• Ken Faught

Exploring The Caribbean's Beautiful St. Martin

55 Tips & Tricks Every Traveler Should Know

I spend a lot of time on the internet, especially on Expedia and Google Images. I love searching the web to discover new places and to conduct deep research on all things travel. It was sometime one night after dinner that I ran across St. Martin, and it just kept calling my name. The beautiful water, the epic airport beach bar, and the perfect weather.

St. Martin, Sint Martin, St. Maarten or however you want to spell it, is an island that is half owned by the French and the other half by the Dutch. It’s a mix of cultures and a blend of personalities. In 2017, the island was hit with a Category 5 hurricane and it did about $3 billion dollars of damage, and we saw signs of destruction everywhere we went. St. Martin is not a rich country, and it’s taking them time to rebuild, but its beaches have not lost their beauty.

Vanessa, her mom Donna Munoz, Amber Martinez and I stayed five days at the Simpson Bay Resort, and it was a fantastic base for our adventures. We also took a day trip to St. Bart’s, and that proved to be one of the best things you can do in the Caribbean.


Q: What does St. Martin stand for?

A: (1) It is an island in the western Leeward Islands; administered jointly by France and the Netherlands. (2) French bishop who is a patron saint of France (died in 397)

Q: Is Saint Martin safe?

A: St. Maarten is generally considered a safe place to visit, but as with any tourist destination there are some general safety precautions you should take. St. Martin is one of the safest warm weather climate (outside U.S.) locations to visit.

Q: Is there a Saint Martin?

A: St. Martin is the patron saint of Szombathely, Hungary, with a church dedicated to him, and also the patron saint of Buenos Aires. In the Netherlands, he is the patron of the cathedral and city of Utrecht.

Q: Which side of Saint Martin is better?

A: The French side also takes both dollars and Euros, while the Dutch side takes dollars and local currency. Also, the French side has better access to Anguilla and Saint Barth's. Still, in my opinion, the Dutch side is the winner when it comes to tourism, especially American tourism.

Q: Is Martin in the Bible?

A: It comes from the Latin name Martinus, which is a late derived form of the name of the Roman god Mars, the protective godhead of the Latins, and therefore the god of war. It has remained a popular given name in Christian times, in honor of Saint Martin of Tours; it is also the most common French surname.

Q: Is St. Martin expensive?

A: St. Martin does not have to be expensive. You can manage to have a great time for not a lot of money depending on the choices you make (e.g. purchasing some food for breakfast or lunches from the grocery store to eat at your resort/condo, and buying water to bring with you to the beach in a soft side cooler).

Top 10 Things to Do in St. Martin

  1. Take a ferry to St. Bart’s. This is a thing we highly recommend!

  2. Ride the Flying Dutchman, Sky Explorer, Flying Dutchman & Sentry Hill Line.

  3. Take Guided Jet Ski tour in Simpson Bay

  4. Take an off-road ATV tour in Friars Bay

  5. Experience a sunset dinner cruise on a sail boat

  6. Learn how to SCUBA dive in St. Martin

  7. Tour Philipsburg by Segway

  8. Rent a 6-seater buggy and go for a tour of the island

  9. Hike in a rainforest. St. Martin has guided tours.

  10. Go snorkeling

Top 10 St. Martin Travel Tips

  1. Don’t rent a car, instead use a cab

  2. Power is 110-volt and no converter is required for U.S. electronics

  3. French is the official language, but English is widely spoken

  4. Carry a camera everywhere. We have a guide of the best travel cameras on every budget.

  5. U.S. dollar is accepted everywhere

  6. Consider looking for the best travel credit card

  7. Expect to pay about 50 percent more than everything on the U.S. mainland

  8. Cell phone service is expensive so plan ahead with your provider and know your options.

  9. Do a lot of research on your hotel, resort or VRBO. There are not a lot of options, so choose wisely.

  10. Take a day trip to St. Bart’s just to explore another Carribbean island.

Top 10 Restaurants in St. Martin

  1. Le Piment Restaurant

  2. La Villa Restaurant

  3. Bistrot Caraibes

  4. Le Cottage

  5. Quai Quest

  6. Kontiki Beach

  7. Cote Plages

  8. Chez Yvette

  9. Lazy Lizard Beach Bar & Grill St. Maarten

  10. Mezza Luna

Best Time to Visit St. Martin (Monthly Weather)

       High    Low

January                        84        70

February                      84        73

March                          85        73

April                            86        74

May                             87        76

June                             88        78

July                             88        78

August                        89        78

September                   90        78

October                       89        78

November                   86        76

December                    84        75

Where to Stay in St. Martin

Best Places to Stay in St. Martin

  • Budget – Fantastic Hotel

  • Average – Simpson Bay Resort

  • Luxury – Secrets St. Martin Resort & Spa

Top 10 Hotels in St. Martin

  • Simpson Bay Resort

  • La Playa Orient Bay

  • Bleu Emeraude Hotel

  • Grand Case Beach Club

  • Esmeralda Resort

  • Hommage Hotel & Residences

  • Hevea Hotel

  • Hotel L’Esplanade

  • Sol e Luna Hotel

  • Fantastic Hotel

Our Top 5 VRBO Vacation Home Rentals






Little Known Facts

  • St. Martin population is about 80,00, split almost equally between the French and Dutch sides of the island.

  • It’s commonly believed the Christopher Columbus named St. Martin

  • Hurricane Erma, a category 5 hurricane, struct St. Martin in 2017 and did massive amounts of damage. It left 11 dead and cost $3 billion.

This is one of the world’s most-photographed airport landing zones and an iconic tourist destination. It’s next to The Sunset Bar and Grill on Maho Beach, the perfect place to drink cocktails and watch people.

I used my Vistana points through Interval International to stay at The Simpson Bay Resort. It’s part of my timeshare program that I got when I bought into the Westin Scottsdale in Arizona around 2010. My travel addiction is real.

The Flying Dutchman is billed as the world’s steepest zipline and was created by Carnival Cruises. It’s just one of the many things to do in St. Martin. It’s also why you want to get the best travel insurance.

Looking for the best vacation home rental in St. Marten. We found this on VRBO, and the views are stunning. It’s why you will always find these homes listed on the best travel blogs.

Vanessa cannot resist yoga at sunset.

Our daytrip to St. Bart’s was the most-exciting activity we did during this adventure. We highly recommend spending the extra money and seeing the sights.

Passport stamps always make Vanessa happy.

Do you think Vanessa listens? The smile says everything you need to know!

Vanessa Doleshal, Ken Faught and Amber Martinez, the original #ITMC.

Quick photoshoot for one of our clients, Bomber Eyewear. We team up with clients from around the world to create original photography for advertising.

Ken’s flight from Los Angeles took him through Panama where he toured the city for a day before meeting up with the girls in St. Martin.

There are a lot of good options for vacation home rental in the Carribean, and they are reasonably priced by mainland standards.

There are a lot of high-end luxury home rental in St. Martin available online.

St. Martin isn’t a rich country, but it does have many rich people who own exotic homes that they rent out year-round.

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