FLAVORS OF SINT-MAARTEN – FOOD TOUR
This tour is a culinary discovery mix to an unforgettable tour of the French and the Dutch side around the main subject that everybody loves: the gastronomy! The main goal of this foodie journey is to feel the spirit of the island, its people, and its cuisine. The meeting point will be in Philipsburg at the “ Amsterdam Cheese and Liquor store ”, at 9:30 am. You will start with a tasting of 5 different Netherland good pieces of cheese and two wines (white and red).
You will then head to the French side, on board the bus with your charismatic guide and stop at “ Paradise view ” restaurant, overlooking beautiful Orient Beach. Over there, you will savor a salty crepe and a sweet one, a purely French tradition!
Once this is done, the guide will take you to Grand-Case and first make you stop at “ Sky is the limit ”, a “lolo” (typical restaurant from here) for a Creole food discovery and then walk to “ L’escalade ” restaurant for a rum tasting on the water :)
Finally, the sweet lovers will be amazed by the selection of deserts at Sarafina’s bakery in Marigot (the French capital).
Enjoy your meal….. ☺
Tour rate: 120 dollars per person
SHOPPING IN MARIGOT OR PHILIPSBURG
Shopping is always the first thing that comes to our mind in case of bad weather. This is the occasion for you to go visit Marigot (French capital) and/or Philipsburg (Dutch Capital).
In Marigot (local creole town), you can visit the market, the West Indies mall (covered, so perfect to avoid the rain!) and if the showers stop for a while, walk up to the Fort Louis at the top of the hill and enjoy the magnificent view of the bay.
Philipsburg is better known for its international boutiques and its numerous jewelry stores. This is also where all the cruise ships dock for the day!
ISLAND TOUR WITH TAXI OR RENTAL CAR
What better than driving around, either by yourself or with a local taxi, to discover the island?
The tour of Saint-Martin will take you about one hour and a half, without any traffic or stops on the way. But the idea is actually to stop on the way, enjoy the different sightseeing spots. Here would be our schedule for you: Stop in Marigot in the morning and walk around (see highlighted spots to visit above). Then head to the North of Saint-Martin and go visit Anse Marcel, the point of views on the way are breathtaking! Take a few pictures, get back in your car and drive towards Orient Beach and Galion Beach, where you can stop to watch the beauty of the storm on the ocean. Right after, you will end up in Dutch quarter. Keep going and follow the sign to Oyster-Pond in order to reach Philipsburg on a nice wild road, by the sea.
After 20 minutes of driving, you arrive in Philipsburg (the Dutch Capital), park your car and walk around on Back Street, Front Street and the boardwalk, where you will find plenty of nice boutiques, bars, and local restaurants.
To finish your complete island tour, take the road back to Juliana International airport and stop at the Sunset Beach Bar, have a bite or a drink and enjoy the planes landing and taking off right above you: fun and impressive!!
Price of a rental car (small car) for the day: about 60 dollars
Price of a taxi for an island tour: 150 dollars for 3 hours (for 2 people)
For those who do not want to stay outside and wish to be pampered all day, what about visiting one of the spas on the island, and get a massage or any treatment of your wishing?
On the Dutch side, the Spa Dior located at the Cliff resort (in Cupecoy Beach) provides luxurious hydrotherapy and aromatherapy treatments, deep tissue massages, facials and body scrubs… And a full access to the pool on site, sauna (to warm up!!) and steam room.
If you are looking for a unique and relaxing experience, book a treatment at the Spa located at Belmond La Samanna resort, located on Baie Longue (on the French side). This small and intimate spa will make you forget about the rain thanks to its cuteness ☺
Plus, you will be able to have a drink, a nice breakfast, lunch or dinner before or after your treatment: a luxury pause in your vacation that you can not forget!
What about popcorns, hot dog, and a good movie? The Caribbean Cinema (St. Maarten Megaplex 7), located in Simpson Bay offers movie time from the early afternoon until 9:00 pm, in its seven theaters.
After or before your movie, you can then walk around Simpson Bay, have a drink on the dock of one of the bar & restaurants overlooking Simpson Bay lagoon or grab a yummy homemade ice cream at the Carrousel!
HOPE ESTATE CENTER
This area is located right in front the little airport of Grand-Case.
We love it for three main reasons:
Bacchus , a fantastic spot for foodie people (like us!): over there, you will be able to enjoy a fine lunch experience in their indoor restaurant, where you have the feeling to eat in a middle of a wine cellar with an open kitchen at the corner. For those of you who do not feel to sit for a while, just grab the perfect products for your next meal (from the best bottles of wine to the best quality products – cheese, French and Spanish Charcuterie, the “French baguette” and the yummiest pastries). As you enter this shop, you will automatically feel hungry and will want to take it all – this is at your own risk ;-)
But Hope Estate is not just about eating! Time after time, there are a lot of boutiques that are opening and are worth the try. Here are our two favorite ones:
Living in Saint-Martin has many assets to offer. And one of them is that we have Islands closed by to travel to in no time, either for a day trip or for the week end. An Island Hoping paradise for everybody: the locals and the visitors!
Anguilla is the British Island located at the North of Saint-Martin, less than 4 miles away. It is famous for its beautiful beaches and its crystal clear water. This is the perfect Island for a relaxing getaway (beach, snorkeling, water activities…) since besides the magnificent coast, there is not much to do over there.
Saba is located at the South West of Sint-Marteen and belongs to the Dutch. It is actually the highest land of Netherland! The landscape is the opposite from Anguilla’s (which is absolutely flat) and the particularity of this island is… It is a beachless Caribbean Island. How incredible, right? But no worries, you still have a lot to do over there, mostly sportive activities! Basically, Saba is well known for its beautiful hikes in the mountain with thousands of different plants & amazing deep dives with colorful reefs. This is a great alternative from the “beach style” vacations that most of the Caribbean Islands usually offer.
And the last, but not the least: Saint-Barth
. We are sure that you have already heard of it, isn’t it? ☺ Saint-Barth is located at the west of Saint-Martin, and is accessible either by ferry (30 minutes of ferry ride), by charter plane (12 minutes of flight), with a helicopter (10 minutes of flight) or by private boat. This island is a pure gem! Famous to be the destination for the famous and rich people, this French island has everything to satisfy everybody’s tastes (but still pricey)! Hilly landscapes with amazing point of views of the deep blue & turquoise Caribbean sea, white sand beaches, great shopping (!!), 5 stars resorts or charming casual ones, gastronomic restaurants, hikes on the wild side, natural pools… And of course, all the water activities you can think of!
Are you thinking of going to Pinel Island during your stay on Saint-Martin?
First, this is definitely a great idea that should be at the top of your “to do list”. Pinel is a must see, and spend the day over there is a guarantee of an unforgettable experience.
Second, there is nothing easier!
In Cul de Sac ferry station, the boats are departing everyday (except if the weather condition does not allow it) and at a very frequent times: every 30 minutes.
Basically, during high season, the ferries run from Monday through Sunday, from 9h30am until 5:00pm (same opening hours as Caribbean Paddling all year long ;)). During low season, the last ferry back from Pinel Island leaves at 4:00pm and you’d better not miss it if you do not want to spend the night with our favorite iguanas!
To sum up, in low season, renting your gear through us to spend the day on Pinel gives you an extra hour in P.A.R.A.D.I.S.E.
More time to enjoy the sun, the white sand beaches, the turquoise water, some snorkelling & paddling in the bay, and why not one last homemade cocktail? ;)
You will find bellow the ferry schedule to go to Pinel Island, according to the time of the year you will be visiting our friendly island.
A lot of people ask this question: how can I reach you and/or Pinel Island? For us residents of St Martin - St Maarten, this is quite simple: just follow the road! It really is simple since there is only one road on our island! But, for everyone else, it's not as easy.
There are three possible places you might be starting from...
This week, Mother Nature sent us a gift by providing us with a strong swell coming from storm Alex located in the Atlantic. That was the opportunity for us to test our brand new F-One Madeiro paddle boards in real conditions. My good friend Johann was in the party, and Likka was on the beach for the pictures.
After checking the swell at Baie aux Prunes, we finally ended at Anse des Pères for some nice take-off.
Today , I met my new friend Barry and his girlfriend for another trip to St Martin! The meeting point: Maho Beach at the end of the runway of the airport Juliana !
There are 2 years , Barry had hired me 2 paddle boards had been already photographed at Maho Beach . His picture was even selected as picture of the year by the magazine SUPconnect.com ! That was in 2011. This year, he returns by St Martin with his friends, and gave me a call about doing another photo shoot. There was just to bring 3 standup paddle boards before heading to the beach . After drinking a beer together at the legendary Sunset Cafe , it was time to get to the water.
After a beach start , we paddled 50m and we are aligned with the runway , we had only to wait for the aircrafts, hoping to see big ones! I 've been here several times with friends to Maho to watch planes from the beach , but never ON the water .. Barry gave me the opportunity this year and it was amaaazing !
The gallery below is my own selection with my GoPro . I expect pictures of Barry to complete this super afternoon stand up paddle in Maho !