can be seen and savoured in these beautiful restaurants.
- Bistrot Caraibes – 81, Boulevard de Grand Case, Grand Case (French, Seafood, European)
- La Villa Restaurant – 93 Boulevard de Grand Case, Grand Case (French, Seafood, European)
- Spiga Restaurant – 4 L’Esperance Road | St Martin, Grand Case (Seafood, Italian, Contemporary)
- Cigale Restaurant – Route des Terres Basses | Nettle Bay, Baie Nettle (French, Vegetarian Friendly)
- Le Sand – Nettle bay | Terres Basses road, Baie Nettle (Seafood, Vegetarian Friendly)
- Moulin Fou – Maho Plaza, Maho (French, Seafood, Sushi)
- La Rosa Restaurant – Maho Plaza | Next To Platinum Room, Maho (Italian)
- Charter House 1863 – 68 Welfare Road | Simpson Bay Yacht Club, Simpson Bay (Seafood, Steakhouse, International)
- Antoine by the sea – Front Street 119, Philipsburg (French, Caribbean, Seafood)
- Astrolabe – Esmeralda Resort, Orient Bay (French, European)
During many invasions from Europeans on the Caribbean, St.Martin/ Sint Maarten wasn’t one of the main targeted islands although it did have its share of skirmishes and gun battles. The islands changed ownership many times from the Spanish, Dutch and French although in 1630, the Dutch and French established small settlements. The Spanish seen this as a threat and invaded once again and took control off St.Martin/Sint Maarten, however, the Dutch and French pulled their forces together and fought back and repel the Spanish.
In 1644, they achieved their goal and the Spanish abandoned their claims on the Eastern Caribbean altogether. In 1648, the French and Dutch decided to share and divide the island.