St Maarten is by FAR by favorite place to vacate to. The beaches are pristine, the night life is amazing and the people are so sweet. Definitely consider it for your next Caribbean escape!
Here is a brief overview (I'll try and stick to the facts for those of you planning a trip here) of our 7 Days in St Maarten:
First things first, you MUST get a car to stay on this island. Roads are the same as the US and driving is easy
We stayed on the French side in Nettle Bay Beach club through VRBO. I highly recommend this community and specifically this apartment. Each day we were woken up with the most beautiful sunrise. The sound of the ocean day and night was heaven to listen to. There was enough space to do my workouts on demand every AM. Our host Thierry was super helpful and nice, we were only the 3rd pair to have stayed there. Here is where we stayed
Nettle Bay is 15 minute lovely drive from the airport. I believe our place was in the perfect spot to explore both the French and the Dutch side. Across the street was a delicious Patisserie/french bakery, and up the road was a super market for your basic needs/snacks!
Mullet Bay: GORGEOUS bay in between Simpson Bay and Marigot on the Dutch side. Go here during sunset for lesser crowds and bring a drink! If you go here during the day go EARLY to beat the crowds. This was the most crystal blue water we saw in St Martin.
Bamboo Bernies: We ate here for dinner on our first night. It's located in Maho bay on the strip near the casinos. Delicious stir fried rice and sushi!
Natural Cafe: Listen to me closely, you MUST go to the Natural Cafe while in St Martin. We went EVERY day during our vacation. Between all the drinks and food my body was CRAVING veggies. This place has the most delicious wraps, falafels, juices and more. Their stuff ranges from organic to vegan and their staff is so sweet. They even blended up my Shakeology for me! Natural Cafe is between Nettle Bay and Marigot.
Orient Bay: on the french side this is where the Nudists go although not all the beaches there are nude beaches. There are a bunch of places to purchase chairs, but I will say this beach was a little pushy with waiters yapping at you to stop at their bar and their vendors approaching you while you're trying to relax. We walked toward the 'nude' area and I caught once glimpse of an old man naked and ran the other way. #nope.
Simpson Bay: we headed towards our old stomping grounds, Simpson bay where all the yacht clubs, bars and bays are. Lots to do on Airport road as described below
Toppers: Cute open bar on the strip. Their happy hour is 1-6pm :) My kind of bar
Bucaneers: right in the heart of Simpson Bay you can walk from Toppers to this beach bar. Grab a chair and a drink for the day or just to watch the sunset
Loterie Farm: This.Place.Was.AMAZING! We went for just the jungle pool, but they have zip lining and hiking too! If you are going for the pool get there RIGHT when it opens to grab a chair with sun (they go fast). You pay 26 euro for a chair and get drink service all day. They have great service, good food and fun music playing. You feel like you are in another world here with iguanas swimming with you in the ice cold waterfall pool. We went 2 days we loved it so much. We met new friends there that informed us of the White Party I'll mention later...
Rancho: Restaurant in Simpson Bay. I don't know if I can rate this accurately. Most tables in this restaurant were 5+, so we felt a bit neglected with how busy they were. The power was also out on the street so maybe that was an issue too--but the food was subpar. Pretty atmosphere though!
Dirty Sanchez: bar above Rancho in Simpson bay. Good drinks and bartenders but I have to say: people that go here for the music must be on drugs! The TV screens play the weirdest cartoons/videos and then the music is nothing you are familiar with. Either way it was a fun place to go and people watch for SURE.
Soggy Dollar: next stop in Simpson bay (all these bars are within feet of each other) was the Soggy Dollar and they were having a WHITE party, which was supposedly the biggest party of the whole year on the island? We paid a $40 cover to see a DJ from Holland with a pretty RIDICULOUS set up (think a Tiesto Vegas set). I couldn't get over how all the yachts surrounding the bar (the marina is in the back yard of Simpson bay) had to deal with this noise! Anyways, the Soggy Dollar is known for their poles that you climb up and write your name in chalk on the roof of the bar. We had a blast people watching all night, but I know for sure the Soggy Dollar is much more tame on other nights.
Karakter Bar: Sunday Funday is crazy at Karakter bar in Simpson Bay. This is a beach bar that serves drinks out of a hallowed out school bus. Make sure to get there when they open to score a chair on the beach. On Sunday's they have a DJ later in the day. Hang all day, meet lots of traveling nomads or yachties and enjoy until sunset!
Anguilla: From Blowing Point (French side) take the 20 minute Ferry to Anguilla for the day. Anguilla has the CLEAREST beaches I've ever seen. We went on a Monday and there was barely anyone there. We were recommended Shoal Bay East by some friends and it didn't disappoint. We bought a chair and had drinks and read all day long. Super relaxing. When you get off the ferry they have cabs waiting for you to take you anywhere. Make sure to bring your passport. Ferry is 20$ each way. Have cash for the cabs!
3 Amigos: in Maho Beach. Basic Mexican food. Nothing too amazing but it did the job after a long day in the sun. They have karaoke and it can be scary to watch at times haha.
Sunset Bar: Maho Beach.. the beach where you feel like the plan is LANDING on you!!! It's such a cool experience and I could sit there all day watching them take off and land. Beware of the air blast area when planes are taking off (your shit WILL fly everywhere). **WARNING: I know that I am careless sometimes but this was the SECOND time my GoPro was stolen AT THIS BAR. All the people from the cruise ships visit this bar, making it a target for locals to steal your shit. I had my GoPro right in my bag that was sitting at my feet and it was stolen without me looking. So, either don't let go of your devices or don't bring them! Either way I will keep going to this bar because its amazing. You will see it right as you land in SXM.
Grand Case: On the French side, I only saw this town at night. Every Tuesday beginning in the new year they have a Mardi-Gras esque celebration happening with street vendors, artists and performances. They say it continues until it 'runs out of money' #caribbeanlife . We ate a place called La Shambala, but wished we just munched on the street vendors snacks instead! Grand Case is supposed to be big on arts and crafts, great for picking up gifts for those at home.
Jimbo's Rock & Blues Cafe: our last day we went to Loterie Farms again, explored the marina (only yachties can do), and then came here. We tried to go previously on our trip but it was booked, which made us want to check it out even more--so make sure to make a reservation for Jimbo's. This restaurant has carib-mex cuisine and had some of the most delicious shrimp fajitas I've ever tasted. Their guac was amazing too #obvi!
And that's a wrap!!! An amazing trip that I am STILL day dreaming about. I've visited many caribbean islands, and St Maarten is my favorite. Currently brainstorming how to make this caribbean life more of a permanent setting for this girl boss #hmmmm . If you love to travel and want to create a life of freedom through your passion for health and fitness, click here!