I spent a fantastic week in St. Maarten in the Spring of 2019. My mom and I wanted to take a trip during the spring break of my senior year of college. We figured it was my last spring break ever, so it was worth taking advantage of. I had been going through a tough time, so it was challenging but a good time to get away and forget everything. We talked about multiple locations, my choice being the British Virgin Islands, but since I was traveling from Knoxville, Tennessee, it would have been a long journey with probably 3 or 4 connecting flights. We finally landed on St. Maarten since it came up high on lists of places to travel to the Caribbean, and I loved the fact that it was two countries, one island. We have traveled to many places in the Caribbean (The Bahamas, St. Lucia, Turks and Caicos, etc.), so we wanted somewhere new to go, and St. Maarten ended up being perfect. Once we decided on a location, it was time to start planning.
Planning was slightly tricky since we were coming from different locations, and St. Maarten had experienced a lot of damage from an extremely destructive hurricane. Starting with the two locations, my mom spent the week before our trip with her friend in West Palm Beach, and I was coming from Knoxville, so we had to decide how to plan around being so far from each other. We agreed on meeting in West Palm Beach, staying there for a few days, visiting my great aunts in Fort Lauderdale, and then flying out of there to get to St. Maarten. There was one direct flight a day, which was early in the morning, so we spent the night in Fort Lauderdale, and then we were off.
Like I said before, St. Maarten had recently endured a hurricane right before we arrived. Some of the hotels that we looked at were still not entirely recovered, but we found one operating fully, so we decided to stay there. Divi Resort was excellent; it had two pools, beach access, snorkeling, three restaurants, a small grocery store, and our room even had a kitchen.
Our resort was one of the highlights of our trip. It had a beach with snorkeling, multiple pools, multiple restaurants, and beautiful rooms with a kitchen. The kitchen ended up coming in handy because I ended up getting the flu while I was there (if you’ve read my piece on LA and having tonsillitis while there and are wondering how I’m always sick, so am I). But I could make pasta or soup in the room when I didn’t feel well enough to go out.
Besides swimming and the gym, you can also hike up to Fort Amsterdam, which is part of the hotel’s land. It has a beautiful view of Philipsburg on one side and ocean far as the eye can see on the other. If working out wasn’t your speed, they also had an activity schedule of different games and ice breakers to meet new people, and you can even win drinks for competing and winning.
It’s a fantastic resort like many others on the island I’m sure. If you are looking to explore the rest of Sint Maarten/ Saint Martin, you can rent a car at the resort and explore which one of the days I felt better, which was 100% worth it.
Driving Around the Island
Maho Beach – this is the most famous beach on the island of St. Maarten and probably one of the most famous in the Caribbean. It backs up to an airport so the planes land right over the beach and take off in the other direction so you can feel the real power of the jets. There is a cute bar next door with competitions and lots of great cocktails that will allow you to drink the day away.
Marigot – After Maho Beach, you can cross over into the island’s French side and explore their capital Marigot. There you can do some shopping, and if you have time, you can even climb up to Fort St. Louis from there there is a beautiful view of the island, and you get to see a bit of the history of the French side of the island. When we were there, the French side had been significantly damaged by the recent hurricane, so we didn’t end up stopping in Marigot
Green Cay – A little bit down the road after leaving Marigot, you will enter the island’s Green Cay area. This region is about halfway between Marigot and Philipsburg. It contains a few shops and resorts and a beautiful nature reserve with a lovely beach and a rocky path faced with crashing ocean waves. The rumor was you could sometimes see dolphins and turtles, but we weren’t so lucky.
Philipsburg – After Green Cay, if you continue on the main road, you will soon reenter the Dutch side of the island and a few minutes later, the Dutch capital of Philipsburg. In Philipsburg, you can enjoy shopping, museums, and some great restaurants. We stopped briefly to see one of their churches and look around some shops, but if you have time to stay longer, there are many things to do in Philipsburg.
We loved Sint Maarten/ Saint Martin. It quickly became one of our favorite islands in the Caribbean. Even with getting the flu and having some difficulty when planning, we fell in love through the time we were there. It was a great way to see two different cultures and styles on the same 33 square mile island. The people were so lovely, and the beaches were so beautiful, what else could you ask for.