Welcome to the unique island of St. Maarten / St. Martin – two nations, one island, shared by the Dutch and the French and offering a unique blend of many cultures. St. Maarten / St. Martin is a tropical destination fringed by pristine beaches, dotted with scenic rolling hills and boasting an average tropical temperature ranging from 75°F to 85°F year round.
The official currencies are the Euro on the French side and the Florin on the Dutch with the dollar universally accepted on the island.
English is widely spoken on both sides of St. Maarten / St. Martin. The Dutch side capital of Philipsburg has rapidly gained a reputation of being the shopping capital of the Eastern Caribbean with its famed “golden mile” of Front Street and the French side capital of Marigot is essentially French and cosmopolitan.
Located in the leeward islands of the Eastern Caribbean, St. Maarten/ St. Martin is a short 4 hours hop away from New York and just 2 hours from Miami, Dutch side Sint Maarten is the busy hub for all the surrounding islands – including chic St Barths, exclusive Anguilla and the Emerald Isle of Saba – providing numerous daily flights from and to the United States.
The island is divided roughly in half between France and the Netherlands, making it the smallest inhabited sea island divided between two nations. This multinational ownership results in the island being referred to by different names: Sint Maarten/St Maarten (Dutch) and Saint-Martin/St Martin (French).
Interesting Facts About St. Maarten/St. Martin:
- St. Maarten is only 37 square miles. It’s located in the Caribbean — east of the Virgin Islands and just south of Anguilla.
- The average temperature is 85ºF / 29.4ºC.
- Duty free shopping.
- Modern international airport provides easy access, with daily flights from U.S. and Europe.
- The warm climate makes it ideal for golf, tennis, hiking, biking and horseback riding.
- Water sports are a favorite, such as: wind surfing, sailing, diving, snorkeling and jet skiing.
- There are 37 different secluded white sand beaches.
- There are more than 400 restaurants.
- There are numerous bars, nightclubs and casinos (Dutch side only) to choose from.
- There are many modern harbors and marina facilities.
- There are nearly 200 nationalities that live peacefully together on the island.
- The southern part of the island, the “Dutch side” is officially known as “Sint Maarten” and is 41 kmÇ/16 square miles. The northern part of the island is the French side and is known as Saint Martin. It’s 54 kmÇ/21 square miles. These two sides have peacefully co-existed for 350 years.
- It’s the smallest island in the world divided between two different nations.
- On Oct. 10, 2010, the Dutch side became an independent country within the Dutch Kingdom, but its relations with the “French side” remained unchanged. The French side has always been part of France.
- Although two different countries control this island, there is no real “border crossing.” Instead, only monuments and signs delineate the border. More than 350 years ago the two countries decided that residents of either country should be able to easily travel from one side of the border to the other.
- The official language on the southern portion of the island is Dutch, but almost everyone speaks English. Spanish is widely spoken as well.
- The native language on the French side is, you guessed it, French. This side of the island has the same guiding laws as France.
- The French side consists of the Northern two-thirds of the island. It’s governed by the neighboring island of Guadeloupe, and is more European than the Dutch.