Neighborhood of Sint Maarten
St. Martin/St. Maarten is perfectly located and equipped for day-trips to its neighboring islands. Whether you fancy a deserted beach in Anguilla, a jungle trek through the mountains of Saba, a taste of the ‘Good Life’ in St. Barths or the peace of ‘off the beaten track’ paradise in St. Eustatius, journey times are negligible.
Only five miles off St. Martin’s Northern coast, the 35 square mile British island of Anguilla shares many cultural and family ties with its neighbor. Discovered in 1495 by Christopher Columbus, Anguilla’s main source of income for many years was derived from its salt ponds until tourism and offshore investment became highly more lucrative businesses. Anguilla is a land of soft rolling hills and picture perfect, expansive and empty beaches. In fact, it is said that the beaches of Anguilla are some of the best in the Caribbean, largely undeveloped and absolutely pristine. Several upscale resorts occasionally attract celebrities, who manage to relax on this quiet island without too much public attention.
Formerly a Swedish colony, St. Barths is today a French Territory and has developed into a jet-set hot spot with small luxury hotels, great restaurants and bars and many elegant vacation villas. Paparazzi cameras alert – you never know which famous faces you might bump into here! Though only 25 square km in size, St. Barths has more than 20 beaches which, like St. Martin/St. Maarten are all unique and easily accessible.
A car or scooter is recommended to see the island but be aware that the speed limit is just 20 mph! Commuter planes leave St. Maarten’s Princes Juliana Airport to St. Barths regularly with a flight-time of approximately 10 minutes. For a more scenic journey of under an hour, several ferries and day charter boats offer another way to explore this neighboring French island.
On most days, the ‘Jungle Island’ of Saba can be seen from St. Maarten’s southern beaches. A tall, steep mountain rises out of the ocean, its top often covered by a mysterious cloud. Only 5 square miles in size, Saba is home to about 1,650 residents, whose ancestors had to make an incredible effort to survive the forbidding terrain. Today, the untouched beauty of Saba makes it a famous destination for Scuba Diving fans with numerous and varied dive sites as well as the protected Saba Marine Park. Hiking up into the tropical rainforest is another one of the big attractions of the aptly named “Unspoiled Queen of the Caribbean”. Saba is part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands with Dutch as the official language. As with many of the neighboring islands however, English is spoken all over. The island can be reached by a 15-minute plane flight or by ferry.