The perfect getaway for a vacation – a true vacation seeking sunshine and relaxation—is to head south and spend time in the Caribbean Sea. The best way to see everything the area has to offer is to hop on a cruise, something I’ve done on several occasions, as you get to explore various towns and islands, and can return to a luxurious suite at the end of an adventurous day.
Without a doubt one of the most fascinating and beautiful places I visited on my most recent journey southward was St. Martin and St. Marteen. The smallest island in the world ever to have been partitioned between two different nations, it has been shared by the French and the Dutch in a spirit of neighborly cooperation and mutual friendship for almost 350 years.
The border is almost imperceptible and it’s quite easy to cross back and forth without ever realizing you are entering a new country. All the same, each side has managed to retain much of the distinctiveness of its own national culture.
The French tend to emphasize comfort and elegance. The beaches are secluded, the luxury resorts provide lavish accommodations, and the restaurants offer the finest dining experiences anywhere in the Caribbean. The latest French fashions can be found in many of the shops, and the smell of fresh croissants and pastries mixes everywhere with the spicy aromas of West Indian cooking. Small cafés and charming bistros add a decidedly Gaelic and cosmopolitan flair to the place. On the whole the atmosphere remains very relaxed.
On the other hand, St. Maarten, with its busy cruise port and bustling commercial district, has long been an active center for trade and tourism. More developed and at the same time more informal, it is very Dutch in flavor and still has strong ties with fellow compatriots in the other Netherlands Antilles. Between the two different cultures in St. Martin and St. Maarten, you will be able to find just about every kind of activity they might want for a perfect holiday in the sun.
Of course the biggest attractions are the weather, the sand, and the water. St. Martin is sunny and warm year-round, averaging 82 degrees Fahrenheit in summer and just 2 degrees cooler in winter. The beaches are wonderfully soft and gorgeous, expanding around the island, with warm, friendly, and safe waters for everyone to enjoy.
It is a vacation destination not to be missed.