The island of St. Maarten ( lures travelers with dozens of activities both on land and at sea with more than 365 restaurants, 37 beaches and cultural offerings from museums to nightlife.  This year, adding even more excitement, the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau has announced the opening of the Man of War Shoal Marine Park, the island’s first national park, along with the grand openings of the Hard Rock Café, Brother Jimmy’s BBQ, Sky Beach and the Indigo Bay Estates.  Additionally, new activities being offered include, ‘Arts in the Plaza’ festivals and Blush.

“Our on-going developments make our repeat guests, and new visitors alike, continuously interested in what St. Maarten has to offer,” said Regina LaBega, Director of Tourism for St Maarten.

As the “Culinary Capital of the Caribbean,” St. Maarten is pleased to add new restaurants to its portfolio.  The Hard Rock Café just opened along the boardwalk in Philipsburg.  The prime beach location and amazing ocean view mixes Hard Rock’s authentic rock ‘n’ roll experience, mouthwatering food, and world-class service to make Hard Rock Cafe St. Maarten a one-of-a-kind island setting.

Brother Jimmy’s BBQ, offering Carolina-style barbeque, is the new sister restaurant of the popular Bamboo Bernies and Tantra (both on St. Maarten).  Located in the Maho area, the eatery promises to quickly become be an island favorite. Additionally, Sky Beach, a Latin inspired grill featuring a 62 ft. rooftop beach in the Maho area, is sure to please the palate of vacationers.

“Being considered the ‘Culinary Capital of the Caribbean’ is an honor for St Maarten and is one of the reasons why visitors are attracted to the island.  We will continue to work with and pursue restaurateurs so that we can expand our gastronomic offerings,” said Franklin Meyers, Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs and Telecommunication.

St. Maarten offers visitors and locals an exciting way to experience the talents of local artists with the Arts in the Plaza Festival in Porto Cupecoy Plaza.  This monthly, free event combines visual, performing and musical arts from St. Maarten/St Martin’s avant-garde arts scene and showcases new performances and exhibits featuring Caribbean, Dutch, French and Indian influences.

St. Maarten just announced the opening of its first national park called Man of War Shoal Marine Park which is a major step towards improving marine environmental protection.  The area is known as “the Proselyte Reef Complex,” which is home to many of the island’s marine life including whales and dolphins along with sharks, sea turtles and fish.

Ladies get pampered at Blush, a boutique beauty bar where women can go to feel pretty.  Blush offers women products including cosmetics from Lorac, Toofaced and Bliss as well as perfumes, accessories and swimwear by Agua Bendita.  At Blush, ladies can also have their eyebrows perfected and defined at the Eyebrow Bar.