“St. Maarten/Martin: One friendly island-twice the welcome” nearing completion

Shared by two foreign cultures, St. Maarten/Martin is the Caribbean's most unique of island destinations.
Shared by two foreign cultures, St. Maarten/Martin is the Caribbean’s most unique of island destinations.

The Caribbean is the most visited region in the world. Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Aruba, and Barbados, are among the many great destinations that make the Caribbean the perfect home away from home. Every island in the Caribbean has unique characteristics and famous features. Plus, they all have have a storied history. The friendly locals, sugar cane fields, historic structures, well-known delicacies, and romantic sunsets are among their many attributes. Everyone can rave about their favorite Caribbean destination. There is one Caribbean island that welcomes millions from around the world with open arms from two sides. That island is St. Maarten/Martin.

During the high season, the Philipsburg cruise ship pier is buzzing, with up to ten ships per day.
During the high season, the Philipsburg cruise ship pier is buzzing, with up to ten ships per day.

Located in the eastern region of the Caribbean Sea, St. Maarten/Martin is one of the most exciting destinations to experience. It is shared by two foreign cultures. The Dutch side is to the south, with the French side to the north. What makes St. Maarten/Martin so unique is that its economy depends solely on the tourism industry. Tourism is what runs St. Maarten/Martin. With regards to its automobile traffic, eighty-five percent (85%) of it is rental cars. Many may think that St. Maarten/Martin is strictly a tourist’s kind of island. St. Maarten/Martin does have its residents. Much of the island’s residents live on the Dutch side.

St. Maarten's Maho Bay is a must-visit. The Princess Juliana Airport runway is less than one hundred feet from the beach.
St. Maarten’s Maho Bay is a must-visit. The Princess Juliana Airport runway is less than one hundred feet from the beach.

St. Maarten/Martin is home to well-known incredible beach locations, shopping venues, and tourist hot spots. The cruise ship pier, in Philipsburg, is among the busiest during the high season. The cruise ship traffic is a sight to behold. The Phillipsburg pier can accommodate up to as many as ten cruise ships. On some days, visitors will see four to six cruise ships. On the west end of St. Maarten/Martin, visitors can experience Maho Beach. Maho Beach (Maho Bay). Here, beach goers experience the thrill of what it’s like to live at the end of an airport runway. Princess Julianna Airport (SXM) is right next door to Maho Beach. At the very height of the day, approximately noontime, much of the major air traffic arrives. Every major airline, including American and JetBlue, fly to St. Maarten/Martin (SXM) daily. It is easy to see how low they actually are before touchdown. Each and every time a plane is on the approach, cameras are ready. The west end of the runway is just one hundred feet from the beach. The jets are just one hundred feet above the water before touching down. Each and every time an airplane is on the final approach, beach goers get their cameras ready. They even strike a pose, making it look like they’re touching the planes. Maho Beach, for beach goers and aviation fans, is not to be passed up.

Cupecoy Beach is located north of Maho Beach, on the island's western end.
Cupecoy Beach is located north of Maho Beach, on the island’s western end.

One of the greatest reasons Caribbean travelers pick St. Maarten/Martin is the wide array of beaches. Maho Beach is just one of a handful of famous beaches on St. Maarten/Martin. North of Maho Beach is Cupecoy Beach. It is among one of the most picturesque and one of the most romantic beaches on the island’s western end. Near the northern tip of St. Maarten/Martin is Happy Bay. Like Cupecoy Beach, Happy Bay is a quiet beach, and clothing-optional, too. On the French side of the island, clothing-optional is the name of the game. Atop the island’s beach list, and certainly the most famous of beaches on the French side is Orient Beach. Orient Beach is so big, it is broken into five parts. The most famous part of Orient Beach is the southern end, which is the clothing-optional, or nude beach. Club Orient, the family oriented clothing-optional resort, shares Orient Beach. Cruise ship passengers are allowed to use Orient Beach. Cruise ship passengers visit the clothing-optional side, too. Shore excursion buses are provided by the cruise lines.

Orient Beach is home to iconic Club Orient, a five-star clothing-optional resort.
Orient Beach is home to iconic Club Orient, a five-star clothing-optional resort.

Without a doubt, the Caribbean is the most inviting region to visit at any time of the year. The sun, the sand, unique shopping experiences, and unique dining locations make St. Maarten/Martin an over-the-top exciting destination. It is enjoyed by families and couples alike. From airplane watching, to soaking in the French and Dutch culture, and enjoying a smorgasbord of water sports, St. Maarten/Martin is the place to do it all. Certainly, it is the one Caribbean destination where visitors can live up the vibrant beach life. Further, it is place where visitors can soak up the rays, along with the crystal blue waters clothing-optional style.  “St. Maarten/Martin: One friendly island-twice the welcome” is due to be completed by mid-November 2016.

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