Taken from GayTravel.com — Travel Guides with a Gay Perspective.
A vibrant blend of French sophistication and Dutch Caribbean warmth, St. Martin / Sint Maarten is a tropical paradise not to be missed.
St. Martin is a 37 square mile island situated in the Leeward Islands where the northeastern Caribbean Sea meets the western Atlantic Ocean. This tiny island is the smallest land mass in the world to be shared by two nations (France and the Kingdom of the Netherlands), but it does not feel small at all! The Dutch side with Philipsburg as its main city is mirrored by Marigot on the French side. Plenty of direct and affordable flights in and out of its International Airport make it easy to manage. Just be sure to bring your passport!
Gay Scene in St. Martin
As a dual-nation island, acceptance is part of the fabric on this tiny island. LGBTQ+ travelers will feel welcome although there is not a “gay scene” so to speak. It’s more just a welcoming and tolerant atmosphere that makes it a great choice.
When to Visit
January – June is considered to be the best time to visit, but the weather is consistently beautiful and balmy year-round.
Activities and Attractions
Boats, Beaches, Bars (& Ballads as Jimmy Buffet would say) is epitomized by Philipsburg on the Dutch side. Philipsburg has everything. It is where the cruise port is located and has easy access to whatever you want. Philipsburg Beach on Great Bay makes for an easy dip in the azure waters right off the boardwalk. Duty-free shopping makes the shops on Front Street very popular!
Marigot is reminicent of the French Riviera. You'll be charmed by its gingerbread houses, colorful boutiques, and sidewalk cafés.
There are stunning bays and 37 white sand beaches circumventing this pretty and hilly island which makes it ideal for sunning and snorkeling.
Cupecoy Beach is known as the gay beach and has made a big comeback since Hurricane Irma. The limestone cliffs and natural bays lend themselves to privacy and serves as a great LGBTQ+ hangout.
Go au-naturel on Orient Beach which is the largest beach on St. Martin. The area is rebounding with even more than it had before Hurricane Irma including a whole new restaurant scene.
St. Martin is a fantastic place to get your SCUBA (self-contained, underwater breathing apparatus) certification if you haven’t already done so!
History buffs can spend a whole day exploring Fort Louis, Fort Amsterdam and Fort Willem. The views from above are well worth it!
The French side of the island is known for charming bistros and more upscale cuisine than on the Dutch side. Foodies will want to partake in Restaurant Row located on Grand Case
Gay-Friendly Bars & Nightlife
The nightife is big relative to its size. St. Martin’s restaurants, bars, and nightlife are plentiful and there is everything from spinning on the dance floor to spinning the roulette wheel. Casino Royale had a major refresh after Hurricane Irma. The local businesses are very gay-welcoming and embrace LGBTQ+ patrons.
Tolerance and acceptance are a part of the culture on St. Martin. Same sex marriage is recognized when registered in the Netherlands and the Caribbean Netherlands (Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, and Saba). However, same-sex couples cannot legally marry on the island.
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