Philipsburg, the capital of the Dutch part with lots of gambling places and jewelries functions as an outdoor shopping mall for cruise-goers with cash to burn. Most of the action is concentrated around the front street, the Bayfront road which is lined with boutiques, jewelry shops, restaurants, casinos and duty-free shops selling everything from Danish porcelain to Japanese cameras and electronics.
Philipsburg alight on some days five huge cruise ships at the same time. Thus ca. 10,000 day tourists walk around at a population of all together 80,000!
Marigot, the capital of the French part is more quiet. We have visited a nice market with local clothes. You can still find here some trappings of an European village lost in the Caribbean.
MAHO Beach, Juliana Airport
On thewhole island there are lots of crystal water bays beaches and with white sand.
The beautiful beach of Maho is situated at the end of Juliana airport’s runway and the tourists have a lot of fun at each plane landing as they get blown away by the landing planes. Unfortunately the party will finish soon as they start building a new airport.
We have lived in Captain Oliver’s Hotel in Oyster Pond which is on the border between the French and the Dutch district.
We have enjoyed St Maarten/St Martin. There is a good mix of Europe and Caribbean and by the way it was the only time during our trip that we could find a nice bar by the beach with entertainment and good cocktails. It is a good exemple for other countries how two populations with different languages can live peacefully together for hundreds of years. Friends of us use St Maarten as a touch base for the start of a trip in the Caribbean. Furthermore it does have some tax deductions. In some touristic books there is a saying: Sleep on the Dutch side and eat on the French side.
On Jan 14 we flew from the sleepy airport ‘Esperance’ in the French part to Guadeloupe. For people who want to plan a trip to the Carribbean. The only flight connections to Guadeloupe, Martinique and France start from Esperance.