St. Martin is known for its half-French, half-Dutch culture, the Sint Maarten – Heineken-Regatta, and its picturesque beaches (with famous views of the planes approaching and leaving the Caribbean island).
5 years after Irma and rebuilding is far from being completed. Hurricane Irma struck the island of Sint Maarten/Saint Martin on September 6th, 2017. Irma was a category 5 storm with strong winds that reached a peak intensity of 177 mph (285 km/h).
Hurricane Irma had a devastating effect on the infrastructure of the island, entire marinas on the French side of Saint Martin were left in ruins due to boats colliding with each other as a result of the strong winds. Approximately 95% of the buildings in Sint Maarten/ Saint Martin were damaged and 60% of those buildings were totally uninhabitable. 5,5 years later and the destruction caused by Irma is still visible.
Orient Bay: 5 years after Hurricane Irma and rebuilding is far from being completed. The destruction caused by Irma is still visible….
Don’t miss Pinel Island, a charming small island just a 5-10 minute boat ride from Orient Bay. Clear turquoise water and white sand beach. A slice of heaven! There are two restaurants on the island. We visited Karibuni. You can go for a hike, see iguanas, snorkel and stay the night ⚓️, sometimes some swell coming over the reef.
Right next to the runway of Saint Martin’s airport, there’s Maho Beach. It is right under the flight path of the planes taking off and landing, so they fly extremely low here. When they take off, they expel jet blasts, which can literally blow you away.
The Dutch side of St. Maarten generally sees more tourists, thanks to being home to the airport and the place where cruise ships dock. It also has more of a Caribbean culture.
Of course, wherever you choose to stay, you can easily hop from one side of the island to the other – remember, there isn’t a border.