For truly local shopping with a Caribbean flavour, do not miss Philipsburg’s Saturday market. Children will enjoy Sint Maarten’s zoo, where they’ll see ocelot wildcats, bat caves, marmosets, owls and capybara -– which look like giant hamsters. Grown-ups in search of a turn at the tables can try their luck at the 12 casinos in Dutch Sint Maarten or the island’s lively nightclubs.
The island’s fascinating history – although owned by the Netherlands and France since 1648 it has also been occupied by Spain and Britain – can be glimpsed in Philipsburg’s museum and at the ruins of colonial forts, one of which, at Great Bay Harbour, was the first military base built by the Dutch in the Caribbean.
For rest and relaxation after shopping expeditions, sight-seeing trips and nights on the town, there are superb beaches offering safe swimming, the full range of watersports from surfing and scuba-diving to parasailing and jet-skiing and fine ocean-side restaurants.
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