Welcome to a little bit of Paradise! This beautiful friendly island is a piece of paradise on earth. Whether spending your honeymoon, an anniversary, or just a fun filled vacation, you will create memories to last a lifetime! The island can be exotic, intoxicating and/or fascinating, depending on your desires.
St. Maarten, formerly part of the Netherlands Antilles, is now an independent Nation. St. Martin, part of the French West Indies, is more or less a district of France. Together, they share one island located in the Eastern Caribbean Sea, part of the Leeward Island Chain, which is encircled by thirty-seven cottony white sandy beaches caressed by emerald blue/green waters under pastel skies. On several beaches, rock formations jut into the sea creating scenic beauty tempting adventurous explorers. Standing in crystal clear water up to your chin, you can still see seashells on the sandy bottom and small tropical fish swimming. Warm breezes, daily sunshine, palm trees, a tropical climate, incredible beaches, challenging water sports, exciting casinos, wonderful resorts, fabulous restaurants, and a relaxing lifestyle will tame the workaholic in you.
Sint Maarten (Dutch) and Saint Martin (French) have been split and governed by the Netherlands and France in a friendly (live and let live) arrangement since 1648. Of the thirty-seven square miles of the island, the Dutch side extends over a 16 square mile area of the southern part of the island with an approximate population of 41,000 and the French side covers a 21 square mile area of the northern part with an approximate population of 36,000.
According to popular legend, the final dividing of the island between the Dutch and the French was settled with a questionable race. A Dutchman and a Frenchman standing back-to-back in the Oyster Pond area began walking the island. The Frenchman walked north along the coast; and, the Dutchman walked south. Legend has it, the Dutchman carried a flask of Old Dutch Gin, and the Frenchman carried a flask of wine. The Frenchman captured more ground by drinking his wine while he walked; while, the Dutchman apparently stopped for several gin-breaks along the way. Where the two met became the border. The island also includes the largest lagoon in the Caribbean, one mile by two miles, which is home to spectacular yachts that sail the seven seas. But, the island wasn't always known as "The Friendly Island."
The original inhabitants of the island were the Arawak and Carib Indians. The Arawaks were peaceful, but the Caribs were warriors who gobbled up Caribbean islands and also their enemies. They were cannibals! You can see the island's history in the Philipsburg and Marigot museums. On November 11, 1493, the feast day of St. Martin of Tours, Columbus (and the world) discovered the island naming it after the Saint. Since Columbus' confirmation of the roundness of the world, the Armies and Navies of Spain, the Netherlands, France, Portugal, and England have all fought over this little piece of real estate. Once, the attraction was the island's valuable salt ponds; later, sugar plantations produced the product people craved. Eventually, slave trading became the popular business of the day and over the centuries, the island developed into a mixture of cultures and people. Today, this mixture of cultures provides the island with a unique appeal unequaled anywhere in the world.