St Martin is a two-in-one treat for tourists who want to experience a distinctive French and Dutch island culture. More tourists are taking St Martin vacations and almost all come away with a special experience. But, what’s the difference between Sint Maarten and Saint Martin, and which one should you visit?
Sint Maarten V Saint Martin
The island of St Martin is split into the Dutch and French parts. St Maarten is an autonomous region of the Netherlands and occupies the southern third of the island. St Martin is under the French and has the majority of the landmass. St Maarten gets more tourists and is a typical stop for cruise ships giving visitors duty-free shopping, entertainment and a decent nightlife. French Saint Martin is more about gourmet food and world-class dining.
According to legend, the border was created after two men, one French and one Dutch, ran in opposite directions around the island with the border being introduced at the meeting point. Apparently, the Dutch runner was drunk and kept falling down, which meant the French man gained more distance. The border was then drawn with the French having more territory.
The border between both sides isn’t really obvious and you won’t be asked to show your passport or fill in customs forms. However, the road signs will be in a different language and you’ll notice a clear cultural difference. Despite the laid-back attitude of both autonomous regions, a telephone call from Philipsburg to Marigot is actually an international call and international fees apply.