The northern, French side of the island is known as Saint-Martin, and is 54km² (21 square miles) in area. The southern, »Dutch side« of the island is known as Sint Maarten, and is 41km² (16 square miles). The French side, Saint-Martin, consists of the northern two-thirds of the island. It has a more »European« feel than the Dutch side. The native language is French and has the same guiding laws as France.
There are no casinos on the French side. It is less developed than the Dutch side, but contains more of the island's natural wonders. The French side is popularly known for clothing-optional Orient Beach and the adjacent nudist resort. The towns of Marigot and Grand Case provide some of the best gourmet meals anywhere and plenty of interesting shops. Beauty abounds on the island, with bluffs overlooking pretty harbours, sandy-cliffed beaches and tranquil rocky coves.
Anguilla was colonized by English settlers from Saint Kitts in 1650, and administered by Great Britain until the early 19th century, when the island - against the wishes of the inhabitants - was incorporated into a single UK dependency along with Saint Kitts and Nevis. Several attempts at separation failed. In 1971, two years after a revolt, Anguilla was finally allowed to secede; this arrangement was formally recognized in 1980 with Anguilla becoming a separate UK dependency.
Anguilla has few natural resources, and the economy depends heavily on luxury tourism, offshore banking, lobster fishing, and remittances from emigrants. Increased activity in the tourism industry, which has spurred the growth of the construction sector, has contributed to economic growth. The island is made of limestone, providing many caves.
The northern, French side of the island is known as Saint-Martin, and is 54km² (21 square miles) in area. The southern, »Dutch side« of the island is known as Sint Maarten, and is 41km² (16 square miles). The Dutch side, Sint Maarten, has become a leading destination in the property market with more and more developments being constructed. There are high-rise flats and waterfront communities, all of which are popular to buyers, especially Americans.
Many large resorts have been built and on many days cruise ships flood Philipsburg with their passengers. Philipsburg is one of the Caribbean's best shopping towns. If shopping's not your thing, you can sit out back on Philipsburg's harbour beach and have a drink. Or play at one of the casinos just down the street. There are nine on this side. When it all gets too mellow, go rip it up with a 4x4 excursion.
Saint Kitts and Nevis are a pair of tropical islands in the Caribbean, about one-third of the way from Puerto Rico to Trinidad and Tobago. As if it were the custom in the Caribbean, St-Kitts and Nevis changed hands many times between English and French, which has left it a heritage of cities with names from both countries. Contrariwise, the architecture there is very Anglo-Saxon in the Victorian style and especially in downtown Basseterre.
The islands became an associated state of the United Kingdom with full internal autonomy in 1967. The island of Anguilla rebelled and was allowed to secede in 1971. Saint Kitts and Nevis achieved independence in 1983. In 1998, a vote in Nevis on a referendum to separate from Saint Kitts fell short of the two-thirds majority needed.
Dominica is a Caribbean island country between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, about one-half of the way from Puerto Rico to Trinidad and Tobago. It is often known as »The Nature Island of the Caribbean« due to its spectacular, lush, and varied flora and fauna, which are protected by an extensive natural park system.
The most mountainous island of the Lesser Antilles, its volcanic peaks are cones of lava craters and include Boiling Lake, the second-largest thermally active lake in the world. Should not be confused with the Caribbean nation of the Dominican Republic. Dominica was the last of the Caribbean islands to be colonised by Europeans, due chiefly to the fierce resistance of the native Caribs. France ceded possession to Great Britain in 1763, which made the island a colony in 1805.