#exotictrip #islandvibes #thoughtsonmylatesttrip #stmarteen
All my life, I have been a huge fan of exotic trips when its wintertime in my country : hopping on a plane with winter clothes on and an outside temperature of -10 degrees just to hop off after flying for a significant amount of hours in the middle of a full -on summer season. How crazy is that?
For me, the winter season is the perfect season to go on an exotic trip – going on a trip like that when it’s also summer in my country just doesn’t feel the same. And so, right after New Year’s Eve this year, on January 2nd, I and my family packed up and left for our trip to St.Marteen.
We hoped on a plane from Bucharest to Paris (where we had our stopover) and then straight too St.Marteen.
I always like to do my research before a trip and so I knew we would be landing right over the world-famous Maho Beach. That was such a fun experience – seeing people who were taking pics of the plane I was in and landing so close to the beach was definitely a first.
As soon as we landed, we hopped on a ferry and went to Anguilla for 5 days . Anguilla is a significantly smaller island than St.Marteen , which is why there wasn’t much to do after the sun went down. With a population of 14,000 people, the island does not have any shopping malls, casinos or cruise ships , which I absolutely loved. Plus, being jet- lagged helped a lot because we would wake up every morning before the sun and went to sleep around 8 pm anyways. The economy is based mainly on tourism and family- run businesses. What I was pleasantly surprised about was the fact that they have wi-fi absolutely everywhere.
For the duration of our stay there, we mainly focused on exploring the island with a beautiful red Jeep Wrangler and sunbathing (the island has over 33 public beautiful beaches). I have to admit I had a blast learning how to drive in the opposite way (considering that Anguilla is a British overseas territory and they respect the British rules when driving).
St.Marteen (in Dutch) or St.Martin (in French)
After 5 relaxing days in Anguilla, we returned to the beautiful St.Marteen. As I’ve said before the 2 sides of the island are quite different and so, in order to get the full experience, we split our stay and had accommodation on both sides. What I was super shocked about was the insanely intense traffic – there was one main highway surrounding the island with only one way per direction and I am not even kidding it would take more than one hour to get from the dutch side to the french one – with a distance between the two of 11 km.
The French Side
The capital, Marigot has direct representation in Paris. This side of the island is extremely European oriented with numerous upscale shopping and dining options. (there is even a small shopping mall – West Indies Shopping Mall) . Due to its location on the island’s central west coast, Marigot shelters a marina where travelers can catch ferries to and from other islands in the Caribbean.
The Dutch Side
The Dutch side of the island is far more focused on tourism and developed in that way. The capital, Philipsburg is located around the Great Bay -a very popular stop for cruise ships. Every morning when the cruises would come on the island, it would immediately be super crowded. However, as soon as the cruises would leave around 6pm, all the shops closed and the island would suddenly be ‘dead’. Considering that he had quite some time on the island, we went to Philipsburg more than once and there was a day when no cruises came so all the shops were closed for the entire duration of the day.
The Dutch side is home to several dutch forts, luxurious resorts and casinos as well as the famous Maho Beach.It is also located alarmingly close to the runway of Princess Juliana International Airport where crowds tend to gather in the afternoons to watch the planes arrive.
THINGS TO DO IN ST.MAARTEN
- Have a ride on the world’s steepest zip line
- Watch planes landing at Maho Beach
- Wander around the colourful Philipsburg
- Old Street
- Fun activities at Loterie Farm
- Orient Bay Beach (clothing is optional on this particular beach)
- Pic Paradis – hike to the highest point of the island to catch incredible views of the shoreline and surrounding jungle
- Visit Pinel Island
- Rent kayaks/paddle boards
- Scuba Diving
My thoughts on the island
I really loved this holiday and destination in particular. I got to drive around the entire island and explore both sides, I visited some of the most beautiful beaches and soaked in the sun. I had one of the most amazing experiences kayaking to Pinel Island and back, exploring the remains of some neighborhoods after Irma hit and have a glimpse of the local culture. It was particularly interesting to see how fast the island recovered after the hurricane and returned to normal.