While the Dutch side (St. Maarten), is located in the south, and the French side of St. Martin is in north, it is very easy to travel between them. This means that there is a lot more to do and see for visitors. These are the top things to do in St. Martin or St. Maarten.
Go to the beach
It can be hard to find the right place to begin when beaches are the main attraction of the island. Because it is located at the end end of the runway, Maho Bay Beach on St. Maarten may be the most well-known beach. Although it’s great for windsurfing and swimming, the highlight is the view of large aeroplanes just above.
Mullet Bay Beach is also popular with tourists. It has swaying palms, white sands, and a calm, clear sea. Baie Rouge Beach is located in St. Martin villas and is named for its reddish-colored sandy sands.
You can sunbathe in privacy thanks to the large boulders and rock formations that line the beach. The snorkeling is excellent on this island. Orient Beach is another popular spot, with a protected lagoon and many nearby shops and restaurants. The beach is clothing-optional and hosts Club Orient a family-friendly naturist resort that is loved by both locals and tourists.
Shop ’til you drop
Shopping is just as popular on the Caribbean’s only duty-free island. The island offers discounts on everything, from liquor and cigars to designer clothes, jewelry, and electrical goods, which are significantly cheaper than those in the United States.
It is a free island with no local sales tax or VAT. The price you see is what you will pay, and the island is always a bargain. The Philipsburg’s Front Street is well-known for its many jewelry shops. There are also many stores selling china, crystalware, and perfumes. The street has a beach boardwalk that runs along it, providing a great place to unwind and replenish your energy. You should also be aware of the shopping malls and galleries on the island, as well the small souvenir shops that sell local handicrafts as well as locally made food and drink.
Visit an old fort
Fort Amsterdam, which was built in 1631 to be the Caribbean’s first Dutch bastion is one of St. Maarten’s oldest historical sites. The fort is located on the southern peninsula between Great Bay & Little Bay. It was later captured by the Spanish, who made it an important garrison before abandoning it in 1648. It is now a ruin and the remains of rusted cannons, but it’s still a fascinating place for anyone who is interested in the island’s military history. It is home to a variety of wildlife, and offers stunning views of Philipsburg Island and its surrounding islands. It is easily accessible via Little Bay Road’s Divi Little Bay beach resort.
Enjoy the nightlife
St. Martin as well as St. Maarten are both famous for their lively nightlife and dining scene. There are many restaurants that offer almost all types of food. The island also has a wide variety of bars, nightclubs, and cocktail lounges. The Dutch side is home to Philipsburg, Simpson Bay and Maho, as well as Cupecoy, which are the most popular areas for nightlife and dining. The French side has the most popular restaurants in Marigot, Grand Case (known for being the ‘Gourmet Capital of the Caribbean). There are many great restaurants and bars in the Orient Bay and Oyster Pond areas. These have a casual beachside feel.
Go to the highest point of the island by hiking
Pic Paradis, in St. Martin, is 424m high. You can enjoy panoramic views of the whole island and neighboring islands from the summit.
Pic Paradis, a popular starting point of many organized tours, can be reached easily by foot or car. The island’s lush tropical landscape is complemented by some interesting historic sites. Nature lovers will love the hiking trails.
The abandoned hamlet of Petit-Fond can be seen, as well Concordia Hill where the Treaty of Concordia was signed between the French and Dutch in 1648. You can visit the Hope Estate Archaelogical Site, where you can see the remains of an Arawak Village, as well as the Loterie Farm Reserve, which offers hiking and zip-lining excursions, and has a restaurant, bar, and cocktail lounge.
Take a clay bath
The flat, 80-acre island Tintamarre is located just 2 miles from the northeast coast St. Martin. This protected natural reserve contains a beautiful beach as well as many private sandy coves that are perfect for snorkeling and swimming.
There is also an abandoned rail track and airstrip, as well as a defunct cotton plantation. Tintamarre is known for its clay mud baths. These therapeutic mud bathtubs are well-known for their skin-soothing properties and are the only mud baths that are not required to be dressed.
Tintamarre, which is only a short boat ride from St. Martin’s, can be booked as a charter to enjoy the local beaches, wildlife, and baths.
Enjoy the island’s most loved tipple
Guavaberries are a staple of St. Maarten and they are used to make Guavaberry liqueur, the national drink. It was made in private homes centuries ago. Today, it is produced at the Sint Maarten Guavaberry Company. This is an integral part local culture and tradition.
Guavaberry liqueur bottles are typically drunk in the region at Christmas. Guavaberry-based cocktails can be found in nearly every bar and restaurant in St. Maarten.
The Guavaberry Company can be found in Philipsburg. It is open for shopping, rum sampling, and visitors can also purchase Guavaberry coladas for take-home.
You can go butterfly spotting
The Butterfly Farm is located in St. Martin and houses around 40 species of butterflies. There are also as many as 600 other insects that live in this lush tropical reserve. This is a wonderful place to take a day trip. The tickets include a guided tour and can be redeemed for another visit.
A great shop is located at the farm selling souvenirs about butterflies. There are shaded cafes outside that offer refreshments.
See famous film memorabilia
The Yoda Guy Movie Exhibit, located amongst the bric a brac shops on St. Maarten’s Front Street is one of the most unusual and popular tourist attractions in the Caribbean. This unique exhibit features movie memorabilia from the most popular blockbusters.
Nick Maley is an internationally renowned artist who created Yoda and other Star Wars characters. The exhibit features a collection of film relics, life casts, and behind-the scenes mementos that Nick Maley is affectionately known as “That Yoda Guy”.
The shop sells souvenirs. The Yoda Guy is often available to sign autographs or pose for photos.
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