St. Maarten, Sint Maarten, Saint Martin…
Located in the Caribbean Ocean, this small island is Paradise Personified.
St. or Sint Maarten is a part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and shares the Island with it’s northern neighbour Saint Martin, a french overseas collective. In 2017 the island was hit by one of the most devastating hurricane’s in it’s history, Hurricane Irma.
Irma, a class 5 hurricane, battered the island with 180mph winds causing mass destruction and subsequently bringing the booming tourist industry to halt. After nearly 2 years of reconstruction and hard-work many of the resorts have begun to reopen their doors.
Maho Beach (AKA Airport Beach) famous for its close proximity to the Princess Juliana International Airport, and direct flight path over head. A popular destination for tourists looking to experience the world famous ‘Jet Blast’ when a large commercial flight prepares for take off they make their way to the beach end of the runway before turning 180 away from Maho Beach towards the mountains and hills in the distance. As engines engage, those directly behind the flight get hit with the full force of the aircraft’s engines and battle to keep their footing and belongings from being swept away into the turquoise sea behind. Unfortunately this unique attraction doesn’t come without it’s dangers, you’re standing behind a powerful jet engine, hopefully on the beach with soft sands and the sea to catch you, but the draw and adrenaline rush can be too much for some people as they stand clutching at the fence between the concrete road and the powerful engines and unfortunately this has led to a fatality in 2017. They have added additional safety sign posts around the area and replaced the fence with one that is higher.
Either side of the beach are two bars, Sunset bar and Driftwood’s. Sunset Bar is idyllic for sitting with friends and watching the sunset over the water, they also put on Live Music and Entertainment after dark. Driftwood’s is a much smaller, more cosy vibe and they have the most incredible frozen cocktails I have ever tried!
A short 5-10 minute walk from Maho Beach is Mullet Bay Beach. This beach is much quieter than Maho Beach and the water much more inviting than the one being blasted by jets and another great spot to watch the sun setting over the water.
The short distance between Maho Beach and Mullet Bay Beach is occupied by the beautiful Sonesta Resort Maho Hotels and the islands only golf course.
From land the Caribbean Ocean looks calm and peaceful but take a boat trip out to various locations around the island and you will see this island is home to some incredible marine life.
St. Maarten is home to many natural and man-made reefs to protect and conserve their marine wildlife. Just off the South Coast is Little Bay, home to one incredible man-made reef, many boat tours moor a short distance from the site offering guests a spectacular snorkeling opportunity. As you approach the site, the schools of fish dance amongst swimmers and the wreckages laid to rest on the floor, this site particularly is home to a helicopter and submarine among other various objects.
North of St. Maarten is Anguilla, home of white sandy beaches. Anguilla can be accessed via ferry from St. Maarten, or, Speedboat, which I would highly recommend. There are plenty of boating tours available in St. Maarten, but we were recommended to go with Billy Bones Boat Charters and I would highly recommend them to others looking for a fun day out. The hosts were warm and friendly, the site stops were breathtaking, especially Sandy Island, the snorkel location is perfect for spotting Sea Turtles, it really was a magical and memorable day out. If you want to see more of my trip why not check out my video Exploring St. Maarten and Anguilla – Sun, Sea and Turles