Saint Martin or Sint Maarten whatever you call it, is the most popular vacation destination in the Caribbean and has a unique aura of its own. French on one side, and Dutch on the other – the peaceful co-existence of two different cultures for over 360 years is what makes the tropical beach paradise of St Martin so special among vacationers.
Exotic beaches, picturesque sceneries, pleasant weather combined with the sprawling ocean all around and the magical world of coral reefs underneath its turquoise water add to the charm of the place. These are also the reasons behind St Martin’s increasing popularity as a vacation destination. But which side to choose for your next vacation? It is the Dutch territory of Sint Maarten or the French Collectivity of Saint Martin?
Both the sides have distinct features and are unique in their own ways. Though the island is administered by two different nations tourists are allowed to roam freely between the two territories – there is no check posts along the borders.
Both the sides have scenic beauty, pristine beaches, luxurious Caribbean vacation rentals and most tempting duty free shopping in common. Then how can you differentiate your Saint Martin vacation from a vacation in Sint Maarten? Let’s take a look.
In northern French side (Saint Martin) French is the official language while you’ll find little bit of Spanish and Creole speaking people as well. You’ll find a mini Europe in the north of St Martin. The buildings, architecture, the people and the law all are influenced by European culture.
Marigot is the capital town of French side. The town is home to wonderful shopping arcades, boutiques and open air markets offering fashionable clothing and accessories. Remember that you need to bargain with vendors in beachfront open air markets. Perfume, souvenirs and spices are some of the specialties to buy from the French side.
Visit Orient Bay the famous marine reserve in St Martin where you can enjoy snorkeling and an array of water sports activities