St. Maarten/St. Martin tourism information is available at www.vacationstmaarten.com and www.stmartinisland.org. Other islands within an hour flight of St. Maarten's airport include St. Eustatius, Tortola, Antigua, St. Kitts and Nevis, all suited for day trips.
Saba: The ferry from St. Maarten to Saba, the Edge II, operates Wednesday through Sunday, departing Pelican Marina at 9 a.m. and arriving back at 5 p.m. The 75- to 90-minute crossing allows for about five hours on Saba. The day-trip fare is $75 round trip (www.stmaarten-activities.com).
Winair offers three or four 15-minute flights daily from St. Maarten to Saba. The round-trip fare starts at $105 (www.fly-winair.com).
Additional information: www.sabatourism.com.
Anguilla: The island is reached by 20-minute ferry from Marigot on French St. Martin, departing every 30 minutes through the day. The fare is $30 round trip (www.anguillaguide.com). There are no scheduled flights between St. Maarten and Anguilla.
Additional information: www .anguilla-vacation.com.
St. Barths: St. Barthélemy (St. Barths) is served by the Edge I out of Pelican Marina, a 45-minute trip, with daily departures to Gustavia at 9 a.m., returning to St. Maarten at 4:45 p.m. The day-trip fare is $65 round trip (www.stmaarten-activities .com).
Great Bay Express has two or three ferries daily leaving from Bobby's Marina in Philipsburg. The day-trip fare is $80 (www.sbhferry.com).
Voyager High Speed Ferry alternates departures out of Oyster Pond and Marigot, both on the French side of St. Martin, with three ferries daily. The day-trip fare is about $96 (www.voyager-st-barths.com).
Winair and Saint Barth Commuter (www. stbarthcommuter.com) offer 12-minute flights throughout the day from St. Maarten to St. Barths, with round-trip fares starting at about $142.
Additional information: saintbarth-tourisme.com.
Note that departure taxes and port fees add $5 to $20 onto each leg of transportation among the four islands.
Hurricane season ends in November. You can get great bargains in the Caribbean now, but for a worry-free vacation head there when hurricane season passes.