This week we are traveling Over the Rainbow to another paradise, Saint Martin. Saint Martin is the northernmost island in the Lesser Antilles that makes up the southern Caribbean. You may have seen a similar name of Sint Maarten, and that is because the island is under both French and Dutch control. The southern portion of the island is Dutch, and the northern portion is French.
Christopher Columbus originally discovered the island and named it in honor of St. Martin of Tours. The Dutch then built the island as a trading post in the Caribbean as part of the Dutch East Indies trading company. After many years of shifting between Dutch and Spanish rule, the Dutch returned to find the French had inhabited the island. Instead of creating a conflict, the Dutch and French signed a partition treaty to allow both colonies to cohabitate peacefully and enjoy the island's beauty.
In 2019, Saint Martin had 1.95 million tourists visit the island. Of that total, a staggering 1.5 million visited on a cruise ship. Taking a cruise to Saint Martin is one of the easiest ways to get a small taste of what it's like, but for the full experience, you'll want a full week to explore and relax on the smallest island to have two countries.
Being the smallest landmass to be shared by two countries, acceptance is built into their culture. While there are not specific LGBTQ bars, restaurants, or activities, the island is welcoming to all and very accepting of the community. Several beaches lean a little bit more toward the LGBTQ community, one of those being Cupecoy Beach in Sint Maarten. It is a beautiful, slightly secluded beach that offers a bit of an escape from the bustling beaches. In Saint Martin, Orient Bay is also another top location for beachgoers wishing for a unique experience.
If you are hoping to venture away from the beaches to the islands' cities, you don't want to miss Front Street. It is the shopping center of Sint Maarten with everything from jewelry to bargain electronics. I love to spend several hours just window shopping and explore the busy streets. When you are on Front Street, don't miss the best liquor store on the island, Guavaberry Emporium. Thanks to the Dutch trade agreement, all of the shopping on Sint Maarten is duty-free, which leaves more money in your pocket to spend at those fantastic shops.
After shopping in Sint Maarten, head to the mountainside of Pic du Paradis. There are over 135 acres of forest and farmland to explore. Visitors have the option to lay in a pool, take a hike, or even zip line at the foot of this mountain. If heights are not on your travel list, then a person can also enjoy an obstacle course that is children friendly. You can also grab a snack by the pool. You can decide whether to enjoy an adrenaline rush or relax.
After a long day of shopping and adventure, you’ll find a wide selection of accommodations. My favorite way to unwind after a busy day is at an all-inclusive resort like the Sonesta Ocean Point Resort. I love walking back into a beautiful room to shower after a day exploring the island, then heading down with my partner to have dinner. After dinner, we grab a drink and walking the beach with the cool ocean breeze as we stroll and burn off dessert.
Whether you are looking to travel to the unwind of the beautiful beaches, shop till you drop, or fly down the side of Paradise Mountain, Saint Martin is your ideal destination. I can help ease the pain of decision-making and help you find the perfect destination and activists you're your vacation. Schedule a consultation with me to help plan your perfect trip.
Rainbow Getaways proudly help travelers of the LGBTQ community (and our allies) research, plan, and book incredible vacations where you feel confident and comfortable enjoying and exploring your destination. We plan each vacation to meet your specific needs, so you'll have an experience just as unique as yours.
If you haven't already, be sure to request your free copy of The Ultimate LGBTQ Guide to the Caribbean at the bottom of the page.