Sint Maarten/Saint Martin – The Friendly Island
With an area of only 37 square miles, the island of St. Maarten/St. Martin is the smallest land mass in the world to be divided between two governments.
Its dual owners are the Dutch and the French, who have shared the tiny and paradisiacal island more or less peacefully for over 350 years. Therefore the two sides offer you the culture and lifestyle of both the Dutch and the French.
This understated absence of conflict testifies to one of the island's most precious and attractive characteristics - its unusual serenity. And this is probably the origin of its by-name "the Friendly Island"!
Of this 37 square miles, the French side is 21 square miles and the Dutch side 16 square miles. To the East lies the Atlantic Ocean, to the West the Caribbean Sea.
The island is mostly of volcanic origin. There are several mountains with the tallest being Pic Paradis (424 m/1400 ft) on the French side.
There are approximately 35,000 inhabitants on each side of the island, and 82 nationalities are represented. Located 18.5 North and 63.5 West, in the heart of the Caribbean, this small island dual nation has been a prestigious tourist haven for years. The capital of the Dutch side is Philipsburg and the capital of the French side is Marigot.
Both sides of the island have their own official language (French and Dutch) but English is spoken everywhere. Both sides have their own currency (EURO and Netherlands Antilles Guilder), but U.S. Dollars are accepted ON BOTH SIDES. It is very easy to exchange currencies in banks, hotels, and "Exchange Offices". The island is on Atlantic Time, one hour ahead of Eastern Standard Time in the US and 4 resp. 5 behind GMT resp. CET. The climate is tropical and constant all year long, the average temperature is around 80 degrees (F).
St. Maarten/St. Martin has 37 beaches that are secluded areas of beautiful white sand. All kinds of water sports are available including; windsurfing, swimming, sailing, jet skiing, diving and snorkeling. Half-day or full-day sailing excursions to undeveloped beaches nearby are also available.
St. Maarten's/ St. Martin's climate and natural beauty make it a perfect place for other sports and recreation. Golf, tennis, biking, hiking and horseback riding are other activities that allow you to explore the island's natural splendor.
St. Maarten/St. Martin has a variety of nightlife on both sides of the island. Casinos (on the Dutch side), nightclubs and bars are just some of the attractions available on the island. In addition, there are literally hundreds of fine restaurants to choose from.