Saint Martin Things to Do

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Best Rated Things to Do in Saint Martin

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    Marigot, the French capital

    by melissa_bel Written Jul 26, 2004

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    Marigot's seafront with Fort-St-Louis above.

    Marigot is a slice of France in the middle of the Caribbean. You could really believe you've been transported to a small and classy French riviera resorts. Only the exotic plants and the intense turquoise of the Caribbean Sea betrays its real location. Don't miss the lovely waterfront with Fort-St-Louis perched atop the city to defend the island from the French's main enemy: the Brits. The canons used to be pointed at St-Kitts, the closest British settlement at the time.
    Sit at a bar, enjoy the streets and the shopping is fabulous!

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    Orient Bay/Baie Orientale Beach

    by melissa_bel Updated Aug 2, 2004

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    A glimpse of Paradise... Orient Bay

    That's it, I found my dream beach (until proof of otherwise)... this place is a straight out of a fantasy. As I stepped off the car, I could see glances of turquoise through the manicured trees surrouding the area. And wham! This crescent shaped beach is...stunning! The sand is white and so soft my ankle are disapearing in seconds, the water is such an intense blue it glows, the waves are crashing (I love a decent amount of waves), beach bars all around to provide shelter, food, drinks and fun... Of course, you have the occasionnal naked people from Club Orient (the nudistclub at the southern tip of the beach) strolling by. I don't mind, as a European but the reaction of my American fellow passengers is funny (between a gasp of horror, an embarassed laugh or a curious interest).
    You can parasail, windsail... Snorkeling is not the best here though.
    What can I say, I could spent the rest of my life here!

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    Philipsburg, the Dutch Capital

    by melissa_bel Written Jan 11, 2005

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    Philipsburg's Front Street

    After more than an hour walk, we decide it is time to go check out Philipsburg and those famous “sweet deals“ this duty-free part is supposed to offer you. Well… if you are not into alcohol, cigarettes or jewels, you might find it hard to find something worth bringing back. The prices for most goods are almost similar to the US, sometimes even more expansive but you don’t pay any taxes. One thing I did bring back was my favourite brand of Belgian chocolate which is impossible to find in the US so, I’m not complaining *s*. Apart from the Courthouse and an old church, Philipsburg is quite a bland town, sorry to say but strangely, the population is more mixed than the French side with Arabs, Indians, Blacks, Dutch, Americans, Latinos living there. The French side is more “white”. The Dutch side is livelier too and I wish I could’ve remained longer to see the stretch Along Simpson Lagoon coming alive at sunset. After our little walk, it was time to drop the car back and go back to the ship.

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    Grand Case

    by bsfreeloader Written Feb 18, 2008

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    Dubbed the “Culinary capital of the Caribbean,” Grand Case is without question the best place for dining on St. Martin/Sint Maarten. The town’s main drag is essentially a long row of restaurants, ranging from inexpensive lolos serving barbeque to high-end places serving traditional French cuisine. Reservations are typically unnecessary, as most diners simply walk the street and view the specials highlighted on chalkboards before choosing a restaurant. The restaurants front a somewhat unspectacular but not altogether unworthy beach.

    Related to:
    • Beaches
    • Food and Dining

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    Shopping at the Market in Marigot

    by BigBlueOne Written Apr 28, 2008

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    There is an outdoor market in Marigot that has some pretty good deals. I should also list this under tourist traps, but its still a good way to kill a couple of hours and pick up some souvenirs for all of the suckers that couldn't come with you on your trip.

    Related to:
    • Cruise

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    Fort Louis

    by bsfreeloader Written Feb 13, 2008

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    Constructed in 1767 by order of French King Louis XVI to protect Marigot from pirates of British and Dutch descent, Fort Louis is not much more today than a few crumbling rock walls and some left-over cannons. But it is worth climbing up to see for the sweeping view of Marigot, its harbor, and nearby Anguilla. Although not particularly well marked, it is impossible to miss the fort if you simply look up from the Marigot waterfront.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel

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    Loterie Farm (safe) and Pic Paradis

    by Suzanne123 Updated Mar 28, 2006

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    Pic Paradis is the highest point on the island. It is NOT safe to travel there alone. Car Jackings and robery are common! Do visit Lotterie farm for an ambitious group guided hike $25.00 9:30 am, or for a delicous lunch at the cafe. The cafe gets rave reviews. There is an $8.00 charge to visit the property. Closed on Mondays. It is safe to visit pic paradis with the Lotterie farm guide.

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    Orient Beach

    by Dabs Updated Jan 21, 2014

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    Orient Beach
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    Orient Beach is the most well known spot on the island of St. Martin/St. Maarten, it is located on the French side of the island and is well known, I assume, because it has a nude beach. We were dropped off right at the entrance to the Club Orient which is the resort behind the nude beach, go right you'll be hanging out with the naked folks, go left if you want to visit the clothed section of the beach. Both times we have been here, it's been rather windy and sitting on the beach is uncomfortable with the sand flying around. There are places where you can rent beach loungers and umbrellas for a fee, it's almost necessary to avoid having your skin sand blasted.

    It's a beautiful beach but the wind made it the least enjoyable beach visit we had on our trip in 2013 and 2014.

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    Eat at the Lolos

    by bsfreeloader Written Feb 13, 2008

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    Lolos are makeshift restaurants serving traditional creole fare. Typically consisting of a small kitchen with a counter, a grill, and some plastic tables and chairs under an awning or plywood roof, lolos are direct descendants of more rustic barbecue shacks. Clustered at the main pier in Grand Case and along the waterfront adjacent to the public market in Marigot, lolos are extremely popular with locals and tourists alike. Serving hearty meals at less than $10 a pop, lolos are difficult to beat. Picking which one to eat at can be a challenge – my theory was to eat at the ones with the most locals, and I was never disappointed.

    Related to:
    • Food and Dining

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    Orient Beach!

    by GlobalMatt Written Sep 10, 2003

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    Orient Beach - St. Martin - June, 2000

    Orient Beach is situated on the French side of Sint Maarten / St. Martin. This is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful white sand beaches I have encountered. I would rate it right up there with Magen's Bay in St. Thomas. One thing to keep in mind...Orient Beach has 3 sections - non-nude, partially nude (topless sunbathing ok), and totally in the buff! So, if you aren't used to clothing optional beaches, stay on the "family side." I have to admit, though....it didn't really matter where you were...the nude sunbathers went everywhere. Kick back with a Carib and catch some rays!

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    Grand Case

    by Suzanne123 Updated Mar 22, 2006

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    The city of Grand Case has a festival on tuesday nights called "Harmony nights". Happens during the winter months. Maybe Nov-March? They have bands that perform and crafts people set up tables for their booths. The street is lined with festive lights and all the local children come out to dance. Many local women bring home cooked goodies to sell. Look for Acra - fish cakes and Jonny cake.

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    Marigot

    by bsfreeloader Written Feb 13, 2008

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    Marigot
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    The capital of French St. Martin, Marigot has a bit of a southern European flavor. Home to a public market, souvenir stalls, a handful of lolos, and other restaurants, Marigot’s harborfront is the city’s main commercial area. Not surprisingly, it is a good place to people watch, browse, and graze. High-end shoppers will prefer the trendy boutiques surrounding the nearby Port La Royale Marina and along the roads linking the marina and the harborfront. The marina also is home to scores of tourist restaurants, and is a comfortable place to have dinner. One of the town’s highlights is the panoramic view from Fort Louis. A day in Marigot is more than enough to take it all in at a reasonable pace.

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    Grand Case

    by Suzanne123 Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Grand Case is the gourmet capitol of the world, second to Paris. Located in the north on the French side of the island. Le petite favorite is a small shopping centre, restaurant, and more. Beautiful to look at with all the gingerbread trim.

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    Visit Saint Maarten

    by Suzanne123 Updated Apr 4, 2006

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    In case you did not know, St Martin is the French side of the island and St Maarten is the Dutch side of the island. Look up St Maarten here at Virtual tourist. It is listed as part of the Netherlands Antilles. You are in the Guedeloupe and you are also in the Leeward islands. So many names! There is no border crossing, just a sign on the side of the road. You may come and go at ease whenever you please. If you want to call from one side of the island to another you will need an international calling card.

    On both sides of the island there are telephones with red and blue stickers. Avoid them, they are a private company's phone. My $10 card of theirs did not work. Use the other phones and you will not have any problem. On the dutch side it is 75 cents US to make a phone call. You can drive around the whole island in an hour-and-a-half if there were no trafic or bridge openings (south west side).

    There are 33 beaches all with free public access (some have washrooms for a fee/others are free bring TP) The French capital Marigot is know for great clothing shopping. Grand Case is known as the Gourmet Capital of the world second to Paris. The Dutch sides main capital is Philisburg and is know for it's jewelry. The most popular beach on the French side is Orient Beach, on the Dutch side Philisburg beach with the cruise ships and Maho & mullet beaches.

    On the Dutch side the currency is the Netherlands antilles Florin. I never saw this currency during my trip. I wanted to bring some because I was sure the cheapest way to travel was to use the local currency. I'm glad I did not bring any, the currency exchange places offered such a poor rate back home in Canada, I said forget it, I'll use the US dollar. Everyone uses the American dollar!!!! On the French side the currency is the Euro, however I did not use any either cause every person I encountered accepted the US dollar dollar per Euro and that was a bargain!

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    Baie Rouge

    by bsfreeloader Written Feb 13, 2008

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    Located two miles west of Sandy Ground and within walking distance of Marigot (if you like long walks), Baie Rouge is home to one of St. Martin’s most popular beaches. After spending several days in Anguilla, it was difficult to be impressed by the golden sand which had the texture and color of cornmeal, or somewhat choppy seas. But it isn’t a bad beach, and the area is said to be good for snorkeling. Be warned – Orient Beach isn’t the only beach with nudists; there are plenty at Baie Rouge as well.

    Related to:
    • Beaches

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