St. Maarten The friendly Island
St. Maarten - St. Martin
St. Maarten - St. Martin, although not even seven miles long in each direction, has been known since sailors have been crossing the seven seas as one of the Caribbean's most fascinating islands.
Discovered by Columbus in 1493, the island has changed hands many times over the centuries. Today the island is a dual nation, French and Dutch. Each side is remarkably different from the other, blessed it its own way.
The capital on the Dutch side
Philipsburg's main street, Front Street, longs the Great Bay Beach. The town is abundant with duty-free shops, a wide assortment of cuisines found in the many restaurants, a number of hotels, a local marketplace, and St. Maarten landmarks such as the Courthouse and the Cyrus Wathey Pier.
The capital on the French side
Marigot is yet another duty-free Mecca with top European Fashion Designs, a Market Place, cafés and restaurants, the West Indies Shopping Mall, the Arawak Museum, and Fort St. Louis, the historic fortress that presides over the capital.
Famous for its 40 or so beaches the island offers an extensive range of water sports activities, exciting nightlife, shopping and fine dining.
For the avid Scuba diver, an excursion to islands such as St. Barthélemy, Saba, and Anguilla is a must. Recommendations for land lovers include a visit to the gourmet capital of the island--Grand Case, a luck of the draw at one of the Casinos, a night out at one of the many nightclubs or bars with live music, or a visit to one of the local fine arts gallery for a sampling of Caribbean Art.
There are many ways to travel our 37 square mile island. Cars, scooters, motorbikes and bicycles available for rent island wide. For travel from the island, St. Maarten (Dutch) has an International Airport and St. Martin (French) has a local airfield with mostly inter-island connections..
Each side has a fine hospital and medical assistance can be administered by doctors island wide.
The US dollar is accepted on both sides of the island. The Dutch side currency is the Antillean Guilder and the French side's is the Euro. Major credit cards are accepted almost everywhere and several International Banks are established on the Island.
Thanks to the free-port and duty-free status, food provisioning is less expensive here than on many other Caribbean Islands.
St. Maarten - St. Martin has become a major yachting and marine center of the Caribbean. Many marinas, yacht charter companies, chandleries, shipyards, sail makers and more have well equipped businesses open year round.
Major island events include:
The Heineken Regatta
The most famous of many regattas organized on the Island throughout the year and recognized as one of the major Caribbean events.
St. Maarten Carnival
A 16-day cultural event with grand parades and its own Carnival village.
Wind and Wave Surf contests
are often held at Le Galion close to Orient Beach on the French side.