Monday, June 4, 2012

St. Maarten - The Friendly Island!

Sunset Grille and Bar
Experience the Caribbean with a European Twist in St. Maarten! 

Go to Beach to Lounge: Karaktar
Go to Place to See Amazing Yachts: Soggy Dollar
Go to Place to Sit Poolside: Loterie Farm
Go to Place to Dance: Bliss Nightclub
Go to Place to Shop: Color Freak in Phillipsburg
Go to Cold Beverage: Heineken

The best island vacation I have been on so far has been to St. Maarten, the "Friendly Island"! Beyond the beautiful beaches, amazing food, excellent shopping and nightlife you will also find a relaxing oasis everywhere you turn!

One of the most popular tourist spots is at the end of the airport. Stop by Sunset for a cocktail at Caravanserai Beach and get up close and personal with the airplanes landing on the strip. Once you get blown over by a jumbo jet and take a few pictures, stroll on over to Marty's Dream Bar.

Marty is one of the most knowledgeable and fun bartenders on the island. He was nice enough to help us out with some much needed relief from bug bites, stirred up frozen mango drinks and told our group about an amazing hiking trail at the Loterie Farm.

The Loterie Farm Treehouse is on the French side of the island, and is an expensive taxi ride. However, the trip is completely worth it! If you are into ziplines, bring closed toed shoes and sign up to glide through the forest. If you want to experience the best views on the island, hike up the trails and you will see the surrounding islands from an angle only nature lovers can appreciate. Along the way, you will see iguanas in the hanging from the trees and gravestones dating back to 1700. There is also an amazing European pool with an African boutique and a restaurant at the Loterie Farm Treehouse. Plan to spend the day here if you can, its the experience of a lifetime - pricey but worth every penny.

A day trip to Phillipsburg is a must! I had a blast at this beach shopping, negotiating a jetski rental with the locals, drinking out of a coconut and enjoying the music of the Caribbean. The Holland Hotel is a posh boutique hotel with a swanky lobby that overlooks the beach. Enjoy Heinekens with the French and Dutch locals, eat ice cream, ride a segway and take lots of pictures! All of the action is on this beach!
A fresh coconut a day keeps the doctor away!
Some of the best restaurants are in St. Maarten! I liked this little place called Le C Lounge! Its a great place to pre-game the evening before hitting Bliss nightclub. Le C Lounge has a great menu, excellent French wine and a hip atomosphere. Once dinner is over, hit up Bliss for some excellent house music.

Bamboo Bernie's was another great place to sample the island sushi. The atmosphere was also very upbeat and loaded with character. A night of sushi should end at the marina! Check out the Soggy Dollar. You will be amazed by the gorgeous yachts anchored in bay, and you can mingle with some of the most eclectic islanders that call St. Maarten their home!

St. Maarten is my go to island! I cannot wait to go back. It is really a safe, great place with so many adventures waiting for you. And the best thing is, the public bus is safe and will only cost you $1 to hitch a ride one way around the island. If you are on a budget, don't hesitate to hop on the bus. Also, stop at the local grocery store for fresh bagette and island pastries!!! St. Maartne I love you, xoxoxo!!!!

Lena's Tips for Success in Saint Maarten

1. Bug spray is not optional. Don't ruin your vacation, protect yourself.

2. The public bus is a great way to travel the island on a budget and it is safe!

3.  Don't stand near the fence at the end of Princess Airport Runway. You will get blown over by incoming airplanes.

4. Enjoy the water as much as possible, it is warm, clear and beautiful!

5. If your cab driver passes around a bottle of rum, take a swig and just remember you are on vacation!!!!!

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