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Saint Martin / Sint Maarten

Discovering the contrasts and harmonies of the beautiful, amazing French and Dutch shared island.

sunny

St Martin is a beautiful island and a major sailing hub between Europe and the other Caribbean islands, plus Latin America. There MANY boats docked at various parts of the island. It's a pretty industrious place, with a lot businesses involved in boat and aircraft maintanence, motor engineering, etc. St Martin is an enormously multicultural island, even by Caribbean standards.....
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Language

St Martin and St Maarten really are split by language lines (but not by much else).
As soon as you cross from one section to the other, the signs change from Dutch or English to French... that also goes for the spoken language too. Shop assistants/hotel workers,etc in St Martin almost exclusively speak French. In St Maarten I almost exclusively heard English, some Dutch and Spanish.

Incoming....

St Martin is a first world island with great infrastructure, friendly people, high employment rates and is a proven attractive option for immigration.
I had my haircut at a salon owned by a Dominican lady, who brought her friends and daughters with her to help expand the business. She loves it here!! There is a fantastic Colombian restaurant along the main street next to the airport and most of the shops next to the cruise ship port are owned by Trinidadians.

When I told a cab driver that I am Australian, he told me that they have played cricket in St Martin since it arrived in the West Indies. Who knew!!
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Travel

St Martin is easy to get to. Almost every island in the Caribbean has direct flights into the island. I flew direct from Kingston Jamaica.
The airport is on the Dutch side. Just like Curacao, Aruba, Bonaire and Suriname, St Maarteners have Dutch citizenship. There is a separate imigration line for member countries of the Dutch kingdom to breeze through. The airport is very nice and close to ... well everything.
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Accomodation

The hotels here are first rate. I stayed at a huge resort next the marina, with awesome gym, two pools, casino, several restaurants, etc for roughly AUD$50 per night!!

Food

Though Holland isn't famous for it's cuisine, the French are.... On the French side you will find incredible cafes, restaurants and patisseries. Universally on both sides, the coffee is excellent.

Scenic St Martin

This is without doubt one of the most beautiful islands of the lot. I hired a car and drove around the mountains and to the many districts. The island is very, very small - you can do a lap in 3 hours without stops.

There are amazing shopping areas along the beach close to where the cruise ships stop. The prices were competitive.
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Nightlife

Don't come here looking for a tropical feista. St Martin is a pretty quiet island. Aruba, Dominican Republic, even Curacao are better options for party goers.There are great nightclubs on both sides of the island though. This is a good list: here

Thanks St Martin / St Maarten

St Martin was a really nice stop. Five days was a perfect amount of time, and I learned a lot about the Caribbean in general here.

Posted by SkinnyFists 11:24 Archived in Saint Martin Tagged beaches shopping caribbean st_martin sint_martin san_maarten dutch_caribbean

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