Of course, Santa's reindeer can handle the 30° Celsius temperature in Sint-Maarten during the holiday season! Christmas and New Year's are even among the best times to come to St Maarten. Come and find out for yourself by celebrating the holidays in the tropics.
What could be more pleasant than swimming in the last days of December in a 27° sea, while enjoying the sweet mystery of Christmas?
When you head to the island of Sint Maarten to enjoy a dream vacation with your family or friends, get ready to immerse yourself in a unique atmosphere. Saint-Martin and Sint-Maarten are first and foremost two countries on the same territory, so two cultures, two ways of life, two gastronomies.
There are also two capitals: Marigot and Philipsburg, with on one side the hikes between the sea and the hills and the inescapable market full of treasures and on the other side the tax-free shopping, the bars and restaurants on the pier or the discotheques and casinos. On this exotic island "unique" rhymes perfectly with "magical". The wonderful magical atmosphere of Christmas!
And it starts with a visit to Santa's House! It is in Cripple Gate that Santa Claus has taken his winter quarters in an enchanting setting. We are warmly welcomed by Bernardine Joe, the "Mama Claus" to the sound of traditional songs celebrating the Nativity. For more than forty years, Bernardine has been busy preparing the not-to-be-missed event for all Sint-Maarten residents and visitors. In addition to her passion for Christmas and decorations, the generous hostess likes to share "the magic of these festive moments" as she likes to emphasize with young and old children, by offering them sweets and Guavaberry.
Holiday decorations come from all over the world to add new and original items every year. Consider that it takes more than two months for Mom Nwel to put up the decorations inside and outside the house. And it's from November 22 that, traditionally, the illuminations dazzle the eyes of wonder, to last until mid-January, before launching the new preparations for next Christmas. For the record, Santa's House has become an institution in Sint Maarten, so much so that the electricity company does not charge Bernardine for its electrical expenses for the occasion. Miles and miles of lights are generously deployed. Santa's house at Cripple Gate opens its doors every day from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm, (6:00 pm on weekends) from November 22 to Epiphany.
This year, due to the health crisis, only visits by appointment will be allowed and in small groups. But from the road, you will still be able to admire these beautiful Christmas decorations!
The magic of Christmas is everywhere on the island of Sint-Maarten. Each inhabitant likes to decorate his house, his restaurant or his store, for the greatest joy of the passers-by. Even the coconut trees receive their share of multicolored garlands! In front of this fervor, a competition of decorations is even launched. Each neighborhood association organizes different events in which everyone can participate: among the most active are those of Sandy Ground, Saint James and Quartier d'Orléans. Music and folkloric dances are on the program to share strong moments of conviviality during the "chanté nwèl". The famous markets and the streets of downtown Marigot are also part of the festivities: what could be more pleasant than to do your shopping while participating in the many games and contests in a very festive atmosphere.
And of course the must is the Grand Case Christmas Parade. It is the main event not to be missed. It features Santa Claus on his sleigh, who travels all over the French part of the island with lots of surprises in his sack for the delight of children. And because Santa Claus remains a great sportsman despite his canonical age, it is not uncommon to see him enjoying the joys of St. Maarten while jet-skiing. Some have even seen him in a diving suit to admire the splendid underwater flora and fauna of the island.
After a difficult year marked by the health crisis, the Collectivity decided to set up a contest encouraging shopkeepers to revitalize downtown Marigot. Each store, stall or store will have its own decorations, some of which are spectacular. This is how you will be able to indulge in the pleasure of shopping while admiring the decorations in the windows that correspond to the theme "Christmas Spirit".
The January 1st fireworks display, which marks the passage to the new year, is a not-to-be-missed event that brings joy to young and old alike. In Sint-Maarten, the fireworks show is best enjoyed with your feet in the warm sand. Rendezvous in a warm atmosphere at the Marigot seafront and Orient Bay to contemplate the beautiful colored peonies, golden and silver filaments, red palms, blue spiders and other green chrysanthemums that light up the sky.
Because everything is an opportunity to party in St. Maarten, don't miss the traditional monthly events of the night of the full moon. This year, it is on December 29th that the moon will shine, lighting up the festivities in Baie Nettlé. There are many opportunities to have fun on this occasion, from Happy Bay to the island of Tintamarre, passing by the ilet Pinel, without forgetting of course the charming Baie Orientale.
Another common point between Christmas and the island of Sint-Maarten is the festive meals. Here, eating is a pleasure even when you are satisfied with a tasty dish lovingly cooked in a traditional "lolo". Just like the fireworks, it is an explosion of flavors and scents that is offered to you in the famous gastronomic capital of the Antilles.
Between the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, sea products are naturally abundant: this is the opportunity to taste the succulent marlin, king mackerel, snapper and other lobsters of course. But Creole cuisine is also rich in other equally tasty compositions, such as cod accras, Creole blood sausage, chicken colombo, not to mention the famous roucous peppers that flatter the palate.
And because the island never rests, many festivities punctuate the life of Sint-Maarten throughout the year. Starting with the carnivals which take place at the end of February on the French side and in April in Sint-Martens and many other sports and festive events with a worldwide reputation.
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