Let me first state for the record, I know how fortunate I am that my 21 year old daughter still prefers to spend Spring Break traveling with me! That being said, this latest road trip isn't really on the road at all! Mixing it up a bit, we flew into San Juan to set sail on a Southern Caribbean cruise!
Our first stop, the Island of St. Martin, or Sint Maarten if you're on the Dutch side!
The 34 square mile island is divided approximately 60/40 between the French Republic on the north side and the Kingdom of the Netherlands on the south. We started on the Dutch side, being tourists along Front Street, taking in the unique architecture and sampling Guavaberry Rum!
After getting a taste of the Dutch side, we took a taxi to the French side. Even though, as our driver told us, it was an election day closing most of the businesses, we still wanted to see and compare. Glad we did! We found some fabulous jewelry at the market, cooled off with strawberry mango coladas and once we recharged our batteries, walked up nearly 100 stairs to marvel at Fort Louis!
Fort Louis was built in 1789 on a hill overlooking Marigot Bay - it's primary function was to defend the harbor warehouses that stored salt, coffee, sugar cane and rum. The fort was abandoned when it lost its purpose due to friendlier relations between European countries and technology advancements in war. Restoration began in the late 20th Century and the ruins are now open to visitors.
Having had our share of sight-seeing in the heat, we opted for a taxi ride back to the ship, a dip in the pool, a lovely dinner and beautiful sunset to top off our first full day!
Next stop - St. Kitts!