/ Local Culture

Guide to Customs and Traditions of Saint Martin Island

Welcome to Saint Martin! To make your stay enjoyable and respectful of the local culture, follow these tips and discover the unique customs of this beautiful island.

Language

English is commonly spoken on both sides of the island, but you will also hear French and Creole.

Bicycle Crossing Signage

Driving on the Island

There is only one road around the island but drive with caution. Remember that you share the road with pedestrians, scooters, bicycles, goats, cows, and iguanas 😊. Follow local driving rules and be attentive to your surroundings.

Local Cuisine

Explore the delicious local cuisine by trying traditional dishes such as conch stew, johnnycake (local bread), and chicken leg or ribs and Rice & peas. Visit local markets to taste the authentic flavors of the island.

Saint Martin’s Day

Saint Martin’s Day is celebrated with enthusiasm. Participate in the bike race, relay, or even a motorcycle adventure around the island. Immerse yourself in this local tradition and experience the community spirit that characterizes this special day.

Person Holding a Woven Basket With Easter Eggs

Easter Tradition

During Easter, the people of Saint Martin have a tradition of eating crab and camping on popular beaches. Join in the celebration by tasting local specialties and enjoying the Easter camping festivities on the picturesque beaches of the island.

Hidden Beaches

Apart from popular beaches, discover less frequented ones for a more peaceful experience. Feel free to ask locals for advice on lesser-known spots; you might uncover hidden gems.

Art and Craft: Meet the artist, Roland Richardson

Discover the beauty of Saint Martin through the artwork of local painter Roland Richardson, displayed throughout our hotel. You might even catch him painting on-site—feel free to say hello and enjoy the essence of Caribbean art during your stay.

Environmental Respect

Observe, Don’t Disturb: Resist the temptation to handle or disturb the local wildlife, including starfish. Observe these creatures from a respectful distance to allow them to thrive in their natural habitat.

Dispose of Waste Responsibly: Properly dispose of all waste in designated bins. Litter can harm local wildlife and disrupt the balance of the ecosystem.

Minimize Noise: Keep noise levels to a minimum to avoid disturbing wildlife. Many species are sensitive to noise, and minimizing human impact ensures a harmonious coexistence.


Local Events

Carnival in Saint Martin is a lively and colorful celebration that typically takes place in late January or early February, lasting for several weeks. It is a festive extravaganza filled with music, dance, parades, and cultural performances. The island comes alive with vibrant costumes, lively music, and the spirit of unity.

Mardi de Grand Case “Harmony Nights”

This enchanting event unfolds from January, spanning approximately 10 Tuesdays, offering a prolonged celebration of local art, music, and culinary delights.

Heineken Regatta

Set your sails for the first weekend in March, where the Heineken Regatta welcomes sailing enthusiasts from around the world for thrilling races and lively festivities.

SXM Music Festival

March is the month of rhythm at Happy Bay, as the SXM Music Festival creates an unforgettable fusion of electronic beats and Caribbean vibes.

Photo of Person Holding Fishing Rod

Fish Day

A day dedicated to fishing, tribute to fishermen, local seafood dishes, fishing workshop, and performance by local artists.

Grand Case Fete and Oualichi Festival

July comes alive with these vibrant celebrations, honoring the island’s rich heritage through art, dance, and local flavors.

Gastronomy Festival

The Gastronomy Festival in St. Martin, known as the “Festival de la Gastronomie,” is an annual event from November 11 to 22 that celebrates culinary arts with local and international chefs. The festival features demonstrations, workshops, and competitions, making it a must-visit for food enthusiasts.

Close-up of Christmas Decoration Hanging on Tree

Grand Case Xmas Lighting Parade

Experience the magic right before Christmas with the Grand Case Xmas Lighting Parade, featuring small troops dancing, serenade singing, and beautifully lit trucks.

Beach Party Anguilla August Monday

Dive into the ultimate Caribbean Beach Party on the first Monday in August, where the shores pulse with rhythm and joy.

Domino Piece Lot

Domino Games

Domino games are a popular social activity in Saint Martin. Join locals in parks or on the beaches for a friendly game of dominoes. It’s an excellent opportunity to meet locals and share pleasant moments.


Ecotourism

Explore Saint Martin’s natural beauty sustainably. Engage in eco-tours, nature walks, and snorkeling adventures that preserve the island’s ecosystems. Support conservation efforts and connect deeply with the environment.

Discover Hidden Gems

Explore captivating hikes across the island, revealing hidden points of beauty. Connect with our local guides and associations to enhance your experience, ensuring a memorable and informed journey through Saint Martin’s unique landscapes. Uncover the secrets of the island with expert guidance.

Nudity

On the French side of the island, topless sunbathing is permitted, but nudity is restricted to specific areas, notably a small section of Orient Bay. We kindly ask our guests to adhere to these regulations and show consideration for the local community.

Cultural Preservation

As part of our commitment to cultural preservation, our hotel prohibits the sale of archaeological items. We believe in safeguarding the historical and cultural heritage of Saint Martin and discouraging the trade of illicit artifacts. Additionally, we do not engage in the exploitation of intellectual or cultural property belonging to local communities.

Forbidden Items

To ensure the preservation of Saint Martin’s natural beauty and cultural heritage, we ask our guests to refrain from purchasing prohibited items such as conch shells, sand, coral, and any other artifacts that may be protected by local regulations.

We expect our guests to honor and respect the traditions and beliefs of the local community. By embracing the customs of Saint Martin, we demonstrate our appreciation and support for the rich cultural tapestry of the island.