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Island Adventures In St. Martin

Stroll around the capital city of Marigot and immerse yourself in the spirit of the French Caribbean. Marina Port la Royale has posh boutiques with the latest European fashions and fine jewelry, all of which are duty free. Feel free to get lost in the seduction of these incredible buys, as the entire city is only four streets and you will have no trouble finding your way home. Unless, of course, you don’t want to return!

On some days, an open-air market is set up around Market Square, selling a variety of regional produce and fresh fish. It is the perfect place to sample the local fare while you sit and watch the crowds bargain over an assortment of homemade crafts and provisions.

Next to the Marina Port la Royale, the Museum of Marigot exhibits a reproduction of the 1,500-year-old burial mound uncovered in 1994. Also on display are artifacts dating as far back as 1800 BC and some beautifully decorated ceramics from around 550 BC.

The outstanding Fort St. Louis overlooks Marigot Bay. Originally built in 1767 to protect the French colony, now the arduous climb to the top rewards you with an awe-inspiring view of the island.

The beach at Grand Case near the northern tip of the island is home to a charming fishing village that is so famous for its fine restaurants it has been named “the dining capital of the Caribbean”. However, don’t let the first-rate restaurants steal your attention so that you miss out on the mouth-watering dishes served by the tucked-away huts that dot the roadside.

On the contrary, Basse Terres, the French word for lowlands, are located at the westernmost end of the island. They are home to the most exclusive villas on the island and two of St. Martin’s finest beaches: Plum Bay and Baie Rouge.

Another quaint fishing village on St. Martin, known as the French Quarter, is located just north of the Dutch border and was once the capital of St. Martin. Some of the original 17th-century buildings remain intact, which gives it an old-fashioned feel. Tour the area for examples of great, colonial architecture.

Just outside the French Quarter is the lovely Orient Bay. This European-style beach has a clothing-optional section for the au naturel sunbathers. It is also a good departure point for many offshore islands, such as Flat Island, Pinel Island and Green Key.

Nearby is the amazing Butterfly Farm, where you can walk amongst these rare and exotic creatures as they fly freely amidst flowers and waterfalls. Many will perch on your shoulder if you stand still long enough.

The highest pinnacle on the island, Pic Paradis reaches 1,400 feet and swells up from the center of the island. Climbing to the top provides a glorious panaromic view of the verdant rainforest below. This is also the exact spot that the original treaty was signed that divided the island in two countries.