6 minutes reading time Caribbean
Christopher Columbus arrived in the Caribbean on the 12th of October 1492. While spending time on the Island of the Bahamas he had a fellow sailor draw a map of all the islands they saw on the way and the ones that were visible to them from the Bahamas. On the 11 of November 1493, he laid his eyes on the island that we now know as Sint Maarten. French pirates invaded the island in 1638 and in 1640 the Spanish decided to settled down on Sint Maarten. French and Dutch prisoners of war met in 1648 after the Spanish departure and they amicably divided the island. Sint Maarten the smaller but more valuable southern section, was signed over to the Dutch and they called the capital Philipsburg. Colorful Philipsburg is famous for its duty-free shopping, making it a great place to pick up discounted watches, jewelry, and liquor along Front Street. Sint Maarten forms part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in the Caribbean and the official languages are Dutch and English.
The northern side was signed over to the French. The northern section consists of 60% of the island and is called Saint Martin. Although the northern side is not as rich in salt lakes as the southern side, this side is filled with beautiful beaches that stretch as far as the eye can see. The northern side of the island or also known as the French side consists of more than 120 nationalities, with a dominance of French inhabitants you will also find many people from; Haiti, the Dominican Republic, America, and Europe. There are also nationalities from other Caribbean Islands such as; South America, Asia, and Africa. The official language, used in administrations and schools, is French, but because of the historical and cosmopolitan components of the island, English is widely spoken and understood.
The entire island is mostly hillsides, sloping down to coastal lagoons, salt pans, and sand spits. The climate is fantastic all year-round, with moderate rainfall throughout the year. The island’s economy is based predominantly on tourism. You can use US Dollars and will be given chance in dollars also.
Tijon Parfumerie is a producer of a wide range of sensational Caribbean fragrances. The fragrances are all formulated in the laboratory in Grand Case, each a unique gift to take home from your visit to the island.
At Tijon the experts enjoy sharing their passion for the creation of new scents. Tijon overs an excursion called the ‘Fragrance Creation Experience’. During this excursion, you will have the opportunity to create your unique fragrance that will always remind you of the beautiful island. You will learn how to select from over 300 different oils and the process of fragrance production. At the end of the excursion, you will be set with your fragrance and a gift bag to remember Tijon with. This excursion will take about 2 hours and a shuttle service is available for bigger groups.
One of the islands best known excursions and the winner of the most prestigious “Tour of the Year” award by Princess Cruises, three times in a row and a recipient of many other awards. This excursion has been featured in many television shows and international magazines, as one of the most innovative and fun excursions to do in St-Martin.
It features an on-the-water experience. Piloting your very own two-man RHINO Watercraft to the best snorkeling spots around the island. A 10 feet inflatable motorboat that is yours to command for a thrill of a lifetime. This is a ride that is safe, sturdy, reliable, and tons of fun!
You will meet your guides at the rhino base in the calm waters of Simpson bay lagoon. There you will undergo a short briefing before starting your two and a half-hour adventure. You will cruise safely alongside mega-yacht marinas and boat anchorages before exiting Simpson Bay Lagoon to the French side capital of Marigot. Along the way, you will pass the beautiful beaches of Galisbay, Lover’s Beach, Friars Bay, Happy Bay, Grand Case, and Little Beach.
Soualiga Rum is St. Maarten’s very own distillery situated in the Simpson Bay area. Rum is the native liquor of the Caribbean, and on each island you visit you can sample the locally produced rum flavors.
If you would like to learn more about the process of distilling rum you can book an excursion where you will be able to see all the various processes required to fill just one single bottle. Soualiga Rum comes in several flavors, but the top-selling product is the Aged Rum. At Soualiga Rum you can taste these deliciously flavored rums but you can also purchase some to take home with you.
The Flying Dutchman, located in the Rockland Estate Eco-Adventure Park, and operated by Rainforest Adventures. This park features the world’s steepest zip line, and also the “Sky Explorer” that consists of four-seaters that slowly pulls you up Sentry Hill. You can either zip line back down or slide down the mountain on a big inflatable tube.
The Flying Dutchman drops down more than one thousand feet using a 2,800 feet long cable and serves up a spectacular view of the entire island, both the southern French side and the northern Dutch side. Considering how steep the zip line is, one could be forgiven for having second thoughts about taking a ride down, but since it doesn’t go very fast it is not that scary. The ride down takes about 45 seconds, giving plenty of time to soak in the surrounding views.
Princess Juliana International Airport is situated right next to the Maho Beach. It has an extremely short runway that is touching the Maho Beach. Anyone who is standing on the sand when a passenger jet drops down low for a landing is in for quite a show.
While plane spotting, you can lay down on a lounger or grab a seat at the neighboring Sunset Beach Bar. There you can catch a glimpse of the flight arrivals and departures, posted on a surfboard. This is a very popular beach, the best time to visit is when all the cruise ships are gone.
Whether you are visiting the island for a day or a week, the locals will make sure that you have a visit to remember.
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