Seascape and jacuzzi at La Samanna Resort in St. Martin (Orient Express Hotels)

Exterior of La Samanna Resort in St. Martin (Orient Express Hotels)

Baie royale suite at La Samanna Resort in St. Martin (Orient Express Hotels)

Restaurant at Le Meridien Resort in St. Martin (Le Meridien Resort)

Beach in St. Martin (Digital Vision)

Jetskiing in St. Martin (Le Meridien Resort)

Cupecoy Bay Beach, St. Martin (Go Caribbean)

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What to do in St. Maarten (St. Martin)

St. Martin has always had a bit of schizophrenia: On one side is Sint Maarten, the Dutch party machine with beachfront hotels and relatively cheap eats, making it popular with budget travelers and spring breakers. Soak in this devil-may-care attitude at Sunset Beach, a five-minute walk from Princess Juliana International Airport. The runway approach is right next to Sunset Beach, and planes fly so close you can almost touch the landing gear. The island’s northern half is the less developed, French-influenced St. Martin. Head for Marigot, where vacationers can choose from among the dozens of authentic bistros that line the Rue de la Republique. Visitors to St. Martin would do well to behave. There’s no prison on this side of the island, but lawbreakers are often shipped away (literally in a boat) to nearby French Guadeloupe.

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