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St. Maarten, the island paradise, offers a number of key differences from other Caribbean islands — it’s more developed and offers more cosmopolitan attractions like shopping and gambling. It’s lusher and more verdant than its island neighbors. And, of course, it’s curiously divided between its Dutch and French sides. uTravel recently toured the island to come up with our definitive list of St. Maarten’s top 5 attractions.

#1 Westin St. Maarten Presidential Suite. One of the largest and best-situated resorts on the island, the Westin St. Maarten boasts the island’s largest infinity pool (pictured above), but its real hidden gem is its super-luxe Presidential Suite. Complete with wrap-around balcony with views of St. Barth’s, the Presidential Suite has two bedrooms, kitchen and extra-large living room and dining area, prefect for wedding parties. Book the Westin St. Maarten here.

#2 Shopping In Grand Case Unlike most Caribbean islands, St. Maarten has developed towns on both the Dutch and French side with robust shopping options. Check out the stores in Grand Case, a colorful section on the French side, for a bit of Caribbean glam.

#3 Gambling Many of the major hotels on the island like the Westin and Sonesta offer gambling on premises, but there are also numerous gaming establishments on the Dutch side, which make the island something of a topical Monte Carlo.

 #4 Orient Beach As attractive as any beach in the Caribbean, Orient Beach is deservedly St. Maarten’s most popular attraction. With an array of clubs and bars lining the beach, sun worshippers are bound to stay blissfully well-lubricated. Adventurous travelers can strip down on the nude side of the beach – but no photos allowed!

#5 12 Metre Regatta Sailing is a key component of any great Caribbean holiday, but only in St. Maarten can you help guide the Stars & Stripes, the yacht which won back the America’s Cup in 1987. The 12 Metre Regatta, based in Pete’s Marina in the Dutch capital of Philipsburg, offers amateur sailors the opportunity to help navigate the Stars & Stripes in a mock race against another yacht.

Jet Blue, American and Delta offer direct flights from major U.S. cities to St. Maarten. You can book your flights here.

 

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