While St Maarten / St Martin is known for these white sand beaches, there are so many others things and activities this island in the Caribbean has to offer. If you are planning to travel here for your next holiday make sure to plan for at least 7 days. Only then will you be able to enjoy all the activities and explore the island.
Get the chance to explore two island communities inside a 37-square-mile area. St Maarten / St Martin’s spicy blend of Caribbean, French, and Dutch cultures mirrors the island’s physical diversity, which includes rainforest-like terrain, beautiful beaches, and incredible caves and fauna.
This combination of tropical beauty converges under the Caribbean sun to create the ideal setting for the most thrilling activities, allowing you to take home the best memento of all: amazing memories of fun, adrenaline, action, and quality time with yourself, your friends, and loved ones!
1. Boat racing with America’s Cup boat with the 12-Metre Challenge
Come aboard the winning boat from the 1987 America’s Cup, the Stars & Stripes, and experience the spirit of boat racing where every member is assigned a crew position.
You get to see and participate in the coordination that goes into making a boat like this take to the water.
As we sailed straight into a brief tropical storm, the wind shredding the sails and our boat carving slightly scary angles, this became even more apparent – and dramatic. The adrenaline rush and the thrill of racing in the same boat itself is an experience in itself.
2. Explore the hike at Guana Bay
The hike from Guana Bay to Pointe Blanche is one of the few places on the island where you’ll be surrounded by rough natural beauty and no one else, save for a few goats. Our first glimpse of a different kind of St. Maarten / St. Martin was a short trip over the hill to the southeastern tip of the island and Guana Bay.
Guana Bay is just a short drive over the hill which opens up to a whole different view. It is advised to have a local guide if you really want to know about the rich environmental history. These guides are also helpful to know more about nearby treks and their info.
3. Going up and above to Pic Paradis
Pic Paradis is the highest point on the island. At the height of 1,391ft, the elevated view you get of the whole island is just breath-taking. While you may enjoy the sun-kissed beached that St. Maarten / St. Martin offers, Pic Paradis is one destination that can be considered the underdog of St. Maarten / St. Martin tourism.
If you are planning to include Pic Paradis in your trip, you can rent a car and enjoy the scenic drive. Although, unless you have a four-wheel-drive rented, you will have to park your car until a certain point and walk to the top. The walk is relatively short but a little steep. So get ready to pump your legs!
4. Get baked with planes flying over Maho Bay beach
Maho Bay beach, like any other beach, is not famous for its sandy beach and a great view. Instead, at this beach, you get to watch planes land overhead. In the photos, it may seem unreal to see a plane fly so close, but it actually is true.
While you may stand on the beach and watch the jets land, Sunset Bar is a great place to photograph the planes without the jet noise. The flight schedule is updated daily on the surfboard outside the bar. Alternatively, you can look at the arrival schedule at SXM airport to see which flights will have the largest planes.
5. Head to “Heaven on earth”
A day trip to Shoal Bay, Anguilla is said to be “heaven on earth.” This is not an exaggerated term but the trust. Ask any local and you will be recommended the same. One of the advantages of visiting this beach is that you may not find it as crowed as the others beached in the Caribbean.
Shoal bay Beach will surely not let you down and is worth the one-day add-on. Its soft white sand feels like a pristine blanket that is laid down by the beach. The water is a sight to see. Its colors vary from shades of blue that seem almost artificial.
6. Rhino riding by the coast of St Martin
The unique thing about Rhino is that, no matter what your age, you can ride it. This hybrid jet ski is such that it will not be flipped and that is what makes the experience even more fun!
It may take a few minutes for you to get used to the controls and the bends according to the waters, but once that is done, just take off. The speed bends, and tricks that you can do with the Rhino are something you must experience once in your lifetime.
7. Cycle your way to Fort Amsterdam
The development has sure grown over the years, but with beautiful beaches and gorgeous views, St Maarten was also able to conserve some of its historical buildings such as Fort Amsterdam.
This fort was originally built by the Dutch, which was lost to the Spanish and was successfully defended to protect it from another Dutch invasion. Peter Stuyvesant, the Dutch leader who lost the war (and his right leg), went on to become the mayor of New Amsterdam. In possibly the first of the worst Wall Street deals, he eventually traded New Amsterdam (now New York) to the British for the small island of Curacao.
8. Date with the sea turtles
The diving sites at Saba island are considered to be some of the best in the Caribbean. So make sure to spend a day out scuba diving with the sea turtles in the coral gardens. It may seem challenging to manage the transport and the logistics but if you are a fan of clean blue waters and the marine life, taking a day or two solely to explore this island would be worth it.
Saba Island not just consists of beautiful diving sites where you will be able to find rich marine life and gorgeous corals but they offer scenic coastal treks as well. You can travel to this island via ferries. The ride takes up to 1.5 hours and can sometimes get a little too rough.
We are sure you may have had various other spots in mind, but these are a few annual spots. Kind of like the underdog locations that are worth exploring the next time you plan your trip to St Maarten / St Martin.
Let us know in the comments section below if you would like to make an addition to this list or if you would like to share your experience with these locations. We would love to know about your experiences!