The best things to do after dinner in Saint Martin are as diverse as the island’s daytime attractions. It’s easy to see why it’s one of the best-loved holiday islands in the Caribbean. Duty-free shopping, luxurious hotel resorts with pools by the water's edge, over 30 white-sand beaches, and a tropical interior of palm jungles and orchid-blooming mountains – there's loads to get through.

    But what about after sunset? What about when you're done with your African-Caribbean fusion food? When the clock's a-ticking a little late, Saint Martin boasts glitzy casinos and rollicking EDM clubs, sunset boat cruises and dance shindigs deep in the rainforests.

    1

    Sunset cruise

    Watch the day end with the sea swirling below

    A sunset cruise is an elegant and romantic way to end the day in Saint Martin. You'll hop on board a boat from the jetties of Pelican Marina at the western end of Simpson Bay, then skim out across the glittering Caribbean Sea as the sun dips low.

    But sunset cruises aren't just for loved-up couples. There are also evening excursions on catamarans that can host up to 8 people at any time. They usually offer a bit more of a party vibe, with added snacks and an open bar that sloshes with rum punches and mojitos. Most boats plot a course north to Long Bay, which is considered one of the top sunset-viewing spots on the island.

    2

    Boulevard de Grand Case

    A party strip on the French side of the island

    The Boulevard de Grand Case spans nearly 1 km of happening bars, eateries and beach clubs. It strings down the western side of the town of Grand Case, a chic resort that lies on the palm-threaded shorelines of Saint Martin's French half.

    There's plenty to get stuck into after dinner in these parts. The middle of the strip is a cluster of bohemian fashion outlets and vintage clothes stores that stay open late. There's a hipster tattoo parlour thrown in for good measure, too. It's the sea-view bars that take centre stage, ranging from ramshackle rum joints to chic lounges like Grand Case Beach Club. 

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    photo by Paul Sableman (CC BY 2.0) modified

    3

    Maho Beach

    Drink to the rumble of jumbo jets

    Maho Beach is one of Saint Martin's most popular daytime spots, drawing folk who want to watch the big jumbo jets rolling into the Princess Juliana International Airport that sits right behind. It's also a cracking place to gather after dinner, to watch the sunset and sample a little of the island nightlife.

    The southern end of the sand is where most of the action is at. There, Maho Beach runs into Simpson Bay, with a hubbub of party venues and sunset bars along the length. Sand Bar Sxm is a great place to start with a cocktail overlooking the coves. Then, move onto uber-cool Mykonos Sint Maarten, a Greek-inspired disco, or Tantra, one of the liveliest joints on the island.

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    4

    Harmony Nights

    One of the best street parties on the island

    Harmony Nights is a weekly fiesta that offers a real hit of rambunctious Caribbean culture. It takes place every Tuesday in the winter months in the town of Grand Case, on the north-western edge of the island’s French side.

    Don't expect to be the only one going. Grand Case fills to bursting when the party and parade are in town. Talking of the parade, that's the real highlight of the whole event. It usually swings through the beach-side boulevard sometime around 8 pm, bringing steel-drum bands and glitter-clad dancers straight out of Mardis Gras. There's also a local craft market and street-food stalls.

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    5

    Philipsburg Boardwalk

    Always bustling in the evenings

    The Philipsburg Boardwalk is the main artery of the town of Philipsburg, the capital of the Dutch side of the island. It arcs across the main beachfront there, linking both ends of the bay in a long run of shops, street vendors, entertainment spots and hotels.

    When the sun sinks low, the Philipsburg Boardwalk becomes something of a gathering spot. Folk come to take a dip in the calm waters of Great Bay and watch cruise ships sailing in and out of port from one of the beach-side bars. There's also loads of retail therapy in the mix, especially towards the western end of the boardwalk at the open-air precinct of Downtown Phillipsburg.

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    6

    Topper's Rhum Distillery

    A tipple to end the night

    Topper's Rhum Distillery is the place to go on Saint Martin to sample some of the most famous Caribbean beverages. It's neatly placed in a really accessible location on Welfare Road, just south of the airport and west of Philipsburg.

    Tours are available, with last entries around 5 pm most days. Don't let that put you off coming here after dinner, though. The on-site rum shop is brimming with creative tipples, from the trademark Topper's white rum to the more taste-bud-tingling white chocolate and raspberry rum. Everything on sale is handmade and bottled on the island itself.

    Location: 60 Welfare Rd, Cole Bay, Saint Martin

    Open: Daily from 11 am to 10 pm

    Phone: +1 721-520-0008

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    7

    Treehab Pool Party

    Go dancing in the jungle

    Treehab Pool Party is where Saint Martin channels a touch of Mykonos and the tiki vibes of Hawaii. This hidden shindig takes place in Loterie Farm, a nature preserve about a 10-minute drive south of Grand Case, on the French side.

    Tickets mean entry to a secret venue with a big swimming pool, along with multiple bamboo decks and cabanas. DJs spin EDM to another backing track of chirping hummingbirds. The whole thing starts early, around midday, but runs for at least 8 hours until the sun is well and truly gone.

    Location: Rue du Pic Paradis, St Martin 97150, Saint Martin

    Phone: +590 690 28 84 66

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    8

    The Hole in the Wall

    Get a-dancing with the locals

    The Hole in the Wall rumbles with the sounds of the Rolling Stones and The Beatles spinning on the decks, along with a whole host of homegrown artists in Saint Martin. One of the premier places to see live music on the island, it's in the middle of the nightlife hub of Rhine Road, just north of Maho Beach.

    Things start rocking in the early evening, from around 7 pm. That's when the doors open at the Hole in the Wall and the bands strike up. It's participatory stuff, with singing along encouraged and dancing all but compulsory. The bar has a wide range of whisky, imported brand beers, and – of course – rum.

    Location: 7 Rhine Rd, Maho Beach, Sint Maarten

    Open: Daily from 7 pm to 3 am

    Phone: +1 721-581-5926

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    9

    Casino Royale

    Try your luck at the Saint Martin tables

    Casino Royale is one of the largest gaming complexes on Saint Martin. You can hardly miss it – the place clocks up a whopping 1,950 square metres of slot machines, poker tables and more on the vibrant strip of Rhine Road.

    Duck inside and you'll be greeted by all the casino classics. There are blackjack tables next to spinning roulette wheels, a self-serve sportsbook zone, and even chic VIP areas with high-limit slots. The casino is actually a part of the Sonesta Resort, which also has 5 onsite restaurants and a spa, just in case you were after something a little more relaxing.

    Location: 1 Rhine Road Maho Village Maho Beach, Sint Maarten

    Open: Daily from 1 pm to 2 am

    Phone: +1 721-545-2590

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    photo by Richie Diesterheft (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

    10

    Lotus Nightclub

    The dancefloor awaits

    The Lotus Nightclub flings open its doors well after dinnertime 3 nights of the week to offer some of the hardest parties that Saint Martin can muster. It's wedged onto the south side of Simpson Bay Beach, just a 25-minute drive from Philipsburg.

    A classic mega-club with a huge central dance floor, its box office includes nights run by the hottest DJ names on the island. There are other events, too, including dress-up Saturdays for those who've brought the tux and 2-for-1 happy hours. Feeling plush? Check out the VIP section, where you can rub shoulders with celebs and have table service all night long.

    Location: 111 Welfare Rd, Simpson Bay, Sint Maarten

    Open: Wednesday and Friday–Saturday from 10 pm to 4 am

    Phone: +1 721-588-7977

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    Joseph Francis | Contributing Writer

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