Philipsburg: The heart of Dutch St. Maarten
This Caribbean gem of an island is split into two distinct settlements: the French St. Martin to the north and the Dutch St. Maarten to the south where Philipsburg is the centre of the action.
Relaxing on a beach is a popular pastime for travellers to St. Maarten, and Simpson Bay is a great place to start. For those looking for a bit more seclusion, the white sands of Guana Bay hit the mark while a stop at Maho Beach is memorable mostly for the airplanes that fly directly overhead as they approach the landing strip that is unfathomably close to the water.
The pristine waters surrounding St. Maarten are home to plenty of snorkelling and diving opportunities. Popular spots include Oyster Pond Beach and Little Bay Beach beneath the historic Fort Amsterdam. For yachting enthusiasts, St. Maarten’s 12 Metre Challenge lets visitors race real America’s Cup boats in one of four regattas held every day.
Like a scene in a movie, horseback riding on the beach is an option from Lucky Stables: perfect for groups and families. Animal lovers enjoy the St. Maarten Zoo, the Caribbean’s largest zoo and home to over 80 indigenous species. Kids love the Butterfly Farm, where early risers can witness butterflies emerging from their cocoons!
Travellers can enjoy shopping along Philipsburg’s main boardwalk. Jewellery is a popular object of desire, while visitors can test their luck at one of the 13 casinos on the island.
With great restaurants, stunning beaches, outdoor activities and a pulsing nightlife, Philipsburg is the perfect spot to base a St. Maarten vacation.