Sint Maarten/St. Martin
We spent almost 2 weeks in the beautiful island of Sint Maarten/St. Martin. We were invited as a surprise to celebrate my parents 25th anniversary. Below is where we stayed, where to eat, what to see, and tips for others visiting the island. Enjoy!
Where we stayed:
Flamingo Beach Resort for 8 nights thanks to Dad Essig.
-Walking distance to many restaurants
– Large Infinity Pool
– Gorgeous views
– 2 for 1 drink specials
– Kitchen in room
– Rooms could use updating
– Karaoke could be heard every night in our room
Westin Dawn beach for 5 nights using 48,000 SPG points.
– Up to date rooms, comfortable beds
– Daily room cleaning service
– Large pool with poolside service and swim up bar
– Great security
– Bonfires on the beach, live music
– Iguanas galore (kids loved finding and watching them)
– Food and beverage is overpriced
– Beach has a lot of seaweed
– Not in walking distance to much (rental car recommended)
– Pool (although beautiful) has rough bottom and is hard on hands and feet
– We were bothered several times to do a time share presentation
Where to eat:
Pineapple Pete– Touristy spot but good food.
The Greenhouse– 2 for 1 happy hour drinks and 1/2 price appetizers. Do yourself a favor and get the bang bang shrimp, yum!
Bon Appetit– Nice breakfast spot.
Melange International Grill– Continuous service of 3 course meal consisting of appetizers, salads and meat & seafood skewers.
Sunset Beach Grill– The food is only ok, but the view watching the planes arrive in Sint Maarten is why you go.
3 Amigos- Amazing Margaritas and great food. Recommend the fajitas!
Rancho Steak & Lobster- Food was delicious but service was slow! Behind the restaurant are over 100ft yachts that are nice to look at.
Big Fish- Expensive but wonderful food and a beautiful restaurant.
Daniels by the sea– Close to the Westin. We ate here twice because the view was spectacular. Nice breeze from the ocean too which kept the bugs away. Italian and seafood.
Lazy Lizards– By far the best service on the island. Owner is friendly and enjoys greeting his customers. Pride in his restaurant shines and his tripadvisor rating is well deserved. All employees were top notch! You will find this gem in Philipsburg, so when you need a break from shopping definitely stop in.
Dinghy Dock Bar– This spot is for the laid back. Nothing fancy but the best fish and chips on the island. View of Oyster Pond is nice too. Not the easiest to find, parking is limited but we are glad we went.
Mama’s Pizza– Nice views of Oyster Pond and tons of pizza choices to pick from!
And the winner for WORST and only BAD restaurant we went to would be ….Lee’s Roadside Grill. Horrible service. I could go into detail but its not worth it. JUST TRUST ME DON’T GO HERE!
Things to do:
Pinel Island- A highlight of our trip! Ferry to the island starts at 10am and runs every 1/2 hour. Last boat leaves at 4pm. $12 round trip ferry ride. Kids 4 and under are FREE. Umbrella and 2 chairs was $20. Water is at most waist high. Almost no waves so we didn’t have to worry about the kids getting knocked over. Best part was eating lunch at a table in the water and having fish swim all around your feet.
Fort Louis- One of the best views on the island. Great for taking photos and learning about the islands history.
Phillipsburg- Shopping, restaurants, and the beach.
Maho Beach- This is one of the few places in the world where aircraft can be viewed in their flight path just outside the end of the runway. Definitely a sight to see!
Orient Bay- Gorgeous clear water and soft white sand. On the French side, expect to pay around $25 for an umbrella and 2 chairs.
Fishing- YouTube fishing video
More vacation photos:
Tips when visiting St. Maarten/St. Martin:
1. Most restaurants have a happy hour or early bird special. Be sure to check before you go. Some places don’t give it to you unless you mention it.
2. Bring bug spray, you will need it.
3. If you buy duty free at the airport when you leave (liquor, lotions, cigars, ect.) and have a layover flight, chances are you wont be allowed to carry on these items on your second flight. We learned this the hard way!
4. Rent a car to see the whole island. We used hertz and they have a shuttle to/from the airport.
5. Shopping prices in Phillipsburg (in most cases) are negotiable.
6. Locals frequently ask to braid your hair or try to sell you things. But with a simple “no thank you” they usually wish you a good day and move on their way.