St. Maarten is the smallest Island in the world to be shared by two sovereign governments-namely the Dutch and French. The Dutch side, with Philipsburg as its capital occupies the southern 17 square miles of this 37-square-mile island; St. Martin, a French dependency, occupies the northern half. The dual nationality adds variety to this most unique of island gems in the Caribbean Sea. Both Dutch St. Maarten and French St. Martin have maintained a peaceful coexistence for over 350 years, the longest of any two bordering nations. The two territories have enjoyed harmonious relations through their history and have shared the prosperity of many years without dispute. The Treaty of Concordia executed on March 23rd 1648 established this coexistence and has the unique distinction of being the oldest Treaty still in force today.
Sunny and warm year-round, with some cooling from trade winds. The average temperature during the winter season is 80F (27C) and a few degrees warmer and more humid in the summer. Occasional showers in late summer and early fall, with average annual rainfall of 45 inches.
St.Maarten expresses its culinary soul not by creating a single cuisine, but by giving voice to cooking styles from the far-flung corners of the globe. Diners can select from more than 300 restaurants offering French, Dutch, Caribbean, Italian, Chinese, Indonesian, Creole and more.
The deceptively small Dutch St. Maarten presents some interesting contrasts for the explorer. Wide beaches along the coast, full of sunbathers and surfers, seem a far cry from the quiet country roads and small towns of the hillsides. In the evening the hills of the interior become even more peaceful, while the glittering casinos and pulsing clubs of the coast just begin to come alive.