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Hello everyone! I don’t know about you, but this warm weather is making me ready to travel to far away places. Tropical places where the sun is always shining, the food is great, and you can just spend your days basking in the heat while working on your golden tan. I have only been out of the country two times in my life (many more to come of course) and one of these was the island of Saint Maarten which is in the northeast Carribbean. The cool thing about this island is that half of the island is Dutch, and the other half is French. So you get to experience two cultures in one trip. I was fortunate enough to go there for my Senior trip with my Mom. Let me tell you, it was absolutely amazing! I could have stayed there forever. The water was turquoise, you could see all the way to the bottom, and the sand was perfectly white and pure. The weather was beautiful the whole time we were there which was mid July. I was completely enthralled by the beauty and the culture of this island. The whole time I was there, I felt like I was in a Bob Marley or MAGIC! song, letting all my cares go and just enjoying each moment in this paradise. 10489758_666770410076556_6101404796125585197_n

 

We stayed at the Divi Little Bay Beach Resort on the Dutch side of the island. The hotel was very cute and embraced the tropical culture of Saint Maarten. This part of the island was very nice, and the beach wasn’t overcrowded at all. Most of our days we spent our time just lounging on the sand by the ocean, drinking smoothies. Other times, we would pull our floats into the ocean and just lay in the water for hours at a time because there were no waves on our side of the beach; the water was completely still. This area of the bay was also well-known for the snorkeling, so we went a few times. I was absolutely TERRIBLE! I swear I swallowed gallons of salt water, but it was so much fun. The fish were so colorful and beautiful among the coral and other sea life. There were many water sports available at the resort, and I chose to ride a jet ski one day which was a blast! I was kicking butt out there on the water….well not really…but I felt like I was lol. There were also several pools around the resort that were right on the beach, but my favorite was the hidden infinity pool that overlooked the bay. It was such a serene and peaceful getaway.

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One day my Mom and I visited the touristy town of Philipsburg which was on the Dutch side. This town was absolutely adorable! The buildings were all different colors, complete with shops of every kind, including a delish Belgium Chocolate shop. We had lunch by the ocean at a cute little seafood shack that was delish! I loved just wondering through the town and enjoying all the cute architecture.

 

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On the French side of the island, we visited Marigot which was probably my favorite part of the whole trip. The French side was completely different than the Dutch side because it wasn’t as developed and modern. Of course, I had to eat some real French crepes while I was there, so our first stop was Sarafina’s which was a French pastry shop. It was fabulous! It was so hard to choose what to try, so we chose 3 different pastries as well as a side of fries. Everything was to DIE FOR! The Nutella crepe was my favorite of course. After stuffing our tummies, we stopped at a coconut shack and I experienced my first drink of REAL coconut water…OMG. It was seriously incredible. I’m pretty sure we drank like 3 whole coconuts.

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The water was so refreshing and sweet…perfection. After we were completely refreshed, we hiked to Fort Louis which was an old army fort that was created to protect the warehouses where local goods were stored, as well as the battle grounds between the French and the English. This site offers a stunning view of the island, and was a great hike to burn some of the calories off from our large lunch. The final thing we did that day was experience the French markets. I could have shopped all day! You wouldn’t believe all the local art, food, clothes, jewelry, artifacts, that the St. Maarten people were selling. I loved bargaining with the locals, and I ended up with some really awesome stuff. I loved how it was all handmade, and you could really see the culture reflected in each piece.

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The view from Fort Louis
The view from Fort Louis
It was windy up on Fort Louis!
It was windy up on there!

The final thing we did in St. Maarten was take a sunset cruise around the island. This cruise was super fun and absolutely beautiful. It was really cool to see all the things the islands had to offer that we otherwise wouldn’t have seen. Everyone was dancing and having such a great time. Seeing the sun set over the ocean was a great way to end our trip. It was such a great bonding experience with my Mom as well; she loves the beach just as much as I do, so she was in heaven the whole time. I recommend that everyone visit Saint Maarten in their lifetime; it was a wonderful adventure that I will never forget. Traveling opens your eyes up to new cultures, new peoples, and new ideas that you can incorporate in your own life.

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See you in paradise,

Ashlyn Tori<3

Of course we had to take some dance pictures!
Of course we had to take some dance pictures!

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