Two nations, two names. Two types of vacations, casinos, beaches and jungle. St. Martin/Sint Maarten is an exotic rum cocktail of French cuisine, Dutch tolerance and Caribbean relaxation set on a 37-square-mile island in a sparkling sea of aquamarine. This was out next stop.
The Island is divided into two areas – the northern side belonging to France and the southern part (more or less one-third of the territory) controlled by Holland as part of the Netherlands Antilles.
Cruise ships dock at the A. Wathey Pier with six docking spots for large ships. The piers are fairly close to the exiting gates where your ID will be checked when returning to the ship.
We got to see the Attessa IV super-yacht, estimated value $250 Million! You can get a tour of the inside of this mega-yacht here: https://youtu.be/3yO2BfnIJPo
For those of you who enjoy action on the water, St. Maarten/St. Martin truly qualifies as paradise. Her crystal clear waters are host to every type of water sport imaginable. Sailing, surfing, body-boarding, wake-boarding, jet-skiing, para-sailing, windsurfing, snorkeling, diving, kayaking, and now, the latest fad, ‘Kite-surfing’ or ‘Fly-surfing’.
For those who are inexperienced but have “always wanted to try it”, lessons are available for all activities. There is horseback riding, hiking, mountain biking and numerous gyms and sporting clubs.
On the calmer side, there are many local and historical museums, art galleries and beauty spots to visit, and excursions leave several times a day to many of St. Maarten/St. Martin’s neighboring islands. Whatever you decide to do on your visit to this island paradise, you will not be disappointed even though you may be a little tired!
Things to Do
Wander the cobblestone streets of Dutch Philipsburg. Take in the views over the small French town of Marigot, its harbor and the island of Anguilla from the hillside ruins of Louis Fort. The island’s pristine beaches invite barefoot strolls, snorkeling offshore reefs or sunning to a reggae beach-bar beat. At Orient Bay, the adventurous can take in some parasailing, Jet-Skiing or windsurfing. Inland, discover your inner Tarzan in the jungle canopy of Loterie Farm’s Fly Zone with rope bridges and tree-to-tree zip-line flights.
Browse duty-free shops in Philipsburg for cameras, watches and Sint Maarten Guavaberry rum. On Front Street is a mind-boggling display of high-end shops from Tiffany to Tommy Hilfiger. Day-trippers head to Marigot from the Dutch side to browse the French Riviera–inspired boutiques with their striped awnings and wrought-iron balconies. Harborside, a lively morning market buzzes with vendors selling spices, fruit and handicrafts. Wander the curved staircases in Le West Indies Mall to browse big-name boutiques, from Escada to Lacoste. And, of course, almost everyone wants to visit Maho Beach where the incoming airplanes practically land on your head because the runway starts at the beach.