Written by Karen Kwan for AmongMen.com
A quiet beach, plenty of cocktails and delectable food and just enough culture and activities for when you've had enough of laying on the beach with one another. That's pretty much the essentials for a beach getaway together, is it not? Which makes the friendly island of St. Martin an obvious choice for a easy vacay with your better half.
Where to stay
In your frat-boy days, the Dutch side of the island, Saint Maarten, is likely where you'd have preferred--this is where you'll find the party crowd and the club scene--but now that you're seeking travel that's more "keep calm and carry on" rather than Animal House, Riu Palace St. Martin (on the French side of the island) is what you and your GF will adore. As an all-inclusive, you're most difficult decision will be whether you want your margartia frozen or shaken. The beach is a quiet cove that you can easily wade into to cool off from the sun, and you two can focus on relaxing and on each other without EDM blasting on speakers or a rowdy swim-up bar packed with sunburned tourists.
Where to eat
If you take all-you-can-eat as a challenge, your appetite and your palate will both be plenty satisfied at the dinner buffet at the Riu Palace St. Martin. A plethora of fresh choices is up for adding to your plate, but it was the veritable mountain of tender lobster and crab that we couldn't keep away from. And if putting together your own plate isn't your thing, the resort has three a la carte restaurants. Go for the lobster risotto at Krystal during your stay; you need some starchy carbs to fuel you for your morning workout in RIU's fitness centre, after all. If you want to have a meal or two off of the property, Grand Case is nearby. This neighbourhood is where you'll find lolos (this is what local independent restaurants are called) where you can dine like a king and queen inexpensively on superb BBQ ribs and chicken Sky's the Limit, which you'll find on Bd. de Grand Case, is one of the best on the main strip and a full meaty meal and a few rum punches and Carib beers will cost you less than $20.
Where to drink
Things wind down fairly early on the resort so if you and your honey are looking for some cocktails and people watching, taxi to Blue Martini in Grand Case to their casual outdoor bar. There's an extensive list of cocktails and martinis (cigars are available, too, if that's your thing). Some nights, there's live reggae bands so you can dance the night away under the stars alongside locals and other night-owl tourists.
What to do
Once you've finished your beach reads and are itching for some new scenery, pop over to Marigot where you can make the short walk up to Fort Louis and learn some of the history behind this 18-century fort while also being rewarded with a 360-view of the island. Or if you need something to get your adrenaline going, book a rhino safari with Nexus Tours. The 2.5 -hour tour on the inflatable motorized watercraft includes a stop for snorkeling (so bring your waterproof Go Pro) and at the gorgeous Happy Bay (where you may see more than you bargained for--it's a nude beach). And before your flight home, budget in an extra hour on your departure day to make a stop at Maho Beach, which is just a few minutes from Princess Juliana Airport. This is where you can enjoy planes flying frighteningly low to the beach (and watch the risk-taking tourists who choose to stand beneath them getting blown into the water by the plane's jet blasts).
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