St. Martin is an enticing taste of France in the Caribbean…enjoy gourmet dining on the beach…world-class duty free shopping…exciting nightlife, discotheques and casinos…all water sports and alluring clothing optional white sand beaches…one of our favorite islands…
St. Martin lies in the Lesser Antilles of the West Indies and, also, lies near the top of our list for favorite islands in the Caribbean. On this highly desirable island in the French West Indies, you will discover the lifestyle and culture of France magically blended with the colors and relaxed pace of the tropics. France in the Caribbean!
We love St. Martin for many reasons…Each day is filled with the irresistible lure of civilized exploration. Here are the reasons we return to St. Martin again and again:
St. Martin Island offers visitors a multitude of diverse activities to fill their tropical vacation. Beach lovers enjoy St. Martin as it is known for its spectacular beaches, which offer brilliant white sand and crystal clear waters. St. Martin affords exceptional close in snorkeling directly off its spectacular white sand beaches. St. Martin rental villa guests will find vast arrays of big game fish live in the oceans surrounding St. Martin.
Several different companies on St. Martin offer guided fishing excursions with a focus on big game fish like marlin, sailfish, tuna, dorado, barracuda and kingfish. Furthermore, several companies on the island offer guided tours that lead visitors through spectacular scenery. Finally, St. Martin comes alive at night. St. Martin rental villa guests will enjoy nightlife that is extensive and varied. St. Martin Island nightlife provides a variety of entertainment options for every taste from historic dinner shows to romantic cruises to fine dining as well as nightclubs and numerous casinos.
Tennis, squash, aerobics, hiking and horseback riding are just some of the activities this island can provide. Children are delighted to find a butterfly farm in the Caribbean. Golf (although limited as course still not completely recovered from previous hurricane), surfing, swimming, sailing, tennis, horseback riding.
There is only one place to play golf in St. Martin. The Mullet Bay Resort near the Princess Juliana International Airport provides the only St. Martin golf course. Mullet Bay's 18-hole golf course does provide a challenge for golfers of all handicaps who would like to play St. Martin golf. This St. Martin golf course was designed by Joseph Lee and offers beautiful views of the lagoon. Enjoy St. Martin golf surrounded by palm-lined fairways and Caribbean sun.
St. Martin has exciting water sport opportunities on both the French and Dutch sides of the island. French beaches, especially Orient Beach, generally attract a larger number of sunbathers because of their Riviera attitude concerning clothing. Orient Beach offers some of the best opportunities to enjoy water sports. Orient Beach is a long sandy strip off the island's northeast coast. Orient Beach is one of the best spots on St. Martin to interact with other guests of the Island. Tourists and residents all head for Orient Beach to take advantage of its liberal sunbathing regulations (or lack of) and exhilarating atmosphere. Orient Beach also provides seaside drink and lounge service, but Orient Beach water sports truly take the cake.
Orient Beach Water Sports: Orient Beach snorkeling: Orient Beach offers a great opportunity for beginners and those seeking an advanced snorkeling expedition. There are many companies around Orient Beach that are able and licensed to instruct and guide as well as rent snorkel equipment. One of the major water sport providers on Orient Beach is able to organize a rental package to supply for underwater adventure starting around $25. Guests excited to snorkel must find their way to Orient Beach.
Orient Beach Parasailing and Orient Beach Windsurfing and Kite-Boarding: Strong Caribbean breezes coupled with a group of willing young beachgoers makes Orient Beach ideal for the great sports of windsurfing and kite-boarding. Orient Beach windsurfing clubs offer rentals and lessons at Orient Beach. Orient Beach can also be viewed from above while enjoying the thrills of parasailing (which is easily arranged with most of the Orient Beach water sports companies). Water-skiing can also be arranged at Orient Beach if you prefer the fast pace of on water activity.
Water Sports: Whether a novice or an expert, you can pursue any water sport that you desire. Deep-sea fishing, diving and snorkeling, sailing, windsurfing, water-skiing, parasailing, jet skiing and more are easily accessible. Many are available at Orient Beach.
Deep-Sea Fishing/ Water Sports in St. Martin: Vast arrays of big game fish live in the oceans surrounding St. Martin. Several different companies on the island offer guided fishing excursions with a focus on big game fish like marlin, sailfish, tuna, dorado, barracuda and kingfish.
Beaches in St. Martin:
Phillipsburg on the Dutch side and Marigot on the French side.
St. Martin: February 7 - 13 St. Maarten: April 18 – 28 The Carnival celebration, if you can plan to stay during this time, makes any St. Martin vacation extraordinary. This party is a festival of parades, Caribbean music, and great food. Carnival takes place before lent on the French side and after Easter on the Dutch side (noting different cultural celebrations). There is a Calypso music festival that takes place in July that further makes a St. Martin vacation a special treat.
The islands 12 casinos are all located on the Dutch side and offer European style gaming.
Warm and sunny with temperatures between 75 F and 90 F year round. During the winter, the nights are slightly cooler and so it might be a good idea to bring a cotton sweater.
One island, two governments and several currencies…On Dutch St. Maarten, the Netherlands Antilles guilder (NAF) is the official currency while on French St. Martin it is the French Franc (FF). The Euro soon will be used, however and U.S. dollars are accepted everywhere.
Vast arrays of big game fish live in the oceans surrounding St. Martin. Several different companies on the island offer guided fishing excursions with a focus on big game fish like marlin, sailfish, tuna, dorado, barracuda and kingfish.
The best St. Martin shopping areas are located in the two capital cities, Marigot on the French side and Philipsburg on the Dutch side. Front Street, in Philipsburg, is where most of the duty-free St. Martin shopping can be found. There are dozens of shops and boutiques to choose from when shopping in St. Martin. St. Martin shopping is truly defined by rue de la Liberté and rue de la République in Marigot. This area of St. Martin shopping provides an interesting maze of houses and chic shops as well as duty-free boutiques. If you are shopping in St. Martin for cosmetics or perfume guests should head for Lipstick or Manek's (one of the largest selections of duty-free St. Martin shopping). St. Martin shopping is a fantastic duty-free port; shoppers will find excellent bargains on a wide variety of luxury items including jewelry, cameras, perfume, designer clothing, works of art, wine and champagnes and more. Visitors will enjoy such upscale shops as Cartier and Hermes.
St. Martin, which is part of the French West Indies, shared the 37 square mile island with St Maarten, which is part of the Netherlands Antilles. Although there are markers at the border, travel between the two parts of the island is effortless and unrestricted. The capital city on the French side of the island is charming Marigot, a very cosmopolitan city with some of the finest restaurants and shopping in the entire Caribbean. On the Dutch side, Phillipsburg is the capital and you will find more shopping, restaurants, casino gambling and the island's airport (Juliana International).
Politically, St. Martin is a French overseas department, which means that the people are French citizens and governed under French law.
Dutch St. Maarten, along with other Dutch territories, is part of a semi autonomous entity known as the Netherlands Antilles. The Netherlands Antilles has its own Prime Minister and functions with its own government under Dutch law and guidance.
Although French and Dutch are the official languages on the island, almost everyone speaks English as well and American dollars are widely accepted.
The native Arawak and Carib Indian tribes initially inhabited many Caribbean islands and St. Martin history is no exception. Columbus discovered the island on his second voyage to the New World in 1493 but made no attempt to establish any type of settlement. Christopher Columbus began European exploration of St. Martin in the 15th century, though he didn't set foot there. Columbus named the island for the feast day of St. Martin (a holiday that occurred near his discovery time) and claimed St. Martin for the Spanish kingdom. The Spanish crown paid little attention to St. Martin. The Dutch soon occupied St. Martin and it became a Caribbean trading center between Dutch-controlled Brazil and modern day New York. St. Martin was soon to become home to a group of French settlers who set up a colony on St. Martin alongside the Dutch. This relationship was the first step in St. Martin's centuries-long history of shared sovereignty between the two nations. The Dutch were expelled in the 17th century as the island became more profitable in the triangular trade and local mining.
St. Martin's history took a turn when the Netherlands and France concluded a treaty in 1648 in which the result was the splitting of St. Martin between the two nations. France side of the island was marked off around 21 square miles. The Netherlands portion of St. Martin was the remaining 16 square miles. St. Martin's modern day borders are the result of years of negotiations that finally established the boundaries in 1817. Indeed, the island is the smallest to be shared by two countries.
Many of modern day residents of St. Martin descend from the plantation economy that was the backbone of St. Martin through the modern era. African laborers were brought to St. Martin throughout European dominated centuries. St Martin finally ended it oppressive system of slavery in 1848, while St. Maarten enacted similar legislation in 1863. During World War II, the US Marines built an airport on the Dutch side of the island to counter German U-Boat attacks on Allied tankers. The first tourists arrived in 1947 and today more than 1.5 million visitors per year come to enjoy the island's charms.
St. Martin focused its economic attention on tourism industry during the twentieth century, sparking new economic life into the island. St. Martin lifted import and export taxes, making island a duty-free destination. St. Martin's international airport allowed tourism to truly flourish during the past few decades; this in turn helped in the creation of new restaurants, hotels, and gift stores.
Several companies on the island offer guided tours that lead visitors through spectacular scenery.
150 miles southeast of Puerto Rico.
We are able to provide a service on island that provides complete planning services for an unforgettable villa or luxury charter yacht wedding. They are able to handle all of the reception details including food, beverage, service, minister, flowers and bands. Sample menus available upon request.
Evenings can be exciting and vibrant. With St. Martin nightlife one finds the excitement of Euro-style discothèques and the St. Martin casinos on the Dutch side. Or perhaps stargazing from your pool terrace will more than suffice for your personal St. Martin nightlife.
St. Martin nightlife is French, sexy, young and exciting. No other island offers so many temptations to lure you from the luxury of your own private villa from your own private swimming pool. How much or how little you do is entirely up to you.
St. Martin nightlife is considered the best part of the Island by many of its guests. Some would say that you don't truly know St. Martin until the sun goes down. St. Martin nightlife begins with evenings just walking along a promenade with the sun going down through the Caribbean Sea. Dinner begins with a bottle of Chardonnay at one of the islands fine restaurants and then a night on the town.
Test your luck at one of the twelve St. Martin casinos. All the major styles of play are represented at St. Martin Casinos, from Black Jack to Baccarat and back. Some of the more popular St. Martin casinos to begin your St. Martin nightlife are:
If St. Martin casinos aren't for you, some reggae music may be called for and St. Martin nightlife is there to answer. Many of the island's hotels, bars, clubs, and restaurants regularly host musicians of all genres. Many local bands perform on regular basis though on occasion international headliners have been known to grace St. Martin nightlife with some great music.
St. Martin Nightlife:
St. Martin weddings have all the charm of the Caribbean coupled with old-world charm. St. Martin wedding ceremonies can take place overlooking a beach with warm Caribbean breezes; weddings in St. Martin are a perfect event. Weddings in St. Martin allow for the choice of estate based more traditional weddings or the beachfront I do's that make St. Martin weddings so unique.
St. Martin weddings fall under different jurisdiction depending on which side of the Island you are on. Weddings in St. Martin are more difficult to organize than weddings in St. Maarten. To hold weddings in St. Martin (the French side), one member of the couple must have resided in St. Martin for longer than one month. St. Maarten weddings have a requirement as well. Guests who desire to hold their weddings in St. Maarten must request permission from the Lieutenant Governor at least several months in advance (so last minute eloping is not a good idea). Couples must present themselves at the Office of Civil Registry in Philipsburg 10 days before their weddings in St. Martin are to occur. There is a small fee to register ($150). A notary public must translate any and all documents not already in Dutch or English into Dutch prior to registering for weddings in St. Martin.
Dutch St. Maarten: 39,000.
French St. Martin: 35,000.
Fine dining on St. Martin/Maarten is part of the island's true Caribbean experience. St Martin restaurants reflect the many cultural influences that have developed in cohabitation. St Martin restaurants display a selection of French and ethnic cuisines that welcome guests each year who are in search of a special dining experience during their vacation. St. Martin restaurants have little emphasis on Dutch cuisine (practically an oxymoron). St. Martin restaurants are strongly influenced by French and Italian cooking techniques. A few St. Martin restaurants are well versed in Caribbean cuisine; many of these St. Martin restaurants are on the French side. St. Martin restaurants feature top chefs, many of whom have significant training in contemporary continental cuisine. St. Martin restaurants are higher priced than the average Caribbean restaurant, though those who are like to experience dining will find St. Martin restaurants a pleasure.
The restaurants and bistros of the island continue to thrill epicureans season after season. Chefs from France set menus each season and train staff at many of the better restaurants. On no other island in the Caribbean do we dine so well. Explore St. Martin gastronomically!
Air France arrives daily from Paris with fine food, wine and champagne for this chic colony of France.
The best champagnes at the best prices we've seen anywhere encourages a bottle of Cristal or Dom Perignon with fresh grilled lobster on a white sand beach. Heaven!
Please enjoy many of our favorite St. Martin restaurants.
St. Martin falls in the Atlantic Time zone, which is one hour ahead of US Standard time. The island does not observe daylight savings time.
Whether a novice or an expert, you can pursue any water sport that you desire. Deep-sea fishing, diving and snorkeling, sailing, windsurfing, water-skiing, parasailing, jet skiing and more are easily accessible.