Tourists around the world come to St. Maarten, a tropical paradise in the Caribbean for its beautiful beaches, numerous tours and friendly people. With so much activities on such a small island, newcomers may feel overwhelmed looking for things to do. Fear not here is a list of top 10 amazing things to make the most out of any vacation in St. Maarten.
#1 – Every visit to St. Maarten should include a visit to the boardwalk in Philipsburg. The boardwalk is a long stretch of shops, bars and restaurants along Great Bay’s beach. This is the best place to purchase electronics and jewelry for the ladies. Don’t forget to bargain, it is standard practice on the boardwalk.
Orient Bay Beach
#2 – Spend the day on Orient Bay beach on the French side. Orient Bay beach is lined with many beach restaurants, bars and water-sports booths to go jet skiing and even parasailing. This beach is all about people watching and relaxing on beach chairs. Beware, the far end of the beach is clothing optional and one may spot nudists walking along the beach.
#3 – Eat lunch at the lolos in Grand-Case. What’s a lolo? They are small grill roadside restaurants that serve tasty Creole BBQ food cooked by locals. Enjoy BBQ ribs, chicken, fish, lobster, plantain and typical local style rice and beans. Meals are awesomely priced at around $10 per person and the ambiance is typical St. Maarten!
#4 – Head over to the Marigot outdoor market next to the ferry docks. One can find all kinds of local artifacts, Caribbean spices and local produce too. On certain days, the fishermen come to the market to sell their catch. If you plan to buy a live chicken or goat on your vacation, this is the place to do it!
Sunset Beach Bar
#5 – Chill out at Sunset Beach Bar on famous Maho beach to watch planes land just a few feet above the beach onto Juliana airport’s runway. Bystanders get up close and personal with the jumbo jets when they take off. It’s a crazy scene and best done from a distance with a drink in your hand.
#6 – Experience St. Maarten on a jet ski, feel the thrill and excitement of racing along St. Maarten’s coast and through the bridges into the lagoon passed mega yachts. St. Maarten is one of the few islands in the Caribbean where jet skis are still allowed.
#7 – Snorkel at Creole Rock, a little rock formation on top of a reef located just outside the bay of Grand-Case. You can only go there by boat so join a Creole Rock Snorkel Excursion and explore the reef. Creole Rock is a great place to snorkel as fish tend to swim right up to snorkelers.
#8 – Sail around the entire island, it is an awesome way to see the entire island from the ocean and pick out beaches to explore later. Most tours that sail around the island stop at various beaches and reefs. One of our favorites is the Eco Tour, a full day catamaran sail around St. Maarten.
#9 – Take the ferry to Pinel island and spend the day there! Pinel island is a beautiful little island with white sand, shallow waters and great snorkeling. There are three beach restaurants on the island and one can rent beach chairs.
#10 – Go to the Lottery farm and hike through the forest to the highest point in St. Maarten, Pic Paradis, for an unbelievable view of St. Maarten and all the surrounding islands. For non-hikers, you can drive to the top as well but the road is steep!