17th century atmospheres
During your cruise in the Caribbean Sea, after disembarking from your cruise ship in the Dutch port of Philipsburg and visiting the Court House, the heart of the city (a white and blue building dating to 1793 that now serves as the Post Office), don’t miss out on an excursion to the French side of the island.
Marigot, the capital of Saint Martin located on the island’s western coast, is protected by the great lagoon of Simpson Bay. It has retained the atmosphere of late 17th century, when it was founded. It is worth your while to visit its historical centre, which is crowded with wooden houses dotted with delightful shops.
Next, treat yourself to an excursion to Fort St. Louis, built on a hill on the orders of Louis XVI. From here, you can enjoy a stupendous view of Marigot Bay and its beautiful yacht club with the majestic docked luxury yachts.
However, a better view can be enjoyed with a trip to Pic du Paradis, where you will be able to see as far as Anguilla, Saba, St. Eustatius and St. Barth. Since here the sea is the sovereign, don’t miss out on St. Maarten’s beaches, starting with Great Bay Beach, a crescent of sand one kilometre and a half long located in front of Philipsburg. Going beyond the heritage that is Fort Amsterdam (a Dutch fortress constructed in 1620 housing a beautiful exhibit of historical finds) will take you to the intimate Little Bay Beach. From here, you can reach the base of Cay Bay, flanked by a beautiful sea bottom that’s great for snorkelling.
From the capital, surfers and golfers head west. The latter, into the waters of Mullet Bay; and the former onto the golf course behind it. A short distance further, you will find Cupecoy, excavated from the base of a cliff to form small beaches. Even further, on the western tip of the island, you will enter Terre Basse, the French territory. St. Marteen’s largest beach, Baie Longue, is located just a short distance away