St. Martin – A Piece of Paradise on Earth
Saint Martin, a tiny piece of heaven on Earth, has repeatedly been described as the ‘best spot for a family vacation in the Caribbean’. Shared between two nations, St. Martin is the smallest island in the world and is most famous for its 37 heavenly beaches.
Location: Orient Bay, St. Martin (Sint Marteen), The Netherlands Antille
Time of Visit: May
Travel Days: A fortnight
Time Difference: GMT – 6
Age of Child: 17 months
Heaven for: Absolutely everyone:)
Appropriate for Children: Toddlers, preschoolers, primary school children
Flight : A 10-hour flight with one stop in Paris (we flew from Amsterdam), return flight was 11 hours long. Our airline provider was KLM.
Weather: There was only one instance of rain during our stay. The wind is a pleasant summer breeze, but be careful to avoid the Sun from 11am to 3pm. We didn’t have much trouble avoiding the latter since our little one was usually napping at that time.
Accomodation: There was anouther couple joining us on the vacation, so we decided to rent this house. The owners rent out this Creole beauty when they are away. The villa is located in a secured community called Orient Bay and is only a five-minute walk from the beach. You can find all the necessary amenities (including a small bed for a child) in the house. The bedrooms have air conditioning.
• 750 EUR per person for plane tickets
• 1000 EUR for house rental (fortnight)
• 500 EUR for food
• 150 EUR for car rental (one week)
Top 5 of St. Martin:
1. Location: Orient Bay – kiting in paradise: With its stunning turqouise sea and shimmering white sand, Orient Bay is the perfect starting point for water sports (especially appropriate for kiters beginners) and evening soirees. The surrounding restaurants offer delicious food. The Orient is also a good place to start off if you want to explore the rest of the island.
2. Sea Temperature: You can easily stay in the water for hours not even needing a towel to dry off once you come out of the sea.
3. Anguilla Island: A small British island full of untamed white sandy beaches and breathtaking blue lagoons. The second least visited of all the Caribbean islands. You can access it from St. Martin’s capital city Marigot by a 45 min boat drive. Of course, you need to go through the customs’ procedures first, but it is all worth it. This is probably one of the most beautiful unspoilt treasures on Earth I have ever seen.
4. Planes Landing Above Our Heads at Maho Beach: Where the 300 ton jumbo jet plane literally flies right above your head. Maho beach is the number one place in the world for plane spotting. Considering the fact that we come from a family where half of its members are in the aviation industry, this was a dream come true for my boyfriend. Taras and I also found this to be quite a fun experience, even though the heat and the crowds were already forcing us to move on to the next beach. Here is a Youtube link, where you can see for yourselves how the plane landings really look like
5. Gourmet Food Adventures: St. Martin is considered to be the Queen of the Caribbean cuisine. It is said that this is the place to get the best lobster in the whole world. Apart from the delicious sea food, one can also enjoy French cooking.
6. Diverse Heavenly Beaches Accessible In A 30 minute (max) Drive From The Orient Bay: Personally, I get quickly tired of beaches, especially, if it is only one and the same beach. The beauty of St. Martin is, that in a short car drive you can access any beach on the island – in that way every day is a new adventure. Each beach has its own unique traits – one is great for SUPing, one for its excellent dishes, one where there are planes flying above your head, another one famous for being the best child-friendly beach, one with soft, enveloping sand, and the list goes on and on.
7. No Colossal Hotel Resorts: As soon as we arrived, I immediately fell in love with the island. On the way to our house, I got a quick feeling that reminded me of being in Africa – the island seemed so charmingly chaotic. The most uplifiting discovery was, that I didn’t notice any huge hotel resorts. I was also pleasantly surprised by the fact how the island kept its authenticity so intact.
8. Massage With Aloe Vera Juice: Trust me, you will no longer feel any itching from the mosquito bites. Plus, the locals will be happy to get some extra income.
What parents traveling around St. Martin should keep in mind:
• Language: The official language is Dutch, but the islanders all speak English, especially in the Dutch part of the island (which, to tell the truth, comes across more as an American colony)
• Food Shopping: There is only one small market in Orient Bay, and it doesn’t have a lot to offer as far as food goes. We ordered our food through an online shop (we later found out that there was one lady buying from this shop for the whole community). We suggest you drive your rented car to the nearest shopping mall and buy a larger supply of food there.
• Prices: The prices on the island are fairly high, at least in comparison to Slovenian ones.
• Tropical Fruit: Personally, I thought I would be able to feed my child fresh tropical fruit from the island but, unfortunately, all of the fruit is imported, just like in our country. We were, however, extremely happy to be able to sip fresh coconut milk straight from the coconut itself on a daily basis.
• Mosquitoes: They are there and they are very aggressive, but you can get rid of them by using all the mosquito repellents at the same time. You are worse off, if you have water near your accommodation. I suggest you turn on the air conditioning – mosquitoes hate it and fly out of the room. You can also buy some quite efficient natural repellents, and this I was extremely happy to hear since I don’t like to put any (chemical) repellents on Taras.
• Time Difference: The time difference to Slovenia is big, which can be quite a challenge for you and the child. Our little one quickly adjusted to the new time on the way to the island. It is more difficult on the way back. For us, it took about 5 days to get adjusted to our time zone. In the meantime there were lots of late night parties untill 4 in the morning, which left the parents feeling a bit drowsy going off to work in the morning. When we landed in Amsterdam we were already quite tired and the two-hour drive home turned out to be difficult and so exhausting we had to stop at one point to take a short nap in the car.
The above descriptions are based on personal impressions and experiences gained while travelling with my family. For more information, please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org