Travelling around the Caribbean as a solo female tourist can be a daunting experience. Some destinations are notorious for crime and single foreigner women make an easy target. However, not every island has this reputation and solo females can have the time of their lives in relative safety. One such island is St Martin. Experiencing one of the St Martin vacations are a great way to enjoy a tropical paradise without facing the difficulties of other destinations in the Caribbean.
Why is St Martin a Good Place for Solo Female Travellers?
For a start, it’s a lot safer than other regions of the Caribbean for females. This means you don’t have to worry or feel concerned about your safety and are free to explore on your own terms. Compare this to other destinations where you’re advised against venturing too far away from the resort.
The next reason is the abundance of beaches. In total, the Island of St Martin has 37 beaches. Water sports including kayaking, surfing, paddleboarding, and snorkelling are popular activities. One of the best things about the Island of St Martin is the special combination of French and Dutch influence. You can spend the morning in Dutch St Maarten enjoyingtax-free shopping and then head to French St Martin for a world-class culinary experience.
If you’re looking for an adventure or a more secluded beach, boats takes passengers between the nearby islands on a daily basis. Anguilla takes less than 30 minutes to reach and offers a different experience to St Martin. You can also visit St Barth, Prickly Pear, and Creole Rock.
How to Meet Other Solo Travellers:
St Martin gets a number of solo tourists each year from around the world, including a sizeable number of women. This means it’s relatively easy to find others in a similar position to you. The beachside bars are a good place to start if you’re looking for company. Locals and tourists alike tend to be friendly and open for conversation. Striking up a conversation is easy with pretty much everyone you meet and St Martin lives up to its reputation as the Friendly Island. Tours are also a great way to meet people. You can find a range of tours that take people snorkelling, to nearby islands, or to other parts of St Martin.
Staying Safe in St Martin:
Compared to other Caribbean islands, St Martin has a low level of crime and is a safe destination for tourists. Crime is low, but not non-existent. As a solo female traveller, opportunistic thieves may see you as a vulnerable target. Ask a local guide or contact to get tips on what places you should avoid.
Theft is common at the beach, especially when belongings are left unattended. Bag snatching isn’t unheard of either. Take care of your belongings and make sure valuables are in a safe place. If you rent a car and drive to the beach, the risk of car theft is quite high. Removing all your belongings from the vehicle and winding down the windows on a dry day is the best solution. Open windows show potential thieves nothing valuable is inside the car.
The Island of St Martin was once a major part of the drug smuggling route from South America. In recent years, this has somewhat reduced. But violent crime involving illegal drugs can occasionally happen. This isn’t directed at tourists though you may be caught in the crossfire.
Taxis don’t use meters, which means you need to negotiate the fare before you get inside to avoid confrontations on arrival. Again, a young solo female tourist is often seen as an easy target. You should also be aware that the Zika virus is present on the island.
Enjoy the Nightlife:
Philipsburg has an active nightlife with many of the bars and clubs staying open until late. This is popular with the younger tourists and there are places to suit any interest from relaxing lounges to all-night raves. However, after dark, the capital gets a little shadier with more dodgy characters coming out. Theft and crime increases after nightfall. Be very vigilant if you’re out and about after dark alone.
Go Shopping in the Early Morning:
Who doesn’t want to spend some time getting a little retail therapy in Philipsburg? Bargains on anything from diamonds to the latest fashion and perfumes are found on Front Street, the famous shopping area in St Maarten. The ease for merchants to import goods and the duty-free status makes for many great deals.
But, you’re not the only one who wants to enjoy the shopping experience. Cruise ships dock at the Great Bay wharf in Philipsburg daily and their first port of call is, more often than not, Front Street. During peak season, it’s quite common for up to seven liners filled with thousands of passengers who visit at the same time.
Savvy tourists avoid the crowds by following one simple tip: go shopping early in the morning. Most shops and businesses are up and running by 9 am. Passengers on cruise ships rarely get out of bed before 9 am, and then they have breakfast before disembarking. Typically, the best time to shop is early in the morning. Cruisers flock the shops towards the late morning and afternoon.
A Solo Female Traveller’s Paradise:
Combine the beaches, water sports, and endless sunshine with the relatively low levels of crime, and you have a perfect destination for solo female visitors. Just remember to stay vigilant, use common sense and to not let your guard down too much.