Martin is one island in the Caribbean with two different countries, and the spelling of their names is a little confusing. However, these two islands are only 37 square miles with over 300 restaurants, 36 beaches, and four main languages: English, French, Dutch, and Papiamento.
Let me explain to you the differences:
Sint Maarten – Philipsburg (Dutch) & Saint Martin – Marigot (French)
Sint Maarten is the smallest island in the world currently divided between the Dutch and the French (St. Martin). That Dutch/French combination makes an interesting mixture.
We knew that we wanted to see both sides when we visited this island. The simplest way to do this was to book an excursion to explore both countries. After seeing the mesmerizing panoramic views of Philipsburg, we crossed over to Marigot, the capital of French St. Martin. Marigot has a beautiful rainbow of colorful houses and a selection of secluded, fancy beaches. The locals boasted that the Marigot weather is best because it stays sunny and comfortably hot all year. I guess it’s true what they say–the beach grass is always greenest on the other side.
I couldn’t stay overnight—the island was simply one stop on my cruise—but the friendly locals told me that I should come for a whole week. It takes a week, they say, to then I will truly capture the essence of the charming islands.
Both islands are easy and cheaper to reach from North America, and there are many direct flights. However, prices generally tend to be in the mid-range for the Caribbean, so it’s not ideal for budget travelers unless you find a good package deal in advance.
While you’re there, don’t forget to try a savory meal: Conch and dumplings soup and Codfish Fritters.
When are you planning to go?
By Cinthia Kettering