PHILIPSBURG (St. Maarten)
Offering an island bounty of electric-blue Caribbean Sea waters, sensational scuba diving, and elevated viewpoints, Philipsburg revels in Caribbean beauty. St. Maarten is an unusual island of dual personality - partitioned into French and Dutch sides. Discovered by Christopher Columbus on his second journey to the Americas in 1493. A truce was eventually brokered in 1648, sharing the island between the French and Dutch - an arrangement that endures today.
A Caribbean mirage of soft sand beaches and perfect snorkelling and scuba diving opportunities – arrive on the south of this beautiful island at the Dutch side’s capital, Philipsburg. Squeezed between the bay and the Great Salt Pond, the town offers waterfront strolls in the gentle breeze, duty-free bargains, and plenty of room to sit and drink in the dazzling sea views. Clear, turquoise waters hold underwater worlds of colourful corals and fish, while glorious beaches of typical Caribbean beauty invite you to sprawl out beside the tempting shallow waters. Look out to see occasional jet skis skirting the waters, as you recline on sand flanked by lush vegetation on both sides. Tear into the fresh local produce and taste the island’s sensational seafood - from lobster to red snapper and conch cocktails. Don’t miss the opportunity to try out the island’s favourite tipple, either - guavaberry rum.
Beautiful green peaks offer stunning hikes, amid the rich tangle of jungle scenery. Maho Beach may also be on the radar – the tranquillity of this small beach is regularly interrupted by the deafening roar of jet engines, as Princess Juliana International Airport’s runway comes perilously close to the sands. Huge planes skim just above the beach before touching down, and the blasts of departing jet engines blow violent gales out towards the waters.