The northern half, a part of France since 2007, the southern half, a part of Netherlands since 2010. This miniscule place was ranked the fifth best island in the world in 2014, and has a remarkable 37 beaches and over 300 restaurants. It’s the smallest inhabited sea island divided between two nations. Where ‘Consumed’ was filmed, plus part of the movie ‘Speed 2: Cruise Control’. And the island was originally known as ‘Oualichi’, or the ‘Land of Women’. Today, we’re in the Culinary Capital of the Caribbean, Saint Martin.
Saint Martin is an island country in northeast Caribbean, divided between the overseas French collectivity of Saint-Martin and the territory of Sint Maarten, a part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The total island is 37 square miles with a population of 78,000 people. The island uses two flags, the French flag for the French half and a flag specially designed for the Dutch half. The latter flag uses the coat of arms of Sint Maarten, with the red symbolising war and bloodshed, the blue peace and the assurance of pardon, and the white purity and faith.
According to legend, Christopher Columbus sighted the island on November 11, 1493, the feast day of Saint Martin of Tours. To mark the occasion, Columbus named the island San Martin.
This tiny lush green and Sun kissed paradise is hugely diverse, with just over 110 nationalities represented in the small population. A place famed for its gorgeous beaches, jolly nightlife, local alcohol and markets filled to the brim with local goods, especially jewellery. The French half is particularly famous for its nude beaches. Well, they are French…
There are plenty of sites to see such as the adorable Philipsburg Courthouse. A wooden building that may be tiny but one that remains a huge symbol of the Dutch south. Its wooden frame and facade take one back to the innocent origins of the first inhabitants of the island, when wood is all they had. And they constructed something beautiful in its simplicity, a building now surrounded by masonry yet one that still stands proud and dominant in its surroundings. Still a gem all these years later. And then there’s Pic Paradis or ‘Paradise Peak’ in English. The highest point on the island of Saint Martin, at just over 1,000 feet tall. The staggering views over the elysian landscape catapult one into an ethereal state of mind, elevating one to such a height that one is left breathless. Dumbstruck at the sight of such unbelievable beauty.
But I think the best sight of the island is Happy Bay. A gorgeous name for a gorgeous paradise, your quintessential tropical island dream, made real. But the word ‘paradise’ is surely an understatement. The calming crystal blue waters lap against the soft white sand and rocks with brutal gentility and beatifical grace. An vista isangelous, a beautiful delusion created in the mind of a mad poet, a vision that ameliorated the world-weary woes that tormented her soul. A place truly deserving of its happy moniker.
Saint Martin. The island of culinary delight, Sun and hundreds of French nudists.
1) The flag of Sint Maarten, the Dutch half of Saint Martin (credit: wikimedia.org)
2) Happy Bay (credit: fotosbh.photoshelter.com)
3) Pic Paradis (credit: flysbh.com)
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