An Adventurer’s Guide to St. Martin
Couple’s Guide to St. Martin
You know that old fashion saying, “You can’t be in two places at once”? This would be a true statement if it weren’t for a beautiful little gem that’s part of the Leeward Islands located in the Caribbean Sea. Welcome to Saint Martin where you will find the most beautiful turquoise beaches per square mile. The Island is home to busy resort beaches & secluded coves. It’s also known for fusion cuisine, vibrant nightlife, and duty-free shops selling jewelry & liquor. Did we also mention it’s comprised of two separate countries? The Island is divided between the northern French side called, St. Martin, and the southern Dutch side, Sint Maarten. In this article, we’ll be highlighting our couple’s guide to delicious restaurants, romantic activities, where to stay and showcasing adventurous excursions on the French side. Welcome to the friendly island!
Where to Stay:
The French side of the Island has plenty of beaches and hotels to choose from and we had the pleasure of staying at the Palm Court at Orient Beach Hotel. Located steps away from the ocean this vibrant hotel is only a 3-minute walk from the scenic Orient Beach. The hotel surprised us with their Honeymoon suite on the top floor overlooking the pool with a distant view of restaurants within walking distance. Although the breakfast offered at this location is incredible while guests get to enjoy their tables poolside, we have plenty of dining recommendations worth mentioning below!
Top Restaurant Recommendations:
This cozy little spot is located right on the beach where guests can unwind at a table with their feet in the sand. The chef’s menu is chalked up on a large blackboard showcasing the fresh product and dishes on display for the day full of flavor and spices. We ordered the chef’s special of the day which consisted of a stuffed Sea Bass filet with lobster, shrimp, spinach and clam sauce.
Located in Orient Bay where you will find delicious entrees being served at the famous L’Astrolabe. This amazing restaurant is a gastronomic discovery in a very romantic setting. Our menu choices included Faux Gras Ravioli with Tomato cream sauce, grilled Octopus, a Surf & Turf with spiny Lobster and Filet Mignon, and a delicious Crème Brulee accompanied by Profiteroles.
This locale Creole restaurant is located in Grand Case, a boulevard filled with restaurants & bars. We started off our evening with a couple Pina Coladas accompanied by plantains and fried fish appetizer. Our entrees consisted of a whole red snapper branzino dish and a skewer of grilled shrimp.
Another great local restaurant to visit during lunch time was a crowd favorite called, Scooby’s. This family owned establishment was located on the beach side with a delicious menu of fresh caught seafood. We had the pleasure of sitting down with the owners who explained the history behind their restaurant, and they even recommended a couple dishes to try. Our favorite entrée was the whole lobster which was accompanied by rice & salad.
On the third night of our stay, we decided to walk to dinner from our hotel seeing that it was so close. This beautiful restaurant offered quite the experience starting with an assigned bartender who introduced herself at our table and asked us a few questions pertaining to the type of beverages we enjoy. Within minutes, the friendly bartender had enough information to start our experience and let us tell you it was worth it! Our personalized cocktails were nothing short of perfect, and we were excited to order the food we had heard so much about. We started off the evening with the summer freshness appetizer which consisted of tomato carpaccio, watermelon, citrus, sesame burrata, olive, parmesan shavings, basil microgreens, toasted pine nuts and passion fruit vinaigrette. Next, we had the special of the evening which was shaves of roast beef tenderloin in a creamy risotto and asparagus. At the end of our experience, we selected an assortment of aged cheese from their cheese trolley and a crème brulee which was prepared tableside by a flamed torch from their dessert trolley.
Another restaurant that attracts tourists & locals is Coco Beach. This location has a good secret Pina Colada recipe with a different look that is worth mentioning, but the Tuna tartar is out of this world! We decided to split their seafood platter for two which consisted of two half lobster tails, prawns, scallops, John Dory, Red Snapper and Red Tuna.
On our final evening, we were invited to experience the magic of La Cigale. This restaurant was located on the opposite side of where we were staying and was about a half hour drive away from our hotel. The ambiance upon arrival was the best we had experienced on the Island. Our waterfront table was glowing from the inside out with the restaurants book like center piece, and the fireworks were heard in the distance for the Saint Martin celebration for Bastilles day. Our most notable dishes were the scallops, filet mignon, giant Macaron, and Chocolate Lava cake.
On the Island of Saint Martin, it’s easy to find adventure on every corner. Whether you prefer land or sea, there is something to offer every type of Adventurer. We wanted to explore as much of the Island as we could while still getting a good sense of the local culture experience. Our first activity we enjoyed was at the Loterie Farm located in a private nature reserve. Although there are many activities to choose from including several tree top adventures and hiking trails, we decided to experience their zipline ropes course. An interesting fact here is that Loterie Farm gives control to their guests on how to enjoy this excursion. In other words, each guest is in control of clamping their gear onto the zipline and going at their own pace. This was guided in a relaxed atmosphere where guests can enjoy the scenery while experiencing nature at its finest.
The second activity we experience was the SXM Gyrocopter! This one-of-a-kind aircraft seats two people (the pilot and the passenger) and soars high in the sky to take in some epic aerial views of the Island. The whole experience is about an hour with endless ocean viewing capabilities. Imagine various shades of blue and turquoise water scattered as far out as the eye can see surrounding the beautiful Island of Saint Martin. This thrilling excursion allows guests to see hidden pristine beaches, natural coves, private parts of the Island, and a view from the top you will never forget! In our opinion, the best time to fly is right before sunset because it allows the guest to watch the transition of the ocean colors on the horizon. We 100% recommend booking this excursion when visiting the Island.
Our third activity we had planned was a snorkel excursion around Creole Rock with the one and only Bubble Shop! We started the activity with a short boat ride from one of the prominent hotels on the Island to a very popular snorkel & scuba dive stop, Creole Rock. The entire experience lasted about one hour where we had spotted a sting ray, barracuda, tons of tropical fish, and an eel. The diverse marine life in Saint Martin makes it the perfect snorkel or scuba dive destination. Bubble Shop was extremely professional and provided all our gear we needed to have a great time!
Our fourth excursion we had planned was an ATV ride around the entire Island with Quads & Furious. The local owner took us on a private ride around the French and Dutch side to truly understand the Saint Martin local experience. Did we mention the ATV’s that were provided were amazing? There are so many popular beaches and instagramable places on the Island, but our favorite was at Maho Beach where the airplanes fly right over your head. The second favorite stop was toward the end of the excursion at the tallest point of the Island where it has a lookout point over both the French & Dutch side. This is definitely a highlight to add to your list of activities when visiting Saint Martin.
The final activity we had planned for our visit was at Tijon parfumerie et boutique. This was our very first time making our own perfume and cologne! This unique experience allows guests to explore their sense of smell and experiment with different oils to come up with the perfect scent that is personalized for them. After sampling plenty of scented oils we each created something special and individualized that Tijon bottles up for you to take home and use at your leisure. My cologne was called, “Lost in Paradise” and Ashley’s perfume was called, “Paradise Petals.” This is a great activity for a romantic date or a fun filled family adventure on the Island!
It’s no wonder why Saint Martin is called, “The friendly Island.” Each and every person we met during our visit was absolutely wonderful and contributed something special. Thank you to the Saint Martin Tourist Office for inviting us out and arranging an experience of a lifetime with the most delicious Creole inspired culinary excellence and friendly local hospitality. We hope this article has given insight to what guests can expect when visiting this beautiful Island, and we can’t wait to go back in the future. Be sure to visit our social media channels for a full video highlight and review showcasing our experience on Saint Marten, and thank you to all of you who follow along for tips, tricks, and travel tips. Always remember your Adventure Awaits!