French Saint Martin in the north and Dutch Sint Maarten in the south divide the Island into two unique cultural entities that live harmoniously side-by-side. The Dutch side has recently enjoyed a property boom, while the French side boasts more of the island's natural wonders.
When taking Caribbean cruises, Philipsburg, the capital of the Dutch side is where most ships dock.
Sights to See
The Island offers 37 picturesque beaches around its coastline. An appeal for some holiday makers is the clothing optional beaches including the Club Orient beach on the French side. If that's your thing, enjoy. Otherwise maybe check with the cruise staff, to avoid unexpected natural attractions. Try your luck on the Dutch side in one of casinos popular in the south. The Butterfly Farm in Quartier D'Orléans is a therapeutic way to spend an afternoon away from water activities.
What's for Lunch
Sample some of the spicy West Indian Créole offerings. Locally produced rum provides the perfect introduction to any meal.
If you see only one thing...
It's worth the journey up the steep road to Pic du Paradis for the stunning views over the island.
Dutch and French are spoken on their respective sides. English is also the official language of the Dutch side and many in the French north speak English also.
Vendors sell their wares along the waterfront in Marigot, the French side's capital, but don't forget to haggle – it's all part of the fun.