One of the most popular of all Caribbean destinations, Dutch Sint Maarten and French Saint Martin share this easily accessible island. Less than 2083 km (1250 mi) from Miami, visitors discover rolling hills, exceptional beaches, celebrated restaurants, duty-free shopping, interesting historical sites, casinos and colorful markets The main towns are Philipsburg (Dutch side) and Marigot (French side). There are no customs formalities between the Dutch and French sides. The boundaries are marked simply by two “welcome” signs on each side. One says “Bienvenue en Partie Française” and the other says “Welcome to Dutch Sint Maarten"
The official language of St. Maarten is Dutch, but the islanders speak mostly English with a West Indian lilt. The Dutch side also includes French and Spanish-speaking populations, and immigrants from Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao have added Papiamento (based on Spanish, French, English, Dutch and Arawak Indian) to the mix.
The official currency of Dutch St. Maarten is the Netherlands Antilles guilder (ANG). In French St. Martin, it is the Euro. However, US dollars, traveler’s checks and major credit cards are widely accepted throughout the island.
HOW TO GET TO ST MARTIN
The island is served by many major airlines that bring in large jet aircrafts, including Boeing 747s, Airbus A340s, and McDonnell Douglas MD-11s carrying tourists from across the world on a daily basis. The short length of the main runway at Princess Juliana International Airport, and its position between a large hill and a beach causes some spectacular approaches. Aviation photographers flock to the airport to capture pictures of large jets just a few feet above sunbathers on Maho Beach.  There is a small airport on the French side of the island at Grand Case, L’Espérance Airport for small jet and propeller planes serving neighbouring Caribbean islands. Due to its location, Grand Case-Esperance Airport frequently suffers from heavy fog during the hurricane season.
As an island territory, St. Maarten was governed by the Island Regulation of the Netherlands Antilles, and in accordance herewith the administration units of the Island Territory were: the Island Council, Executive Council and Lt. Governor. As of October 10, 2010, St. Maarten is now governed by its own Constitution and the following institutions of government: Governor as Head of State, Parliament, and the Council of Ministers headed by the Prime Minister. The French side is a sub-prefecture of Guadeloupe. A town council is elected by the people and headed by a mayor and a sub-prefect is appointed by the French Government.
CULTURE Sint Maarten, the Dutch side, is known for its festive nightlife, beaches, jewelry, exotic drinks made with native rum-based guavaberry liquors, and plentifulcasinos, while Saint-Martin, the French side, is known more for its nude beaches, clothes, shopping (including outdoor markets), and rich French and Indian Caribbean cuisine.
THINGS TO DO Atlantis Submarines offer the Seaworld Explorer Tour. There is also full complement of land and water activities as well as excursions to nearby islands are easily arranged
The average yearly air temperature is 27 °C (min 17 °C, max 35 °C) and sea surface temperature 26.4 °C. The total average yearly rainfall is 995 mm, with 99 days of thunder.
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