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Heineken Regatta St Maarten 2016

This renowned sailing event draws racing fans literally from all over the world to the wonderful vibrant little island that is St Maartens. The competition has been growing in stature every year and in 2016 boasted 38 different participating countries. Its popularity has risen leaps and bounds over the years within the sailing community and this is mainly down to the strong northerly winds that make for very competitive racing. Racers are also spoiled with average temperatures of between 24 to 28 degrees, while tempting turquoise waters also offer an abundance of swimming and water sports, beautiful sandy beaches and accompanied with a vibrant night life scene, it really offers the whole package!

The races are run daily and will take participants around the island, showing off St Martin's wonderful beaches, rock formations and other scenery. The St Maarten Heineken Regatta is open to all types of competitors as there are many different classes. The level of racing in 'monohull' and 'multihull' boats would be regarded as a higher standard than other competition racing. If you are more of a laid back racer, there is a less competitive cruising class, where the emphasis is more on fun and frolics.

Last year 70 participating boats were chartered by individuals or companies and they raced in the bareboat division. The 2016 overall winner was Rik Wesslund’s El Ocaso, he took home first prize after a hard fought win in the overall competitive category. The racing went all the way to the final day and will live in all race goers memories – let’s just say it was a nail biter.

If you are not directly involved in the racing ... don’t worry! There is plenty to do for those who like the finer things in life such as duty-free shopping in Maho, fine dining in Grand Case, sun bathing on one of the 37 beaches on the island, or simply partaking in a range of water sports, some sightseeing, or a tempting bit of island hopping to St Barths, the choice is yours...

The Regatta also entices some of the best artists from around the world for the 4 days. Musicians as big as Wyclef Jean, Shaggy, Kool and the Gang, The Commodores and Red Foo Rock Crew have performed on stage over the past few years. So as you can imagine 2017 will promise to be bigger and better again, so stay tuned and when the line ups are released we will let you know.

With over 35 years of experience, the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta has established a standard that cannot be beaten, but which can only get better. Organisers are working all year round to ensure that the next 35 years will continue to bring St. Maarten, her beaches, culture, food and fun to the entire world through the sport of sailing. Sailor or non-sailor, the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta is most definitely an event that you need to add to your bucket list, and to be crossed off in 2017!

We invite you to enjoy all the island has to offer on both the French and Dutch sides and more information can be found here.

Exceptional Villas would also be delighted to help you book a vacation rental for the upcoming Heineken Regatta. Feel free to contact our St Maarten villa specialist Niamh or browse our website for more information on our luxury villas available for the Heineken Regatta in St Maarten.

Ensure you include the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta in your schedule for the next five years:

  • 2017: March 2nd – March 5th
  • 2018: March 1st – March 4th
  • 2019: February 28th – March 3rd
  • 2020: March 5th – March 8th
  • 2021: March 4th – March 7th

Image copyright Laurens Morel

Dec 22, 2015

Barbados Food & Wine and Rum Festival 2015

Known as the culinary capital of the Caribbean, Barbados plays host to the Annual Barbados Food, Wine and Rum Festival every November.

The Festival which takes place during the third week of November showcases Barbados’s unique and delicious local cuisine as well as wine and the famous mount gay rum. Visitors can enjoy a series of culinary events taking place throughout the island. The festival feature acclaimed international and local chefs as well as some wine experts and mixologists.

Every year at the Festival, you will be able to experience some of the top local and international visiting chefs. You will also have an opportunity of learning some of the secrets behind the amazing cuisine.

Festival Events Schedule

Typically The Festival kicks off on Thursday evening with the opening night at the Oistins Bay Garden Cook Off. Oistins is a lovely and active fishing town on the south coast. The food is simple and always delicious. They specialise in serving the freshest of fish such as tuna, swordfish, marlin, mahi-mahi and flying fish which are all cooked to order and in front of you. You will also see lobster and chicken on the menu all served in a wonderful laid back atmosphere

On Friday there is a Rum and Food Pairing. Traditionally on Saturday afternoon there is a friendly Polo match at Holders. It is a fun exhibition match where you will also be able to taste a variety of rums, cocktails and canapés.

Barbados Food and Rum Festival - A Plate Fulle of Lime and Prawn Deliciousness

It’s also a great opportunity to do some people watching as you will almost definitely see some famous faces as well as lots of fashionable guests wearing fabulous fashions, broad rimed hats and fedoras.

On Saturday evening the most glamorous of the events takes place with a Fine Dining Night where both international and local chefs prepare a gourmet feasts for all visitors.

The festival then finishes on Sunday evening with the Grand Finale event which takes place at the Needham’s Point Beach at the Hilton Hotel. It is a fabulous All Inclusive Beach Party. There are a variety of live performances and entertainments as well as food demonstrations and opportunities to do lots of food sampling. One of the highlights of the night is the Cook Off of lamb dishes using local black belly sheep and hosted by the Minister of Tourism.

Local Restaurants

Many of the restaurants in Barbados participate at the event and offer special menus, good deals and gourmet tastings. Some of our favourites are Tides, Champers, The Cliff, Cin Cin, Daphnes, The Fish Pot, Café Luna, Lone Star and Zen.

Seared tuna steak sliced and served on a bed of salad.  A delicious meal prepared at the Barbados Food Festival


Barbados is the birth place of rum and therefore no Barbados Gourmet Festival would be complete without it. As well as learning how to make the perfect rum punch, you will also have plenty of opportunity for tasting many different types of rum.

Rum was first created in Barbados over 350 years ago and it is recognised by many experts as both the best and the strongest rum in the world today.

Mount Gay Distillery

One of the most well known and popular rums produced on the island is Mount Gay. The Mount Gay distillery was first established in 1703 and they therefore have the benefit of over 300 years to perfect the recipe.

If you have the time, then a visit to the Mount Gay Visitor Experience is really worthwhile. Very knowledgeable and well informed guides will take you through the history of the distillery as well as the production process. And of course the best bit is left to last where you will get the opportunity to do some tastings!

Nicholas Abbey

St Nicholas Abbey is also very well worth visiting. Here you will have the rare opportunity of actually visiting a working sugar plantation. You will get to see the raw sugar cane and how it is grinded. You will also be able to observe the traditional distillation process. The barrelling is actually done in bourbon oak casks. And the best bit of all is to be actually able to spend time looking around the magnificent abbey itself. It comprises of a stunning great house and beautiful tropical gardens.

West Indies Rum Distillery

Lastly we recommend you visit the West Indies Rum Distillery. It is where some of the most famous brand names were originally created such as Cockspur and Malibu.

Click here for the full event schedule. if you are lucky enough to be on island this November here is our guide to our favourite restaurants in Barbados. More information on the Food, Wine and Rum Festival can be found here.

Oct 16, 2015