islands holiday vacation
islands travel

bahamas and caribbean islands
hawaii, maui, oahu and the Hawaiian Islands
asia and far east
indian ocean
south pacific islands - Tahiti, Samoa, Fiji, Vanuatu

pacific canada
central america
islands - south america
Pacific Coast Islands - United States
gulf coast USA
atlantic coast USA
atlantic ocean north
atlantic ocean south
Mediterranean Islands
northern europe
best island hotels, resorts, lodging and accommodations
island activities, attractions, things to see and do
best island dining
best island real estate
island travel articles
related island links
return to the home page

Jane and Brent Cassie travel writer - photographer team offers stock and fine art photos as well as travel articles for sale

award winning website design, reliable hosting, successful marketing
all contents
copyright © ci-Interactive
website marketing,
design and programming by

 Islands Information

Place: St. Martin / St. Maarten

Exploring Both Sides: St. Martin / St. Maarten
By Caitlin Moore

Contrary to the trends of the day, which tend to lean towards partisanship, disagreement and divisiveness, there is a place that is the meeting of two distinct cultures - an island nonetheless - where people live in harmony. Two countries staked their claim on this scenic spot in the Caribbean, but instead of causing problems it has become something rich and complex. Depending on where you stand it is either St. Martin or St. Maarten, but either way you’re in for a vacation filled with sensory stimulation, relaxation and a newfound appreciation for the peaceful melding of two ways of life.

Partitioned between the French and the Dutch, St. M. epitomizes the idea of fun and openness. The border doesn’t stand out as something to be feared or even strictly recognized; rather, tourists cross back and forth throughout their visit probably without even knowing when and where they did so. It’s always intriguing to explore a foreign land, and a visit here is like seeing two countries in one.

The French side is reminiscent of the kind of classy coastal paradise that you’d find in the south of the mother country. Fine restaurants, sophisticated fashions and a laid-back yet luxurious atmosphere of joie de vivre characterize the beaches, resorts, streets and cafes. The Danish side is a bit busier and more businesslike. Tourism is the main focus here, and the bustle and noise of commerce and transportation kick up the energy level without causing undo discomfort. Wherever your wanderings take you, you’ll be fascinated by the sights and sounds of St. Martin and St. Maarten.

This is the Caribbean, after all, so the beach plays a primary role in setting the scene. There are almost 40 beaches to choose from and are distributed throughout the island. White sands, coral reefs, clothing optional (how very European) and rugged cliff-hugging stretches of coastline all add depth and dimension to the offerings. From secluded to a bit more crowded, there’s something here for every taste.

Lounging with a drink in hand is one way to see the shore, but getting a little adventurous must be attempted as well. Snorkeling, sailing, parasailing and jet skiing are a few activities that will infuse some excitement into your day. Divers will love the clear blue waters and ample hotspots around here, including a submerged English battleship in the Great Bay. Gear and instruction are readily available, so be sure that a thrilling yet safe time can be had by all.

Back on dry land there’s much to see and do as well. Hiking the miles of designated footpaths through the mountains and down by the shore will reveal the island’s beauty from a number of different angles. Horseback riding provides another vantage point, and to bump up the cardio factor another notch play a game of tennis or a round of golf. Staying fit and healthy won’t resemble the drudgery of working out at the gym back home; here, it’ll be a joy to work up a sweat and burn a few calories as you make your tour of this colorful island.

Exercising will also allow you to feel less guilt about indulging in a cocktail here or a delicious meal there. You’ll run across fresh croissants on the French side as well as places to have long lavish meals, or if you’re in the mood for efficiency grab a bite at a casual Caribbean food stand along the beach. Seafood and shellfish are of course readily on hand everywhere you look, too. All in all, St. Martin/St. Maarten is known for its splendid culinary offerings, so foodies take note.

Markets, the French Quarter, a butterfly farm and so much more almost complete the picture of a perfectly delightful getaway for you and your lucky traveling companion or companions. The only aspect of the trip yet to be mentioned is lodging. For a fabulous vacation, it is imperative to book fabulous accommodations, so consider reserving a St Martin/St. Maarten Vacation Rental that will complement the overall mood of the trip.

Vacation rentals are filled with specialized amenities, lots of space, tasteful décor and conveniences the likes of which your last few hotel experiences just haven’t measured up to. Go online to check out the different options – they range from cozy artist’s retreats to spacious villas fit for royalty – and then secure the one that calls your name. It won’t matter which side of the island you end up on, both will welcome you with open arms.

Visit for all your vacation rental needs.