Thursday, November 22, 2007

WE Destination - St. Maarten: A luxury destination for the masses

St. Maarten is a vivacious little island known for its duty-free shopping, extraordinary cuisine, lively nightlife, casinos and two island experiences in one. Co-habited by the Dutch and French, through the Concordia Treaty signed on March 23, 1648, it is the smallest landmass in the world shared by two separate governments .

There is no shortage of attractions on Dutch Sint Maarten (pronounced "sintt martine") and French St-Martin. So much so that the island offers both luxury for the few and low prices for the masses, a rare feat in the Caribbean where it is usually one or the other.

The downside of that popularity is that St. Maarten can be too busy for relaxation seeking visitors. Yet there are isolated, intimate spots like Dawn Beach. New hotels have not spoiled the beauty of what the locals consider the best beach on St. Maarten. If people watching is your thing, large, very public nude beaches are a "spécialité" of the French side, St-Martin.Where to eat?

In addition to sun, sand and surf, St. Maarten has all the creature comforts. Dining is one of life's greatest pleasures, especially on this tiny Dutch/French island that boasts more than 350 restaurants. Dating back to the centuries of discovery when the Dutch claimed and cultivated land, the island's colonial past is reflected in ethnic flavours.
St. Maarten's reputation as the Dining Capital of the Caribbean is richly deserved, given its diverse menu of regional French, Italian, German, Argentine, Indian, Vietnamese and Chinese cuisines - not to mention Caribbean and Creole cooking. Ingredients, fresh from Europe and North America , combine with Caribbean indigenous flavours to create unforgettable meals.

Heineken Regatta - March 6-9, 2008
St. Maarten's Carnival - end of April 2008
St. Maarten/ St. Martin Annual Regional Tradeshow - May 2008
St. Maarten's Day - November 11, 2008

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