My husband gets major brownie points for planning out my 30th birthday trip. Not only did he pick two perfect stops on the east coast (Savannah and Miami) but he also chose the most wonderful island destination.
Sint Maarten is in the southern part of a Caribbean island shared with Saint Martin. Believe it or not, the two connected areas, though they sound very similar, are different. Sint Maarten is part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, while Saint Martin is French owned.
For five days we enjoyed all-inclusive luxury at the Royal Sonesta Ocean Point Resort.
Despite a little confusion at the airport (there are NO shuttles from the airport to the hotel) and a $20 taxi ride that lasted less than five minutes, we reached paradise and were greeted at our resort with a cocktail and impeccable service.
Then we made for our first meal:
These nachos became a daily lunch ritual for us. Maybe it’s just island infatuation talking, but they were the best nachos I have ever eaten in my entire life. Though the nachos were piled high, somehow every bite managed to get the goodness of chicken chili, salsa, sour cream, guacamole and cheese.
I dream about these nachos often.
And then, I cry.
After we ate, we came back to our room to enjoy our swim out.
This was probably my favorite thing about our resort.
Other than the nachos.
On the other end of the hotel, was The Edge pool. I think a pool like this is a must for any resort in the Caribbean.
Our hotel was fairly new (less than a year old) and was built right next to the Princess Juliana Airport (hence the five minute taxi ride). We had the unusual opportunity of being able to see planes landing day and night.
I thought this was the coolest thing and took far too many pictures of planes landing.
We also had incredible views of the ocean.
And of course, more planes…
Our first two days we did something we never do. We stayed at the hotel the entire time! We ate, drank, enjoyed the pool and ocean, and ate and drank some more!
By our third day, we were ready to explore. After chatting with the concierge, we decided to be daring tourists and take the ‘bus’ into Philipsburg.
First, he told us a taxi would cost us $20 each–both ways! Then, he said, if we were adventurous enough, we could try the bus.
The ‘bus’ was a passenger van that cost $2 per ride. Much nicer than $20 per ride! We only had to be daring enough to wait for vans with “Philipsburg” signs in the window, and then be ready to flag them down. We’ve hailed taxis in New York…we could certainly handle this!
After a few minutes in Philipsburg, we spotted two docked cruise ships. This immediately set me in motion to start dreaming about taking a family cruise.
I talked about it for pretty much the rest of our trip.
And by the rest of our trip, I mean the rest of our trip until we were back home again
Philipsburg was a natural place for me to be because the streets are lined with stores! I couldn’t resist a few pieces of jewelry that were calling my name.
How adorable is this school and the motivational sign on its front door?
Since we were away from our all-inclusive meals, we knew we had to try some authentic Caribbean food. I wanted to go over and lecture the other tourists who were eating hamburgers and fries.
Who goes to the islands to eat hamburgers and fries?!
Definitely, not me.
The chicken and ribs we shared at this quaint little spot did not disappoint! Neither did Lance’s Mai Tai or my Mango Colada!
We learned that the guavaberry is specific to the island of Sint Maarten. Naturally, we made sure to try guavaberry coladas at our resort. We also picked up a bottle of guavaberry rum to bring back home.
Our last full day on the island, we snuck away from Sint Maarten to visit Anguilla–but you’ll have to wait for my next post to hear about that!
It was difficult to leave breakfast with a view like this.
Until next time, Sint Maarten!