The island of Saint Martin is a volcanic island located in the northern part of the Little Antilles. Saint Martin has a unique identity: its territory since the 17th century is divided between France and the Netherlands. The island has in its 90 sqkm a great variety of breeds, languages, cultures, gastronomy, religions and not latest beaches and shopping opportunities.
Saint Martin is well served by a large international airport – located on the Dutch side of the island – and is easily accessible from Europe – mainly from Amsterdam and Paris – and from the United States. Flight times are between 7 and 11 hours for those coming from Europe and Brazil, while the island is only 4 hours flight from New York.
Saint Martin is much more chaotic and developed if we compare it with the quiet Anguilla we visited the week before. Particularly noticeable is the difference between the Dutch side – more americanized, with large hotels and large shopping centers – and the French part – with a quieter, more relaxed atmosphere and with some French charm.
For a visit to the island for several weeks before departure we booked a rental car on Rental Cars website. Once we got to the island we retired our car and started exploring the island. The population is very friendly and with a small child it is even easier to know people and socialize. In our hotel – the Hotel Beach Plaza – Andrea makes a success and receives small presents from the receptionist. When we walk down the street in Marigot – the main inhabited part of the island’s French side – a couple of times we hear someone calling Andrea: they are the hotel girls who recognized him and greeted him.
One of Saint Martin’s attractions, which more like to the children – but also adults – are planes landing at Princess Juliana International Airport. The landing and take-off of the planes takes place practically near the beach of Maho Bay. Next to the beach there is a famous bar where you can admire the planes and take spectacular photographs, here on a pallet are reported the times of arrival and departure of the day flights. To our baby – Andrea – he enjoyed this experience so much that we came back several times to Maho Bay to admire the planes.
In the town of Marigot, in addition to an interesting and characteristic market – which takes place on Wednesdays and Saturdays – there are the remains of an interesting French fortress – Fort-Louis – overlooking the bay. Children – if we prepare them first with stories of buccaneers and pirates – enjoy a lot the places rich in history and charm. Also in the Dutch part – in the Philipsburg bay – we managed to find the few remains of a fortification – Fort Amsterdam – located within a hotel complex, but visitable without any hassle, just tell the guard who will let you in.
In the capital of the Dutch part of the island, Philipsburg, dock the great cruise ships, this is another spectacle that children love very much, the town is full of shops – where it is possible to find everything – bars, restaurants and has a beautiful and long beach.
Strong point of a holiday on the island are its beaches – Saint Martin is called the island of the 36 beaches – some of them – like the one of Le Galion – very suitable for children. Among the beaches for children – that is, with low water and little moving sea – in addition to that of Le Galion – located on the eastern coast of the island – there is also the beautiful beach of Pinel Island (Ilet Pinel) that can be reached with a convenient boat from the bay of Cul de Sac in the northeastern part of Saint Martin. Pinel Beach is a triangular sand strip – very suitable for young children like ours – with low water and no waves.
Not far from the beach of Le Galion is also the Butterfly farm – Ferme aux papillons – where you can enjoy a multitude of colorful butterflies from every corner of the earth. The farm is open from 9 am to 3:30 pm in the afternoon. Remember to wear glamorous dresses that attract butterflies that will turn around you and your cuddly and fun children.