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General Information About Saint Martin Vacations
Saint Martin, an island in the northeast Caribbean, is divided between France and the Netherlands in an approximately 60/40 split. The greatest landmass of the island belongs to the French, with the lesser yet more populous portion belonging to the Netherlands. Known as Saint-Martin to the French, Sint Maarten to the Dutch, and Saint Martin in English, this unique destination offers tourists an opportunity to experience so much great cultural diversity in a single all-inclusive Saint Martin vacation. All-inclusive Saint Martin packages are offered at resort hotels throughout the island, in both French and Dutch territory. Depending on the particular holiday preferences of an individual, an all-inclusive Saint Martin package holiday can be selected to target a focus on shopping, dining, nightlife, casinos, European culture, and more. Best of all, all-inclusive Saint Martin vacations offer great mobility for tourists who wish to sample a bit of everything, crossing from the more European-style north over to the more Americanized south, and back again. With well over 250 restaurants, 500 duty free shops, a variety of great beaches, good nightlife and more, Saint Martin vacations are sure to please. All-inclusive Saint Martin package holiday resort hotels are offered for good value, but with so many great dining experiences waiting to be discovered throughout the island, all-inclusive may not be the way to go.
Marigot, the capital city of the French side, is a lovely town, neat and clean, offering upscale boutique shopping for Saint Martin package holiday tourists who can appreciate high-end shopping in French cultural surroundings. Saint-Martin is not simply French in name, but very much French in custom and culture, with French as its official language and a very European feel, right down to the 220 volt power supply and use of the Euro currency. Philipsburg, the capital of the Dutch side of the island, is where big cruise ships bring thousands of tourists annually to enjoy the outstanding duty free shopping in Sint Maarten. Somewhat more Americanized, Philipsburg is not quite as quaint or tidy as Marigot, but has its own unique appeal, as well as 110 volt power supply and use of the U.S. dollar currency. All-inclusive Saint Martin package holiday resorts are scattered throughout the island, and tourists should take the time to venture out to all parts in order to take advantage of the real variety of culture and points of interest offered at this unique island destination.
Like much of the Caribbean, Saint Martin has a history of Spanish, Dutch, French, and British colonial rule, as well as slave and indentured labour history that brought peoples to the island from parts of Africa and Asia. Complex Caribbean history has resulted in an amazing blend of creole culture along side of authentic European influence, and this is reflected in the wonderful food, music, and customs found throughout the island. All-inclusive Saint Martin vacation packages typically appeal to couples and families, particularly those that can appreciate the European experience of the "very" French north. The drinking water at the Saint Martin package holiday hotels is safe to drink, and the tourist environment throughout the island is also safe, providing real peace of mind. For those who wish to do some exploring on a Saint Martin vacation, and this is highly recommended, taxis are available, and car rentals (driving on the right side of the road) are a reasonable option. Travel through the mountains of Saint Martin may be time consuming, and parking can be a challenge in Philipsburg. However, with no real central tourist area and so much to see and do, it is strongly recommended that Saint Martin vacationers do some serious exploring – Saint Martin vacations definitely suit those who are not content to sit at the beach.
Sand and Sun on Your Saint Martin Vacation
In general, all-inclusive Saint Martin vacation beaches are great, although the natural quality and character of each varies. To experience the best quality Saint Martin beaches, tourists tend to gravitate to the southwest of the island, toward the airport. Maho beach, located beside the airport, offers tourists a truly unique experience as it is possible to watch planes approach for landing only a few short metres above the beach, as they pass overhead. Orient Beach, located on the east coast of the French side, is a very well-known beach that features incredible natural beauty, as well as a clothing-optional section for those who wish to enjoy natural beauty on a whole new level. Waters are generally rougher on the east coast of the island, but white sands and clear waters are typical throughout, and no vendors are present to disrupt the attention to Saint Martin sun and sand. The Simpson Bay Lagoon beach, located on the west coast, is not recommended due to its inferior man-made quality.
Saint Martin vacation weather is generally good throughout the year, with fairly consistent temperatures that have minimal seasonal variation. Daytime highs range from 72?-86?F near the coast, and 66?-81?F at the interior of the island – relatively constant good weather through all seasons. The landscape of Saint Martin varies from mountainous and lush to flatter terrain near Simpson Bay Lagoon, but is generally clean throughout the island. Fairly consistent weather throughout the year allows tourists greater latitude in deciding what time of year to enjoy an all-inclusive Saint Martin package holiday.
Hurricane season, with its unpredictability of storm events, typically lasts from July through December, peaking from mid-August to mid-November. Although Saint Martin vacations are not often impacted by hurricanes, the possibility remains. However, when booking Saint Martin vacation packages, you can rest assured that tour operators will not fly you into a hurricane and will act fast to get you out in the event of any development if your holiday plans are affected. You can find great Saint Martin vacation package deals during hurricane season, and the economic advantage is well worth considering. We recommend that you speak with one of our tripcentral agents to fully understand the great value benefit vs. limited risk associated with travel to this region during hurricane season.
Things to See and Do on Your Saint Martin Package Vacation
If nightlife is a priority on an all-inclusive Saint Martin vacation, great live music and lively patios, as well as small casinos will keep tourists going into the morning hours. There is plenty of Saint Martin vacation shopping to be explored, including jewelry, great duty free and souvenir shops, with all major brands represented. The French side is well known for its upscale shopping and boutique shops, and Philipsburg, the Dutch capital, is well known for its cruise ship port and great duty free shopping. For dining options, over 250 restaurants await vacationers on a Saint Martin package holiday. The French side offers fine French cuisine and upscale dining, but there are plenty of options with independent restaurants catering to all tastes and budgets. Banking is widely available, especially in Philipsburg and Marigot, so Saint Martin tourists should never be without access to funds.
For the more adventurous Saint Martin package holiday traveller, sporting activities include deep sea fishing, parasailing, sailing, surfing, snorkelling, scuba, kite surfing, and other typical water sports. For the golfing fanatic on an all-inclusive Saint Martin package holiday, be sure to try the Mullet Bay 18-hole golf course – ideal for amateur golfers.
Saint Martin packages offer plenty of day trip opportunities, including boat and sailing excursions, scuba trips, and booze cruises. Saba Island, only 5 square miles in size, offers a famous destination for scuba diving enthusiasts, featuring numerous dive sites as well as the protected Saba Marine Park. As well, Saba's rainforest hikes are not to be missed. A trip to Anguilla Island provides Saint Martin tourists with the opportunity to explore some of the most pristine beaches in the Caribbean. For those who love a good festival, an all-inclusive Saint Martin vacation in April presents the opportunity to attend the annual Saint Martin Festival, featuring international bands, songs, dance, and festive dress at various locations throughout the island.
All-Inclusive Saint Martin Vacation Package Availability, Accommodations, and Value
Saint Martin packages are available with limited weekend flights from Toronto. There are a variety of hotel options including high-rise, low-rise, and condos, offering a great variety of accommodation choice to suit all needs. In general, Saint Martin vacation resort properties are all-inclusive, not overly large, and with a relatively small footprint. Some resort hotels, such as the Westin Dawn Beach Resort & Spa and Le Meridien are very isolated. Despite the isolation of some Saint Martin vacation resorts, the island in general is quite busy.
Saint Martin packages are not typically very popular for those planning a wedding in the sun. Although it is possible to get married in Saint Martin, all-inclusive Saint Martin vacation resorts don't really target couples with wedding packages. Saint Martin vacations are generally more expensive than other sun destinations, although a few of the all-inclusive plans do offer good value. However, Saint Martin, with all of its great restaurants and culture, may not be the best place to experience an all-inclusive package.