Sint Maarten is unique in the Caribbean. It is the smallest island in the world that is claimed by two nations at the same time. Discovered by Columbus in 1493, the island's history shows changing ownership over a century and a half.
From 1648 on, however, there was agreement. Since then, France and the Netherlands have shared the area separately and peacefully. And that's just 92 square kilometers! When France was allocated 30% more land than the Netherlands when it was distributed, there are now more citizens with Dutch passports than French people. In total, there are around 77.000 residents who are not really bad thanks to the offshore zone established in 1939 in both areas.
Politically, it is in the southern part of the island Sint Maarten with its 34 km² area since 2010 an autonomous part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The head of state is the Dutch queen. Capital is Philipsburg. The official currency is the Caribbean guilder. But don't worry, US $ is accepted. With him the crusader gets further and further in the Caribbean region.
The northern part of the country will Saint Martin called. This area is a French overseas territory. The head of state is the President of the French Republic. As soon as we turn north and step over the border, we are in the territory of the European Union. Passing the unguarded border is not noticed at all. All of a sudden you are in the other part of the country. The capital of this area is Marigot. Although they belong to France, most of the inhabitants speak English. There are even English elementary schools. Sometimes the world is complicated. Payments are less of a hindrance. In Saint Martin, the euro counts.
Cruise ships usually stop in the south of the island, in the Netherlands Philipsburg on. Sint Maarten is one of the most visited cruise destinations in the Caribbean. On some days, passengers of up to 7 cruisers are said to haunt the port. This is certainly not so much due to the island's sights and beauties. There aren't that many of them. It is the free port status that makes shopping in Sint Maarten so interesting. Above all, this attracts American visitors like nectar attracts bees.
Sint Maarten - cruise pier
Sint Maarten is also of volcanic origin. Compared to the neighboring Antilles islands, the island is rather hilly. The highest point is the conical one at only 424 meters Pic Paradise. And while on other islands impressive mountains, rocks, water and an opulent rainforest often arouse admiration, here it is the beaches that provide entertainment and pleasure.