View from Fort Louis in Marigot, St. Martin

Winter Break in St. Martin – Part One

Here’s a peek at our weeklong adventure on the unique and tiny Caribbean island of St. Martin (French side)/Sint Maarten (Dutch side) and Anguilla. 

View from our apartment at Residencia des las Acacias in Anse Marcel, St. Martin.To get to St. Martin, we hopped on a 5.5 hour Sun Country flight from Minneapolis to Princess Juliana Airport on the Dutch side of the island. After landing, we picked up our rental car and weaved our way through the French side to Anse Marcel on the complete opposite side of the island to check into our AirBNB bungalow

View from Pinel Island, St. Martin

The next morning, we hopped on the nearby ferry to Pinel Island, a little getaway only five minutes from the main island. We had originally planned to kayak/SUP over to the island (an option for a small fee) but the strong winds prevented us from doing so. Instead we paid the $15 for a round-trip ferry ticket.

Pina Coladas on Pinel Island, St. Martin

Once on the island, we reserved some beach chairs/umbrellas ($25 for 2) from the beach restaurant furthest from the ferry landing and set up camp for the day. We were lucky to be on one of the first ferries of the day, because the chairs quickly filled up. It was clearly a popular spot!

Hiking around Pinel Island St. Martin

We spent the rest of the day soaking up the sun, splashing around in the clear, aquamarine blue water, drinking piña coladas (brought right to our chairs), and exploring the hilly little island.

Seen on our hike around Pinel Island

There was a trail system around the entire island with awesome views of St. Martin and other nearby islands, as well as up close viewing of the the mini island’s reptilian residents. 

Walking around Pinel Island, St. Martin

The restaurant that we rented our chairs from also served some of the best beach food I’ve ever had! After a day full of sun, we hopped on a late afternoon ferry back to St. Martin, cleaned up and got ready for our evening reservations in Grand Case. 

Grand Case, the food capital of the Caribbean, in St Martin.

Grand Case is apparently the Food Capital of the Caribbean and it was only a short albeit steep 10-minute drive from our apartment. In Grand Case, most of the restaurants line the street immediately adjacent to the beach. Our first night we had seaside reservations at Ocean82.

House Rum at Ocean 82 in Grand Case, St. Martin

After a delicious seafood-filled meal, we enjoyed complimentary shots of house-made rum! I can’t tell you how many shots of rum we had over the course of the week. Just about every place we ate at on the French side offered them after our meal … even at lunch. 🙂

View from Pic Paradis, St. Martin

On day two, we decided to climb Pic Paradis, the highest point of St. Martin. We drove most of the way up the peak on a narrow, windy, sometimes one-lane mountain road before parking and hiking the last stretch (about 30 minutes) to the lookout offering some pretty impressive views of everything below. 

Fort Louis in Marigot, St. Martin

After Pic Paradis, we drove to nearby Fort Louis located in the capital of St. Martin (the French side), Marigot to explore the ruins and enjoy the views. 

Fort Louis in Marigot, St. Martin

Reptilian friend in St. Martin

View from Fort Louis in Marigot, St. Martin

From Marigot, we explored Sint Maarten (the Dutch side) a bit before for settling down for the afternoon at one of SXM’s most popular beaches – Maho Beach. 

Maho Beach, Sint Maarten

Not only does Maho Beach offer soft sand, sun and clear, blue water, but it also …

Maho Beach, Sint Maarten

is unique because it sits at the end of Princess Juliana Airport (aka SXM). So, pretty much every airplane comes in over the beach. Although one of the more crowded beaches, we had a ton of fun spending the rest of our day here watching the planes fly overhead. 

Louis the cat

On day three we woke to morning showers and a furry friend in our open-air apartment. I affectionately named him Louis before kindly showing him the door. 🙂
Residencia Les Acacias, Anse Marcel, St. Martin

The showers and clouds didn’t last long, because soon it soon cleared up and we were on our way to the nearby island of Anguilla via the 20-minute ferry from Marigot. 

The Straw Hat, Anguilla

Once in Anguilla, we cleared customs and picked up a rental car before driving to Mead’s Bay Beach. This quiet, calm, shallow and clear – everything I love – may be my favorite beach to-date. We spent the morning splashing around before popping into the Straw Hat (right on the beach) for lunch.

Fresh Plantain Chips at the Straw Hat in Anguilla

We enjoyed a whole bunch of island fare. My personal favorite being the homemade warm plantain chips with fresh pico de gallo. Yum!

Island Harbor in Anguilla

After getting our fill, we hopped into our rental and cruised around the island. Anguilla is much flatter than St. Martin, so it took next to no time to get from one side to the other. We stopped at couple of places including Island Harbor (above) which featured a bunch of little colorful hand-painted fishing boats, which we read will sometimes go 50-60 miles out into the open sea. Um … not for me. 🙂

Kite Surfing in Anguilla

Rendezvous Bay was the last Anguillian beach we stopped at. The beach offered a great view of St. Martin and we had fun watching the kiteboarders riding the wind. 

View from Marigot, St. Martin

We hopped on one of the last ferries back to St. Martin and enjoyed the sunset in Marigot before heading back to our apartment to enjoy supper in the little French restaurant below our AirBNB.

Hey there! I’m Emily:
a food-loving Minnesotan
on a mission to live the good life. #tbd

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