St. Martin is the Caribbean’s culinary, shopping and yachting capital. The Island’s success is in large part due to its unique structure: at only 37 square miles, the Island of Sint Maarten/Saint Martin is the smallest landmass in the world to be shared by two different nations. The French and Dutch share the Island thanks to the 350-year-old Concordia Agreement that allows residents of either side of the Island to be commercially active on the other side, without any red tape or border complications.
The French territory covers about two-thirds of the Island and is technically a part of Europe and the European community. The Dutch side is a member islands formerly part of the Netherlands Antilles, but is now a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and not considered a European territory. There is no tangible border wall on the Island, simply monuments and signs indicating where the “border” is technically located.
This contract of peaceful coexistence is the oldest active, undisputed treaty on the planet. It’s true that the island sparkles with its myriad of outdoor activities—diving, snorkeling, sailing, swimming, and sunning—but shoppers are drawn to the sparkle in the jewelry stores.
The huge array of jewelry stores and boutiques is almost unrivaled in the Caribbean. In addition, duty-free shops can offer substantial savings—about 15% to 30% below U.S. and Canadian prices—on cameras, watches, liquor, cigars, and designer clothing. The unrivaled shopping within St. Martin is one of the many reasons that many cruise ships make Philipsburg or Marigot a port of call.
Today, St. Martin is known to be the ultimate cosmopolitan melting pot, home to residents from over 90 different nations. St. Martin is the biggest small island in the world. The variety of activities and cultural diversity, alongside the topography, beaches and crystal clear Caribbean Sea make the Island a remarkable destination for one-time or frequent travelers, and the 77,000 residents.
The Island has a vibrant entertainment scene with 12 casinos on the Dutch side alone, some of the Caribbean’s top restaurants, bars, and nightclubs. Further, with the second busiest airport in the Caribbean and duty-free shopping, the Island is a commercial hub for many business travelers and tourists who stop over en route to other islands.
Terres Basses Neighborhood – Adjacent to Site
Terres Basses is a residential community located on the western end of the island past Simpson Bay Lagoon. This lowland area is home to three gorgeous beaches, which are Plum Bay, Baie Rouge, and Baie Longue, along with various villas that entice visitors into the Caribbean lifestyle.
Sandy Ground – 3km From Site
A coastal community on the French side of the island of Saint Martin in the Caribbean. It lies on the west coast of the island, on the road towards the Lowlands and the Princess Juliana International Airport. The Sandy Ground community has an unpretentious appeal likely attributed to its blue-collar soul. But between car shops, small mom-and-pop supermarkets, churches, schools and Cultural Center (with the only French Movie Theater) you find here also a few of the best Restaurants the island has to offer.
Marigot – 5.9km From Site
Marigot, the capital of the French side, has a southern European flavor, especially at its beautiful harbor with shopping stalls, outdoor cafés, and fresh food vendors. This town is quieter than Philipsburg, but still offers various tourist activities. Marina Royale, a shopping complex at the port, the West Indies Mall, as well as rue de la République and rue de la Liberté, are filled with duty-free shops, boutiques, and bistros. Ferry excursions to Anguilla or St. Barths are available from the town’s harbor. Overlooking the town is Le Fort Louis, from which panoramic views of Marigot and the surrounding area can be observed. Every Wednesday and Saturday, at the foot of Le Fort Louis, there’s an open-air food market where fresh fish, produce, fruits, and spices are sold.
Casinos – 6.9km From Site
Sint Maarten has 13 casinos to choose from, but many agree the Casino Royale (across the street from the Sonesta Maho Beach Resort) is the best of the bunch. It has more than 400 slot machines and 20 gaming tables featuring roulette, craps, baccarat, blackjack and poker. Casino Royale also hosts nightly 10 p.m. shows in its 800-seet Showroom Royale Theater.
Front Street – 14.5km From Site
The island is known as a shoppers paradise, but the best bargains on jewelry, china, electronics and more are found on Front Street in Philipsburg. The Guavaberry Emporium – and its primopotent liqueur – and the glittering slot machines of Rouge et Noir and the Coliseum Casino are two highlights of Front Street.
Nettle Bay – In Front of Site
Nettle Bay, is a long, flat, usually calm and quiet beach. Nettle Bay village including a strip mall and a few businesses, such as bakery, grocery store, car rentals etc. is located between the Simpson Bay lagoon and the Caribbean Sea, and half way between the prestigious Terres Basses community and the town of Marigot.
Baie Rouge – 2.7km From Site
Baie Rouge is one of the most fabulous, intimate and quiet beaches. A perfect place to spend a lazy afternoon on this beautiful beach of French St. Martin, which is serviced by a beach bar & restaurant. Baie Rouge is a beach with usually very calm waters as it is not exposed to the open Atlantic. Surrounded by a beautiful setting, with a small creek, bordered by the cliffs of “Falaise des Oiseaux” (Bird Cliffs) on the West, and the Devil’s Hole on the East side, this charming beach gives also a nice view of the neighboring island Anguilla.
Cupecoy Beach – 4.7km From Site
Located on the Island’s southwest tip, Cupecoy consists of three beaches surrounded by limestone cliffs. The sunsets visible from the beaches are considered some of the best in the Caribbean, with dramatic views of Saba in the distance. The variety of bars and local vendors along the shore make this a perfect destination for people to spend the day
Maho Beach – 6.2km From Site
One of the most famous destinations in the Caribbean, Maho Bay beckons to amateur photographers, aviation fanatics and curious thrill seekers. The southwestern beach’s fame is due to its close proximity to the Princess Juliana International Airport. Every afternoon, travelers love to stand on the sands to take pictures of the approaching planes and feel their jet blasts.
Orient Bay – 15km From Site
This party-loving, clothing-be-damned beach on the Island’s eastern coast is the place to see and be seen. There’s a constant hum of activity on Orient, from the parasailing and windsurfing, to the eating and drinking, to the live music and people gazing