September 06 2017, a day that many saint martiners recall quite vividly, and a day which they would certainly never forget.
The date marks the anniversary of the passing of hurricane Irma, the strongest ever recorded Atlantic hurricane which devastated the island of Saint Martin and its surroundings just a year ago.
Looking around now, there is much reconstruction activities taking place and the island is slowly but most assuredly taking back shape of its former glory.
There is still understandably much work to be done given the magnitude of the destruction caused by Irma. But locals and visitors alike appear to be hopeful for the future of the small island.
Hurricane Irma may have changed the landscape but only to a certain extent.
It leaves room for an optimistic traveller to discover the island again or even for the first time from a different perspective.
To fully appreciate the island and its people one must look beyond the usual Sea Sand and Sun, which although since Irma, still boast the same natural allure.
The local food – for which Saint-Martin is very well known for in the region – remains sublime, although many local restaurants remain closed for refurbishment, many other local and tourist favourites like the lolos are open and ready to serve up some of the islands best delicacies.
Another rebounding industry is the accommodation sector, which although is recovering at a slower but steady paste is nonetheless making great strides to welcome back as many visitors as early as possible. Hotels, guest houses and villas on both sides of the island promise to welcome visitors back to the island into new and improved, hurricane resilient accommodation.
With the reopening of more hotels scheduled for 2019, visitors are also encouraged to stay in alternative accommodation such as villas, guest houses and increasingly popular homestays.
Overall, Saint-Martin is in a transitional phase in which much is still quite honestly under construction. However, this should not detour visitors from discovering the friendly island for what it truly presents in essence, which is a warm and welcoming people, the same pristine Sandy beaches and an unmatched local gastronomy which still rivals the best in the region.
Don’t count Saint-Martin out just yet, because we believe that the best is yet to come for this unique and resilient destination.