Located in the northeast Caribbean Sea, St Martin or Sint Marteen is a 37-square-mile dual-governed island. Nicknamed the “Friendly Island,” it is a supreme destination for yacht charter.
The north side is part of France and the home of the tastiest restaurants and party beaches. The southern part belongs to Netherlands Antilles, and it provides lively casinos, bars, and clubs for a vibrant nightlife.
Both sides boast pristine beaches, gourmet restaurants, luxury shops, and myriad attractions, narrowed down here to the top 8.
1 – Enjoy the beaches!
37 beaches and 44 miles of picture-perfect coastline provide the stress-free vibe of this Caribbean Island. Sea temperatures year-round in St. Martin averages in the soothing mid-70s, and the shallow crystal-clear waters are welcoming for your charter catamaran.
Sun-drenched and quiet, packed with water sports activities, unspoiled or fueled with luxurious facilities, the beaches can satisfy everyone. There are also topless and nude bathing on the French side of the island! If you are interested in these areas, go to Orient Beach, dubbed the “St. Tropez of the Caribbean.”
Our favorite one is Little Bay, an intimate white sand beach, known as a birds’ paradise.
2 – Try amazing diving spots
On your charter yacht, go to Pinel Island, Tintamarre Island, or Green Cay to enjoy snorkeling in a marine protected area just outside Orient Bay. You’ll swim with sea turtles and Caribbean reef sharks in colorful corals.
Thanks to its turquoise waters, St Martin provides more than 45 sites to dive with visible depths of up to 100m. The reefs are home to multi-colored tropical fishes, rays, eels, and lobsters.
You can also explore multiple shipwrecks. The most famous is HMS Proselyte. It was a member of the Royal Dutch Navy before the crew mutinied and passed the ship to the Royal Navy.
Saint Martin is excellent for first-timers that wonder what they are missing out. Many diving companies offer their services for those who are not scuba certified.
3 – Charter a luxury yacht
Known as “the Mega-Yacht Capital of the Caribbean,” St. Martin provides numerous marinas and high-end facilities for luxury yachts. Treat yourself and charter a boat to have more privacy and more flexibility on where you go.
The possibilities of yacht charter are numerous from the smallest sailing yachts to the imposing motor yachts in Saint Martin.
Pamper yourself with a crewed charter yacht to relax on the deck or enjoy the water toys while the team takes care of everything else. A bareboat charter yacht offers the opportunity to explore the area on your own, with a cruise designed to suit your desires.
Embedded between the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, St Martin is the perfect gateway to visit the Lesser Antilles and islands, such as Anguilla, St. Barts, and Saba.
4 – Experience fabulous meals and drinks
With more than 400 restaurants on the whole island, you can spend a year tasting new spots ranging from fast food to fine dining. The French side of Saint Martin is famous for its gastronomic and fancy meals.
Make sure to try the incredibly fresh seafood, especially lobster. The quintessential Creole courses often include conch, goat, and oxtail. But if you’d enjoy more exotic dishes, the island has almost all international cuisine covered.
Of course, you have to try the Guava berry, a national liqueur made from oak-aged rum, cane sugar, and local, wild guava berries.
5 – Visit the butterfly farm
A must-see visit of the island, this farm is a greenhouse of nearly 900m² where butterflies fly at any given time a year. It displays hundreds of species from all over the world.
You can touch and handle giant or small, iridescent and colorful butterflies. There are also strange shaped caterpillars to see and photograph.
This farm is home to the most beautiful specimens in the world and participates in the protection of endangered species.
6 – Shopping spree on front street
The Dutch capital of Sint Maarten, Philipsburg, is referred to as “Town” locally. It features a densely packed strip of jewelry stores and duty-free outlets in Front Street. You can buy at competitive prices men’s and women’s fashion brand clothes, watches, and electronics. Try to avoid shopping there if the cruise ship is in port.
For the high-end boutiques, go over on the French side of the island.
7 – Take an adventure through the forest
Formerly a sugar factory closed in 1855, Loterie farm is now a secret hideaway nestled in the hillside of Pic Paradis on French Saint-Martin.
You can admire the tropical vegetation and protected animals over the treetop canopy. The place offers many activities in the heart of nature: treetop adventure courses, restaurants, swimming pools, etc.
8 – Hike around the island
Finally, if zip wires aren’t quite your thing and you prefer a slower pace on the ground, there are many places for great hikes and stunning views on 6 other Caribbean islands on a clear day.
The St Martin National Nature Reserve is an important starting point for all the local wildlife to discover. Alternatively, you can hike up to Pic Paradis, the highest point on the island. The observation decks up the top make it worth the effort.
Or, you can take in the view from Fort Louis. This historical monument from 1797 offers excellent views across the island and over to Anguilla.