St. Maarten / St. Martin is a tropical island in the north eastern Caribbean, approximately 186 miles east of Puerto Rico. This 37 square mile paradise is the smallest piece of land in the world to be shared by two nations. Known as “The Friendly Island, this dual nation island also boasts the longest peace treaty in history between two nations living side by side with an open border…….well over 300 years!
You can drive from one country into the other without even realizing it, just a small sign or monument on the side of the road indicates when you have crossed the border.
The Northern half is French and the Southern half is Dutch. As the saying goes:
“A little European, A lot of Caribbean”
St. Maarten is known as one of the premier vacation / second home destinations in the world, mainly because of its diversity of attractions and people.
The total population is estimated around 100,000, of which there are approximately 90 different nationalities living harmoniously on this tiny paradise. It is estimated that only 25% of the population is actually born on the island, the majority have moved here from all over the world!
St.Maarten is one of the most accessible destinations in the Caribbean, with daily flights from several US cities, as well as Europe.
Recent upgrades to the airport, cruise terminal, and mega yacht fascilities, have added tremendous value to the rest of the island. This has been complimented by the addition of several new hotels, and other real estate developments such as condo and villa communities.
St. Maarten is one of the busiest cruise destinations in the world, with almost 1.5 million passangers a year. Tax Free and Duty Free, shopping is a favorite past time on this island. Of course the island is also famous for its 37 BEACHES!
We can’t forget the food………St. Maarten is known as the gourmet capital of the Caribbean, with almost 400 restaurants and just 37 square miles, you are always close to a good meal!
The official languages are French and Dutch, however English is commonly spoken on both sides of the island. You can spend US dollars on either side of the island, but the official currency on the French side is the Euro, and on the Dutch side it is the Antillian Guilder (which is tied to the US dollar at an exchange rate that varies between 1.78 1.82).