Before I left on my recent trip to the Caribbean to explore the magical island of St Bart’s and visit my friend Rachel who is attending medical school on St Maarten (Dutch side), I wrote on my Facebook page asking for recommendations of what to do and see on both islands. Many said skip St Maarten and go straight to St Bart’s. I can see why people would say this. If you don’t have a local showing you around, it might be hard to figure out where to go to experience what makes this island so special.
Like much of the Caribbean, this is not a luxury destination; everything is “island style,” meaning not fancy, but that is the beauty of St Maarten. It is laid back, fun and carefree. What they lack in upscale restaurants and hotels, they make up for with an easy-going mentality that will have you sipping Rum Punch for hours, forgetting that you’re still waiting for your breakfast. Why would you skip St Maarten when you could go island hopping and experience both beautiful islands?! You only live once so just go for it! Here’s my 24-hour guide to St Maarten….
WHERE TO STAY
Villas at Simpson Bay Resort: Our suite was extremely clean and nice, not luxury nice, but “island nice“ with an open kitchen, a living room with a pull out couch, a very large bathroom, and a big balcony with a beautiful view overlooking Simpson Bay. I would stay here again. Loved it!
WHERE TO EAT
Yacht Club Bar & Restaurant: Eat breakfast or lunch here for the view and the peaceful island breeze. The food is good but takes forever so order a Bloody Mary “appetizer” (comes with HUGE shrimp!) and pause blissfully.
Taco Macho: Good Mexican & margaritas right around the corner from Sunset Bar & Grill. We also experienced “middle-aged couples gone wild” after too many tequila shots here -People watching++
Mullet Bay: My friend Rachel’s favorite beach. This is a perfect place to spend the afternoon – bright blue, warm water and soft white sand. Literally heaven on earth; I didn’t want to leave!
DRINK & DANCE
Sunset Bar & Grill: Go here at dusk to watch the amazing sunset. Have a cocktail in the sand and get blown (by planes taking off at the airport across the street!)
Bliss Nightclub: Great beach club atmosphere on the water! Plus amazing people watching!
- Easy 10 min drive from the airport and you’re at Simpson Bay Resort!
The Villas at Simpson Bay Resort received a well deserved Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor. The rooms are not fancy but they are spotless and spacious and the balconies are large, offering gorgeous views of the bay!
- After lunch that The Yacht Club, and a few hours lounging in the sun at at Mullet Bay, it’s time to follow the planes to Sunset Bar next to the airport…
Have you been to St Maarten? Please share your experience in the comments section below!