My favorite Caribbean island is St. Maarten because it represents what collaboration can do. Sixty percent of the land belongs to the French with the capital at Marigot. The other forty percent belongs to the Dutch with the capital at Philipsburg. The cruise ships dock here. It’s the tiniest island in the world inhabited by two different countries. There is no border between them and no visible antagonism either.
Over the years, I’ve kayaked in the French side, learned to ride a Segway on the Dutch side, and generally loved the scenery, the people, and the cuisine on both sides. If I were to spend time on one Caribbean island, rather than hopping from one to another via a cruise ship, it would be St. Maarten.
Tradition has it that a Frenchman and a Dutchman divided the island by means of a walk-off. However, the Dutch side was founded in 1763 and the French side was founded in 1767. So there is some confusion here. What isn’t confusing is that St. Maarten has everything: fantastic weather, great sailing conditions, two different cultures, spectacular food, miles of sandy beach, and a unique zoo that features plants and animals that are indigenous to the Caribbean.
And while the Dutch prefer the guilder as their currency and the French prefer the Euro, the US dollar is accepted everywhere. What could be easier?