On one island, you can hop between two completely different worlds. As the only island in the Caribbean that is still shared between two former colonial rulers, both the French St. Martin and Dutch Sint Maarten retain their independent identities while co-existing quite peacefully. The island is naturally blessed with the picturesque beauty of blue-green waters, white powdery beaches, and sunny climes. Inland are mountain-biking and hiking trails, as well as skydiving facilities. On the water, you can go sailing, snorkeling, scuba diving, kite surfing, jet-skiing, and much more.
Head to the French towns of Marigot and Grand Case for some gourmet dinners, an afternoon of shopping, or to soak up the atmosphere of France in the sunshine. To experience the mix of island life with Dutch culture, stick to the South where Caribbean rhythm is infused into all things — food, language, music, and attitude.
For a truly unusual experience, take a seat on Maho beach at the end of the airport runway and try not to panic as airplanes roar above your head — it's something you're unlikely to ever try again! The nightlife is always alive with several casinos, nightclubs, and bars open until the wee hours of the morning.
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The Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM) on the Dutch side of the island is the only airport catering to international flights. A smaller airport at Grand Case in the north deals with inter-island, commercial, and private flights. There is a departure tax on all flights from St. Maarten so check to see if this has been included in your airfare. Direct flights are hard to come by and quite expensive so a cheaper alternative is to take a flight with a stopover in the US or a Caribbean country. Airlines that fly this route include American, Continental, United, Delta, and Air Canada.
Anytime is a good time to visit St. Maarten. The average temperature is a comfortable 26°C although it is hotter and more humid from July until October. Most of the tourist spots are closed in September so a good time to visit is from November to early December to beat the Christmas crowds and peak rates, or from May to June before the summer humidity and family vacationers hit the island.
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