Sharon and I went to St. Martin for our honeymoon in 1993 – still our only time in the Caribbean a and one of only two times we did have done the resort vacation where we stayed in one place for a week. Pretty relaxing week, did the standard parasailing, jet ski, and hanging out on the beach. We did the time share sales presentation to get a free sailboat cruise to go snorkeling.
Sint Maarten / Saint-Martin
St. Martin has two discrete jurisdictions – the French side (Sint Martin) and the Dutch side (St. Maarten) and each are territories of their respective countries. We stayed on the Dutch side near Cole Bay and the main Dutch city of Philipsburg. Very touristy as this is where the cruise ships come in – so a lot of people to help you. I remember Heineken was cheaper than Coke, so truly a Dutch influence and no import taxes. On the French side, the main city of Marigot was much more laid back with good French restaurants.
We were wanting to purchase a painting and we heard about an impressionist art gallery by Alexandre Minguet which was located in a rural area on the French side of the island. It was a very nice gallery and real paintings were too expensive for us, so we bought some prints. But the main reason that it was memorable is that we ran into a friend of mine from high school. who was there filming a mini-series. She and a friend were the only people there when we arrived….small world.
We went to Saba, which is a volcanic island and was a 15 minute flight from St. Martin on the recommendation of one of Sharon’s friends. In addition to be very different terrain than St. Martin, it had the world shortest runway (and still does!). Taxi’s are waiting at the airport to provide tours around the island. On the day we went, most of the mountains were covered in clouds and our taxi driver was pretty entertaining. As you can imagine – it is a pretty small gene pool and he was either friends or related to everyone we passed (or both).
(This was written during the Great Shutdown of 2020. My memory isn’t this good, used internet searches to fill in a lot of holes. If there’s huge fat foot below me, it not my fault – that an advertisement I can’t control).