Philipsburg is the main town and capital of the country of Sint Maarten. The town is situated on a narrow stretch of land between Great Bay and the Great Salt Pond. It functions as the commercial center of Saint Martin island, whereof Sint Maarten encompasses the southern half. The island was first sighted by Christopher Columbus on 11 November 1493, but there was already an Arawak settlement there before his discovery. Philipsburg was founded in 1763 by John Philips, a Scottish captain in the Dutch navy; the settlement soon became a bustling centre of international trade. Two historic forts bear witness to Philipsburg's strategic importance in St. Maarten's history: Fort Amsterdam and Fort Willem.
The main shopping district, Front Street, is in the heart of the city. Philipsburg also has a port that is visited by many cruise liners, ships like Celebrity Solstice, Crown Princess, Disney Magic, and since 2010, Oasis of the Seas.
Held in November and celebrated with growing popularity is this showcase of the island’s top chefs and their signature dishes. The festival’s locations vary, although the boardwalk in Philipsburg hosts a large array of events.
Philipsburg has a hot and humid tropical climate with average daytime temperatures between 28 and 30 degrees Celcius and average nights around 23 degrees Celcius. Most rain falls between June and October with a chance of hurricanes from August onwards. Therefore, the drier (and slightly cooler) December to April period is the best time to visit weatherwise. Unfortunately prices rise sharply during this period and the months of November and May still have good weather. So budgetwise these latter months may be a good option as well.
Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM) is the base of Winair (Windward Islands Airways), which serves Sint Eustatius, Saba, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Barthélemy, Montserrat, Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda and Santo Domingo. Numerous airlines serve Sint Maarten from both the Caribbean and beyond, for example with KLM to Amsterdam and GOL to Manaus and Sao Paulo. North America is well served as well, with destinations being Washington, D.C., New York, Miami, Philadelphia, Boston, Charlotte and Chicago. Other main cities served include Toronto, Caracas and Paris. There are numerous taxis waiting for you to bring you to places on the island.
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