This section is dedicated to take away all your "I wish someone had told me that before I went!" experiences. This way, you are better prepared for what to expect, what not to expect and can spend less time settling in, and more time making new friends in your chosen hostel. We share our insider knowledge of tips, tricks and important things to look out for in St. Maarten / St. Martin. To help you make friends with St. Maarten / St. Martin before you visit, we've included a few helpful and fun things you should know about the area. Enjoy!
St. Maarten / St. Martin (Sint Maarten), Netherlands Antilles, is a tropical island in the Caribbean. It is divided in two parts. While the northern part is belongs to France, the southern part is a constituent country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, is slightly smaller than the French part of the island, and the official languages are Dutch and English. Until recent years, Sint Maarten was part of the Netherlands Antilles, but the Netherlands Antilles were dissolved at that time, gaining more independence for the individual islands.
Philipsburg is where most cruise ships arrive and is therefore also the most touristy town on the island. It is one of the best cities for shopping in the Caribbean and there is no lack of casinos and cafes on the beach. The beaches are the main draw for visiting Sint Maarten. There are plenty of nice white sand beaches with the cliché turquoise water on Sint Maarten, not only in the crowded capital. For the real feel of Sint Maarten, you will have to head inland. While you can have some fine seafood near the beaches, this is not where the locals go. It may not always look as fancy as near the coast, but you can find some really good street food inland. Locals also visit different beaches than tourists do. Mullet Bay Beach for example, is pretty close to Maho Beach (the infamous airplane beach), but is much quieter. Ask locals or at your hostel in St. Maarten / St. Martin (Sint Maarten), Netherlands Antilles, for advice on quieter beaches.
Budget accommodation is not redundant in Sint Maarten, so if you want to stay in a St. Maarten / St. Martin (Sint Maarten), Netherlands Antilles hostel or other budget accommodation on Sint Maarten, some advance planning is required. Some St. Maarten / St. Martin (Sint Maarten), Netherlands Antilles hostels are of a poor quality, so it is recommended to check the reviews of a hostel in St. Maarten / St. Martin (Sint Maarten), Netherlands Antilles, before booking it. You could also check the French side of the island for accommodation. There is no border between the two parts.
Written by local enthusiast for St. Maarten / St. Martin hostelsMartin Straatman