St. Martin / St. Maarten is a really unique and lovely island. In fact, it’s one of my favorite places on the planet! It’s an island rich in culture and beauty. St. Martin / St. Maarten is divided in half – the northern half is a French territory, and the southern half is Dutch. Generally, you can pass between the sides of the island with very little trouble.
However, the island experience is vastly different, depending upon where you choose to vacation. The French side is known for clothing and textile shopping, delicious cuisine, and clothing-optional beaches. The Dutch side is known for its casinos, beaches, and jewelry.
The Disney cruise ships port East of Pilipsburg, which is the capital of the Dutch side, St. Maarteen. It is a bit of a walk into town, plan on talking the boat taxi, right from the pier. It’s a fun ride, and cheaper than taking a normal tax. It will take you right to the center of town. Just give yourself plenty of time to get back to the port before your cruise leaves.
The only way to Marigot, the capital of the French side, St. Martin, is by taxi. It is a good 20+ minute ride, negotiate your round trip fare in advance before getting in the taxi.
One note of caution – if you vist Maho Beach, be aware of the jets flying in and out from Princess Juliana Airport. It’s an aviation-watcher’s dream, because there are often large jets like Airbus 340s and Boeing 747s that fly just above the beach. You can experience the planes in flight, but the noise is certainly a factor.