Tag Archives: st. maarten

Summer 2017 Flight Deals to the Caribbean

We’ve discovered several great flight deals to the Caribbean for summer 2017.

-American Airlines flights as low as $174 round-trip from BOS (Boston) to BGI (Barbados), select dates starting in May (these flights have overnight connections)

-American Airlines flights as low as $182 round-trip from BOS (Boston) to AUA (Aruba), select dates May-June

-JetBlue flights as low as $312 round-trip from JFK (New York City) to BGI (Barbados), select dates May-June

-Delta flights as low as $390 round-trip from JFK (New York City) to SXM (St. Maarten), select dates in May

Information is valid at the time of writing. Sometimes you may not find the price mentioned in this post (for example, several days after the original posting date). It means that the airline has changed the price.

Island Adventures: Escape from St. Maarten for a Day

escape from st. maarten for the dayStarting to feel like you need a vacation from your vacation? St. Maarten offers so much to do and see—but even if you somehow weary of its unique half-French, half-Dutch makeup and its stunning beaches, this amazing island still has a few surprises up its sleeve. St. Maarten is nestled close to some of the most beautiful spots in the Caribbean. From St. Barts to Saba, the perfect escape is out there for pretty much everyone.

Aqua Mania Adventures, the water sports and tour provider that partners with Divi Little Bay Beach Resort, currently offers six day trips off-island.

Edge to Saba — Enjoy a quiet getaway with plenty of time for sightseeing in picturesque villages, hiking in the rainforest or scuba diving in world-renowned dive spots.

Edge to St. Barts — St. Barts has gained a reputation as a decadent vacation hideout for the rich and the famous. Don’t worry, though—ordinary folks are welcome, too. You might even spot a familiar face from TV or film! Enjoy fabulous boutique shopping and some of the finest cuisine in the Western Hemisphere.

Lambada to Prickly Pear & Anguilla — Experience the pure, unspoiled splendor of Anguilla and its tiny neighbor, Prickly Pear Cay. Spend the day snorkeling, swimming and just relaxing.

Tango Dolphin Discovery — Visit Dolphin Discovery’s new park on Anguilla, the largest natural habitat dolphin park in the Caribbean. This is your chance to swim with dolphins.

Tango to Cove Bay — You’ve definitely earned a trip to Cove Bay on Anguilla. The white sand beach is your home for the day as you enjoy the view of St. Maarten’s lush, tropical hills.

Tango to Shoal Bay — Shoal Bay on Anguilla is considered to be one of the top 10 beaches in the world. Land at Cove Bay and travel by taxi to Shoal Bay, touring the length of Anguilla. Then sit back, relax and spend the day in paradise.

St. Maarten Heineken Regatta Kicks Off Today

Get ready for an action-packed weekend of world-class sailboat racing at the 37th Annual St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, taking place March 2-5, 2017. Last year, participants from 37 countries traveled to St. Maarten to compete. It’s a great time to be on the island—not only do you get to see impressive vessels and meet experienced pros in the sport of sailing, you get a chance to join in the fabulous parties that always accompany the event.

To all those on-island, have a great regatta! Don’t forget to block next year’s regatta into your schedule: it will take place March 1-4, 2018.

A Culinary Road Trip Across St. Maarten

You might visit Antoine Restaurant in downtown Philipsburg, St. Maarten as part of your culinary adventure.

Gourmands often call St. Maarten “the culinary capital of the Caribbean.” French and Dutch influences merge with Caribbean flavor to create a cuisine unlike any other. Chefs and foodies flock to the small island to taste the amazing variety to be had within its 34 square miles.

We sent Kara Phelps, the communications specialist for Divi Resorts, to Divi Little Bay Beach Resort to report back on St. Maarten’s unique food culture. Here’s what she found:

Hi there! St. Maarten is world-famous for its consistently high level of cuisine. Visiting the island without eating your way around it would be a grave mistake, if you ask me. If you have just a few hours to burn—or if you’re looking to add some excitement to a leisurely vacation—I recommend taking a culinary tour with Flavors of St. Martin Food Tours. They’re one of the best ways to experience the full range of what St. Maarten has to offer, since their signature 4.5-hour tour takes you through the French side as well as the Dutch side of the island.

Amsterdam Cheese & Liquor Store

We began our journey at the Amsterdam Cheese & Liquor Store in Philipsburg, a short taxi ride away from Divi Little Bay on the other side of Great Bay. The owners of the shop, two brothers from the Netherlands, treated our small group of five to a tasting of some of their finest cheeses. We sampled Gouda at various ages and paired it with a range of jellies and jams.

Ankie, a tour guide with Flavors of St. Martin Food Tours

Then we piled into an air-conditioned bus with our tour guide, Ankie, an outgoing local with an encyclopedic knowledge of the island and its food. She narrated our entire experience with warmth and a wry sense of humor.

In Philipsburg, we stopped at Antoine Restaurant—notable for being a French restaurant on the Dutch side of the island—and sampled classic French fare like escargots and vichyssoise. Then we walked a short distance to Ma Doudou Rum Shop and tasted St. Maarten’s famous guavaberry liqueur, an island staple. It’s the perfect addition to a sweet cocktail.

The view from Sky’s the Limit in Grand Case, St. Martin. If you look closely, you can see the neighboring island Anguilla.

Soon it was time to get back in the bus and head to the French side of the island. Ankie kept us entertained until we reached Grand Case, a beautiful town on the north shore. (One of the typical stops on the tour, the creperie Paradise View, was closed for the day.) We stopped near the famous “lolos” of Grand Case, a section of small beachfront shacks serving out-of-this-world food. We tasted island barbecue from a lolo called Sky’s the Limit, eating at picnic tables with the smell of smoked meat wafting through the air. For someone like myself with a great love for barbecue, it was a complete delight.

Inside the Carousel Gelateria

Another highlight of the tour was the Carousel Gelateria near Simpson Bay, back on the Dutch side of the island and finishing off the tour. The gelateria offers dozens of flavors of gelato from plain to exotic—including guavaberry. It also has, yes, a fully operational carousel. The owner of the gelateria, Diego from Italy, switched it on and we sat astride the colorful circus horses as we finished our gelato.

If you’re interested in booking this foodie adventure for yourself, it’s easy. Reserve a spot in the next tour online at www.stmartinfoodtours.com or call 855-543-9849 (international callers, dial +52-55-4170-7517). They serve enough food during the tour to make you comfortably full, so it’s not necessary to eat a meal beforehand. They can also accommodate many dietary restrictions with advanced notice. Bon appetit!

St. Maarten’s Unique Treasure: the Guavaberry

As travelers like to say everywhere…when in Rome, do as the Romans do. So, in St. Maarten, enjoy a hint of guavaberry in your meal, or a splash of guavaberry liqueur in your cocktail. Chances are you won’t taste guavaberry anywhere else in the world. These little wild berries—no relation at all to guava—grow high in the hills in the center of the island. Although they can be found elsewhere in the Caribbean, locals speculate St. Maarten is the only place the guavaberry truly thrives. It’s a central part of local folklore and traditional cuisine. Guavaberry jam and guavaberry liqueur can be found all over the island.

At the Seabreeze Restaurant and Gizmo’s Bar & Grill at Divi Little Bay Beach Resort, the bartenders love mixing up cocktails that feature guavaberry liqueur. We recommend the Guavaberry Martini.

Not far from Divi Little Bay Beach Resort, you will find the Sint Maarten Guavaberry Company on Front Street in Philipsburg. Here you can learn everything you’d ever want to know about guavaberry but didn’t know to ask. Guavaberries are rare, have decades of history and are a rather unique species in the plant kingdom. The juice of these precious berries are mixed with rum and sugar and then aged to create the liqueur. In addition to offering a wealth of information on guavaberries, the company also operates a shop, so you can buy a bottle of the liqueur, which means…that when you arrive home, you can still do as the Sint Maarteners do.

It’s 5 O’clock Somewhere With Cruzan Bay Breeze

Say the words “September” and “hurricane” and the folks at Cruzan Rum think a Bay Breeze is a delicious liquid response. It’s a cocktail made with a splash of pineapple and cranberry juices, a squeeze of lime and a little of their Cruzan Light Rum. Top it with ice and you’re good to weather just about any muggy day. According to Cruzan Rum CEO Gary Nelthropp, “It’s refreshing.”

Let’s make one now and toast the exit of Hurricane Isaac as well as all of the other hurricanes from this season. Fortunately, St. Croix, home of Cruzan Rum and Divi Carina Bay made it through just fine. In St. Maarten, there was no damage, but lots of excitement when a female turtle needed a little help clearing a spot on Divi Little Bay’s beach in order to lay her eggs. Guests and staff alike are on turtle watch awaiting the arrival of as many as 200 sea turtles in October.

We are two-thirds the way through hurricane season. The National Hurricane Center says it last from June 1 until November 30th. So, here’s to a safe October and November and safe travels to the beautiful Caribbean for people and turtles alike.

No need to wait till five o’clock to watch a pro make a Bay Breeze. You can make your very own version:

Cruzan Bay Breeze Ingredients:
1 part Cruzan Aged Light Rum
Pineapple Juice
Cranberry Juice
Lime Wedge

Directions:
Pour Cruzan Aged Light Rum over ice in a rocks- or long drink glass. Fill with pineapple juice and cranberry juice. Squeeze lime wedge into drink and then drop it in! Enjoy!