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  • Saint Martin / Sint Maarten
  • Saint Martin / Sint Maarten
  • Saint Martin / Sint Maarten
  • Saint Martin / Sint Maarten
  • Saint Martin / Sint Maarten

Why Go

When you start with two nations coexisting peacefully on one small island and stir in over 300 restaurants, three dozen beaches and a diverse array of places to sleep, shop, gamble and party, you've got yourself one of the most popular islands in the Caribbean. The French side of St. Martin is more classically European. This is where you'll find gourmet French cafes, quiet beaches and a butterfly preserve. Beach bars, spirited nightclubs and flickering casinos are scattered throughout the Dutch side (where the steady stream of cruise ships dock). A tradition here is to visit Maho Bay, next to the airport. And we mean right next to the airport ... the runway in particular. Just try not ducking when a 747 flies 40 feet above the beach. ... Read more
Shoppers will be in paradise; alcohol, jewelry, clothing, electronics and European delicacies are in shops everywhere, while local spices and handicrafts are in bountiful supply on the French side (try the capital Marigot near the waterfront for a good local market). And whatever pace you're looking for -- partying 'til dawn or strapping on your hiking boots to visit the island's lookout spot, Pic Paradis -- St. Martin offers it all.
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Saint Martin / Sint Maarten

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  • 9.8
    Adventure Travelers
  • 7.7
    Outdoor Enthusiasts
  • 7.3
    Luxury Travelers
  • 7.3
    Spiritual Seekers
  • 6.2
    Green Travelers

Member Reviews(64)

Richmond Hill

Saint Martin / Sint Maarten is an awesome island! French side is so romantic and more European with its restaurants.It is also more expensive. Dutch side is cheaper, more clubs. We lived on the French side.
You will find plenty of beaches on that island. All of them are so different....one is calm, another is "wild" with its cliffs and huge waves... Most ( if not all) cloth optional beaches ( at least top) are on the French side.
People are very friendly in there. Food is great. Definitely will coma back to that paradise!

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Los Angeles, California, USA

Gorgeous beaches, easy going lifestyle and good food. I had a really relaxing time just laying on the beach and hanging out with my family. No one is hassling you trying to sell something to you on the beach. Love it...

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Pro 2018
St. Petersburg, Florida, USA

I love the French side of the island. The Dutch side is also nice but the French side is what I prefer. Shopping is more authentic (no cruise ship type jewelry shops and t-shirts that are promoted on the ship), no buskers hustling you into restaurants. The beaches are gorgeous (as they are on the Dutch side too). The Dutch side has a bad reputation, and justly so, for car break ins which is another reason I prefer the French side. A perfect place to be.

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The French side is my favorite. The Dutch side seemed more like a tourist spot. The beaches are what it's all about especially if you find one all to yourself. If visiting you must go to Canoa, a restaurant that serves to-die-for shrimp. Hell, the whole menu is divine.

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Durham, North Carolina, USA

I didn't love St. Martin, but I was there as a guidebook author, and had to cover every single square inch of the island, from the loud casinos to the French side beaches.

I'd give the French side five stars and the Dutch side two stars. I loved the butterfly sanctuary, the peaceful beaches, the incredible restaurants and the cozy hotels of the French side. I hated the mega-resorts, offensive restaurants (seriously, a naked-woman sushi restaurant? really?), cruise ship traffic and depressing nightclub feel of the Dutch side. But, the island is easy to reach, less expensive than neighboring islands, and there is plenty to do overall.

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Alexandria, Virginia

The weather was good the day we stopped there, sunny skies and only a few clouds. VERY HUMID. The Dutch side is run down, much nicer on the French side.

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I've been to Saint Martin twice now. The first time was on a cruise and the second time I stayed for a week. The picture actually shows the Resort/Hotel I stayed at (Sonesta Great Bay Resort and Casino). I really like this island. On one side its Dutch and the other side is French. Philipsburg which is the capital is on the Dutch side next in Great Bay. Philipsburg has shops (duty free), restaurants, casinos and the cruise ship port. If you go over to Maho Bay which is still in on the Dutch side you will find trendy clubs, restaurants, casinos and bars. The other side is French which has one of the best beaches in the Caribbean (Orient Bay). Marigot has a ferry to Angilla and has newer trendy shops, clubs and restaurants.

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Scottsboro, Alabama

This island is amazing! The beaches are so white and beautiful, the water is so crystal clear, and the weather is absolutely perfect. The people are very friendly and helpful. I loved my visit to both halves of this incredible island!!!

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Somerset, Pennsylvania

It was the best vacation. The country is beautiful. I have been all over the 2 sides. The French side and the Dutch side. I liked them both. There is so much to do there you can not get bored. The beaches are great and on the dutch side they are very nice. I enjoyed sunset beach where the big jet come in and take off and are right under them when they land. Awesome thing to see. Also the Butterfly farm on the french side is worth seeing. Had a car to go everywhere but all in all a great vacation. Go see it and love it like I do.

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Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

It is beautiful, plenty to do, Seeing the planes landing near the beach is amazing. Phillipsburg has great places to eat and shop. Great holiday destination.

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