The tiny island in the Caribbean Sea is an idyllic vacation spot. The small island in the Caribbean Sea is the ideal location to lay on a beach and let the real world melt away. Saint Martin is French on one side and Dutch on another. When you arrive to the island, either by cruise ship or plane, you will arrive on the Dutch side of the island. If you arrive by cruise ship you will have to take a water taxi from the cruise terminal to the beach. The water taxi is $7 for all day, $5 for a round trip. The water taxi is not far from the cruise terminal and you will pass a few stores along the way. In the stores you can buy everything from sunscreen, aloe, sunglasses and rum cakes.
In 2017 Saint Martin was heavily damaged by Hurricane Irma. Water taxis and boats washed ashore, piers were destroyed, homes were flooded, and much much more. Cruise ships stopped docking at the island for a short time. Now the island is thriving again. The pier that was destroyed was repaired and back operational, a new pier was built to accommodate the water taxis, hotels have been refurbished and operational. Of course the island is still not 100%. There are still some boats that washed ashore still abandoned and hotels are still being worked on and rebuilt. If you talk to the locals one reason for the slow rebuild of some places is due to the fact materials and labor are costly. If you have reservations about visiting the island there is no need to have them – GO!
The day I spent in Saint Martin on a recent visit was lovely. I stayed on the Dutch side of the island as soon as you get off the water taxi. Of course there are several places where you can rent chairs and they offer other perks such as free wifi, access to rest rooms in adjacent restaurants. If you take the water taxi to the new pier I recommend walking to your right towards the old pier and look for the yellow and orange umbrellas and ocean trampoline. This is where I spent my day. The owner of these chairs is friendly, reasonable and offers beer service! If you take the water taxi to the old pier go to your immediate left. There are also restroom rooms available at the old pier.
If you are looking for shopping – head up to the promenade and take stroll to see what you can find. Here you can purchase anything from cosmetics, perfume, jewelry, and your run of the mill souvenirs. If you want to play the slots there is also a casino on the promenade. If you are looking for something a little more adventurous there is of course the famous airport where you can stand on the beach and have the planes fly directly over you when they are landing or sit in the bar and listen to the cockpit/tower conversations.