"St. Maarten of the Dutch Antilles Islands" Top 5 Page for this destination Sint Maarten by starship
Sint Maarten Travel Guide: 316 reviews and 870 photos
Living peacefully side-by-side on the same island are the separate countries of Sint Maarten, which is Dutch, and Saint Martin, which is French.
I've been to St.Maartin twice, both times as a cruise port and made the conscious choice to stay in Philipsburg rather than take any excursions.
The island of Sint Maarten/St. Martin was originally settled by the Arawak Indians who migrated north from the Orinoco River basin of South America. The Arawaks gave the island the name of "Sualouiga" or "Land of Salt" because of the salt-pans and brackish water which are found in abundance here. Later the Caribs, a more agressive Indian tribe from North America supplanted the Arawaks.
Though never having set foot upon the island, Christopher Columbus claimed the land for Spain on November 11, 1493, on the feast of St. Martin thus came the name currently used. Though not an object of the Spanish Crown's attention for many years, when the Dutch occupied the island and began mining salt and built Fort Amsterdam, Spain's possessiveness was aroused and the Dutch were expelled in 1633 and removed to Curacao. After the 80 Years War between Spain and the Netherlands, Spain once again abandoned the island and was soon claimed by both the Dutch and French. In 1648 a treaty divided the island between the Dutch and French and there after a mostly peaceful coexistance flourished. The Dutch St. Maarten became an important trading center for cotton, salt and tobacco followed by many lean years. It became a duty-free port in 1939, followed by the opening of Queen Juliana Airport in 1943.
The island of St. Maarten is a popular port of call for cruise ships in the Eastern Caribbean. Several ships may be in port on any given day making Front Street and close cross streets more of a pedestrian street mall than a place for cars. St. Maarten's economy is based largely on tourism and international trading.
Many nice resorts are located away from the Philipsburg downtown tourist area, but there is a decent beach literally within steps of downtown! Day trips or excursion tours of the French St. Martin are also a popular pastime for tourists of all kinds.
- Pros:Sun, Surf, Shopping
- Cons:Wish there was more to see and do in Philipsburg!
- In a nutshell:Only good for a short visit if you're not staying at a resort.
Outdoor street markets on Back Street. Local crafts, souvenirs, summerwear, beachwear. As with most shops here,... more travel advice
St. Maarten has several nice beach resorts. If you are a cruise passenger with a limited amount of time here, why not... more travel advice
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- "I Still Have Sand in My Shoes"
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