15.2.12

Epic Cruise - Part 3

Day 4 - St. Maarten 



We woke up when we were arriving to St. Maarten. Beautiful views of the island, and the water has a very special blue color.
Arriving to St. Maarten

Clear blue water





 Some facts first: Sint Maarten (in Dutch)/Saint Martin (in French) is an island in the Caribbean Sea which is divided in two parts, the Dutch and the French side since the 1600 after the establishment of settlements of French and Dutch families. They have coexisted peacefully after the signing of the Treaty of Concordia in 1648, the oldest international treaty still enforced. The most spoken language is English, even though the official languages are Dutch and French (a Caribbean variation of these languages, that is). The currency accepted in Sint Maarten is the US Dollar, in Saint Martin the Euro, there is a 1$=1€ exchange rate which might not be very convenient if you pay in Euro (at the current 1.3$=1€ rate).
Its duty free status, its beautiful beaches, its food and the cosmopolitan/European atmosphere of its villages make it a popular destination in the Caribbean.

Philipsburg beaches

Streets in Philipsburg
Our ship docked in Philipsburg, the main city of the Dutch side. We got off after breakfast by 9.00 and walked to the center of Philipsburg (10 min walk). Its boardwalk or Front Street is full of sourvenir shops and beach bars, while the main street has lots of boutiques. I got a Ralph Lauren visor for 10% less than the US plus no tax, which made my day.
me in Main Street
 We visited some watches shops and decided to get a cab to Marigot to see the watches of Jewels by Love, a shop I had read about before leaving (nice place, nice owners). The cab to Marigot costed $8 per person one way and took about 30 min. Marigot is more European, better food (they say, we didn't eat there), more lively (lots of yachts). The water and beaches are beautiful all over the island seemed beautiful from the road.
Guavaberry stand


the bay of Philipsburg


 We were back in the ship terminal by 15.30. We were advised on tasting the famous guavaberry liquor before getting back to the ship. It tasted of strawberry rhum and it was delicious on a frozen cocktail as a piña colada.
My veredict: I could live here, the towns are nice, people are friendly, guavaberry colada is good, there's no tax, the beaches are beautiful and the weather is nice all year round... sounds like paradise, doesn't it?