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 almost 350 years. This understated absence of conflict testifies to one of the island’s most precious and attractive characteristics-its unusual serenity.
The northern part of this twin-nation island is 53 square miles of French territory with a strikingly French way of life. The two parts of this popular resort island have some things in common – the weather is excellent, as are the beaches, hotels and restaurants.
Away from the busy towns, visitors will find a wide choice of breathtakingly beautiful beaches and bays, some of them popular and lively, others quiet and secluded. Some can only be reached by boat.
St Martin - French
Each side of the island has managed to retain much of the distinctiveness of its own national culture. The french tend to emphasize comfort and elegance. The beaches are secluded, the luxury resorts provide lavish accommodation and fine dining. The latest French fashions can be found in many of the shops, and the smell of fresh croissants and pastries mixes everywhere with the spicy aromas of West Indian cooking. Small cafes and charming bistros add a decidedly Gaelic and cosmopolitan flair to the place. On the whole the atmosphere remains very relaxed.
St Maarten - Dutch
St. Marteen with its busy cruise port and bustling commercial district, has long been an active centre for trade and tourism. More developed and at the same time more informal, it is very Dutch in flavour and still has strong ties with fellow compatriots in the other Netherlands Antilles. If you appreciate gourmet food, world class duty-free shopping, vibrant nightlife, pristine beaches, year-round warm climate and a cosmopolitan atmosphere with a Caribbean twist then the dual island nation of St. Maarten-St martin is for you!