A little piece of paradise where music, art, gourmet food, tax-free shopping, fabulous beaches, a vibrant nightlife, and all sorts of activities are geared towards making a visit to the island memorable and fun.
The total size of the island is 37 square miles. Just over half of the island is French and tends to be greener and more forested than the drier St Maarten side. The Simpson Bay Lagoon is the largest in the Caribbean and has two lifting bridges, one on each side, to allow maritime traffic to pass.
Spread out around the island are 37 white-sand beaches, from busy stretches lined with pumping bars to tranquil hidden bays and coves. Water sports from snorkeling and diving to Jet Skiing abound, along with land-based adventures like hiking and zip-lining.
Sint Maarten’s capital is Philipsburg, a bustling town full of excellent shopping and sights to see. There are all sorts of treasures to discover from the old Museum to alleyways shaded by beautiful trees, to the historic Pasanggrahan guesthouse that once hosted the Queen of the Netherlands. Another very interesting place is what used to be the old Jewish synagogue which has been transformed into the beautifully restored Guavaberry Emporium for a plethora of flavored rums and hot sauces. Across the road from that is That Yoda Guy Movie Exhibit where the creator of Yoda, Nick Maley, has movie memorabilia and movie exhibits, as well as his beautifully executed artwork.
Both sides of the island are duty-free, with amazing things to buy in the open-air market in Marigot and the stores along Front Street in Philipsburg. While upmarket retailers like Little Europe offer top quality brands of watches, jewelry, and lifestyle products, and fine jewelers like Caribbean Gems and Alpha Jewels provide precious gemstones, there is also a very broad array of economic stores, services and unique activities that might surprise you.
St Maarten / St Martin is known for its great cuisine with not only traditional dishes featured from all over the world, but also fusions of those long established recipes with a whole lot of Caribbean thrown in! The island’s dining scene offers something for everyone, from family-friendly establishments to beach-front bars and fine dining restaurants.
Calamity struck in September 2017 when monster-hurricane Irma unleashed eight hours of fury over St-Martin/St Maarten. The devastation was thorough and wide-spread with some 90% of all buildings damaged or destroyed. Although recovery is still ongoing, the island is well on its way back. A reliable indicator was the return of the cruise-ship industry with up to seven vessels docking at Philipsburg port at once.