St. Maarten

by , SmarterTravel Staff
Cupecoy Beach, St. Maarten
Editor's Note: This story was originally published on May 12, 2008. To see the most recent SmarterTravel articles on related topics, please click on any of the following links: adventure travel, Antigua and Barbuda, beach, Belize, culinary travel, destination, Jessica Labrencis, low season, New Orleans, Phoenix, Scottsdale, shoulder season, St. Maarten/St. Martin, summer.

Experience a taste of Europe in the Caribbean on St. Maarten/St. Martin, the small Dutch/French island in the Lower Antilles. This summer, the tourism department of St. Maarten, the Dutch side, is running specials that can make a trip to the island especially affordable during this year's off-peak season. Best of all, even if you choose to take advantage of the accommodations discounts on the Dutch side of the island, making a trip to the French side, St. Martin, is quick and easy.

St. Maarten's accommodations specials include free nights and extras. Book a five-night stay and get the fifth night free, plus 50 "St. Maarten Bucks," which can be used towards rental cars, shopping, dining, or activities. Book a seven-night stay and receive 100 St. Maarten Bucks and get the fifth and seventh nights free. The nine participating properties will appeal to a variety of budgets, most of which offer discounted summer rates anyway.

Hotel Room type Off-peak rate Peak rate
Coral Beach Club Two bedroom villa $575 (April 15 to December 14) $825 (December 15 to April 14)
Mary's Boon Hotel Mini studio $75 (August 1 to September 30) $125 (November 1 to April 30)
Princess Heights Resort Deluxe one bedroom suite $225 (August 15 to October 14) $350 (December 15 to April 14)
Turquoise Shell Inn One bedroom suite $95 (July 15 to November 14) $145 (November 15 to April 15)

Prices are per night based on double occupancy and were found on each hotel's website.

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Long days spent on St. Maarten's wide, sandy shores are why many choose to visit the island, but there is plenty of activity off the beach as well. Philipsburg, the capital of the Dutch side, offers enough duty-free shopping, restaurants and cafes, and nightlife to keep you occupied, plus a handful of Las Vegas-style casinos. A foodie heaven, the entire island is known as the "Gastronomic Capital of the Caribbean," offering varied dining options from traditional French fare to Tex-Mex.

Also, getting to St. Maarten has become cheaper in recent years due to low-fare carriers JetBlue's and Spirit's introductions to the market. Be sure to price flights on both airlines before you book to ensure you get the best price, and remember to check Spirit's website for rock-bottom fare specials as low as a few dollars.

The first place to look when planning a trip is St. Maarten's Offical Web Portal, filled with details about where to stay, what to do, and more.

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