When the Spanish closed their colonial fort on St. Maarten in 1648, a few Dutch and French soldiers hid on the island and decided to share it. Soon after, the Netherlands and France signed a formal agreement to split St. Maarten in half, as it is today. Philipsburg displays its Dutch heritage in its architecture and landscaping. The island offers endless stretches of beach, beautiful landscapes and great shopping.
Compete in an actual race on an America’s Cup shortened course. Grind a winch, trim a sail or just sit back and enjoy. Professional sailors will give you a quick lesson, then you’re off to compete on Stars and Stripes, one of the most famous sailing boats in the world.
There are about 500 duty-free shops on St. Maarten. The selection of jewellery and watches is superior on the Dutch side of St. Maarten. Friendly competition between merchants guarantees excellent prices on emeralds, diamonds, rubies, sapphires, pearls, gold and silver. St. Maarten offers a wide selection of fine jewellery and watches from such well-known designers as C2K, Caribbean Hook, Honora, House of Tanzanite, John Atencio, John Hardy, Kabana, Roberto Coin, Starnight, White Diamonds, Alfex, Concord, Façonnable, Gucci, Maurice Lacroix, Michele, Movado, Wenger, La Nouvelle Bague and more. Make sure you try a bottle of St. Maarten’s own guavaberry liqueur. The guavaberry is exclusive to this island.
In October 2010, the Dutch side of St. Maarten voted for autonomous status separate from the Netherlands. Until that point, the Neterhlands Antilles Guilder (ANG) was the official unit of currency. However, the new official currency has yet to be decided, but U.S. dollars, traveller’s cheques and credit cards are widely accepted.
|Average Precip.||1.76 in||4.47 cm|