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St. Maarten Vacation Packages

St. Maarten may be the smallest island in the world, but it's full of scenic hotspots, all-inclusive luxury resorts and fabulous local culture.

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Dive Into St. Maarten/St. Martin

Although technically one landmass, the two sides of the country like to play up their distinct personalities. The French side likes to boast their European roots, emphasizing chic comfort and elegance. You'll find that the beaches are secluded, the resorts are luxurious, and you'll finally get to understand why the cuisine has earned this little island the title of "Gastronomic Capital of the Caribbean." Now the Dutch side, on the other hand, bustles with commercial activity, from its busy cruise port to dinging casinos; it’s always abuzz with life and nonstop action. Between the laid-back luxury of St. Martin and the flurry of activity in St. Maarten, you have all it takes for the ideal Caribbean vacation.

St. Maarten/St. Martin Overview

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    Mapping Out St. Maarten/St. Martin

    Like siblings vying for attention, both sides of St. Martin aim to please you with their distinct cultures and personalities. St. Maarten, the Dutch side of the island, is known for its dinging casinos, high-rise luxury resorts and non-stop cruise ship activity – perfect if you want to let loose and live it up. If you want more rest than recreation, head to the French side of the island, St. Martin, instead. This side is less developed, with a naturist attitude featuring pristine beaches, wildlife and gardens. The chic boutiques here ooze European luxury and exclusivity, while foodies will fall in love with their streets lined with cafes and gourmet bistros. Whether you want action and excitement, secluded beaches or succulent food, you’re sure to find it somewhere on the island of St. Martin.
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    Time Travel at the St. Maarten Museum

    Step back in time to the oldest museum in St. Maarten! Even finding it will be an adventure. First, you'll have to look for Front Street, which won't be hard. Once you get there, you'll see an alley where there's a very old house (a 100-year-old house, to be exact) tucked away. That's the St. Maarten Museum! Once inside, you'll find an amazing display of St. Maarten's history. You'll get a a glimpse into the life of the Arawak Indians, explore the island’s industrial period and see original engravings from Fort Amsterdam. There’s also an exhibition of dried herbs and shells for nature lovers to gaze at. The tour closes with a huge collection of articles and photographs of major hurricanes that have struck St. Maarten, so you'll really come to appreciate this tiny island’s remarkable past!
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    Meet Marigot

    Ready to feel like you're frolicking through France (without spending all that cash on a European vacation)? Then head to Marigot, on the French side of St. Martin. Once you arrive, you'll see colonial houses peppering the streets next to quaint cafes, delicious bistros, fragrant pastry shops and elegant boutiques. Ooh-la-la! Wandering through Marigot feels just like exploring a real market town in France. Oh and by the way, on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday mornings, the colorful open market on Market Square offers an assortment of goods and groceries, including local fruits and vegetables. The entire city is only four streets wide, so you can easily see it all.
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    Open your Mind at Orient Beach

    Feeling a little risqué? Good, because clothing is optional at this popular beach on the French side of St. Martin. And that’s not the only attraction. You see, Orient Beach is protected by a coral reef, so when you decide to go snorkeling or swimming, you'll be treated to calm, clear waters. Not only that, but there are several watersports and equipment rental stations available (for those who’d rather stay clothed). When you're all tuckered out, you'll find several outstanding beach bars and restaurants, all lining the white sands with colorful tiki huts and lounge chairs. There’s plenty to see here – and we’re not just talking about the lack of swimsuits!
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    Take Home the Gold at America’s Cup Yacht Racing

    Ever dreamed of sailing the ocean breezes in a fast-paced, yacht cup race? Well now, here's your chance to experience it on the Dutch side of St. Martin, known as Sint Maarten! You don’t even have to be a pro to set your sails here. You can thank four-time America's Cup winner Dennis Conner for starting up this business. What they do is organize several regattas with champion yachts every single day during the high season. That means you get to join in on a sailing crew and experience what it's like to race a yacht. With the salty sea wind running through your hair as you soar over the calm, blue waters, you'll be feeling like a yachtie in no time. Four to eight crew members are needed for each yacht, so don't be afraid to join in and try it.
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    Foodies Unite at Boulevard de Grand Case

    You'll love exploring Boulevard de Grand Case and getting lost in the the rows of lovely restaurants. It's like exploring a mini-France since the cafes are housed in quaint and colorful wooden cottages. The French side of St. Martin is proud to be known as the cuisine capital of the Caribbean. Once you stroll this street, you'll know why. You can sample all different types of food, from luxe restaurants to street dining at small dives run by locals, feast on West Indian Creole and traditional French food. The lovely beaches combined with great food and fine French wine are a perfect pairing here.
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    St. Maarten/St. Martin Quick Facts

    Language: French/Dutch, but those in tourism speak English sometimes.

    Currency: US Dollar is widely accepted, but official currency on the French side is the Euro and on the Dutch side, the Netherlands Antilles florin or guilder.

    Electricity: French side is 220 volts. Dutch side is 110 volts, same as North America.

    Passport/Immigration: All U.S. citizens must have a valid passport when traveling to and from St. Martin.

    Drinking Water: Drink only bottled water.

    Time Zone: Atlantic Standard Time (UTC/GMT -4 hours)

    Peak Season: December to April

Tips & Transportation

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    Indulge Your Sweet Tooth

    Foodies, line up for locally-made Caribbean sweets and over 400 kinds of fresh candy at St. Maarten Candy Store! When you walk up to the store, the first thing that'll catch your eye is the store's awesome exterior! It's painted a bright blue color with a yellow thatched roof and is decorated with colorful candy wrappers of just about any candy you can possibly imagine. You'll definitely want to take a photo of it before you leave. Once inside, you can treat yourself to some locally-made candy, Dutch specialty sweets, licorice ropes or lip-smacking chocolate. If you’re lucky, you might even run into a guy known as the Candy Man from Canada who likes to tell his tale of how he came to live in St. Maarten.
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    Bag Some Pirate Booty at Shipwreck Shop

    You're nearing the end of your vacation and just realized you haven't had the chance to pick up souvenirs for mom, pop or Uncle Bob. Don't panic. Instead, head straight to Shipwreck Shop on St. Maarten. When you walk into the shop, you'll feel just like a real treasure hunter as you peruse the treasure trove of quaint, one-of-a-kind souvenirs on the shelves. Choose from guavaberry liqueur, local spices and seasonings or Caribbean crafts of all sorts. You can also find local artwork, clothing, jewelry, books and other knick knacks. This is the perfect place for one-stop souvenir shopping.
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    Stir your Own Scent: Tijon Parfumerie

    So maybe you can’t visit the heart of the French perfume industry in Grasse, France, but you can get pretty close! If you've ever dreamed of making your own perfume, then this stop is a must. Make a beeline for Tijon Parfumerie, a unique little shop on the French side of Saint Martin where you can mix and make your own perfume! Once you arrive, you'll get to sniff, sample and choose from over 300 oils. After that, you get to mix and bottle your fragrant creation. Now you can really create your own signature scent, the perfect reminder of your luxurious stay in the French Caribbean!
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    Best Power-Shopping for Souvenirs: En Vogue

    Grab something for everyone at this tiny boutique! Instead of picking through stacks of cheap and cheesy souvenirs, everything you find here has a special French flair. Choose from several trinkets and home accessories like Provençal tea towels or luxurious Laguiole knives made of precious-wood and bone handles. You can also find brightly-colored, hand-painted Limoges porcelain made by the renowned French ceramicist Soizick de la Bruguière. Ooh-la-la!
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    Find Fresh Fish at the Chippe Café

    You haven’t had sushi until you’ve tried it in the Caribbean. With all the water surrounding these beautiful islands, you're sure to get some of the freshest seafood around. For a taste of it, head straight to the Chippe Cafe. This joint in Philipsburg (located on the Dutch side, St. Maarten) has quickly become a favorite among locals from all walks of life. Imagine fish fresh from the ocean around you – it’s a delicious, clean taste you can’t duplicate anywhere else. Plus, they offer huge pieces at reasonable prices.
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    Airport

    Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM) is an international airport that serves the island of St. Maarten/St. Martin, so you will most likely arrive at Princess Juliana Airport. The French side of the island has its own airport at Grand Case, but it only accommodates small propeller planes and is rarely used for international travel.
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    Immigration & Customs

    Upon arrival at Princess Juliana International Airport all passengers must present a complete immigration form. These forms are generally handed out in the plane before landing. It is essential that you know the precise address of your accommodation on the island before you arrive. You must have a valid passport and a return or continuing ticket. St. Maarten/St. Martin is a duty-free port, and there are no particular customs procedures. Products for personal use (tobacco, cameras and video cameras, etc.) are permitted in small quantities without being subject to specific procedures or taxes.
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    Getting to Your Hotel

    CheapCaribbean.com has partnered with Nexus Tours as our premier transportation company in St. Maarten/St. Martin. They’ll provide you with safe, comfortable and professional transportation, from the airport to your hotel and back. After you clear customs and exit the terminal building at the airport, look for the Nexus Representative holding an Amstar/Cheap Caribbean.com sign. The representative will then escort you to their van for your transfer to the hotel.
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    Getting Around St. Marteen/St. Martin

    Making transport arrangements with our tour operator is the safest bet. You may rent a car, but the roads are narrow and parking tends to be difficult. Taxis are available as well, but they can be expensive since prices are set by the government and determined by how far you travel. Local buses are a budget option; however, there is no set bus schedule, and buses must be flagged down for service.