Visiting St. Maarten has to be one of my favorite trips. It’s gorgeous, affordable and easy to get around. Located in the Caribbean, this beautiful island has views that just take your breath away. Only 34 square miles, exploring the country in just one day is super easy! As a dual-governed island you have the opportunity to experience 2 different cultures. On the Dutch side (south), you have St. Maarten, governed by the Kingdom of the Netherlands and on the French side (north), is St. Martin, governed by the French republic. Even though we stayed on the Dutch side, I made sure to get a taste of both worlds!
Located in Philipsburg, my boyfriend and I stayed at the Sonesta Great Bay Resort for five days. Since we rented a car, we didn’t spend too much time in the resort. But I would definitely recommend staying there. The staff was friendly and if you’re into casinos and clubs, the area has some really great nightlife. Below are a few pictures of our room and our view.
So, here it is — The top 5 activities you must experience on this gorgeous island.
1. Hiking at Loterie Farm (French side):
Located in Pic Pardis, Loterie farm is an absolutely beautiful nature preserve with amazing views of the entire island. Besides hiking trails, Loterie Farm also includes zip lines, a lounge area, a pool, a delicious tapas menu and more! Before our hiking adventure, we ordered the hummus with pita wedges and crab cakes.
While hiking, there were two products that were extremely helpful — one was a backpack and the other was an all natural deodorant. I always have a lot to carry with me so I needed a bag that I would be able to fit all my belongings in. I found this great backpack — Red Rock Outdoor Gear Assault Pack, which was super helpful with carrying things like water bottles, sunblock, a camera, snacks and other items you think you may need. It’s very spacious, has tons of compartments and ideal for hiking!
The second product was deodorant. For the past few months, I’ve been really conscious of the types of products I use on my skin — One in particular being deodorant. After doing some research and reading reviews, I came across Bali Secrets Natural Deodorant online. It smells great, kept me dry all day, never left a sticky residue and most importantly — it’s all-natural!
2. Maho Beach (Dutch side):
As most of us may know, Maho beach is known for it’s cool views of approaching airplanes landing at Princess Juliana airport. This beach can get very crowded in the afternoon hours, so it’s best to get there early to avoid crowds. You can buy chairs by the beach that go for $10 a chair but in my opinion, it’s not worth it. Just grab your towel, lay on the sand, save yourself the $10 bucks and buy a drink instead. They also offer free parking if you eat at Sunset Bar and Grill, which is totally worth it as the food is great. I ordered the angry fish tacos and my boyfriend had the sunset signature burger.
Another item on my list of natural products I used while sunbathing was this Sunscreen Lotion. Since it’s made for babies, it is delicate enough for sensitive skin and 100% naturally sourced!
3. Fort Louis (French side):
Located in Marigot, Fort Louis is located on a hill overlooking Marigot Bay and the island of Anguilla. This was added to my list because of its panoramic views of the island. The fort is a nice historical place to visit and also a great spot to catch the sunrise and sunset.
4. Rent a car and drive around the island:
I highly suggest renting a car since the island is so small, you can literally explore the entire island in one day. I really enjoy seeing what’s outside of the resort, so if you’re anything like me, this will be a day full of excitement. We used an actual map (not a GPS), got lost, discovered secluded beaches, met locals and got a chance to explore all the beautiful views the island has to offer.
5. Take the ferry to Anguilla:
Since I like to explore and love stamps on my passport, it only made sense to visit one of St. Maarten’s neighboring islands. I’ve heard amazing things about Anguilla and how beautiful their beaches are. On our last day, we decided to do a day trip to Anguilla. It was about a 30 minute ferry ride and cost approximately $45 per person round trip. We spent the day at Shoal Bay Beach and had lunch at Hanks restaurant. They give you free beach chairs including umbrellas if you eat there. We were sold once we stepped foot on the beach and took a peak of the food from the restaurant. Totally worth every penny.
Pictures do not do this beach any justice. The ferry ride was absolutely worth relaxing on this white sand beach and swimming in its turquoise waters.
Overall, this trip was perfect. The activities to do on the island are endless. These were just my top 5 favorite things I did but there’s so much to do and see and not to mention the other surrounding islands that are close by. If I could give one piece of advice, it would be to explore both sides of the island!