About St. Martin

The island of St. Martin is one of the small islands located in the chain of islands of the Caribbean. St. Martin is known for warm, tropical weather, stretches of beautiful white sand beaches, a vibrant tourism sector, an interesting history and a diverse people.

The history of St. Martin is almost identical with the history of St. Maarten because of the common circumstances that both French and Dutch settlers encountered on the islands. From indigenous Arawak settlement, to Spanish arrival in 1493, their invasion, and then abandonment in 1648; the signing of the Treaty of Concordia under which the island was divided into St. Martin (French owned) and St. Maarten (Dutch owned); the importation of African labour during slavery and economic dependence on salt for sustainable economic development and survival for several years.

St. Martin toady, is one of the islands owned by France in the Caribbean, and has stood out both for its cultural diversity and level of economic development. In addition to the French language spoken, English is widely spoken largely as a result of the immigration of nationals from neighbouring English speaking islands as well as from Europe. English is an internationally spoken language, and its presence in St. Martin as lingua franca has positively influenced foreign investment, trade, commerce and social unity.

For over 350 years, St. Martin has coexisted with its Dutch neighbours with whom collaborated efforts were made for the best interests of the island as a whole and the mutual benefit of each. Culturally, St. Martin has maintained its French heritage, which is evident in local cuisine, art and craft, system of education and general way of life. Tourist activity on St. Martin is therefore described as being more formal, and in this sense, different from St. Maarten, said to be a bit more informal based on Dutch customs. St. Martin is however said to be less developed than St. Maarten. The four main boundaries separating St. Martin from the other half of the island, to include French Quarter/Dutch Quarter, Belle Vue/Cole Bay and Oyster Pond, Copecoy/Low Lands.

Because of St. Martin all year tropical heat, tourists are advised to wear cool cotton or linen clothing, but clothes may be worn in St. martin to suit the tourist’s discretion, depending on the place being visited, whether the beach, a park, shopping centre, a casino or fine restaurant.

Unlike other Caribbean islands where there are rivers, there are no rivers in St. Martin, so water from the sea is desalinated for domestic use and drinking, whilst bottled water is readily available as an alternative for drinking and preparing meals. In St. Martin, electrical appliances operate based on European standard and are usually at 220 volts; unlike the Dutch side of the island where current is 110 volts.

St. Martin is served by the Princess Juliana International Airport which was built in 1939 as one of the solutions for the depression that St. Martin underwent after the abolition of African slavery and drastic decrease in salt exports from St. Martin to the United States as a result of dwindled demand. With the international airport, tourism and investor activity in St. Martin was spurred thanks to the easy access that businessmen and tourists from all over the world had to the island. Tourist arrival was further enhanced by the construction of a cruise ship facility capable of docking four cruise ships at once; another pier was later built.

St. Martin represents of the islands of the Caribbean that boasts a high level of economic and social development, sophisticated infrastructure and a progressive investor friendly environment.