A very delayed post, but our honeymoon recap is finally here!
We chose to go to Sint Maarten/St. Martin for our honeymoon. Located about 190 miles East of Puerto Rico, and just South of Anguilla, this beautiful island is both French and Dutch. We flew out on Monday, which gave us Sunday to relax and pack before a week away.
We flew from Cleveland to Miami, Miami to Sint Maarten, arriving around 2:00pm. Once we landed, we grabbed our bags, took a taxi to the resort, and headed to the pool.
Flying over Maho Beach
We didn’t stay at the pool too long because Tropical Depression Danny (formerly hurricane) brought in some rain. Because we were both quite exhausted from a 3am wake up call, we kept the first night low key and checked out SkipJack’s for dinner. The food was great and after spying some giant lobsters, we knew we’d be back later in the week.
First night in paradise
On the way back, we stopped at the Casino outside of the resort, but didn’t spend too much time there. It was fairly empty, but I guess that’s what you get for a Monday night.
Tuesday was our first full day on the island and what better way to kick off the honeymoon than spend the day on the beach! We started at Bon Appetit for breakfast, then headed down to Simpson Bay.
The beach was basically empty, but we scored two chairs and an umbrella anywhere we wanted for just $5.00, so it was a win. It was amazing to sit back with views of crystal clear water, a good book in hand and tropical drinks at a moments notice. We spent all morning on the beach, took a break for lunch at The Greenhouse, then ended the afternoon with a little Stand Up Paddle board action on the bay. The water was a little rough, and the wind was definitely stronger than we thought. We kept getting pushed out toward the ocean, and it was more of a workout than expected.
After the beach, we went back to the pool, then got ready for dinner. This time we tried The Stone, which was located on the water. I tried escargot for the first time (not my favorite) and had some delicious shrimp cooked to perfection on stone!
Next up we ventured back towards the resort, but not before stopping at The Red Piano. It wasn’t quite like the piano bar in Columbus I’ve visited, but the longer we were there, the better it got. Or maybe it was the help of a few glasses of wine…
We were supposed to head out on a boat trip on Wednesday, but because of the rough waters and wind ahead of Tropical Storm Erika, our trip was canceled. Instead of stressing about it, we decided to rent a car and head over to the French side of the island. We made our way up along the East side of the island and started at the famous Orient Bay Beach. We walked our way down looking for the perfect spot to sit, including passing by the famous nude beach. We finally settled on Kakao and started the morning with some Bloody Mary’s and beautiful views.
Orient Bay Beach
The water was beautiful, but it was also starting to collect seaweed on the beach from the storm. We didn’t grab any chairs, but we stayed long enough to enjoy the sun and some amazing shrimp and mussels!
Can I have this everyday?
Next as we continued our tour of the French side, we decided to stop at the Loterie Farm. I reviewed the website before our trip and hoped it would be as good as I imagined…it was. It was absolutely beautiful and so relaxing. Loterie Farm is tucked in the side of the mountain and offers swimming, lounging, zip lining and private parties. We took some day beds in the l’eaulonge section and soaked up as much sun as we could get. We enjoyed the swimming in the main pool as well as smaller jacuzzi’s further up the hill. And of course we couldn’t pass on some snacks, so we ordered the smoked fish platter which included swordfish, tuna and marlin. Amazing!
Can I move here?
And the view from the top
After a light sprinkle, Loterie Farm decided to close to prepare for Erika, so we packed up and headed to our next stop of the French side…Pic du Paradis! Standing at 1,391 feet, Pic du Paradis is the highest point on the island. The drive to the top was a little sketchy and very steep, but the views from the top were beautiful.
Top of the island!
After a short stop, we headed back down and around the island to Simpson Bay. Tropical Storm Erika was due to hit the next day, so the entire island was starting to shut down. Because of this, we stopped at the supermarket, grabbed some essentials and made our way back home. But before we got back to the resort, we stopped at L’Isola and I got to enjoy some seafood linguine and tiramisu!
Almost as good as the Seafood Diablo from Thyme2 😉
On the walk back to the room, we stopped at the casino (it was just next door anyway) and spent some time on the roulette table. We both ended up winning, which seems to be a trend for me everywhere except for the Cleveland casino.
I woke up Thursday with the expectation that it would be raining and miserable out. Fortunately this was not the case and it was actually partly sunny. I turned on the tv (for the first time all week) to check the status of the storm. Sadly, coverage of the storm hitting Dominica was all over the Weather Channel, and I couldn’t help but be a little concerned we’d have the same.
Due to the storm, everything was shut down. That included schools, businesses, restaurants, stores, basically everything. The wind was relatively weak still, so we decided to venture out and headed down to the beach. The waves were starting to pick up, the current was getting stronger, and spots of dark clouds would roll in and out. When the waves became a bit too much we headed over to the pool.
Hunting for a storm
When you can’t swim well…you don’t test the waters
After a while, we started to get hungry and luckily found a place open with food. Unfortunately, it was the worst experience we had on the entire island. It was a little restaurant just down from The Stone ( the name I can’t find yet). The line was a bit long, but understandable considering the elements. We ended up waiting about 45 minutes in line just to take our order, only to find out that half of the menu was unavailable. Hoping the wait wouldn’t be too long for our food, shrimp and mahi mahi, we stood around with everyone else.
Another 40 minutes later, we finally got our food. It wasn’t the best, but it was fresh and we lucked out that somewhere was open. We were disappointed with our experience, and hoped the day would turn around.
We spent the rest of the day in the room watching the storm from the balcony and checking updates on TV. We stayed in for dinner and I cooked my specialty, pasta for dinner. Domestic wife over here 😉
Watching the storm come in – afternoon.
Storm watching a few hours later.
On Friday we tried our shot with the boat tour again. Post storm, we had rain overnight, but no damage other than some palm tree branches down. We made our way to the boat shop and secured two spots on the catamaran trip to Prickly Pear Island & Anguilla. They let us know we may not be able to reach Prickly Pear Island due to unknown conditions of the water and that snorkeling would not be happening. We decided to continue regardless.
We started on our way out and moved to the front of the boat quickly. It was quite cloudy, a bit windy and we didn’t have too rough of waves. Even though the sun wasn’t out, the views were still beautiful and it felt great to have the ocean air surround us. Luckily the water was calm enough to make it to Prickly Pear and we were even able to snorkel.
Welcome to Prickly Pear Island!
I panicked a bit when I first got into the water, and struggled with the whole breathing into a tube idea. The only other time I had snorkeled was in Bermuda about 10 years ago, so this was not something I really had any experience with.
Darren led the way and we swam over some reefs watching fish swim in and out of the coral. The views underwater were beautiful and I wish I had an underwater camera. We were given 45 minutes to snorkel and it was just about all the time I was interested in. Snorkeling is a bit out of my comfort zone, but it was a great experience. Even better were the views of Prickly Pear Island. The sand was white, the water was teal, and it was absolutely the most beautiful view of the entire trip.
Up next on the boat tour was Anguilla. As we made our way back, I began to notice my skin felt a little warm. I’d been careful all week to wear SPF 80+ to avoid the harsh sun, but forgot to put it on due to the cloud coverage. Rookie mistake. My face, arms, legs, and chest were real burnt, but I didn’t let it stop me from having a good time.
Once we reached Anguilla, we docked the boat and could either swim or take the life raft over. Darren chose to swim and I took the boat. We had a great meal at a little restaurant in Sandy Ground Bay. We didn’t get to explore the island, but we did get to enjoy the water for a bit and even played a game of corn hole.
Back on the boat, I hid myself from the sun for a bit before joining everyone on the front of the boat. The views back were just as beautiful and I felt so lucky to be able to enjoy this wonderful trip so far.
Blushing or sunburn?
Approaching St. Martin
Once we made it back to Sint Maarten, we cleaned up, changed and got ready for our lobster dinner. We made it back over to SkipJack’s and ordered ourselves some oysters and a 6lb Caribbean lobster. Our eyes were definitely bigger than our stomachs and we struggled to eat the entire meal. Still, we knew it was an experience we needed to try and what better time than on your honeymoon?
Just Darren and two lobsters….ha…ha…
Saturday was our last full day on the island. We started the morning back at Bon Appetit and I had an amazing chocolate croissant, seriously the best thing I had all trip. Next we drove over to the famous Maho Beach. Do yourself a favor and look for videos on YouTube.
Incoming planes fly over Maho Beach just feet above bystanders on the ground. There used to be a beach, but it has since been covered in giant rocks. It was such a neat experience to watch the planes go over, each time wondering how close they’d get to the ground.
Amazing and terrifying.
Next we drove to Phillipsburg to check out the capital and what we expected to be a busy city. Surprisingly, it was very empty, almost a ghost town, which is apparently normal when it is low season, or when cruise ships aren’t docked. But I have to say, it was nice to have lots of room and not worry about other tourists.
We walked around, checked out a few shops and eventually made our way to the Guavaberry Emporium! Throughout our trip we had tried RumPunch, Best Friend, and Guavaberry Colada, all drinks that had guavaberry rum in them. We tried a few different flavors of the rum and since it’s not available in the US, we decided to stock up on a few bottles. It was surprisingly good, and much better than the last time I had rum in college.
We stopped for lunch on the boardwalk before we headed out and had a light lunch of calamari and some more mahi mahi. We made a plan for the rest of the day and tried to figure out what else we wanted to see before we left. We decided to head back to the Loterie Farm, but it was closed for an event. So we drove around Marigot for a bit, then down to Mullet Bay Beach.
We ended up staying there until about 6:30 or so, just long enough to catch the last sunset in paradise. We stopped at 3 Amigos for dinner and had some great shrimp tacos before heading back to the resort.
Final sunset, what a view!
Our flight wasn’t until 3:30pm so we tried to cram in as much as we could before we left. We packed our car and drove around to the West end of the French side to see if we missed anything we wanted to see earlier in the week. After a while, we decided we’d seen everything we wanted and headed to the airport.
We were told it takes 3 hours to get through checking in and security. When we got there the airport was empty, so we checked our bags and got a cab over to Maho beach. We sat around for about an hour and a half, watching planes come in and out, and absorbing the last moments of vacation.
Final guavaberry rum punch of the trip!
Our tip to Saint Maarten was absolutely amazing. The island was beautiful and everything was more than I could have imagined. If you ever get the chance to take a trip down there, I highly recommend it. It was hard to leave, but we can wait to visit again in a couple years!