A very special island, half Dutch and half French. If you want to have an active holiday you´ll definitely find your favourite sport here.

Divers will be thrilled by the underwater landscape and sun seekers just love the beaches.

Added to these attractions are great shopping and fantastic night life.St.Maarten´s terrific location also allows youto easily take day trips to visit then eighbouring islands, by catamaran, sailing boat or dive-cruise.

A colourful mixture of different cultures, nestled in the beauty of a Caribbean paradise, that's St. Maarten or Saint Martin depending if you are on the island's Dutch or French side.

One of the most popular islands in the Eastern Caribbean, St. Maarten boasts lots of impressive beaches, an exciting night life, a great variety of restaurants and duty free shopping.

With its 80 square kilometers, St. Maarten is the smallest island in the world with two governments. Due to its favourable location between Anguilla and St. Barthelemy, as well as its proximity to St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Martin/St. Maarten is the perfect base for cruises and sailing trips.

Everybody who plans to island hop through the Leeward Islands cannot bypass St. Maarten. The island offers everything you are looking for when choosing a holiday full of variety: beautiful beaches, lots of sports and the fascination of two cultures.

For more than 300 years neither barriers nor taxes have obstructed free trading. English is spoken everywhere, as well as Dutch, French and Papiamento.

How the border between the French and the Dutch sides was established is a fascinating story. Legend has it that one day a Dutchman and a Frenchman were sent along the shore to mark the island's border.

They started by counting and marking their steps. The border would then be drawn from their starting point to their meeting point. The Dutch man decided to enjoy his walk by drinking a popular Dutch liquor, Jenever and the Frenchman got further. The Dutch paid for his walking under the influence by getting a smaller part of the island.

The cosmopolitan inhabitants of the island are famously hospitable, taking life easy and enjoying every day.

The Native Indians called the island Souliga - salt island. Columbus discovered the island on Saint Martin's Day in 1493, which gave the island its present name.

Enjoy life on the beach

Already when approaching the Queen Juliana Airport this unusually shaped Caribbean island is a real eyecatcher: a vast amount of water birds romp about the salt lake located on the tropical coast. At 425 meters Paradise Peak is the crown of the island's mountain range.

On the west coast shimmers the blue lagoon, Simpson Bay, one of the Caribbean's biggest inland bodies of water. Lots of spectacular beaches and bays invite you to relax. The beach of Cupecoy is so beautiful that it seems to be painted with white sand, crystal-clear water and deeply fissured rocks in the background. Mullet Bay has a golf course located at a wonderful beach. Simpson Bay Beach and Little Bay Beach are perfect spots for swimming, snorkelling and other water sports.

You also find beautiful beaches like Dawn Beach on the East Coast. People snorkelling from here can go with the current in the direction of Oyster Pond without ever losing sight of the small colourful fishes surrounding them.

On the French side Baie Rouge is one of the most beautiful beaches. The softly curved bay of Baie aux Prunes, with its golden sand, is also a visual feast.

You will find lots of action at Orient Beach: never ending white beaches, turquoise coloured water and nude bathing. Water sports shops rent out equipment and organize boat trips to Caye Vert a small island with rich flora and fauna

A Variety of Sports

With an average temperature of 28 degrees year round the beach is the natural place to find an endless variety of water sports.

A ride on a banana boat is a lot of fun, and a great way to cool off. Or what about jetskiing? Whoever has tried or wants to experience the thrill and challenge of high speed wave hopping will love our island.

St. Maarten also attracts scuba divers from around the world. Here on dive cruises explore some of the most beautiful dive areas in the Lesser Antilles.

But before trying the underwater world of the neighbouring islands begin with discovering the dive areas close by: a trip to the turquoise blue deep off St. Maarten's coast. Scuba diving at night, when the reefs shine in night time colours, is very popular.

You'll see sea-horses and stingrays, as well as sea turtles and swarms of exotic and colourful fish, which shine in full rainbow colours from silver-blue to neon yellow and warm orange. A truly special adventure is wreck diving, i. e. at Proselyte-Reef, south of Philipsburg, where the British frigate Proselyte sank in 1802. Those who prefer above water sports can make a good catch deep sea fishing. Orient Bay is the place to go if you like windsurfing.

Sailing enthusiasts will also find perfect wind conditions in St. Maarten; what could be more relaxing than sailing from one island to the other? There is a huge range of sailboats available for charter. If you do not have a sailing licence but still want to explore the neighbouring islands you can easily join a sailboat that takes passengers.

Inland St. Maarten also has its charms: Climb Paradise Peak for a breathtaking view over the whole island, and to see rare flowers on the way up.

Lovers of horseback riding will enjoy a ride on the beach. There are sports activities for everyone, with tennis courts at most large hotels and an 18-hole golf course at Mullet Bay.

Action Day and Night

Like to do some shopping? St. Maarten is a duty free paradise. Designer clothes can be bought in the tax-free shopping center of Philipsburg.

You will find everything you are looking for in boutiques and jewelry stores in Philipsburg, the small capital of the Dutch part located on a small strip between the big salt lake and Great Bay. The most famous street is Frontstreet.

However, do not forget to visit the French capital Marigot, with its attractive West Indian style buildings. Try breakfast with coffee and croissants on one of the many terraces on the seaside and explore the habour.

After a day full of excitement it is time to go on a culinary spree. Enjoy a taste of Creole cooking and its abundant seafood. St. Maarten offers nearly infinite gastronomic choice: Besides French and Italian Cuisine you will find Mexican, Cuban, Chinese, Vietnamese and Indonesian restaurants. The national drinks are wine on the French side and beer on the Dutch side.

Later in the evening the island bustles with pulsing nightlife. In the discos and nightclubs of Philipsburg you can throw yourself into the rhythms of Limbo and Calypso.

St. Maarten is also a gambler's paradise. Even during the day you can try your luck with Baccarat, Blackjack and Roulette. You just might get lucky and buy your own piece of paradise on St. Maarten ...

ABC Islands Aruba Bonaire Curacao
SSS Islands St. Maarten St. Eustatius Saba
Dutch Caribbean Islands - Trips, Tours and Lodgings

Dutch Islands in the Caribbean

St. Maarten, Dutch Caribben Islands, general info Contact us by E-mail Dutch Antilles, Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Saba, Statia, St. M aarten  Fax Number: 01268 541363
Dutch Antilles Islands in the Caribbean  Telephone from the United Kingdom: 01268 541732.
Dutch Caribbean Islands  Telephone from the United States or Canada: 011 44 1268 541732
Bonaire, Curacao, Aruba, Statia, St. Maarten, Saba, the Dutch Antilles  Telephone from the Europe, Central or South America: 00 44 1268 541732

hotels in the Dutch Caribbean Islands

Copyright © 2010 Global Travel All Rights Reserved.