For 350 years, this small paradise island of the Caribbean has been divided into two states. The north of the island belongs to the French, while the south is owned by Dutch. Hence its dual names, Saint Martin and Sint Maarten. The island is cosmopolitan as it is composed of French, Dutch, Spaniards, Creoles and Latinos, which gives it its cultural richness. Do you plan to visit? Here’s a brief overview of major activities.
What to Do on the Island of St. Martin
Besides diving and various water sports, a few visits are not to be missed.
- See Lottery Farm, a former 18th Century sugar plantation, and now a wildlife reserve. Outdoor fitness trails are set up to admire the beauty of this forest.
- Explore Marigot, the capital of the French side: its market, restaurants, boutiques and waterfront.
- Stroll in Philipsburg, the capital of the Dutch side, with its many duty-free shops, bars, restaurants and the promenade overlooking the turquoise waters of Great Bay.
- Visit butterfly farm in St. Martin, Quartier d’Orleans, a very small but very interesting area containing more than 200 butterflies that swirl around you. The owners, William Slayter and John Coward, have also installed an aviary in the tropical garden. Everything has been arranged to ensure the backup (and reproduction) of butterflies. A great place to learn all about butterflies!
- Go on a trip to St. Barts and enjoy the sun on a catamaran. An hour later, you will approach the tip of the island. Indulge in Gustavia, the aperitif! Once you’re done, you can sit for lunch in a restaurant on the marina, among fishermen, boaters and tourists. When you return, enjoy the sunset melting into the sea
Five Reasons to Visit the Island of St. Martin
1. Friendly and safe, the island is easy to navigate, but it is advisable to rent a car.
2. The mixture of European and Caribbean cultures, with all the comforts of North America.
3. A cosmopolitan island! Two nations and over 80 other nationalities.
4. A great place for shopping, a wide choice of duty-free shops. Best Buys? Jewelry, perfumes, liquor, cigars and luxury goods.
5. For its excellent cuisine, it is recognized as a gourmet island in the Caribbean.
But ultimately, people come primarily for its beaches!
Interesting Fact about St. Martin:
- St. Martin has, since 15 July 2007, had the status of an “overseas community”. Before that, it was part of the department of Guadeloupe.
- The island has an area of 53.20 km2 and has about 35,260 inhabitants. Its administrative center is the town of Marigot.
- The official language is French, one finds both English and Creole spoken on the island.
- The official currency is the Euro, but U.S. dollars are widely accepted.