The Caribbean island of St Martin, or St Maarten, is a popular destination for travellers and cruise ships on an exploration of the region. This little gem has a lush nature reserve in the middle, fun ports and tourist attractions dotted around and plenty of beaches. There is a lot to explore in this little island. Beach lovers can try the many shores and cays. Adventurers can trek out into the islands highest points. Foodies can test out local produce. There is something for everyone, but here are 8 of the best things to do when visiting St Martin :
1. Enjoy some time at the beach
This is an obvious place to start when there are so many beaches in St Martin. Mullet Bay beach is a nice, calm spot where you can enjoy the sun, sea and sand – without too many other tourists taking up the space. There are clear waters for swimming, but also decent sized waves for surfers. Rent a chair and umbrella if you want to stay for the afternoon.
2. Try some watersports from Orient beach
Some visitors prefer to get away from this beach because it gets so busy during the height of the Caribbean tourist season. But, this popularity means that lots of businesses and vendor set up shop here. This means plenty of chances to hire watersports equipment. You can ride banana-boats on the back of jet skis, windsurf and much more.
3. Try out some fun diving spots
There are lots of places to dive around the island. The SNUBA company offer a service for those not scuba certified. This is great for first timers that wonder what they are missing out on. Groups can dive a 20ft shipwreck via a raft full of tanks of air.
4. Hire a luxury yacht charter
There are lots of different yacht charters to different areas of the island and the cays. Some are crewed and fully luxurious, with a chance to drink, swim from the boat and relax. Others offer the chance to go bareboat and explore the region on your own.
5. Enjoy some great food and drink
There are lots of great restaurants around the island with incredible seafood, especially lobster. Make the most of the treasures of the sea and the skilled chefs on the island. The Greenhouse in Phillipsburg has a reputation for the biggest at the best value. While exploring Phillipsburg, you may also want to head to Front Street and sample some Guavaberry liquor. This local Caribbean specialty is made from oak-aged rum, cane sugar and wild guavaberries. This is the only place it is made, so don’t miss out.
6. Go shopping on Front Street
While we are on the subject of Front Street, you will also find that this is a great place for some luxury shopping and great souvenirs. The jewelry stores are a real treat here, and there are duty-free, so actually offer quite a bargain. This is one of the most popular shopping destinations in St Martin, and with good reason. But, it can get quite packed when the cruise ship is in port, so pick your times wisely.
7. Take an adventure through the forest
Loterie’s farm has been a must-see attraction for a long time. This tourist spot doesn’t have all the features and games it used to. Unfortunately, Hurricane Irma hit pretty hard. But, your custom can help them get back on their feet. The zip line through the forest canopy is still open for business and a great thrill ride.
8. Go hiking around the island
Finally, if zip wires aren’t quite your thing, and you prefer a slower pace on the ground, there are lots of places for great hikes. The St Martin National Nature Reserve is a great starting point, with 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 great views across the island and over to Anguilla.