One island and two countries! Between the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, St. Martin is half French, half Dutch. But this pocket island is more than that: a real cultural melting pot!
At the market of Marigot, the largest outdoor market of the Caribbean, we are in love with the perfumes of the Creole terroir. And in the many restaurants, you can savor the best of Caribbean cuisine inspired by the cosmopolitan atmosphere of a chameleon island, both a luxury icon and a wild paradise.
The must-sees of your trip to Saint Martin
Remains of volcanic rock on which floats the French flag ... Overhanging the Bay of Marigot, the Fort Louis is the memory of a tormented history, rich of battles between the English and the French. Built in the 18th century to protect the warehouses of the port where were stored the crops of sugar cane, it only watches over a breathtaking panorama.
Below, the village of Marigot has retained its cachet with its beautiful houses adorned with galleries and jagged balustrades and colorful market. With its little creole houses where "ladies" with madras and "lolos" (typical restaurants) officiate, and its stalls of fruits, vegetables, spices, fresh fish and other local products, it's a must to get started the scents of Saint-Martin cuisine. A good introduction before heading to the village of Grand Case become THE gastronomic capital of the island of St. Martin. You can taste dishes inspired by the terroir while savoring the authenticity of the decor between Creole huts and gaulette houses (mud).
It is then time to enjoy the beaches: there are 25 only in the French part! The eastern bay, the longest on the island, owes its nickname "Saint-Tropez of the Caribbean" to its festive character. Lovers of wild beaches will prefer Plum Bay for some snorkeling by calm sea or a surf trip when the swell is formed.
Unless you opt for Ilet Pinel, in the heart of the nature reserve. It is accessible only by boat, but its beautiful white sand beach with shallow water is very popular, especially by families.
Admire biodiversity in Saint Martin
St. Martin is also a mine for eco-tourism. Starting with its nature reserve in the north-east of the island, a marine protected area of more than 3,000 hectares where sea turtles, bottlenose dolphins and humpback whales evolve. Five ecosystems are protected, including coral reefs. We dive with masks and snorkels to observe thousands of species of fish.
And climbing to the Paradise Peak, the "summit" of the island at 424 meters, we discover another facet of the island of Reunion, lush and exuberant. In the Nettle Bay, we take advantage of the trade winds to glide in windsurfing, but to find the beach of Lovers, you have to go to sea. The smallest beach of the island hides in a tiny rocky cove: we do not only two!
Succeed in the temptation of Caribbean cuisine
In Saint-Martin, mixed cuisine is dominated by French cuisine with Caribbean accents. We enjoy seafood, grilled crayfish, fine fish such as snapper (in short-broth) or thazar (close to tuna, served grilled or smoked), or the conch, kind of shellfish, served as a fricassee, but also dishes inspired by history.
Chicken smoked (smoked) or spiced rice for locri, a festive dish, and stewed oxtail with oxtailstew. The Johnny Cake (or "Journey Cake"), a traditional fried baked bread, is now served at breakfast.
Other specialty of Saint-Martin: guavaberry, a traditional liqueur made from rum aged in oak barrels, cane sugar and berries.
These are also the spices that make all the salt of the kitchen to the perfumes of the Antilles, as in the traditional Colombo of chicken, fish or pork. And rum can crown a meal, pure or "arranged" with fruits and spices ...