Saint Martin / Sint Maarten. One island – two countries
Continuing on to the Caribbean, it’s time for Saint Martin / Sint Maarten, one of the destinations I actually planned because it’s a very unique beach.
This island is similar to Hispaniola in that it is one island consisting of two countries. However, what sets this island apart is that it includes two European countries, many, many miles away from Europe. We will cover both Marigot and Philipsburg, the capital of the French and Dutch islands respectively. We will also cover the intriguing experience that is Maho Beach.
– Beach. friends asked incredulously when I told them. “You get bored after lying in the sun for a few hours.” And they are right. With few exceptions, the beaches get old quite quickly. But you see, Maho is much more than a beach. And, while yes, you can come here to slow roast your body, many come for a completely different experience. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. First, let’s take a look at Marigot, the capital of Saint Martin.
After arriving on the island in the early hours, I head to Marigot to catch the morning ferry to Anguilla. The British Isles is only 20 minutes from the capital of Saint Martin. Well, it turns out Marigot is closer to the airport than I thought, so I have plenty of time waiting for the ferry.
Hmm… How about L’Express Bakery on the corner across from the harbor? Breakfast is then. Coffee and croissant. Frés français! I’m already enjoying St. Martin.
Are you hungry? I am spoiled for choice in Marigot as the port is surrounded by many bars and restaurants.
Scenes from Marigot
Returning from Anguilla after lunch, I decide to take a closer look at Marigot before finding my accommodation on the Dutch side.
Marigot is small. In addition to the active port, you can visit the ruins of Fort St. Louis. It’s a bit of a climb so I’m kind of planning to go back and do it the next day. But I never get around it. Gotta save something for another time, right?
Do not share. Find your own coconut!
Then there is Le marché de Marigot. It is open daily from 0800 to 1300. Fish auctions on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Well, I just missed Saturday and I’ll make it to Wednesday. I wonder if they toss fish around like they do at Pike Place Market in Seattle… Another save for another time.
There are several daily connections to Anguilla and St. Barts from the Marigot Ferry Terminal
Faire du shopping in tropical France?
You can stroll along the short Rue de la République and take in the crumbling traditional Creole architecture. There are designer shops as well as local arts and crafts; think necklaces made from seashells, bags made from coconuts and more. At the other end of the scale is a small, luxury shopping mall, Le West Indies, a modern and rather beautiful building.
Okay, let’s go to the Netherlands.
I’m staying at Mary’s Boon in Simpson Bay, a lively, rambling, cozy hotel on the beach.
We are also near the airport. At first it’s a little disconcerting to hear the muffled roar of the planes right above my head. But it’s funny what you get used to, isn’t it? Soon it has an almost comforting pattern, and if a few hours go by without hearing a plane take off or land, that becomes disturbing.
How close is that airport?
Turning right from my room, by the pool, there it is. American Airlines clearly looks set to rev those engines. Just meters away.
Turning left from my room, the view is as follows.
Also, the chicken and mango salad is delicious. (No, nothing sponsored here, I just enjoyed the place).
And so I had breakfast in France, lunch in the British Isles, and dinner in the Netherlands, all in the same day. The geek in me is pleased.
Being so close to the airport, I decide it would be nice to run around its perimeter. And so I do. 4 minutes of running, 2 minutes of walking. It takes about an hour, mainly because most of the way it’s just narrow strips of gravel or grass along a fairly busy road. Every few minutes I have to turn my head to check for oncoming traffic. Sometimes, I have to lean against a fence or a tree to keep from getting discouraged. Also photo stops. Soon the intervals seem to have changed.
As you can tell, going around the airport wasn’t the best plan. So here’s an idea for the Sint Maarten transport/tourism authorities. build a runway around the perimeter of Princess Juliana Airport (SXM). Running or walking all around the airport, why not, it could be a tourist attraction in itself?
Along the way, Taylor made fishing regulations, a road bridge connecting France and the Netherlands (also known locally as the 3 o’clock bridge because it’s always jam-packed), a shipyard, and a stranded KLM plane. . The Airbus A330 had a nose rudder malfunction shortly after takeoff and has been here for about a week while I’ve been running.
The courthouse, the church and the clock
The capital of Sint Maarten has a long white sand beach and a boardwalk along the Big Bay full of bars like Dirty Sanchez, The Love Boat, Big Bastard’s Beach Bar and more. A classic Caribbean cruise port. But nice enough.
Ga winkelen in the tropical Netherlands?
Another part of the cruise experience is shopping, and Phillipsburg has plenty of that. Jewelry vendors and high-end fashion brands abound, especially on Front Street. Behind it is Back Street with more shops.
Also, pragmatic naming, don’t you think? I like:
Along Front Street, a man lures me into his beauty shop, all Spider to the Fly. He has a revolutionary new product, you see, and he can show it to me in just 1 minute. This miracle mixture will remove the wrinkles on the sides of my eyes. Guaranteed! All for the ridiculously low price of €200 a jar.
“Hmm… I really like my smiley lines,” I tell her (that’s what they’re called in my language). ‘Think I’ll keep them. He doesn’t seem to have a suitable counter-argument in his repertoire. And what can you say to that, really? But we part on friendly terms and he gives me a free sample. I experiment later. Curiosity always wins. Sticky stuff like glue. I wash in a hurry, just so I don’t go blind or anything else. Have I missed my chance to have a wrinkle free face? I guess we’ll never know.
Behind, behind Back Street, is the Market Place, with souvenirs, clothes, sundries and sundry;
⬆️ Philipsburg Market Place ⬇️
If you’re not that into shopping, you can check out the colorful street art.
On the beach… 🎶
On the board, on the seashore… 🎶
I know it should be “under” the board. Sometimes you have to improvise a tune.
Towards the end, near the Sint Maarten Museum, is the Blue Bitch Bar.
Nothing offensive about these spots.
How’s that beach already, you ask? Here it is! Let’s take a closer look at the planes landing in practice on beach Here you are, working on your tan, and suddenly a plane lands, seemingly only a meter above your head. This is exciting stuff, y’all.
Most bars here have arrivals of the day listed. I like the Surf Board option at Sunset Beach Bar.
Saint Martin. it will dazzle you
Even more exciting. flight Imagine a powerful blow dryer aimed at you. Now imagine the wind reaching hurricane force. A huge jet engine explosion at Maho Beach will give a full body shell from the sand.
There is no need for amusement parks in Sint Maarten. This is fun for the whole family. Kids (of all ages) have a great time rolling down the beach. Huge power somersaults happen here.
You can stand on the beach in the sand or in the water. Think you want to get closer to the jet engine for an even fuller effect? Don’t do it. Do NOT stand at the fence here at the end of the runway. Even if you cling to a chain-link fence with all your might, an airplane explosion can knock you over, hit a low concrete wall, and possibly kill you. It happened!
Warning signs are everywhere here. Don’t ignore them.
If you’re not into plane spotting or flying fun, the sunset is stunning.
Sunset at Maho Beach
Plenty of beach bars with delicious treats and flight information.
Leaving Saint Martin
that’s it. My days in Saint Martin / Sint Maarten are over.