SXM – St. Maarten (Dutch side) – St. Martin (French side).
On our Caribbean trip, we went to 11 different islands in 5 weeks! We traveled through Thanksgiving and made it home just in time for Christmas. St. Maarten was the last island we visited and [by far] one of the most unique!
Unfortunately, the island was hit pretty hard by Hurricane Irma and we haven’t had a chance to go back since the recovery. This was devastating news, but we have read several positive articles mentioning the significant progress they’ve made rebuilding St. Maarten.
Most restaurants and hotels have been reopened and several new eateries and beachside bars plan to open late 2019/early 2020. The port [for cruise ships] is also estimated to meet or exceed pre-hurricane levels this season!
This island is a party hotspot. It is known for its vibrant nightlife and casinos, bars, and clubs. If you’re planning a trip to St. Maarten | St. Martin and want to be a part of the party, we suggest booking a hotel between Simpson Bay and Downtown Philipsburg.
We are sharing our top 10 things to do on this “Friendly Island”. But– we promise you can never get bored and there are so many other fun options! Just writing this post makes us want to book another trip back to SXM!
Top 10 Things to Do in SXM:
Visit the 37 Beaches in SXM.
Yes, we said 37 beaches! Maho Beach is the most popular tourist attraction. A couple other favorites would be Orient Beach and Dawn Beach.
Sunset Bar and Grill.
This is one of the most popular beach bars on the island. Not only do you have a clear view of the planes landing at Princess Juliana Airport, but the bar offers great non-stop entertainment.
Simpson Bay is where you will find shops, restaurants, and a great party atmosphere. Some of the places you should check out: Hollywood Casino, Buccaneer Beach Bar, Vesna Tavern, Pineapple Pete’s, and The Red Piano [Piano bars are always fun!]
Casino Royale is the largest gaming emporium on St Maarten and widely known as the best casino on the island. They feature 21 gaming tables, black jack, roulette, craps and poker, as well as 410 slot machines [just to name a few!] They also feature cabaret shows every Wednesday and have a lounge inside the theater.
Philipsburg is filled with shops, restaurants and beach bars. Take a walk down the Old Street, stop by the Guavaberry Emporium to sample the local liquor, grab a drink at the Lazy Lizard or I Love SXM Beach Bar just off the boardwalk, eat at Chesterfield’s Restaurant and Bar [great views!], and pick up some candy from the St. Maarten Candy Store.
Rent a Car in SXM.
We will always recommend renting a car when you travel to a new place. We drove the entire island since there are so many different vibes and experiences you would miss if you stayed in one area.
Take a Hike.
There are a few hiking trail options on SXM. Some of the top hikes: Pic Paradis, Anse Marcel to Baie des Petites Cayes, Bellevue Border Crossing, and Pointe Blanche to Guana Bay. Whether you’re looking for a coastal hike or a walk through nature with beautiful views, this island has it all!
There are more than 30 dive sites surrounding St. Maarten | St. Martin and most of the dive sites are shallow and easily accessible. You get to explore beautiful coral reefs and shipwrecks while swimming with manta rays, turtles and sharks. Recommended dive sites on SXM: Circus and Big Mama’s Reef.
Go Zip Lining.
There are two zip lining locations on SXM: Loterie Farm and the Rainforest Adventures at Rockland Estate. Rainforest Adventures reopened to the public in November and features the worlds steepest zip line!
Day trips to Anguilla, Saba, or St. Barts
These three islands are just a speed boat ride away from SXM and give you an opportunity to explore pristine beaches, dolphin encounters, designer boutiques, and world-class scuba diving. Ferry rides leave from Simpson Bay and Philipsburg.
We hope you enjoyed our write up on this beautiful island and have a good rest of your week! We are off to work on another partnership here in Florida that we will be sharing soon.
Kayla + Logan