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Saint Martin

St. Martin’s Dutch side is known for festive nightlife, beaches, jewelry, exotic drinks made with native rum-based guavaberry liquors, and casinos. The island’s French side is known for its nude beaches, clothes, shopping (including outdoor markets), and rich French and Indian Caribbean cuisine. English is the most commonly spoken language along with a local dialect. The official languages are French for Saint-Martin, Dutch and English for Sint Maarten. Other common languages include various French-based creoles (spoken by immigrants from other French Caribbean islands), Spanish (spoken by immigrants from the Dominican Republic and various South American countries), and Papiamento (spoken by immigrants from Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao). The island is home to accommodations including hotels, villas, and timeshares, many of which are privately available for rent or sale. Rental cars are the primary mode of transportation for visitors. If any driving is expected off the major roads (such as to some of the more secluded beaches), a four-wheel drive is recommended. Traffic on the island, however, has become a major problem; long traffic jams between Marigot, Philipsburg and the airport are common. Because the island is located along the intertropical convergence zone, it is regularly menaced by tropical storm activity in the late summer and early fall. Neighbouring islands include Saint Barthélemy, Anguilla, Saba, Sint Eustatius “Statia”, Saint
Kitts and Nevis. With the exception of Nevis, all of these islands are easily visible on a clear day from St. Martin. St Maarten and Saint Martin offers duty-free goods in numerous boutiques. Popular goods include local crafts & arts, exotic foods, jewelry, liquor, tobacco, leather goods, as well as most designer goods. Most often the designer merchandise are sold at significant discounts. Saint Martin uses the euro as its currency, while Sint Maarten uses the Netherlands Antillean guilder. As a consequence of the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles, the Netherlands Antillean guilder will cease to be legal tender and be replaced by the Caribbean guilder. Almost every store on the island also accepts the United States dollar.

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