While numerous Caribbean islands are still controlled by distant European powers, St Maarten or Saint Martin is the only one split between two, the smallest territory in the world to be so divided. But at the point where French Saint Martin meets Dutch St Maarten on the island's east coast, you won't find checkpoints or border guards, just the clear, calm waters of Oyster Pond. This protected cove welcomes ocean-faring yachts to a picturesque marina and it is also the berth for ferries to St Barth.

There’s no beach at Oyster Pond but nearby Dawn Beach is great for both swimming and snorkeling, with a reef just a few yards from the shore. For a change of pace, take a short drive north to the tiny fishing village of Orléans, which boasts some of the island’s oldest traces of the French colonial era as well as a popular butterfly enclosure, La Ferme des Papillons.

Practical Info

Oyster Pond is on the island’s east coast, 10 minutes’ drive from Philipsburg.

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