Located in the northeast Caribbean, the island of St. Martin is the shortest landmass in the world to be inhabited by two nations. St. Martin (Collectivité de Saint-Martin) is an oversees collectivity of France and St. Maarten (Sint Maarten) is part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The two have cohabited peacefully for over 300 years and locals and visitors are free to move between both halves at will. Each side of the island has a distinct personality. The French side embraces their European roots as seen in their cuisine and nude beaches. The Dutch side has a hedonistic air with a festive nightlife and numerous casinos. The island as a whole has a definite Caribbean vibe and you’ll get the most out of your trip by visiting both sides.
WHERE WE WENT
- Sunset Bar and Grill — Formally called Sunset Beach Bar, Sunset Bar and Grill in St. Maarten may be under new management, but it’s still in the same spot right at the end of the runway of Princess Juliana International Airport. The beach is idillic and the sunsets are dreamy, but the main draw is the flight schedule. Check the board for flight times and wait for a plane to take off or land right above your head, beer in hand of course.#2 Beacon Hill Road, Beacon Hill, St. Maarten
- Guavaberry Emporium — In the town of Philipsburg on the Dutch side of the island, the Guavaberry Emporium is mixing up and bottling its famous exotic liqueurs. Guavaberry Liqueur is a 70 proof spirit made by steeping the native berry in rum. Add it to a glass of champagne or mix it into a colada drink. The Emporium also makes other flavored liqueurs like passionfruit, lime, spice, mango and Island almond that can be sampled. Love Potion No. 9 is an ancient Caribbean aphrodisiac made with bark from the Bois Bande, which translated means ‘erection wood’. Drink this slightly spicy drink if you want to boost your love life. No. 8-10 Front Street, Philipsburg, Saint Maarten
- Dinghy Dock Sailors Bar — Looking to bridge the drinking gap between the Dutch and French sides of St. Martin? The bathrooms of the Dinghy Dock are on the French side and the bar is on the water belonging to the Dutch side. Sides aside, come here for the killer happy hour that may be one of the best you’ve ever had. “Mix Your Own” cocktails happens from 5pm to 7pm every night. For $2 a drink, customers can make drinks to their liking and decide how happy they truly want to be. The Dock of Captain Oliver’s Resort, Oyster Ponds, St. Martin |
- Coconut Juice House — In the town of Marigot, the capital of French St. Martin, the Coconut Juice House is juicing up cool and refreshing island drinks from locally harvested coconuts and sugarcane. Green coconut juice has a similar nutrient profile that is found in the human bloodstream. Watch your coconut being opened, insert a straw and rehydrate. Or watch as stalks of sugarcane are strained and turned into super sweet juice. Gin optional.
- Karibuni – Take a boat to Karibuni restaurant on Pinel Island for food and drinks that capture the essence of French Caribbean cuisine. Start with a Ti’punch, a traditional liquid appetizer. Or order a French Mojito, a traditional mojito with champagne. Then prepare yourself for a seafood spread fit for a king – deep fried codfish fritters, grilled fresh shrimp imported from Madagasgar, local water river shrimp, local smoked fish and lobster. No feast is complete without the dessert drink, Toto Punch, a rum spiked fruit smoothie. Ilet Pinel, Baie Cul de Sac, 79150 Saint Martin |
- Calmos Café — Calmos Café is a beachfront bar and restaurant with a laid-back vibe, tasty food and unique drinks. The café’s rooftop rum blends equal parts white and gold rum, sugarcane syrup and spices or fruit. The blend is mixed in a jug and allowed to sunbathe on the roof of the bar for three to four weeks. Daytime exposure to extreme heat speeds up the infusion process and the results are sweet rums that go down deceptively easy. Flavors like ginger, vanilla banana, spice, mango and pineapple are used and the signature secret recipe is made with coconut cream and…well, it’s a secret. Lastly, if you’re feeling brave, have a shot of the rum infused with centipedes. The centipedes are dropped into the rum alive and venom is emitted, so if you do go for it – bonne chance! 40 Blvd. De Grand Case, St. Martin
St. Martin Facts
- The first inhabitants of the island are said to be the Ciboney indigenous people, who were a part of the Arawaks.
- The island received its name from Christopher Columbus in 1493 after St. Martin Day even though he never landed there.
- There are over 100 nationalities represented on the island, primarily French, Dutch, Haitian, Dominican, Jamaican, African, American and Canadian. There is also a strong Indian community.
- No significant agriculture and limited local fishing on the island means that almost all food must be imported.
- On the Dutch side the currency is the Netherlands Antilles Guilder or Florin (ANG), but US Dollars are also widely accepted. On the French side of the island the Euro (EUR) is the local currency, although establishments will also accept US Dollars.
Blend in a blender with ice. Pour into a glass and top with more Guavaberry Liqueur.
Fresh squeezed lime juice
Mix all ingredients and serve over ice. Or drink as a shot with a water back.
Fresh lime wedges
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
handful of fresh mint
1 shot Rum
Muddle together lime wedges, sugar, mint and rum. Strain into a glass, add champagne.
Blend with ice in a blender, top with dash of cinnamon.
How to Toast in St. Martin
Please Sir, I Want Some More
Learn more about traveling to St.Martin here!