Introduction To St. Maarten
Divided between the French and the Dutch and while each section retains its uniqueness, there is a marvellous harmony between the two. The French side offer great shopping, excellent cuisine and secluded beaches – a Gaelic experience.
The Dutch side is more informal and is a busy cruise port and is bustling with activity. A perfect marriage of cultures, the visitor will find much to see and do. Explore the island, visit the sites of interest, enjoy relaxing on the beaches or participate in activity such as sailing, diving and deep-sea fishing. Best of two worlds!!!
History of St. Maarten
First occupied by the Arawaks and Caribs, Columbus claimed the island for Spain in 1493, although he never landed there himself. Although the Spanish owned the island, they took little interest and it used by the Dutch as an outpost, while a group of French settlers set up a colony also.
The Spanish, then realising the importance of the island expelled the Dutch in the early 17th century. However, the Dutch and French persisted in their efforts to retain control in the island, finally the Spanish gave up and in 1648 a treaty was signed dividing the island between France which gained 21 sq. miles, and the Netherlands which got the remaining 16 sq. miles. However, because of many disputes, the present-day borders were not established until 1817.
African slaves were brought over, and a plantation-based economy prevailed until slavery was abolished. Today the island has a thriving tourist industry, and the Dutch and French sides exist peacefully together.
St. Maarten’s Natural Attractions
Beautiful beaches abound and are the main attraction. Both the Dutch and French sides have a variety of gorgeous beaches. On the French East Coast there is the Butterfly farm. Also interesting is the Pic Du Paradis in the French Mountains, a blend of farmland and forest which make it perfect for hiking.
Beautiful reefs underwater such as the Green Key Barrier Reef which offers beautiful views (this is on the French side of the island). One of the most famous scuba diving spots is Proselyte Reef where the coral built up on a sunken 200-year-old frigate makes it most attractive for the underwater enthusiast
Activities Available On The Island
Beaches and beach related activities are the most popular activities. There is diving, fishing, glass bottom boat trips, parasailing, snorkelling, to mention just a few of the great activities offered. Birdwatching, hiking, spa and wellness as well as variety of art gallery and museum tours offer the visitor further choices to explore.
Things To Do On St. Maarten
St.Maarten is known for its excellent cuisine particularly on the French side. Seafood is particularly popular.
Cars, scooters and boats are available for rent. Cruises and charters available on ships Island tours can be arranged. Horseback riding is a popular way to see the island.
Beautiful beaches, fabulous underwater reefs such as Green Key Barrier reef, a butterfly farm, The Pic du Paradise -a blend of farmland and forest- these are but a few of the natural attractions of St.Maarteen.
Families will enjoy St. Maarten. The beaches and various ecotourism activities such as visiting to the Butterfly Farm will appeal to all ages.
Health and Wellness:
Health spas are popular such as the Good Life Spa. They offer amenities and treatments to pamper the mind and body.
Scuba diving is very popular because of the attractive underwater reefs. Take a side trip to a neighbouring island and play a game of golf. Duty free shopping makes St. Maarteen a shopper’s paradise. Casino gambling is legal on the Dutch side. Enjoy the many water sports activities.
A unique island divided between the French and the Dutch, with each section retaining its unique culture!
St Maarten comes alive after dark and there are several nightclubs, bars and casinos where there is great party atmosphere.
Discover more islands of the Caribbean here: –
Trinidad and Tobago
St. Thomas Island
St. Lucia Island
St. Kitts Island
St. Croix Island