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December 2011

This month: St. Maarten / St. Martin

St. Maarten/ St. Martin

You might be told that what sets St. Maarten/ St. Martin apart from other Caribbean islands is its quantity of white beaches (37 of them!) and warm, all year round sunny tropical climate; or perhaps its inexhaustible choice of duty-free shopping, gourmet restaurants, casinos and vibrant nightlife. In fact, what truly makes St. Maarten / St. Martin so special, is that it is home to eighty different nationalities, making it "the most cosmopolitan little island on earth". French, Dutch and Spanish are all spoken but English is the most common language and the US-Dollar the preferred currency.


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Things you can do

1 Philipsburg: The capital of Dutch St. Maarten, combines an historical legacy with 20th century excitement. Founded in 1763 by John Philips, a Scottish captain, the city is known for its lively duty-free shopping, offering everything from Italian leather goods and Japanese cameras to native crafts.
2 Simartin Museum: An excellent introduction to local history. Among the artifacts on display are pottery from the island's original inhabitants, the Arawaks and cargo salvaged from a British ship which sank off the coast in 1801. Open Monday to Friday 10 am to 4 pm; Saturday 10 am to 1 pm.
3 Fort Amsterdam and Fort Willem: The first Dutch military outpost in the Caribbean, built in 1631. Fort Willem, built a little later in 1801 by the British, was taken over by the Dutch in 1816. Both provide outstanding views over modern Philipsburg.
4 Marigot: This quaint Gallic town is the administrative center of French St. Martin. Both the French/ European and Caribbean cultures are represented here. Marigot's market boasts around a hundred craft stands. Here artists and vendors alike lay out their wares every day of the week except Sunday.
5 The Marigot Museum: Displays the island's best archeological finds, providing a unique insight into the island's pre-Columbian history. Open Monday to Friday from
9 am to 5 pm; Saturday 9 am to 1 pm.
6 Simpson Bay lagoon: One of the largest lagoons in the Caribbean. Its smaller cousin Oyster Pond, has a very picturesque harbor.
St. Martin
 
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SXM: Princess Juliana International Airport

SXM: Princess Juliana International Airport

St. Maarten's Princess Juliana International Airport (also known as Sint Maarten International Airport) is situated on the Dutch part of the island and serves as a hub for air carriers and cargo operations to surrounding islands such as St. Barths, St. Kitts, Nevis, Saba, St. Eustatius and Anguilla. It is named after Juliana of the Netherlands, who as crown princess landed there in 1944, the year after the airport opened. There is also an airport on the French side of the island, called Aéroport de Grand Case or L'Espérance Airport.

 
 
 

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