The small island nation of Saint Martin, located in the Caribbean, is split into two parts: a French side on the north, and a Dutch side on the south. This interesting mixture is not the only curiosity the country has to offer. In fact, we’ve gathered 12 good reasons on why you should be heading to St. Martin as soon as possible.
1. The Music
The Caribbean region is famous for its vibrant music scene, and St. Martin is no different. You will be greeted by melodious tropical music anywhere you go on the island, which is usually a mixture of soca, salsa, samba, steel band, beguine, reggae and rock. These days when you sit in a café on the island you might even recognize some carnival tunes and other popular genres like mambo, calypso and cha-cha-cha.
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2. The Nightlife
Speaking of music, the nightlife on St. Martin is unparalleled by other Caribbean destinations. It is one of the best spots for any avid party-goer, since it is home to more than 12 casinos and dozens of clubs, bars and pubs. Maho village, next to Princess Juliana International Airport, is a unique mini-Vegas of the Caribbean, with all the glitter, music, casinos and partying that comes with it.
Image via mahovillage.com
3. The Best Variety of Restaurants
If you’re a foodie then you know how to appreciate a good meal every once in a while. But what if I told you that you could go to a different restaurant each night for months and you wouldn’t have to go to the same place twice? That’s right, St. Martin has so many restaurants it would take you a very long time to try them all. The restaurants on the island are also renowned for their huge variety, from Moroccan, French, Indian and Italian, to Indonesian and other Oriental cuisines. And as if that wasn’t enough, many restaurants are located by a marina or next to a beach, offering amazing views over the sea. As you can see, it isn’t nicknamed the “Culinary Capital of the Caribbean” for nothing!
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4. The Multiculturalism
Although a small island, St. Martin is home to an astonishing mix of more than 120 different nationalities. The majority of the population is made up of Dominicans, Haitians, Americans, and Europeans (mainly French and Dutch people). The island has a total of 77,000 inhabitants of which approximately 40,000 live on the Dutch side, and the remaining 37,000 on the French side.
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5. Proximity to the US
Princess Juliana International Airport is one of the busiest airports in the Caribbean. But luckily it has numerous direct flights to US cities, such as Atlanta, Charlotte, Miami, Chicago, New York, Washington, Philadelphia and Newark, and even to the Canadian city of Toronto. 22 scheduled airlines and 12 charter services land and depart from Princess Juliana. The airport is famous among plane-spotters, well-known especially for its low landing approach right next to the beach.
Image via Wikipedia
6. Some of the finest seascapes of the Caribbean
With over 70 kilometers of coastline and nearly 40 beaches, St Martin has something to offer everybody. You can find everything from quiet, unspoiled sandy shores to lively hubs of very active nightlife. Long Bay, located in the heart of the Lowlands, is one of the longest beaches on the island and also one of the most tranquil. Orient Bay is one of the island’s most popular beaches, nicknamed the “St. Tropez of the Caribbean”. Little Bay, cut off from Great Bay, is a secluded beach and is fast becoming a haven for bird life.
Image via Wikipedia
7. Watersports center
If you’re more of an adventurous soul and would much rather enjoy an adrenaline-filled day than just sitting on the beach, St. Martin has numerous opportunities to fulfill your wishes. You can practice everything including surfing, windsurfing, wakeboarding, jet-skiing, kite surfing, water skiing, kayaking and sailing, along with snorkeling and diving. The best diving sites can be found mostly in the southern part of the island.
Image via windyreef.com
8. The Shopping
St. Martin is one of the most popular shopping destinations in the French West Indies, mostly due to the fact that there are no customs duties, VAT, or other indirect taxes to pay, so the island offers unequaled prices on merchandise. The French side is abundant in luxury and fashion boutiques, with the “Le West Indies” shopping Mall in Marigot leading the pack when it comes to having the best stores on the island.
Image via cheapcaribbean.com
9. The History
As if amazing beaches and delicious cuisine weren’t enough, St. Martin is also abundant in historic sites and ruins. On the French side one mustn’t miss the 18th century Fort Louis, which dominates the hill over Marigot, offering scenic views of the town and the sea. Substantial walls and columns of the construction are still intact. On the Dutch side, the 17th century walls and cannons of Fort Amsterdam will surely appeal to your senses. Philipsburg’s central Courthouse, constructed in 1793 by John Philips is also a must-see.
Image via geolocation.ws
10. The Architecture
St. Martin is a colorful mix of various architectural styles. Slave masters’ houses can still be seen in a renovated form in the towns. Some of them have been turned into history museums. On the French side elaborately-decorated traditional Creole buildings greet tourists and locals alike. Brightly-colored homes with chiseled wood decorations can also be seen, along with “Aliturian” constructions, the influence of the renowned architect Ali Tur, who mixed traditional styles with his own innovations.
Image via Wikipedia
11. Front Street homes in Philipsburg
In St. Martin you can purchase your own 1,200 sqft beachfront luxury home for a mere $515,000. The apartment is located on the historic Front Street, where you can not only enjoy your own spot on the beach, but you are also a stone’s throw from the main shopping, dining and entertainment areas of the city. The apartment has 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms; it has a fenced yard, a fully equipped kitchen with custom hardwood cabinets, and a spacious dining and living-room area. Every room comes with tile floors, screen doors, and a TV. This type of property is ideal if you want to be in the center of the commotion in the largest city of Dutch St. Maarten.
Image via Point2 Homes
12. Luxury villas on the French side
If you’ve saved up enough money, you can even buy an amazing 3,500 sqft waterfront place in the Terres Basse region, with awesome views of the ocean. The large property comes with a 3 bedroom villa with 3 baths, a lovely furnished kitchen, a spacious dining area and a cozy living room. The house is surrounded by lush tropical plants, offering a secluded hideaway, perfect for nature lovers. Baie Rouge Beach is less than a one-minute drive away, whilst the nearest grocery store is merely a three-minute drive.
Image via Point2Homes
So there you have it, 12 awesome reasons to head to St. Martin. Do we need to say more?
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