Combine chic French style with the relaxed Caribbean and you have some of the smartest resorts and hotels in the Caribbean.
The island of Sint Maarten-Saint Martin is the smallest land mass in the world to be shared by two different nations – its 37 square miles are divided between France and the Netherlands Antilles, though there is no real border. Its central mountain range provides rugged scenery traversed by winding roads through small villages and untouched landscapes. Despite its small size St Martin crams in stunning beaches, spectacular nightlife and shopping and dining that are amongst the best in the Caribbean.
Saint-Barths is another small Caribbean island paradise. One of the oldest Caribbean Islands, it was named by Christopher Colombus after his brother Bartholomeo in 1493 and was colonized by the British in the 17th century. Now under French administration, this 9 square mile island is surrounded by pure, white sand beaches and crystal-clear waters. Like St Martin, it has many first-class restaurants, a wide choice of leisure activities, sailing, big game fishing and yet more shopping. With less nightlife than St Martin, it has a slightly more sophisticated appeal.
Flying Time: Flights via Antigua 9 hours, 45 minutes from Antigua to St Barths or St Martin
Capital: Marigot, St Martin and Gustavia, St Barths
Activities: Prestigious sailing regattas, big game fishing and “open fishing tournament St Barths” in July, cultural events, shopping, and lively nightlife in St Martin.