Things to Do in St Martin
The island of St Martin (on the southern end of which St Maarten sits) has had its fair share of land disputes, as you would expect from an island that is split into two territories, one French and one Dutch. The tiny island of Tintamarre just off the coast is no different and is now a part of the French St Martin.
Located less than two miles to the northeast of St Maarten, this flat, 80-acre island is uninhabited and includes many unspoiled beaches to explore, some of which are clothing-optional. With calm waters, historical ruins to explore and fields of greenery, grass and palm trees to wander through, there is much to do on this tiny slice of Caribbean paradise.
Ocean lovers and outdoors adventurists love the little island of Pinel. Located just off of the St Maarten coast, Pinel Island is a safe haven of white sand and clear water that is perfect for kayakers, stand-up paddle boarders and those who want a tranquil escape from the modern world.
On the main beach you’ll find two restaurants with lobster and conch specialties, and on the other side of the island you’ll find an ideal snorkel spot in the secluded cove protected by a barrier reef. The island is small enough to explore by foot, and if you end up on the secluded side of the island, you’ll be rewarded with great views of St Maarten and the greater Caribbean.
One of the most developed, popular and beautiful beaches in all of St Maarten, this clothing-optional spot is a top attraction. At Orient Beach you’ll find great views of the bay, clear water and many excellent restaurants and bars that let you dine with your feet in the sand.
Certainly one of the most European-feeling beaches of the Caribbean, Orient Beach offers plenty to do in and out of the water, including live music, parasailing, jet skiing, windsurfing and also a strong undertow that makes sunbathing more popular than swimming. Club Orient, the island’s only nudist resort, sits on the southern end of the beach.
One of the most famous but under-visited beaches in St Maarten, Baie Rouge (Red Beach) is picturesque with its signature red sand and rock formations.
Found in the Lowlands area of the country, these shores are in a neighborhood residential area, which means it remains relatively quiet. It also sits between two rocky bluffs that seclude the serene area. At the edge of the beach, young people are often found jumping off the rocks into the sea, while others don snorkel gear to head out looking for fish. On the half-mile-long strip of sand, it is common to see topless sunbathers out enjoying the weather.
From Grand Case Bay you can enjoy easy access to one of the best snorkeling destinations on the island. Creole Rock is a small rocky outcropping just offshore, at the north end of the bay, where you can slip into the 30-feet deep water to explore the reef and fish life that are protected here as part of a marine preserve. As you swim near the edge of the rock, you’ll be engulfed by schools of sergeant majors and yellow snapper, and it’s common to spot sea turtles grazing among the rocks. Creole Rock is also loaded with wildlife above the water because it’s a bird rookery where pelicans and brown boobies come to lay their eggs.
More Things to Do in St Martin
Low-lying Anguilla makes an interesting contrast to mountainous St Maarten. This British-controlled island is less developed than some of its neighbors, even though its beaches compare with the best in the world. There’s the usual range of Caribbean activities on offer – golf, diving, fishing – but it's the stunning coastline you'll most remember. Whether you go for the placid waters of Cove Bay or the wide stretch of Mead’s Bay, you're going to wish you packed a thesaurus.
Get an up close look at some of the world’s most beautiful and exotic butterflies at the Butterfly Farm on the east side of St. Martin. The farm has a collection of more than 40 species of butterflies and moths—including rare species like the Central American postman and Brazilian blue morpho—that live and breed among the lush tropical gardens that create a Zen-like experience with waterfalls and koi-filled pools inside the screened enclosure. If you come early in the morning, you may have the chance to spot new butterflies emerging from their cocoons, and if you wear brightly colored clothes, they may mistake you for flowers and land on your shoulder.
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