Self care with breakfast tray floating in the pool.

Why St. Maarten is truly “Twice the Caribbean”

The St. Maarten Tourism Bureau has made “Twice the Caribbean” the new slogan of Dutch side St. Maarten. A tagline clearly referring to the unique binationality of St. Maarten / St. Martin, bringing added value to your holidays to our island. Research Just some examples how the fact that the island consists of a southern (“Dutch”, autonomous) half and a northern (“French”) part translates in extra experiences for visitors:


1. Twice the Carnivals!


As you might know, carnival is the key yearly event for Caribbean islands. As a double nation island, St. Maarten / St. Martin is blessed with two carnivals! The southern side St. Maarten Carnival is in April and the French northern side St. Martin Carnival is in February.



2. Twice the Cuisine!


St. Maarten / St. Martin is known as the Culinary Capital of the Caribbean. The island is dotted with roadside “Lolo’s” to sample local food. Whereas French side St. Martin has various resort towns like Grand Case and Orient Bay specialized in high end French cuisines, the over a 100 cultures on the Dutch side are reflected in a varied ethnic cuisine in amongst others the Simpson Bay, Maho and Philipsburg areas.


3. Twice the History!


The joint but at points distinct history of the two sides of the island left its monuments too. Take for example the two strongholds Fort Amsterdam guarding the Philipsburg salt trade, and Fort Louis towering over Marigot harbor.


4. Twice the Culture


Not just carnival is double, the historic backgrounds led to more different holidays. As an autonomous country in the Kingdom of the Netherlands, St. Maarten celebrates Constitution Day. The Dutch side remembers the abolition of slavery on Emancipation Day; the French side on Schoelcher Day.  The French side has distinct traditions like Fish Day the Dutch side has an annual emancipation run. Whereas everybody speaks English on island, the French language is more present on the French side than Dutch on the Dutch side.



5. Twice The Famous Beaches


We admit that it was nature that blessed the island of St. Maarten / St. Martin with 37 pristine beaches, not our binationality. Still, it influenced how two of our most famous beaches developed.
As the Netherlands Antilles (and Surinam) were the sole Kingdom areas not to be conquered by axis powers in the second world war, it was an excellent base for allied air forces to combat German submarines threatening allied fuel supply routes. A flat sandy strip in the Maho area was selected as best location and over time would grow into Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM). The beachside location choice in turn would lead to many daily visitors seeing airplanes in famed Maho Beach where planes fly over.
On the opposite side of the island, the liberal French attitude towards nudism on beaches would lead to the clothing optional side of Orient Beach. The southern part of this vast, stretched beach is a worldwide must visit for those who like to bathe “au naturel”.


6. Twice the Internationally Famous March Events


Dutch side St. Maarten has developed into one of the most important sailing and yachting hubs in the Caribbean. Every first week of March, the nautical scene of the region and the many St. Maarten entities involved prepare for the largest sailing event of the Caribbean, the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta.
At the same time, French side St. Martin highly anticipates the SXM Music Festival, drawing some of the most famous DJs worldwide – and their fans. As both events by now can be considered binational gems and are at different dates in March, they in conjunction contribute to an amazing festive month of March for the entire island. Come and experience!