The Caribbean are well known for the warm sun, white sand and shimmering turquoise water. When you visit Saint-Martin, the most important thing you want to do is to spend a day on one of the 37 beaches of this little paradise! … But when it is raining, getting wet on a beach a chair is not really attracting! Here are our recommendations to fully enjoy your day, despite the bad weather.
Flavors of Sint-Maarten – Food tour
This tour is a culinary discovery mix to an unforgettable tour of the French and the Dutch side around the main subject that everybody loves: the gastronomy! The main goal of this foodie journey is to feel the spirit of the island, its people, and its cuisine. The meeting point will be in Philipsburg at the “Amsterdam Cheese and Liquor store”, at 9:30 am. You will start with a tasting of 5 different Netherland good pieces of cheese and two wines (white and red).
You will then head to the French side, on board the bus with your charismatic guide and stop at “Paradise view” restaurant, overlooking beautiful Orient Beach. Over there, you will savor a salty crepe and a sweet one, a purely French tradition!
Once this is done, the guide will take you to Grand-Case and first make you stop at “Sky is the limit”, a “lolo” (typical restaurant from here) for a Creole food discovery and then walk to “L’escalade” restaurant for a rum tasting on the water :)
Finally, the sweet lovers will be amazed by the selection of deserts at Sarafina’s bakery in Marigot (the French capital).
Enjoy your meal….. ☺
Tour rate: 120 dollars per person
Shopping in Marigot or Philipsburg
Shopping is always the first thing that comes to our mind in case of bad weather. This is the occasion for you to go visit Marigot (French capital) and/or Philipsburg (Dutch Capital).
In Marigot (local creole town), you can visit the market, the West Indies mall (covered, so perfect to avoid the rain!) and if the showers stop for a while, walk up to the Fort Louis at the top of the hill and enjoy the magnificent view of the bay.
Philipsburg is better known for its international boutiques and its numerous jewelry stores. This is also where all the cruise ships dock for the day!
Island Tour with taxi or rental car
What better than driving around, either by yourself or with a local taxi, to discover the island?
The tour of Saint-Martin will take you about one hour and a half, without any traffic or stops on the way. But the idea is actually to stop on the way, enjoy the different sightseeing spots. Here would be our schedule for you: Stop in Marigot in the morning and walk around (see highlighted spots to visit above). Then head to the North of Saint-Martin and go visit Anse Marcel, the point of views on the way are breathtaking! Take a few pictures, get back in your car and drive towards Orient Beach and Galion Beach, where you can stop to watch the beauty of the storm on the ocean. Right after, you will end up in Dutch quarter. Keep going and follow the sign to Oyster-Pond in order to reach Philipsburg on a nice wild road, by the sea.
After 20 minutes of driving, you arrive in Philipsburg (the Dutch Capital), park your car and walk around on Back Street, Front Street and the boardwalk, where you will find plenty of nice boutiques, bars, and local restaurants.
To finish your complete island tour, take the road back to Juliana International airport and stop at the Sunset Beach Bar, have a bite or a drink and enjoy the planes landing and taking off right above you: fun and impressive!!
Price of a rental car (small car) for the day: about 60 dollars
Price of a taxi for an island tour: 150 dollars for 3 hours (for 2 people)
For those who do not want to stay outside and wish to be pampered all day, what about visiting one of the spas on the island, and get a massage or any treatment of your wishing?
On the Dutch side, the Spa Dior located at the Cliff resort (in Cupecoy Beach) provides luxurious hydrotherapy and aromatherapy treatments, deep tissue massages, facials and body scrubs… And a full access to the pool on site, sauna (to warm up!!) and steam room.
If you are looking for a unique and relaxing experience, book a treatment at the Spa located at Belmond La Samanna resort, located on Baie Longue (on the French side). This small and intimate spa will make you forget about the rain thanks to its cuteness ☺
Plus, you will be able to have a drink, a nice breakfast, lunch or dinner before or after your treatment: a luxury pause in your vacation that you can not forget!
What about popcorns, hot dog, and a good movie? The Caribbean Cinema (St. Maarten Megaplex 7), located in Simpson Bay offers movie time from the early afternoon until 9:00 pm, in its seven theaters.
After or before your movie, you can then walk around Simpson Bay, have a drink on the dock of one of the bar & restaurants overlooking Simpson Bay lagoon or grab a yummy homemade ice cream at the Carrousel!
Hope Estate Center
This area is located right in front the little airport of Grand-Case.
We love it for three main reasons:
Bacchus, a fantastic spot for foodie people (like us!): over there, you will be able to enjoy a fine lunch experience in their indoor restaurant, where you have the feeling to eat in a middle of a wine cellar with an open kitchen at the corner. For those of you who do not feel to sit for a while, just grab the perfect products for your next meal (from the best bottles of wine to the best quality products – cheese, French and Spanish Charcuterie, the “French baguette” and the yummiest pastries). As you enter this shop, you will automatically feel hungry and will want to take it all – this is at your own risk ;-)
But Hope Estate is not just about eating! Time after time, there are a lot of boutiques that are opening and are worth the try. Here are our two favorite ones:
Le Bazar du Majestic, with its incredible selection of French brands for clothes, shoes, and accessories. The selection is great, for everybody’s tastes, and the price is gentle too. And most of all, the manager Benny will be able to give you the best advice as soon as he sees you entering the shop. Visit it; it is a must!
Quicksilver, yes, this international brand is also located in Saint-Martin! And the shop at Hope Estate has nothing to be ashamed of. Alex and Nathalie, the owners, did an excellent job. You can find everything about surfwear for men and women in this huge shop: clothes, swimming suits, surf boards (new and used), accessories… And of course, the brand new paddle board owned by Caribbean Paddling. Who knows? In a rainy day, you might find your perfect gear ;)