St. Martin, Leeward Islands, Caribbean
Written by Missy Johnston
Cruise to the Caribbean island of St. Martin on a crewed yacht charter and experience an island of two nations. Sixty percent of St. Martin or Saint-Maarten is owned by France and forty percent of St. Martin or Sint Marteen is owned by the Kingdom of the Netherlands. For this little tropical island is an island owned by two countries, and life ashore reflects the life, culture, traditions and even the languages of these two parent nations. Both cultures on this one island are waiting to be explored on a crewed yacht charter of the island of St. Martin.
St. Martin is a duty-free island. If St. Martin is your boarding port for your yacht charter, on arrival, after immigration, expect to walk right out for your transfer to your waiting charter yacht. There is also an international airport on this island, with many very good flights in and out. Duty free is across the island, whether French or Dutch, and so shopping, especially on the Dutch side, where there are many discount shops, reigns supreme on this island. However also reigning supreme are the beautiful beaches and waters surrounding this island of two nations.
The French side of St. Martin is anchored by the town of Marigot, where everything is typically French, including fresh baguettes baked every day and typically French boutiques and shops where everyone speaks, what else? French. And there are very good French restaurants and cafes. Night life at a beach restaurant continues into the wee hours of the morning. The Dutch side is anchored by the town of Philipsburg and is chock a block full of stores selling discounted duty-free goods, especially electronics, cameras and jewelry. At night, on the Dutch side, the casinos come alive and the air pulses with music from the various night clubs, while neon signs blink in tempo with the beat. Music pounds out of the doors onto the street, however this little area is a location in which to keep an eye out for pickpockets and others. The French side offers a night life as well, especially around Grand Casse; however, on this side of the island, bars and restaurants comprise the night life, which is quieter, however drinks and dinner can be enjoyed right on the beach, under the stars accompanied by the sounds of the waves as “music to the ears”.
What to See and Do on Yacht Charter on St. Martin Island, Caribbean
Shopping: One of the big activities on St. Martin as a Duty-Free Island is shopping, whether to pick up less expensive electronics than purchased at home, or lovely jewelry at a good value, there is shopping that is quite French in Marigot on the French side and shopping that is so very Dutch in Phillipsburg. Enjoy strolling the Boardwalk in Phillipsburg, right on the water, with the main line of shops on the street one block behind the Boardwalk.
Parotte Ville Bird Sanctuary: Visit to see many different types of exotic birds, some of which are very socialized with humans and enjoy being hand fed.
Toppers Rhum Distillery Tour: This small boutique distillery makes a variety of rums with different flavors and a very good rum cake. Have a tour and then a tasting, with the opportunity to purchase your favorite rums.
Orient Bay Beach and Grand Case: Two lovely beach areas on the French side of St. Martin, both with restaurants and beach bars. Orient Bay Beach is clothing optional. Grand Case offers many restaurants where an evening could start with cocktails on the beach, with a great sunset view over the water, and end with dinner inside.
Sint Maartin Yacht Club: This is a fun place to stop in for anyone visiting St. Martin on a private yacht. The location alone, next to the drawbridge that opens for yachts to enter and exit Simpson Bay Lagoon, is worth the visit, especially at bridge opening times, to see the parade of luxury yachts entering and exiting Simpson Bay Lagoon. This Yacht Club organizes the main regattas that occur on St. Martin.
There are many great beaches in St. Martin, including Terres Basses, and Happy Bay, along with beaches on several small little islands off St. Martin such as Pine Island and Tintamarre that are easy to visit, if only because you can on a crewed yacht charter. Nearby, and easy to include in a crewed yacht charter itinerary starting and or ending in St. Martin are the islands of Anguilla and St. Barths. Enjoy the dual nationalities of this little tropical island of St. Martin on your next crewed yacht charter.