Exploring the Caribbean from a local view – here is a local’s perspective on things to do in Saint Martin beyond Tourist Town.
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Saint Martin or St. Maarten – however you call it, it’s an incredible Caribbean island to visit. The reality is that all of the above are correct. The island is divided into two parts: the Dutch territory of St. Maarten and the France territory of Saint Martin. There is fluidity on the island as people and animals cross back and forth between the two sides and everyone speaks some amount of both languages.
St. Maarten is a popular cruise ship destination. While many visitors hang out in Philipsburg (called locally Tourist Town), the interior of the island still retains much of its charm and Caribbean culture. The Maho Beach is famous around the world as large passenger jets land at the airport a few feet above people’s heads. It’s a close encounter of the jet kind! The ocean around the island is warm and the snorkeling is excellent! Breezes cross the island and make for excellent small-craft sailing.
When we stop in cruise ports, we usually try to avoid the crowds by going somewhere a little less touristy. But sometimes we head right into the heart of the tourist hub. Knowingly. And that’s what happened when we visited Maho Beach in St. Maarten.