Sint Maarten/Saint Martin
I am not a beach destination kind of a person, so I say. Don’t get me wrong, I love the ocean, I just don’t want to sit on the beach for hours when there’s so much to see. I want to meet locals and visitors and hear their stories. I want to walk the path of ancient civilizations. I want to eat foods and see customs that link people to their culture.
The world is big and I want to have a good look at it before it gets dark- John Muir.
After some research on the architecture, Arawak Indians, slave trade and emancipation, and yes beautiful beaches, Sint Maarten became our destination for our Summer adventure. What we didn’t see in our research were restaurants offering vegan options. Not a problem, we know how to navigate around that.
The Caribbean is known for beautiful white sand beaches and Sint Maarten/Saint Martin does not disappoint.
1. Orient Bay (Saint Martin) Free- A lively beach that is clothing optional. Have a look but staring is creepy!
2. Cupecoy Beach (Sint Maarten) Free (fee for parking)- We stayed in a condo that was literally steps from the entrance of this beach. It is surrounded by limestone cliffs and there are little tide pools where tiny crabs have been spotted. The Northwest side of the beach is clothing optional but because this beach is pretty secluded, folks are removing their clothes when the mood arises.
3. Mullet Bay Beach (Sint Maarten) Free
4. Friar’s Bay (Saint Martin) Free
5. Dawn Beach (Sint Maarten) Free
6. Maho Bay Beach (Sint Maarten) Free (fee for parking)- World famous for it’s proximity to Princess Julianna Airport, this beach is for all of us who are mesmerized by the landing and take-off of a jet. Seriously, I cannot get enough of it! I know what a jet looks like when it takes off but I can sit and wonder about the passengers’ journey for hours! Travelers from around the world gather on this beach to swim and experience the jet blast from planes that are landing. The rush experienced when a jet flies right above you. Plan ahead and get the flight schedule of the landing jets online or by visiting the Sunset Grill on the beach, which posts the flight schedule on a bulletin board. We waited until the day we were leaving and only experienced prop planes and one mid-sized jet landing. Let me tell you….the prop looked like they were landing on the beach and produced enough wind that my hat flew off. The mid-sized jet was so loud I wonder if my hat would not have been the only thing lost if we’d experienced the 747 or Airbus fly by. It was definitely a thrill not to be missed! Please take note of the signs posted on the fence which divides the airport and the beach. The signs warn the danger of standing on or holding onto the fence as planes land and take-off.
7. For an even more beautiful beach, take a day trip via ferry to Anguilla (Passport required since Anguilla is a separate country. Shoal Bay Beach is known as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world and we found that to be true. It only takes 20 minutes to get to Anguilla from St Martin and it is well worth it.