« CARIBBEANDiscover the Caribbean • St. Maarten

Discover Magical St. Maarten

The island of Saint Maarten is split into a Dutch side (St Maarten) and a French side (St Martin), so don't be confused if you see two different spellings for this popular Caribbean retreat. The Dutch side is lively with casinos and nightclubs. The capital is Philipsburg, which has a distinct European flair. St. Martin, the French side, is more low-key. Beautiful beaches surround the whole island, the majority of them with white sands and turquoise water. Snorkeling here is excellent.

Discover St. Maarten

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

» Anguilla


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. …

» Baie Rouge

Baie Rouge, St. Maarten

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 …

» Butterfly Farm

Butterfly Farm, St. Maarten

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 …

» Cole Bay Hill

Cole Bay Hill, St. Maarten

To enjoy incredible views and take panoramic photos of St. Maarten's capital and coastline, head to Cole Bay Hill. You can drive up the hill to Harold Jack lookout point, a scenic overlook where you can gaze down upon Simpson Bay, Philipsburg and Great Bay, and even catch a glimpse of nearby islands Saba, St. Eustatious (Statia) and Anguilla. Cole Bay Hill is the ideal spot to capture morning photos of the sun glinting off Simpson Bay Lagoon, the largest inland body of water in the Caribbean, and it's also a great place to enjoy the Caribbean sunsets …

» Creole Rock

Creole Rock, St. Maarten

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 …

» Divi Little Bay Beach

Divi Little Bay Beach, St. Maarten

Little Bay Beach is a secluded hideaway just outside of Philipsburg. The beach itself sits just over the western peninsula of Great Bay, and it's soft white sand offer an enticing backdrop to the idyllic turquoise water that ever so gently laps the shore. Because of the consistently calm water, Little Bay Beach is a great spot for snorkeling, and you can also find watersports like jetskiing, paddleboats and parasailing, not to mention a selection of bars and restaurants, among the handful of resorts along the bay. From the eastern end of Little Bay Beach …

» Divi Little Bay Beach

Divi Little Bay Beach, St. Maarten

Take the opportunity to dive into the blue Caribbean alongside friendly, trained bottlenose dolphins at Dolphin Discovery Anguilla. You'll find these intelligent mammals frolicking in their ocean enclosure near the ferry dock in Blowing Point. You can enjoy a variety of interactions with the playful dolphins, including playing games and performing tricks, free time swimming with them, and you can try a dorsal tow and foot push as the dolphins help move you through the water. The dolphins even offer kisses and hugs to their visiting companions …

» Fort St Louis

Fort St Louis, St. Maarten

Fort St. Louis is St Maarten's foremost historical attraction. The installation stands guard on a steep hill overlooking Marigot, the 'capital' of French Saint Martin, looking over its wide bay. It was built in 1767 on the orders of France's last pre-revolutionary king, Louis XVI. The tricolor of republican France might wave over the fort these days but you can still see the formidable walls and cannons which protected the colonial settlement from other European powers as well as pirates. There is historical information posted around the site, but you will probably find your eyes keep wandering to the outstanding view …

» Front Street

Front Street, St. Maarten

Philipsburg's Front Street, or Voorstraat in the local Dutch, is the hub of this Caribbean capital. It runs for about half a mile along the inside of the bay, overlooking the waterfront. Front Street is home to some the island's finest shopping and restaurants. Visitors in the market for duty-free jewelry, electronics and cigars can stroll this shopping district to find competitive prices. The road also threads a needle through many of the city's more popular attractions. You can spot wooden colonial buildings like the courthouse from 1793, which is centrally located on Watney Square …

» Grand Case

Grand Case, St. Maarten

Tiny Grand Case consists of little more than a couple of streets and a seafront, but it draws people from all over the island. From here you can get stunning views of neighboring Anguilla and admire the whimsical pastel-colored houses adorned with elaborate fretwork known as 'gingerbread houses'. And if all this talk of gingerbread has you working up an appetite, you're in the right place: Grand Case is renowned as one of the great gourmet destinations of the Caribbean. For such a small place there's a truly impressive range of cuisine, but like the locals, the food here generally has a French accent …

» Great Bay Beach

Great Bay Beach, St. Maarten

When you're in Philipsburg, you're never far from the sand because Great Bay Beach fronts the entire length of the town, and the proximity means it's loaded with amenities. Beach bars abound, as do walk up rum shacks and street carts serving up ice-cold beers. The recently completed boardwalk adds to the cosmopolitan feel of this Dutch Caribbean city. It's an ideal spot to people watch as tourists and local alike stroll, bike or zip along on segway tours past souvenir shops, restaurants, and bronzed sun-seekers in beach chairs …

» Le Galion Beach

Le Galion Beach, St. Maarten

While it might not be the flashiest - or even the largest - of St. Martin's many beaches, Le Galion Beach is undoubtedly the island's family-friendliest. Also known as 'Coconut Grove,' 'L'Embouchure,' and 'Baby Beach,' Le Galion makes a perfect day at the beach for visitors traveling with young children. For one thing, the turquoise waters are exceptionally shallow - and you can literally wade out 300 feet and still be in waist deep water. There also aren't many rocks or hazards located anywhere inside of the bay, and much of the sea floor is covered in a bed of gently waving seaweed …

» Maho & Mullet Bay

Maho & Mullet Bay, St. Maarten

Find Saint Martin's main airport on a map and you've found Maho Beach. How close is it, you ask? Well, if you've ever seen a photo of sunbathing tourists gawping as 747s approach the runway just yards above their heads, it was probably taken here. So come by all means and get your own snap, but you may well find that the roar of engines and the smell of jet fuel deters you from staying too long. Thankfully things are calmer on Mullet Bay Beach, a short walk away. This is the tropical paradise you've always dreamed of: white sands, swaying palms …

» Maho Beach

Maho Beach, St. Maarten

Maho Beach can't boast that it's one of the most peaceful beaches in the world, but it certainly has a unique claim to fame, particularly if you're an aviation lover. This is because Maho Beach is located right next to an airport and the planes fly directly over the beach so low that you feel they might land on you. Kids especially love watching the planes soar overhead multiple times throughout the day at Maho Beach, but even adults quickly get caught up in the wonder of seeing a large inflight plane so close up. Hang out by the fence on the edge of the beach closest to the airport …

» Marigot

Marigot, St. Maarten

As the capitol of French St. Martin, Marigot offers a beautiful fusion of French and West Indian foods and culture, with a profusion of cafés, bakeries and wine shops. Take a stroll through the town streets to shop local boutiques nestled among the Creole houses. Rue de la République is one of the main streets where you can check out the finely detailed facades boasting the ornate decorations called gingerbreads. The town also features a handful of colonial-era attractions, including the old prison and Fort Louis, which was built in 1789 and overlooks Marigot Bay …

» Marigot Market

Marigot Market, St. Maarten

St Maarten has no shortage of upscale shops jostling for the tourist dollar (or euro, or yen). But a more authentic experience awaits you on Wednesday and Friday mornings when the market sets up in Marigot, the French "capital". Fishermen bring their haul here in the early hours, and are later joined by fruit and vegetable sellers as well as spice vendors, filling the air with heady tropical scents. If you're after less perishable keepsakes, local artisans sell jewelry and small decorative items, and you can stock up on hats, t-shirts and anything else you forgot to pack …

» Orient Bay Beach

Orient Bay Beach, St. Maarten

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 …

» Oyster Pond

Oyster Pond, St. Maarten

While numerous Caribbean islands are still controlled by distant European powers, St Maarten or Saint Martin is the only one split between two, the smallest territory in the world to be so divided. But at the point where French Saint Martin meets Dutch St Maarten on the island's east coast, you won't find checkpoints or border guards, just the clear, calm waters of Oyster Pond. This protected cove welcomes ocean-faring yachts to a picturesque marina and it is also the berth for ferries to St Barth …

» Philipsburg Courthouse

Philipsburg Courthouse, St. Maarten

The centerpiece of the Philipsburg is the courthouse on Watney Square, at the heart of the Front Street shopping area. The historic wooden building is bright white with a bell tower that sports a clock and small spire with a pineapple at the top, which symbolizes welcome. It was originally built in 1793 as the home of the town's founder, Commander John Philips, and has since been used as jail, post office and fire station. Today the building is a working courthouse, but if you're interested to learn more about the town's history, you can walk five minutes east down Front Street to visit the St. Maarten Museum …

» Pic Paradis (Peak Paradise)

Pic Paradis (Peak Paradise), St. Maarten

While nothing's far from anything else on modestly-sized Saint Maarten, the island's highest point, Pic Paradis, is in a surprisingly inaccessible spot in the mountainous interior. However it's worth the effort: from the 1,391 foot (424 meter) summit you'll see the whole of Saint Martin, the surrounding sea and neighboring islands laid out like a map. On the slopes of Pic Paradis you'll find Loterie Farm, on the site of a plantation dating back to 1721. As well as hiking and dining the big attraction here is the Flyzone, where - strapped in a harness - you can fly on a cable over the forest canopy …

» Pinel Island

Pinel Island, St. Maarten

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 …

» Prickly Pear Cay

Prickly Pear Cay, St. Maarten

If you like the idea of getting marooned for a day on an idyllic desert island in the Caribbean, join a boat trip to the Prickly Pear Cays. This pair of uninhabited islets sits six miles northwest of Anguilla, boasting exquisite white-sand beaches, and fringing reefs protected as one Anguilla's marine protected areas. A day here can include snorkeling among the colorful corals and shipwrecks that are scattered around the cays. Then you can swim ashore to spend a lazy afternoon enjoying the sun and sand, along with a lunch of barbecue ribs and cold cocktails from the on-island restaurants …

» Saba

Saba, St. Maarten

The island of Saba is little more than a few wind-swept volcanic peaks rearing out of the Caribbean, but its diminutive size and isolation make it a sanctuary for plant and animal life. Consequently you'll be lacing up your hiking boots rather than putting up your beach umbrella (in fact there are no beaches to speak of). The aptly-named Mount Scenery, the island's highest peak, is a favored walking/climbing destination. Above all it is Saba's worldwide reputation as a diving center that attracts visitors, drawn by its dramatic underwater topography. Cliffs, mountains and abysses …

» Shoal Bay

Shoal Bay, St. Maarten

Anguilla is famous for its picturesque beaches, and even on an island ringed by fabulous sand, Shoal Bay takes the prize. Often lauded as one of the best beaches in the Caribbean, Shoal Bay's pristine white sand is lapped by clear-blue waters and makes the perfect spot for a day lounging by the sea. The beach is divided into two sections: upper and lower Shoal Bay. Most people head to the larger and wider area of Lower Shoal Bay, where you'll find a collection of beach bars and restaurants where you can grab a cold drink before settling under a palm tree or sliding into a beach chair …

» Simpson Bay

Simpson Bay, St. Maarten

The expansive arc of Simpson Bay Beach, St Maarten's longest, has everything you'd expect from a Caribbean beach: squeaky white sands, clear, lapping waters and gently waving palms. While it backs on to Princess Juliana Airport, you shouldn't be unduly disturbed by noise, and the space and relative lack of other visitors will make you feel like you've found your private tropical paradise. But as soon as you're ready to return to civilization it's right there, in the numerous bars and restaurants within reach of the beach …

» St. Maarten Cruise Port

St. Maarten Cruise Port, St. Maarten

St. Maarten, along with its neighbor St. Martin, occupies the smallest island in the world that is under the dominion of two countries, Holland and France. It is rapidly developing and becoming a port of call for the Eastern Caribbean. The bustling town of Philipsburg on the Dutch side offers a plethora of shopping opportunities, and it's just a short car or bus ride to the more low-key French side of the island. Downtown is a twenty-minute walk from the ship terminal, but your best bet is the convenient water taxi that'll take you right to the heart of downtown from the cruise port …

» St Martin

St Martin, St. Maarten

The European feel of northern St Martin owes itself to French influence. Travelers to this scenic - if slightly less developed than its Dutch counterpart - region can escape into the wild and explore some of its natural wonders. From rocky coves to towering bluffs, visitors will find plenty to do and see along the scenic harbors and picturesque shorelines of St Martin. Crystal blue waters and white sandy beaches make this a destination for sun-worshippers, and clothing-optional spots like Orient Beach and Club Orient prove popular spots for those looking to avoid tan lines …

» Tintamarre Island

Tintamarre Island, St. Maarten

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 …

« CARIBBEANDiscover the Caribbean • St. Maarten

St. Maarten Tours, Travel & Activities
St. Maarten Hotels & Accommodation

Destination St. MaartenSt. Maarten Tours
Travel & Activities

Destination  St. Maarten

Saint Maarten is a tropical island in the northeast Caribbean, approximately 300 km east of Puerto Rico. The 87 km² island is divided roughly in half between France and the Netherlands; it is the smallest inhabited sea island divided between two nations. The southern Dutch half comprises the Eilandgebied Sint Maarten …

» ST. MAARTEN Tours & Activities

Places to Stay in St. MaartenSt. Maarten Hotels
& Accommodation

Places to Stay in St. Maarten

The culture of St. Martin is a blend of its African, French, British, and Dutch heritage. Although St. Martin is a single island, it contains two separate nations: Saint Martin, a French overseas collectivity; and Sint Maarten, part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Although each side's culture is influenced by their respective administering countries, they share enough similar heritage and traditions that it can be difficult to tell where Saint Martin ends and Sint Maarten begins …

Places to Stay in St. Maarten

» click here for all ST. MAARTEN
Hotels, Villas and Resorts

Caribbean Travel Guides

Spain Travel Guides