Famously divided with a French section in the north and a Dutch section in the south, the combined island of St. Martin/St. Maarten is usually considered a single market when it comes to holidays. There’s one major airport and hotel listings are usually bunched together as well.
In the Dutch section you’ll find heavy development and even casinos, with English being an official and widely-spoken language. The French section has more of the natural wilderness and less development, but it’s still busy and packed with tourists in season. English is widely understood in the French section so don’t let language be the deciding factor when choosing where to stay.
The island is one of the cheaper to reach from both North America and Europe, and there are many direct flights from both continents. Prices in general tend to be in the mid-range for the Caribbean, so it’s not ideal for budget travelers unless you find a good package deal in advance.
Where to stay
There are close to 100 different hotels and resorts on the entire island, plus an increasing number of timeshares and condominium developments on the Dutch side. There’s very little in the budget accommodation category, but the mid-range (for the Caribbean) is loaded with options, while the high-end is well represented too.
If you are coming from any farther than a nearby island you’ll be flying into Princess Juliana International Airport, which is one of the larger and busier airports in all of the Caribbean. It’s the main airport for both the Dutch and French sides, though it’s located in the Dutch part.
Nonstop flights from:
San Juan, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Atlanta, Charlotte, Washington DC, Philadelphia, New York-JFK, Newark, Chicago, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Toronto, Montreal, Paris, Amsterdam