Geography of the island of St. Martin – St. Maarten
Located at 6 ° south of the Tropic of Cancer at 63° west and 18° north, the island of St. Martin - St. Maarten is located nearly at the extreme north-east of the Caribbean Archipelago. A hinge between the Lesser and Greater Antilles, the island lies between the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea. By plane, Saint-Martin is at 4:20 from New York, 2:55 from Miami (Florida), 45 minutes from Guadeloupe and Puerto Rico. However, 7000 km separate it from Europe (8:00 flight).
The nearby islands are Anguilla, St. Barthelemy, Saba, St. Eustatius, St. Kitts and Nevis.
With a total area of 90 km ², the island shows 15 km at its greatest length and 13 km at its widest point.
From North to South, a series of jagged ranges of hills culminating at Pic Paradis, 424m, form the "backbone" of St. Martin. The deeply indented coastline, offers more than thirty beaches,from the smallest (Lovers Beach) to the largest (Long Beach), and two ports: Philipsburg and Marigot. The coves, accessible by boat, are numerous and often very well equipped, like Oyster Pond or Anse Marcel.
The Atlantic Coast, "windward coast", is subject to wave action and offshore trade winds, which, nearly all year round, are blowing steadily and almost constantly, for the delight of the sailors and windsurfers. The vegetation on this side of the island is drier, more tormented.
The Caribbean coast, "leeward coast", more sheltered, and the waves are less potent in normal weather. The beaches are more numerous, and the vegetation more luxuriant.
The French side of the island, St Martin has a total surface area of approx 54sq. km and is located at the south of the island. The main town of the French side is Marigot. The other villages or neighbourhoods are Grand-Case, Colombier, Cul de Sac, Quartier d'Orléans, Nettle Bay and the Lowlands. The French side is an Overseas Collectivity.
Sint-Maarten,the Dutch side, has an area of 34 sq. km and is located at the south of the island and is part of the Netherlands Antilles.
Sint-Maarten is a territory belonging to the Netherlands. The main town is Philipsburg the other villages or neighbourhoods are Simpson Bay, Madame Estate, Cul-de-sac, Dutch Quarter, Oyster Pond..
Note: There is no physical border between the French and Dutch territories, people and goods can move freely between the two parts of the island.
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