November 21- November 28, 2010

Sint Maarten (also spelled Saint Martin) is a very unique/beautiful island. Christopher Columbus originally spotted the island (and claimed it for Spain), but he never landed there... and Spain never made settlement of the island a high priority. However, the French and Netherlands coveted the island (given its location) and jumped at the opportunity to colonize it. The two nations had numerous conflicts over the years, but neither were willing to leave... and the island remains split in half- French in the North and Dutch in the South.

There is no customs control at the border (you can just drive right through it), but there's a HUGE difference between the two sides... and you can immediately tell when you've crossed from South to North. I stayed on the French side and definitely liked it more than Dutch side (better surf spots, nicer restaurants, and less tourists). When I did visit the Dutch side though, I was unlucky... there were 6 giant cruise ships parked in the harbor.

Below are some of my favorite photos from the trip. It was difficult to only pick out 8... however, I'll be adding more of the next couple weeks.

The sun setting over Anse de Marcel. This was the beach our resort was on. Very beautiful... it was surrounded by mountains on all sides (which made getting to the resort very difficult)

Watching planes land at SXM international airport (on Dutch side of island). It was amazing to see the planes so close... little scary at times. More images/videos here: Princess Juliana International Airport landings

A secluded rocky beach that I hiked to... north end of island.

A scenic view on North end of island. This picture was taken right after a little rain squall. Again, this was a spot that I had to hike to (some amazing surf spots in this area).

The red cactus plants were scattered throughout the hills. They looked really cool... just don't touch them.

This was a hidden surf spot I found when hiking through the mountains... surfed here a couple days and was completely by myself. The waves broke really close to the rocks.

Watching the sunset at Grand Case. This little beach community had some of the best restaurants I've ever been to. It's definitely the culinary capital of the Caribbean. A short video of the sunset is here: Grand Case sunset

This picture is looking at a really good surf spot called Petite Cayes. It's a deserted beach on the Northern Coast of the island. It takes an hour to hike to (or 25 minutes by boat)... so as  you can imagine, not many people surf here. I hiked here a couple times... really fun waves.

A link to the full album is here: Sint Maarten- November 2010

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