St. Maarten is the Dutch component of a cosmopolitan and bustling island located in the northeastern Caribbean. This small island is divided 60/40 between the French Saint Martin and the Netherlands’ St. Maarten which also has the greater population. St. Maarten is one of four countries to comprise the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Ringed by 37 pristine beaches, surrounded by turquoise waters, filled with lush green hills, and featuring more than 100 nationalities, it’s no wonder the island of St. Maarten attracts more than a million visitors each year. The official languages of St. Maarten are Dutch and English, with English being the dominant language.
St. Maarten is famed for its vibrant nightlife, stunning beaches, historic buildings and homes, world-class shopping, jewelry, plentiful casinos, and gourmet restaurants. Reflecting the variety of nationalities represented on this charming island, St. Maarten offers an abundant array of cuisine choices and epicurean delights. St. Maarten is also known for its world-class duty-free shopping that features a wide range of items including local arts and crafts, exotic foods, jewelry, tobacco and liquor, leather goods, and designer goods that are often up to forty percent lower than U.S. prices.
There is an abundance of activities and venues to enjoy in St. Maarten. Visitors will want to avail themselves of the many tours of the island. The more adventurous may want to rent a boat to fish or explore the many coves and inlets of the unique Simpson Bay Lagoon, a large body of sea water surrounded by land, only accessible by boats through two channels. There is an uninhabited island in the center of the lagoon. Loterie Farm, a private nature reserve, offers tremendous hiking opportunities, zip line adventure, thousands of plant species, and delectable delights at its Hidden Forest Café. This charming island is a paradise for mountain bikers of all levels of skill. It features more than 40 kilometers of hiking trails and tantalizing shoreline. Those keen on golf can enjoy a round at the picturesque 18 hole course at Mullet Bay. St. Maarten also boasts colorful coral reefs and old wrecks teeming with marine life that make for thrilling snorkeling and scuba diving. For those interested in some island hopping, the nearby British colony of Anguilla is just a ferry ride away, St. Eustatius features many historical sites and stunning scuba diving, Saba is a 5 square mile island of astounding natural beauty, and the French isle of St. Barts is famed for its shopping and luxury.
St. Maarten’s historic sites include Fort Amsterdam, built in 1631 and the first Dutch military outpost in the Caribbean. Fort Willem, built in 1801, provides a lovely panoramic view of Phillipsburg (the capital of St. Maarten) and the neighbouring islands. The Phillipsburg Courthouse, built in 1793, also attracts many visitors.
St. Maarten features a year-round warm climate with an average annual temperature of 27°C. Visitors will enjoy refreshing trade wind breezes. The dry season generally runs from December to May, while June to November are more humid. St. Maarten does experience the occasional threat of tropical storm activity in the late summer and early fall. Rainfall can occur any time of the year but tends to be brief followed by brilliant sunny skies.