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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

St. Maarten Island Tour

I would definitely agree that St. Maarten is one of the most famous tourist destinations in the Caribbean. Did you know that this island was mostly popular for salt? It was because during the 17th century when the Dutch settlers were still living in this island, they started to harvest salt from the Great Salt Pond where they export it back to Europe.
It was also during that time that the natives called the island "Land of Salt" or "Soualiga".
It's probably one of the reasons why they called the island "Land of Salt" because the Europeans started craving for salt, where they would rely on the place for getting salt, - a must have ingredient of food until today.

As you explore Philipsburg, the charming capital of St. Maarten, you'll be seeing the Dutch influences back to the colonial days, as you walk through the narrow roads with pastel-colored houses which are still intact. These houses still reflects the colonial architectural designs with 2nd storey verandas and flower-filled courtyards.

The St. Maarten Island Tour is one way of further exploring the area in order to visit the two-sides of the island; - the Dutch and the French sides.
You will also get the chance to explore more at Marigot, - the French capital, and Philipsburg, the Dutch capital. This is a great overview to see the uniqueness of these two islands!

This narrated, scenic tour ride will bring you to view the Great Salt Pond, and as you continue, you will see spectacular views of the Orient Beach and its neighboring islands. You will see more charming towns of Orleans as well as while you continue going your way, passing the lovely town of Grand Case going to Marigot (French side).

Once you reach Marigot, you will be allowed to explore both the outdoor markets and boutiques in the area. The outdoor markets are all around the Port of Marigot, and some boutiques across the street. You have 45 minutes of shopping. (not even enough time if you're a shopaholic! ;)).

On your way back to Philipsburg, you will see the monument that serves as a boundary separating the French and the Dutch sides of the island, then you will then have a 10-minute photo opportunity at the scenic International Look Out Point.

At the end of the tour, you'll have the option to stay a while at Philipsburg for more exploring and shopping, or return back to your ship right directly.

Just a note: - shops at Marigot are mostly closed during Sundays and holidays, so you might want to consider some other days for shopping other than those days.

FACT: St. Maarten/St. Martin is the world's smallest landmass governed by 2 nations - Netherlands & France!