The island of Sint Marteen was peacefully divided in 1648 between Holland and France; the Dutch side, St Maarten, belongs to the Netherlands Antilles, while the French side, St Martin, remains a "Collectivité" of France. The island measures 37 square miles and has a wonderful sub-tropical climate. The official language is English; however you will also hear French, Dutch, Creole and Papiamento. The currency is the Netherlands Antilles guilder and the Euro although the US dollar is accepted almost everywhere.
Water sports are high on the agenda and there are two museums where you will learn the history of the island from prehistoric times to modern day. St Maarten Park has some incredible plants and animals that have lived on the island for around 1,000 years. If you are lucky enough to be there in April, St Maarten hosts the island's carnival. Enjoy the 'jump-ups', West Indian music and big, colourful parades, while at other times, you will be able to view the incredible costumes on display in the Jump Up Casino in Philipsburg.
Day Out By Rental Car
The best way to see the island is by car and it is very easy to make a reservation online to arrange your rental car. It is possible to tour the island in a day, starting with Philipsburg for some amazing duty free shopping and a wonderful Caribbean Main Street; there are also great restaurants and casinos. Head out to Little Bay where you can see the ruins of Fort Amsterdam and then on to Pointe Blanche, perhaps stopping at one of the two marinas on the way. Guana Bay is well worth a visit and is great for surfing.
With so much to see and do, you may want to hang onto your rental car for more than one day.