Are you planning your very first trip to St. Martin for later in the year? Do you know about the amazing attractions on this Caribbean island? If not, you must know what the island offers before you can finalize your travel plans.
St. Martin has so much more to offer than just beaches and fun-in-the-sun. The island’s unique blend of French and Dutch histories provides for a cultural heritage that’s truly unparalleled. So whether you’re looking for an all-inclusive resort, or something more low-key like one of many of St. Martin’s private luxury villa rentals on the beach, you should make sure to take in some of St. Martin’s unique history and culture.
Marigot is the capital of the French side of the island, and was named for the many swamps, or marigots, that used to occupy the area before the town was built. A beautiful promenade dons the waterfront in Marigot. The promenade runs from the Fort Louis Marina through the open-air market and eventually ends on the other side of the town near the cemetery.
The market in Marigot is a grand melting pot of colors, smells, and lively vendors. Locals sell fruit, vegetables, spices, meats, fish, and other local commodities out of the many open Creole-style huts that line Marigot’s waterfront.
The capital of the Dutch side of the island, Philipsburg was originally settled by the Dutch in 1631, but the town gets its’ name from John Philips, a Scottish settler who was largely responsible for developing the town from 1735 to 1746. The explosion of the sugar industry on the island spurred considerable economic growth and an influx of immigrant settlers in St. Martin shortly thereafter, and the establishment of local government services became increasingly necessary.
At this time John Philips became “commander” of the island and set to encouraging modernization of cane, coffee, and cotton harvesting techniques. Though Philips was not the town’s original founder, the name Philipsburg first appears in 1738. Present-day Philipsburg now welcomes more than one million cruise ship passengers every year.
The village of Grand Case is one of the most authentic areas of the island. This authenticity is not so subtly reflected in the town’s unique housing structures. Over the years, Grand Case has earned a reputation as the “gourmet capital” of St. Martin.
During any time of the year you’ll find locals and fishermen rubbing shoulders with the thousands of tourists enjoying the spectacles of Grand Case. If you’re lucky enough to arrive in St. Martin at the right time of year, you’ll be able to catch the “Mardis de Grand Case” or the Harmony Night Festival, two of Grand Case’s best cultural celebrations.
During your visit to St. Martin, be sure to see the sights in these three historic villages! Don’t hesitate! Start exploring your options for private vacation villa rentals in St. Martin today!