St. Maarten/St. Martin
So you want to go to St. Maarten? Here are some fun facts before you go, but first lets learn a little about how St.Maarten-St. martin became an Island with two terrorties.
St. Maarten-St. Martin is a small island in the Caribbean. It is 37 miles long and has 37 fabulous beaches. The island is shared by two nations, French St. Martin on the north side and Sint Maarten to the south side. An island that is that is the most unique and interesting in the Caribbean. What sets this enticing island apart from the others in the Caribbean?
St Maarten-St. Martin dates back to 4,000 B.C. Somewhere around 800 A.D most Caribbean islands were settled by Arawak Indians who came from South America. Their peaceful life was spent fishing, hunting, and farming. However, in the 14th century much feared cannibalistic Caribbean warriors, the Caribs displaced the Arawak tribe. The island was renamed St Maarten/St. Martin/Sint Maarten as Soualiga which means “Salt Island,” due to the mineral deposits. The remains of the great Salt Pond in which it was names after is still visible in Philipsburg. The last American tribe to settle on the Island was the Tainos in the 1500’s. After the European colonists brought sickness and disease the tribe perished.
Christopher Columbus sighted the island on November 11th, 1493. The Spanish signed for the island but did not settle there immediately. In 1630 The Dutch and French established settlements on St. Maarten/St. Martin. This was a threat to the Spanish, and they launched attacks, driving out both the Dutch and French settlements. Together the Dutch and French fought together to repel the Spanish. In 1944 they achieved their goal and the Spanish abandoned their claims to Eastern Caribbean altogether. In 1648 the Dutch and French agreed to divide the island. Finally in 1817 the boundary was settled, during this timeline the island changed hands between the two 16 times.
Now, that a little about the history is over here is the fun stuff, the amazing aspects that make St. martin/Sint Maarten a place that should be on your bucket list.
There have been so many different cultural influences that St. Martin/St. Maarten has the best dining in the Caribbean. You can find tastes from Europe, North America, Latin and African influences alongside typical local cuisine. To find the best food on the French side head over to Marigot, the French capital, and the best food on the Dutch side can be found in the fishing village of Simpson Bay.
As I mentioned above, the magic number seems to be 37; 37 beaches along 37 miles! Each and everyone is unique and has offers a variety of different activities to enjoy. The famous beach on the island is Orient Bay Beach, with white sand, beach bars, restaurants, and equipment rental you can’t go wrong. But don’t forget the hidden gems, secrets tucked away in the quiet corners. Take the Cul-de-Sac hike by the northern edge of the island to find Petit Cayes. This wonderful secluded and virtually untouched bay surrounded by hills. Difficult to access by well worth the trip.
3. Pic Paradis
Hop in a car, and head up a steep road, or hike from the Loterie Farm up to the highest point, Pic Paradis. If you choose the hike it takes about an hour, and is absolutely gorgeous! Start at the old sugar plantation, check out the hidden ruins, old well and natural springs before heading out through a rainforest. Once ontop the views of the ocean and surrounding islands are stunning. If you are lucky you many see a vervet monkey.
4. An Island with a famous airport, Princess Juliana Airport
Here sunbathers can watch jets as they fly a few hundred feet above your head. Guests have also been known to hang on to the fence for dear life as a 747 takes off in front of them. Such a unique experience, you cant resist trying it!! I mean how often can you get that close to a plane roaring off?
5. Catamaran sail
Cruise on a catamaran on this 5 hour tour. Don’t worry about getting stranded as you find a comfy seat in the sun or shade and meet new friends. As you sail, watch the coastline fade into the distance to visit both the Dutch side and French sides of the island. You will visit beaches, snorkel, paddleboard, or try Tarzan swing. Who would want to miss such an amazing memory making sail?!
6. Jeep tour
How does navigating St. Maarten most popular beaches and top destinations in a 44 Jeep? Bring it on! You will stop at beaches, Mullet Bay, Marigot and even more. You follow a guide, mostly on road, but you will get a chance to enjoy some off-road as well.
7. Zipline at Rainforest Adventures
For our adventure and thrill seekers, try the steepest zipline in the world. Yup, that’s right, the St. Maarten zipline is the worlds steepest, it drops more than one thousandfeet in elevation along 2,800 feet of cable; imagine the views. That is not the only thrill seeding ride you will find at Rainforest Adventure
These are my top picks when visiting St. Maarten/St. Martin. No matter what you decide to do to make your stay your way it will be one memorable vacation that will make you want to go back.