The variety of culture, food and beautiful white sand beaches make St. Maarten and St. Martin popular destinations in the Caribbean. Whether you choose to arrive by plane, cruise ship, or even by helicopter, vacationers have several different choices with regards to how to arrive on this beautiful island.
Because it is a major vacationing hub, travelers should be able to book a flight from most countries including the United States, Europe, and other Caribbean islands. Most of the larger airlines, like American and Continental, will fly into Sint Maarten's, which is the second busiest airport in the Caribbean. These airlines have services from major cities like Miami, New York, and Paris.
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Although sailing ones own vessel into St. Martin/St. Maarten has never been one of the most popular means of arrival, of all of the Caribbean islands, this dual nation sees one of the highest numbers of private yachts. A number of factors aid in this high number of adventurers, including very well kept marinas, calm waters and great weather conditions year round, and a few annual events geared towards sailing fanatics. One in particular, the Heineken Regatta, brings 200 yachters to the island each year during the month of March. Whether you're a seasoned pro or a novice sailor, St. Martin/St. Maarten is one of the best places to sail to and around in the Caribbean.
Those travelers who visit while cruising the Caribbean will find St. Maarten to be busy with cruise ship patrons, who flock to the to the Dutch side of the island to enjoy the duty free shopping and great cultural experiences. The port of entry, which is in downtown Philipsburg located on the Dutch St. Maarten, is popular among cruise ship passengers not only because of the extensive shopping, but also for the small shops and cafes that line the downtown streets. Sailors are also free to navigate the island's waters and enter the port at Philipsburg relatively hassle-free. While docked in St. Maarten, cruise ship passengers who have enough time may want to visit the French side of the island, which is close to St. Maarten and is accessible by bus or rental car.
The roads in Sint Maarten are generally well maintained roads a very nice option for traveling between major tourist destinations while on vacation, whether you are on four or two wheels. Rental cars are widely available at major sites around the island and most companies will even deliver the car directly to your hotel. Prices are lower than many other Caribbean islands, but passengers should always secure insurance.
Taxis are a relatively affordable method of transportation on the dual-nation island. Taxi drivers should have fixed rates from most major destinations and can often act as friendly tour guides for two to three hours for a set price. Taxis can be called around the clock, and will provide service to either side of the island.
The local buses, or jitneys, run along major routes carrying locals and vacationers for cheap fares. These can be flagged down in cities or in rural areas, but get ready for a surprise when you get on. These are no ordinary buses. These buses can carry up to 14 passengers and are known for blasting loud zouk music for passengers to groove to while they travel.
Finally, tourists are not limited to exploring just Sint Maarten during their trip; there are regularly scheduled ferries and boats running to the neighboring islands of Anguilla, Saba, and St. Barth's, which all make for adventurous and scenic day trips.
Vacationers to Sint Maarten will have plenty to see and do within this lively destination. However, you should not fail to see the quieter French side of the island, which can help balance out any vacation. With many available means of transportation, travelers have every chance to enjoy the offerings of Sint Maarten, as well as the island it shares.
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