If you’d like your next vacation to include golden beaches, dazzling oceans, breathtaking sunsets and all the tropical delights of the Caribbean, then St. Martin is the place for you. This 37 square-mile island is the epitome of cosmopolitan culture thanks to the dual-governing of territories shared by two countries: France and the Netherlands. The Dutch half of the island, Sint Maarten, is classed as a sovereign country within the Netherlands, whereas its northern French neighbor, Saint Martin, is a semi-autonomous overseas community belonging to France. The distinct cultures of each side of the island is extremely enriching, a unique touch which draws in thousands of tourists every year looking to enjoy the best of both worlds.
Let’s be clear. Neither half of the island is better than the other, but it’s likely that one part will fit your needs more. Sint Maarten, for instance, is home to a plethora of holiday resorts, world-class retail stores, flashy clubs and late-night casinos. This vibrant atmosphere attracts hedonists and party-goers looking to relish the lively beach vibe and make the most of the hustle and bustle. Meanwhile, the serene Saint Martin welcomes those looking to relax on unspoiled beaches and completely unwind from the daily grind. The little houses nestled on the cliffs, quaint villages surrounded by colorful boats and traditional French restaurants are reminiscent of a laid-back Mediterranean town, enabling travelers to enjoy the very best of European culture.
The island has great year-round weather, but peak season begins in December and lasts until mid-April. This is largely due to visitors from the USA and Canada desperately yearning to escape their cold climates and bask in the Caribbean sunshine. No matter which part of the island you decide to stay on, you’ll be guaranteed an unbeatable bucket-list experience. Take this once-in-a-lifetime vacation to the next level by booking one of our luxury villas in St Martin.
Now that you know a little more about this paradisaical Caribbean island, you must be wondering how on earth to get here! To ensure that planning your next exclusive getaway is as easy and stress-free as possible, Personal Villas has compiled a guide to answer your most asked questions about air travel and airport transport on the island.
How many airports are there in St. Martin?
Luckily, traveling to St. Martin is pretty straightforward, especially if you’re arriving from North America. In total, there are two airports on the island, one in Saint Martin and the other in Sint Maarten. No matter in which part you arrive, you’ll have easy access to your final destination as there are no official borders between the French and Dutch sides!
Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM)If you’re coming to stay in one of our luxury villas in St. Martin , it’s likely that you will arrive in Princess Juliana International Airport. Located in Simpson Bay on the Dutch side of the island, this former military airfield has transformed over the past 60 years into the second busiest airport in the eastern Caribbean, surpassed only by San Juan in Puerto Rico. Princess Juliana International Airport welcomes around 1.8 million travelers every year, primarily from Europe, the Americas and other Caribbean nations. You don’t have to worry about multiple layovers either as many major airlines fly to St. Martin, such as Delta, JetBlue, United, American Airlines and more. This international airport boasts a wide range of modern facilities, including restaurants, bars, ATMs and car rental services.
The small size of St. Martin makes travel to and from the airport an easy task. Both the nation’s Dutch capital, Philipsburg (6.8 miles from the airport) and the French capital of Marigot (3.5 miles from the airport) can be accessed by taxi or private minivan. Taxis are the recommended option as the fare isn’t too pricey and you can arrive directly to your St. Martin vacation rental. A range of minivans are located outside the terminal with signs on the front indicating their destination. This method is certainly a cheap way to travel from the airport, but the downside is that the minibuses don’t allow large quantities of luggage on board, making them inaccessible to most travelers arriving from abroad with a big suitcase. Thanks to the informality of the minivan system, drivers are happy to drop travelers at a specific spot, as long as it isn’t too far off course. The price is agreed beforehand too, so don’t worry about scams. Unfortunately there are no official public transport links to Princess Juliana International Airport.
Enough technical talk. How about a fun fact? Aside from winning an award for its beauty in 2013, the Princess Juliana International Airport has gained its fame and notoriety in a much more unusual way. Now considered a top St. Martin attraction, Maho Beach lies directly adjacent to the airport and has become a popular spot for tourists to watch giant jumbo jets swoop an extremely short distance (we’re talking meters!) above their heads as they descend onto the runway behind. Images of aircraft hovering above flocks of sunbathing tourists look so surreal that, upon first glance, they seem photoshopped. Whether you’re a seasoned plane spotter or a casual thrill seeker, this exciting and noisy experience is well worth it!
L’Espérance AirportAlso known as Grand Case Airport, the much smaller L’Espérance Airport is situated in the northern countryside on the French half of St. Martin. If you’re arriving from an international destination, it is unlikely that you’ll land in this airport, as it only caters to small private aircraft and commuter airlines from nearby Caribbean islands. The most popular connections are to other French overseas territories, such as Saint Barth and Guadeloupe. Despite its small size, L’Espérance Airport welcomes roughly 200,000 passengers every year. If you happen to be doing some inter-island traveling, you’ll be lucky to land here as its remote location offers excellent views of the lush green mountains surrounding Grand Case.
Much like the Princess Juliana International Airport, L’Espérance offers no public transport links. Taxis arrive to meet all landing flights and the cost of a trip from the airport to Marigot is around 10 US Dollars. You can also rent a car and make your own journey across the island as there are a few agencies in the car park facing the terminal. However, if you’d like to make an entrance and arrive in style to our luxury villas in St. Martin, then consider hiring a private limo service!