St. Martin, Caribbean Paradise

St. Martin/ St. Marteen . . . This beautiful island is where my husband and i spent our honeymoon. First of all, can you believe this water? Yes, it all looks like this. Clear and green, literally the most beautiful beaches in the world. St. Martin is a Virgin Island located near St. Barts. This island is unique because it belongs to two different countries. One half is French, the other is Dutch. That is part of what makes this island so culturally different. We found the locals to mostly keep to themselves, most of them were very unapproachable. The American dollar is accepted island wide, but make sure to have lots of cash with you. Cabs, hotel transportation and staff, boat workers, food service and activity directors all work off tips.  Also in most of the grocery stores they require you to spend at least twenty dollars to use a credit card. I would suggest having a rental car. There are “Taxis” on the island but they are more like unregistered vans that drive people around. We rented through Dollar Thrifty and had no problems. The roads are very narrow and the locals do as they please. We were almost ran off the road a couple times and had a couple close calls with the scooters that don’t use any specific side of the road. Ha ha, talk about an adventure!

This picture was taken at our hotel, Little Divi Bay. This was our private hotel beach. It was so nice to have a hotel with a beach within walking distance. After being at the beach all day, we’d spend time in our room and relax. Within an hour I would start missing the water and walk the fifty feet to the beach. It. Was. Amazing!!!

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Let’s start with the local rum everyone is obsessed with from there. The obsession is only validated after you try it. They sell it all over the island in all kinds of different flavors, but the classic is Guava-berry. You can find Guava-berry Pina Coladas at almost any restaurant, but if you’re into making your own there is a recipe on the bottle. The rum is also available to order online. The cheapest we found it on the island was nineteen dollars. Nothing makes you feel like you’re in paradise like having one of these on the beach!

The most famous beach on the island is called Maho Beach. This beach is famous for being right in front of the landing strip for the airport. Yes, these planes literally fly right over your head. It is exhilarating! The beach is a must see but tends to be very crowded. Don’t try and park right next to the beach, all the cars pile up and it’s hard to get out. We parked a block away and just walked. The Beach gets especially crowded right before the airplanes take off. There is a little beach bar at Maho Beach that makes an amazing five dollar Guava-berry Colada during happy hour!

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There are a couple key things to remember while visiting this island. The people here are mostly very poor. They all work at the hotels you’re staying at, the activities you are paying for, and the restaurants you eat at. One thing we found on our visit is to stay away from the popular Americanized “touristy” restaurants. We tried quite a few and were disappointed. If you want good local food try out a little shack, or even the nice family you pass on the street selling food out of their yard. It sounds sketchy, but you want the full island experience, right?

Little Jerusalem (pictured above) is located by Simpson Bay, and was our favorite place by far. We ended up eating here three nights straight. The owner was so incredibly kind! He started our first visit out with this, “Do you want something good, or REALLY good?”. Of course I said really good and good thing I did because whatever he made us tasted incredible! The next night we came back and got the same meat but did a sampling of a ton of other things. The plate had curry rice, pita, hummus, yogurt sauce, lemon and parsley potatoes, and the BBQ meat he made us. I’ve been craving this food ever since I left. Thank you Little Jerusalem for being a special part of our honeymoon.

The second picture is one of the little huts we visited trying to be adventurous. A little local lady makes a variety of different foods and puts them in hot pans. You tell her what you want and she cooks it, throws it all in a box and gives you a price. The food was excellent and very cheap. We always tried a little bit of everything. We tried salt-fish, fresh fish, friend chicken, island teriyaki chicken, rice, a pasta dish and lots and lots of bread. The bread resembled a denser Navajo fry bread. This bread is all over the island; it’s a must try!

Zip-lining at Loterie Farms was by far the best part of our honeymoon! Worth every penny! We paid about one hundred and twenty dollars for both of us. Make sure and specify you want to do the extreme course. The tour is completely guided and both guides were very helpful in answering questions. The guides explained in detail how to work the the harnesses and clips safely. At first I was worried about being in charge of my life in something I was so unfamiliar with, but we got the hang of it pretty quickly. One tour guide took the lead and the other follows at the tail end of the group. Now let me tell you, this course is NOT for the faint of heart. If you don’t like heights you won’t be comfortable or have fun. Some of the lines were over three hundred feet off the ground. It was a true adventure and the guides made it really enjoyable. With no GPS and just a map (like we had) it was extremely hard to find. A lot of people get lost trying to find it.

Here is a link to their website:  http://loteriefarm.com/activities/fly-zone-extreme/

Parasailing was our next big adventure, both of us have always wanted to go! Through No. 1 SXM, it was ninety dollars a person. Once again, totally worth it! We paid for the deluxe which was eight-hundred feet, water touch, and free fall. This was their largest package. The less you go up the less you pay. The owner, driver of the boat, and instructor were very friendly and funny. They both seemed to have a blast taking us out and made the experience really enjoyable. They told us to relax and have fun up there. The instructor even told us we could go upside down if we wanted. At the end, they show you all the pictures they take of you and give you the option to buy them. It was thirty dollars for a jump drive with over forty pictures of us. They captured a ton of us upside down, holding hands, laughing, and kissing. Such a cool memory, we had to buy them! It was an overall cool experience and a must try!

Here is NO 1. SXM website: http://loteriefarm.com/activities/fly-zone-extreme/

I’m going to be honest with you when I tell you we spent most of our week there lost. Those were some fun memories and usually we ended up discovering some secret place we wouldn’t have discovered otherwise. This was our secret unnamed beach where I found handfuls of untouched sea glass!

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St. Martin was literally a beautiful island to explore. If you decide to visit do your research. We found all kinds of suggestions online for activities and sites to see. Explore and have fun! Happy traveling!

 

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