Soak Up the Sun in St. Maarten
Soak Up the Sun in St. Maarten
Author : Doug Landsborough
Editor : Jennifer J. Lacelle | Kelly Louiseize
Date : March 15, 2021
It’s safe to say that the last year has a lot of us dreaming about warmer weather, beautiful sand beaches and even more stunning sparkling ocean views.
The next time you go to book a beach getaway, look no further than St. Maarten. As history goes, the island changed hands between the Dutch and Spanish many times through the years. In 1648, the Dutch returned to find it occupied by the French.
Both countries agreed to a partition treaty with the Dutch occupying the southern region, which is now often overlooked. But not visiting this unforgettable getaway isn’t something you want to regret.
The Dutch side became part of the Dutch West Indies to make up six Dutch island territories. It was later reorganized into the Netherlands Antilles. Tourism developed rapidly, making it a major Caribbean hot spot. French took the northern side and it is now the official language with English widely spoken.
Known by many nicknames and titles, including the Friendly Island and the Culinary Capital of the Caribbean, St. Maarten is a mosaic of colourful buildings and people. With more than 99 nationalities living in St. Maarten, the cuisine is unlike anywhere else in the world. Feast on conch and dumplings seasons in herbs, or their signature spareribs in a sweet and spicy sauce, or perhaps the whelk soup, a seawater snail stewed in coconut milk.
Your stomach will be as happy as your heart is when you kick back on the beach with the ocean in front of you and lush mountains behind you. Relax on Mullet Bay Beach or Little Bay Beach just west of Phillipsburg, the capital on the Dutch side.
Catch a sight of a passenger jet landing just beyond Maho Beach. While there, try their delicious guavaberry colada and kick back to take in the endless oceanscape of blue with Pic Paradis hilltop behind. Then there’s Karakter Beach Bar. Karakter’s story has just as much character as its name: the bar was allegedly created from a bright yellow school bus that drove onto the beach and broke down.
Now, situated on the 2.2km-long white sand beach of Simpson Bay, Karakter offers both relaxation and a sought-after dining experience.
During the day, relax on the beach while being pampered to delicious food and cocktails. Do exactly what you’re meant to do on beaches: enjoy yourself.
Once the sun sets, Karakter transitions into an upscale restaurant, allowing you to enjoy your meal with candles dotting the tables and strands of light hanging overhead. Once the live music gets going, you’ll likely find yourself on your feet, dancing along with the rest of the patrons.
If you want to enjoy an evening at Karakter, considermaking a reservation in advance; you don’t want to be the one turned away because you walked up to a full house (or, in this case, a full beach).
There’s plenty of other character to appreciate in St. Maarten, too.
For those looking for a more heart-pounding experience, the island is home toThe Flying Dutchman, the world’s steepest zip line. Enjoy spectacular views of the island as you fly over it on the thousand-foot-long zip line. If military history is more your thing, you must swing by Fort Amsterdam located near Great Bay and Little Bay.
Built in 1631, the stone fort is home to both old cannons and stunning views of the island, as well as a lot of historical information to read. With stunning views, the western slope of the fort is also home to upwards of 60 brown pelican nests. It’s a must-see for any bird lover.
Even though St. Maarten was devastated by Hurricane Irma in 2017, the island and its people have come together to rebuild 109 social housing units. An estimated $500,000 (US) was provided by the Netherland government for repairs to 160 units as an addition to upgrades in emergency facilities like the police station, fire departments, and schools.
Swift improvement of Princess Juliana Airport was also a priority for the government given the importance of tourism and its relation to the economy. Now, trips to the island are even better than ever, and St. Maarten is excited to have people visiting its white sand once more. As you’re flying into Princess Juliana Airport, don’t be surprised if you get a warm welcome from your fellow beachgoers before you even get off the plane!