Day 2 of Rotaract District Conference, for me, was all about the I love SXM island tour! I was more than excited to explore St. Maarten/St. Martin.
I started my morning with breakfast from the buffet. I am a creature of habit so I stuck with something familiar…. Bacon, Eggs, French Toast & Pancakes. I literally ate the same thing every day for the entire week…. & I didn’t regret it at all.
The morning was all about general training sessions (most of which I missed…lol). What I did catch though was quite interesting & informative. I had an errand to run on the road so I slipped out of training & headed to Simpson Bay.
Solo Trip To Simpson Bay
I tried getting a ride to Simpson Bay but that didn’t work out (Conference had everyone super busy) so I decided to take a taxi. Where I was directed to seek a taxi by the Front Desk staff was empty so I wandered across the road from the hotel and I unknowingly ended up on a bus to Philipsburg.
It was a very comfortable ride to my destination & the driver was very courteous. I can understand why there were so many tourists on the bus. The bus fare was also only $1.50 to Simpson Bay.
More snippets from my trip to Simpson Bay can be found in Part 2 of the vlog.
SXM Island Tour
I was so excited for this island tour!!!!! I am not a sand & sea tourist; I love to explore landmarks & spots that the locals would visit. We started at our hotel in Maho Bay and headed towards the border monument via the causeway bridge across Simpson Bay lagoon.
First stop was the border monument. St Maarten/St. Martin is the smallest land mass in the world shared by two larger nations. Because of this unique island I got the chance to live out my “A Walk To Remember” moment by standing in two places at the same time!!!!
Unfortunately, I didn’t get to take an awesome picture doing it because it was the middle of the afternoon & I wasn’t up for traffic dodge. Nonetheless it was one of my favourite stops & the story of the border was rather interesting….
“The treaty of Concordia or the partition treaty of 1648 was an agreement signed by the Dutch and the French to divide the island in two, A French side and a Dutch side. Even though the original document disappeared, the treaty is still valid to this day. The treaty allows free movement across the border.”
“It is said that a representative of both sides was chosen to do the honors.
The two then faced in opposite directions and started off from the east coast on the shorelines of the Island. Where ever they would meet would be the point at where the island would be divided.
The French ended up with twenty one square miles of the land while their Dutch counterparts only got sixteen square miles. It is also thought that the French was armed with his WINE while the Dutchman was in possession of GIN, thus the inability to significantly represent the Dutch team.”
“The obelisk was erected in 1948, during a commemoration ceremony, to celebrate 300 years of peaceful cohabitation between the two nations.”
Marigot, the capital of St. Martin, was a breathtaking place. It was the next stop on our island tour. We were given 30 minutes to explore. There were so many options we almost had no idea where to go. We decided to visit the Marigot Market (where I bought a really cute beach hat) and Le West Indies Mall. Le West Indies Mall is a shoppers delight! This is a recommended stop on any visit to St. Martin. It has three floors of restaurants & stores filled with fine clothing, shoes, jewelry, watches & perfume.
A little History…
The town of Marigot appeared around 1969 and owes its name to the many swamps or marigots that used to occupy the zone. Marigot grew rapidly over the 18th century thanks to sugar cane production and became the capital of the French part, from where successive governors conducted their official business. In 1970, the filling of a section of the lagoon enabled the extension of the village. Another land filling project in 1990 facilitated the construction of the road along side the water front.
Today, a pretty promenade has been developed on the water front. Now the headquarters of the “sous préfecture” for the two northern islands of St. Martin and Saint Barths, the town of Marigot is home to all the local government departments (Hôtel de la Collectivité, sous préfecture services, border police, customs, etc.).
Marigot is made up of a number of districts: Agrément, Hameau Du Pont, Galisbay, Concordia, Sandy Ground, Saint James and Bellevue.
We made another stop on the French Side to feed some wild Iguanas, unfortunately, I can’t remember the name of the area but it was near Quarter D’Orleans.
The drive to the Dutch capital Philipsburg was not too bad, lots of twist & turns & even more Adult entertainment (lol…that is for another post). When we got to there, the buses left us as the University of St. Martin where we were met by a marching band that led us all the way to the Government office where we met St. Maarten’s Prime Minister Hon. Marcel Gumbs & Minister of Tourism Hon. Claret M. Connor.
After our meeting we were then given time to explore Philipsburg & shop
A little History…
“Philipsburg is the main town and capital of the country of Sint Maarten. The town is situated on a narrow stretch of land between Great Bay and the Great Salt Pond. It functions as the commercial center of Sint Maarten.
Philipsburg was founded in 1763 by John Philips, a Scottish captain in the Dutch navy; the settlement soon became a bustling centre of international trade.”
Dr. “Claude” Wathey can be credited for transforming St. Maarten from “just another island” into one of the leading tourist destination in the Caribbean with one of the highest standards of living in the region.
|E. Camille Richardson Street from in front of the Government Building.. the building on the left is the Police Station.|
|NKRC & St. Maarten Prime Minister Hon. Marcel Gumbs|
|The Market on the right|
|Selfie Stick fun at the Market|
|The famous Back Street….Clothes shopper’s heaven!!|
|Front Street…Jewelry & Electronics heaven!|
|On the board walk|
|Great Bay from the Board Walk|
|I found Jack!|
Here is my vlog of Day 2 in St. Maarten/ St. Martin….hope you enjoy!
I hope you enjoyed this post & stay tuned for the rest of the SXM experience.
Thanks for stopping by!