Global Traveler|October 2019
AS A MID-MARCH SNOWSTORM pummeled my northeastern U.S. hometown with eight inches of snow, I stuck my toes into the cool waters of several Caribbean islands. I wasn’t sorry to miss the fluffy white snow, instead preferring the white sand I strolled along as the waves clipped at my heels. A leisure vacation feels even more satisfying when you know you’ve left the unpleasant weather at home.
My Caribbean itinerary included island-hopping mostly in the Lesser Antilles/Leeward Islands: I began in Sint Maarten, and made my way to St. Kitts & Nevis, Antigua, Anguilla, Guadeloupe, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines and Barbados. Each was a new island to me, and I took the chance to both kick back and also actively discover a bit of what each island offers.
While my time in Sint Maarten was limited to its Dutch side, travelers to the island, half-Dutch and half-French, enjoy the best of both worlds, relishing in the cultures of both countries as well as the unique blended culture the island affords. Sint Maarten-Saint Marten is, in fact, the smallest land mass in the world shared by two nations, and the most-visited of the Leeward Islands.
From the United States, I arrived in Philipsburg, the capital, and a busy port city bustling with not only people but duty-free shopping, resorts, villas, activities and, of course, beaches. The airport is well-served from destinations around the globe, and the island is a huge draw for yachting, one of the biggest in the Caribbean.
I would be sailing between the various islands on my agenda, and as I made my way from the airport hub to the port, I spotted areas of the island still affected from 2017’s Hurricane Irma; however, it was clear from the airport and the port, both crowded with visitors, the island is largely back in the business of welcoming leisure-seekers.
I really dug my toes into the sand during my time in St. Kitts, enjoying a beach barbecue on Carambola Beach in Basseterre. As I enjoyed Champagne served in the surf and freshly grilled lobster, then read a book under an umbrella while sipping from a drink boasting one, I finally had that ah-ha moment of release that a week-long Caribbean vacation in March (or any month, really) requires and demands. This was island living at its finest, or “limin,” the St. Kitts & Nevis word for hanging out.
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