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St. Martin/St. Maarten
 
St Martin or Sint Maarten… The twin names denote the divided nature of this hospitable and attractive island. Like a miniature Haiti/Dominica, it’s two ‘countries’ in one, half French and half Dutch. On the outer fringe of the Leeward Islands, the exact territory split was allegedly created by a walking race between a Frenchman and a Dutchman in the 17th Century. At only 36 sq m in total, it wouldn’t have taken too long to cover their respective half circumferences – except that they’d have been strolling along some of the finest beaches in the Caribbean, giving an irresistible temptation to lie down and laze, just as they do today. Traditionally, the Dutch half provides the liveliest nightlife, the French half sunbathing on nude and/or topless beaches, and both join to offer literally 100’s of superb restaurants that provide yet a third name – ‘Gourmet Island’. The island also has the best airport in the area for linking to other resorts such as St Barth – though many a plan to do so has foundered on the attractions right here.
 

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