From ,
Travel Blogger
April 14, 2012

The island of St. Martin offers visitors a charming and unforgettable taste of French life and culture, all within the unique context of a Caribbean island paradise. Whether you want to relax on a secluded white-sand beach, stroll along a local village street, take advantage of exceptional duty-free shopping, or lounge around a luxurious, world-class villa, St. Martin has everything you are looking for in your dream Caribbean vacation.

As part of the Lesser Antilles, St. Martin boasts a history entirely unique from all other Caribbean islands. The native inhabitants of the island were the Arawak and Carib Indians. With the advent of the 15th century, Christopher Columbus discovered the island and claimed St. Martin for Spain. However, because Spain neglected colonization of the island for several years, the Dutch gained control of St. Martin and established a thriving Caribbean trading post on the island. Later, as more French colonists arrived, France and the Netherlands signed an agreement in 1648 to divide the island between the two nations. This treaty left France with 21 square miles of the island, and 16 square miles were under the control of the Netherlands.

Today, St. Martin has the distinction of being one of the most popular vacation getaways in the entire Caribbean. The island boasts some of the most coveted beach locations in the world, all of which feature pristine white sand, stunning turquoise waters, endless tropical sunshine, and a carefree island atmosphere. Some of the most popular beaches on the French side of the island include Orient Beach, Baie Rouge, Plum Bay Beach, and Grand Case Beach. On the Dutch side, locals and visitors alike are drawn to Cupecoy Beach, Dawn Beach, and Maho Beach.

If you enjoy aquatic sports, there is perhaps no better destination for you than St. Martin’s gorgeous, crystal-clear azure waters. Some of the most popular sports among visitors are diving, snorkeling, sailing, windsurfing, water-skiing, parasailing, and jet skiing. If you enjoy boating, St. Martin even offers guided boat tours on stunning glass bottom boats. Visitors who prefer fishing will find St. Martin’s waters inhabited by exotic tropical fish such as marlin, sailfish, tuna, dorado, barracuda, and kingfish.

St. Martin also offers visitors the opportunity to enjoy incredible duty-free shopping at a wide variety of stores. In the island’s designer boutiques, local markets, and quaint shops, visitors can find a wide range of quality goods at an incredible value. After a long day at the beach or exploring the island, the many clubs, bars, and restaurants on St. Martin offer the perfect place to relax and unwind. Some of the most popular spots with visitors and locals alike include Casino Royale, Studio Seven, Club One, Le Privilege, and The Greenhouse.

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