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St Martin
St Maarten
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Carnival

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Bush Dogs
Sint Maarten Zoo

The zoo on the back side of the salt pond in Philipsburg was damaged by hurricanes Luis and Lenny but is fighting back. The South American bush dogs are extremely rare, shy, and cute. However, not all zoo displays work as well as planned. This peacock seemed pretty proud of his display, and so were we, but his intended mate (bottom right corner) turned and walked away. We had a great visit and have a few more words and pictures here. The zoo's website is here.

Peacock

Segway tour

Philipsburg Boardwalk

One of the things that the Dutch side has done right over the years is to preserve and upgrade the beauty of Great Bay in Philipsburg. By preserve, we mean that they have kept a relatively low profile in the center of town, concentrating development to the edges. Large hotels are at the western end of town and around the Divi Peninsula into Little Bay. The eastern edge has the new cruise ship piers and terminal. They actually used the dredged sand from the piers to replenish the beach and then built a grand boardwalk along most of Great Bay. It's a long walk but a short ride on a Segway tour. There are plenty of beach bars, shops, and some very good restaurants along the boardwalk. The views are spectacular.

Butterfly

Butterfly Farm

The Butterfly Farm near Orient Beach on the French side is well worth a visit. See butterflies from caterpillar to chrysalis to full beauty. We have some photos and comments from our visit.

Pic Paradis (Peak Paradise)

St Martin's highest peak (about 1400 ft) has a road most of the way to the top. You can walk up the dirt track or enjoy a stroll through Loterie Farm, seeing its many special sites and learning St Martin history. Stop at the small restaurant before your journey to stock up on water and drinks and after to replace the lost energy. The views at the top and along the way are stunning.

Marigot and more from
the top of Pic Paradis

Orient Bay from the
top of Pic Paradis

A cruise ship in Philipsburg
from the top of Pic Paradis

Carnival

Carnival

The French side has a carnival at the usual time, ie just before Lent. There are the usual events over several days leading up to the big festivities at the carnival grounds just outside Marigot. The Dutch side does it all over again in April on their carnival grounds near Philipsburg: bands, parades, calypso, rum, Heineken, etc. You have to see it to believe it, and the best place to see it from is the porch at L'Escargot Restaurant. There are lots of photos on their site. For a funny view of Caribbean life with an accent on carnival time, check out Herman Wouk's "Don't Stop The Carnival" in the island section of our bookstore.

Heineken Regatta

Heineken sponsors several days of top level racing around the island on the first weekend in March. It starts on Thursday night with a big party at Princess Casino. Friday brings a race around the island, essentially from Simpson Bay to a big party in Philipsburg. Saturday is a race from Simpson Bay to a party in Marigot and Sunday has the survivors racing from Marigot back to Simpson Bay for a grand finale that finishes in the wee hours to be followed by various after-party parties. More pictures here.

Regatta

French Museum
French Museum
The French side has a museum at 7 Ficho street in Marigot, near the Catholic Church on the way to Fort Louis. It's open Monday through Friday (closed during lunch) and features information on the islands earliest settlers, the Arawaks.

Dutch Museum
The Dutch museum is on Front Street in Philipsburg. It is open Monday through Saturday, including lunch.

French Fort

Fort St Louis

The French fort, Fort St Louis, has a commanding view of Marigot harbor and is well worth the short walk up the hill. The photo on the left is from Glenn Aker.
French Fort

Dutch Fort
Fort Amsterdam

Fort Amsterdam also has a commanding view of the harbor, but this harbor is Philipsburg, the Dutch capital. Peter Stuyvesant, the peg-legged governor of New Amsterdam when the British took it from the Dutch and renamed it New York, was the governor here. His leg is still someplace near these ruins. Generally, the guns are not used to fire on cruise ships.

Dutch Fort

Market

Market

There is a market on the waterfront in Marigot (left, click to enlarge) and on Wednesday and Saturday mornings, it gets even larger. In addition to crafts and clothing, there are fruits, vegetables, and fresh fish. Lots more photos here. In Philipsburg, clothing and souvenirs are always available.

Market

THE OLD
HOUSE
THE OLD HOUSE
Arawak Pottery

The Old House is an old sugar plantation open to the public from 10AM until 4 PM everyday except Monday. (ph 590 87 32 67) On the main road between Orient Beach and Quartier d'Orleans. Nearby is Arawak Pottery. (phone 590 87 40 95)

Movies

If all else fails, and especially on the rare rainy day, check out the Megaplex in Simpson Bay (544 4777).

Megaplex

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