Honestly, I don’t think St. Martin is given the credit it’s due. From a US standpoint, you hear about St. Martin as a cruise port, but really that’s about it. Not a whole lot of Americans travel there for an extended stay… well at least not anyone I know. In reality, St. Martin is stunningly gorgeous, covered in pristine secluded beaches and just as easy to get to as any other island in the Caribbean. So let’s unpack our recent vacation in these here St. Martin Chronicles: 10 days in paradise.
We’ll start with the what’s currently the most obvious question… how do you go about getting in to the country during the pandemonium? There is a little bit of a process, but no more than some of the other places we’ve traveled to in the recent year. For starters, you’ll need to head over to the St. Martin government website. It will detail all you need to know for entering and exiting the country.
It’s necessary to get a covid test prior to entry. 5 days (120h) prior to your flight if you are taking the pcr test or 2 days (48h) prior for the antigen test. Be aware of which test you are taking because they will not approve your travel authorization if you do not abide by the time frame.
After you’ve received your negative results you can apply for your travel authorization.. which can be done with the link above. In order to apply, you will need your hotel or airbnb information as well as a copy of your results. Do this ASAP after getting the results. The authorization can take up to 12h to be approved, it is not guaranteed to be automatic. You want to have enough time to repeat the test if you receive a denial.
Along with the authorization, you will be charged $30 for travel insurance which is required for entry. When you arrive in St. Martin to go through immigration, you must have a print out of proof of insurance, the negative covid test result and the approved travel authorization. As long as you have all three, immigration will be a breeze.
Should you go Dutch or French?
The Best Airbnb We’ve Ever Stayed In
There is only one thing I will say about staying in an airbnb in the caribbean…beware of the mosquitos. While it’s not really a problem that can be helped, and something you honestly just have to get used to, they are ferocious. Like really. We were eaten alive. But if you keep your bedroom doors closed at all times, you at least won’t have to worry about being bitten while you sleep.
It’s time to get down to what really matters: cost, the biggest obstacle for most people wanting to travel and explore. St. Martin really is one of the most expensive islands we have traveled to, but there is a way to keep your budget under wraps.
Where you stay does matter, our airbnb cost much less than what hotels in the area would have been for the 10 nights we stayed. The cost was also lowered by traveling with other people. As far as airbnb’s go… generally speaking staying in a house that accommodates more people is much cheaper than one that sleeps 2 guests. Airbnb’s also allow you to save money overall on food, by allowing you to cook for yourself if you don’t mind while on vacation.
Rent a car. The island isn’t that big, but there’s no other way to get around to be honest. There are over 31 beaches to explore, restaurants, bars, and experiences… which means some mode of transportation is absolutely needed.
Plan excursions ahead of time. There are a decent number of options and a lot of day trips that can be done but it can all get very pricey if you don’t plan ahead and do what is within your budget. Of the islands in the surrounding area, St. Martin is the cheapest… day trips to other islands can get a bit expensive if you aren’t prepared. But there are a lot of things that can be done for a reasonable price if booked ahead of time.
Spending the majority of your time relaxing at the beach because its free!! If you want to rent a beach chair, depending on the beach this will cost you a little, but otherwise… bring a cooler with your own drinks and some snacks and enjoy a day free of charge and worries.