Saint Martin – So nice, they named it thrice
The Caribbean is home to no shortage of beach paradises, each offering smooth beaches and crystal-clear waters. There are thousands of islands to be found here, each offering something slightly different. Saint Martin, just south of Anguilla, is very different however, in that it is recognised by three official titles.
Whilst the island itself is known as Saint Martin, it is shared by France and the Netherlands, whom claim the north and south of the island respectively. Both France and the Netherlands have named their halves of the island differently – with the French north referred to as Saint-Martin and the Dutch south known as Sint Maarten. It is the smallest inhabited island in the world to be divided between two nations.
Confusing as this may sound; the most important factor is that Pullmantur operate Tropical Caribbean Cruise itineraries throughout the winter season, docking in Philipsburg in the Dutch south of the island. This week, we take a closer look at everything you can expect to see and experience during your time in Sint Maarten.
Unquestionably, the Caribbean has some of the finest beaches in the world and Sint Maarten is no exception. The most renowned of the beaches to be found in Phillipsburg, and perhaps the whole of the island of Saint Martin, is Great Bay. During the dredging of the city’s cruise terminal, much of the sand was used to replenish this beach and it now one of the longest and widest in Saint Martin.
There’s nothing better than sitting back on the beautiful white sand and watching the world go by. You can order a Carib (local beer) for little as 75 cents from one of the many surrounding bars, or sample local cuisine from a ‘lolo’ barbecue stand.
If you would rather witness something a little more exhilarating, Maho Bay is a beach with a twist. This beach extends off the end of Sint Maarten’s airport, resulting in many low-flying aircraft overhead – a superb photo souvenir opportunity.
Visitors seeking a spot retail therapy will not be disappointed during their visit, with many duty free outlets available in Phillipsburg. There are several jewellers across the city, but be prepared to shop around the best price. It is also worth bearing in mind that haggling is both allowed and encouraged, so make sure you get the best price for what you’re after. Wander down the city’s many streets and you may find some unique stores selling authentic souvenirs such as guavaberry rum, decorated glass bottles and beautiful paintings.
Sailing on board Horizon, the seven-night Tropical Caribbean Cruise itinerary operates between November and March and, as well as Sint Maarten, can take you to other Caribbean destinations such as Guadeloupe, Martinique, Isla Magherita (Venezuela) and Dominican Republic.
During your time onboard, you will be able to take advantage of an all inclusive drinks package that covers soft drinks, hot drinks, and alcoholic beverages. You can rest safe in the knowledge that all port charges and gratuities have been included in the price of your package.