The Ultimate Guide to Pinel Island, St. Martin

Just off of St. Martin’s northeast shore lies a fun little island getaway. Pinel Island is a great place to spend a day trip (or even half a day if you’re pressed for time), grab lunch, or do a little exploring! If you’re curious, here’s everything you need to know to plan a little day trip!

This is a view of St. Martin you can’t get anywhere else!

Getting There

There are two popular ways to get to Pinel Island: Kayak or ferry. Just head to Cul de Sac and choose your transportation! The ferry leaves every 30 minutes, starting around 10:00am, depending on the season. The cost for the ferry as of May 2022 is €10 or $12 per person, round-trip.

If you choose to kayak, you can rent a single, tandem, or family kayak at Caribbean Paddling. Reserve in advance on their website if you can! Pro tip: If you choose to paddle, make sure you follow the coastline around and paddle out from the end of the bay. The current is strong if you try to paddle straight out!

Rent your kayak on the same dock as the ferry!
Just be sure you make it on the last ferry that leaves Pinel at 4:30pm!
Want to stay nearby? Everything You Need to Know about Staying at La Playa Orient Bay Resort

What to Do

So, once you get there… Then what? Turns out, you have options!

Paddle Around

If you opted to kayak to the island, keep going! Get the lay of the land from the water, and decide where you want to spend your time. The secluded beach on the far side of the island? Hit up one of the restaurants after all that paddling? You choose!

Kayak around if you choose!
More here: What to Know Before You Visit St. Martin

Hike the Trails

While they’re not difficult or very long, there are a lot of criss-crossing trails all over the island! Explore the trails to your heart’s content. Get some steps, take in the views, and find a little bit of peace on your own bit of island!

There are several trails that traverse the island.
Keep reading: The Best Tips for Hiking on Travel

Bask on the Beaches

If you want a cushy beach chair, umbrella, and a view of St. Martin across the water, you’ll find that just steps away on the beach where the ferry docks! You’ll need to pay for it, but you’ll have that spot as your own for the entire day, and you can even get food delivered right to your chair!

Or, if you’d prefer to have a stretch of beach to yourself, hike up and over the island (it’s not that high or that far!). There’s a gorgeous, white sand beach just waiting for you on the other side. There are no chairs or restaurants or other facilities there, but if you’re looking for seclusion, you’ll find it here.

Have this side of the island all to yourself!
Read next: What to Know Before You Visit the Caribbean

Where to Eat

There are two restaurants on the island, and we chose the more casual option. For something a little more upscale, head over to Karibuni Restaurant. They also have a shop available, too!

Yellow Beach

Steve and I opted for pizza with a view! Yellow Beach Restaurant is right on the beach, a few yards from where the ferry docks at the island. They have plenty of other options on the menu, from salad to seafood to barbecue and burgers, but we love pizza! Honestly, we should have split one, but we each got our own instead! Steve got the mushroom pizza; I chose the island’s namesake.

Capri Pizza (tomato, cheese, mushrooms)
Pinel Pizza (tomato, cheese, basil)
More here: The Best Things to Do on St. Martin

What to Bring with You

You don’t need much for a half- or full-day trip to the island, but there are a few things that will come in handy!


Even if you plan to eat at a restaurant, it’s a good idea to bring some water with you. It’s important to stay hydrated both on the beach and on the trails!

Read more: How to Practice Self Care on Travel


That Caribbean sunshine is beautiful, invigorating, and… Strong! Sunburn is no fun any time, but especially not on vacation. Take some sunscreen with you, and even better if it’s reef safe to save the fishies!

Essential info: The Traveler’s Guide to Sunscreen (from a dermatologist)

Quick Dry Towel

If you plan to get in the water, sit in the sand instead of pay for a beach chair, or take a picnic elsewhere on the island, you’ll be glad you brought a quick dry towel! It’s amazing how often these things come in handy.

Keep reading: 9 Things You Forgot to Pack for St. Martin

Water Shoes

What’s the #1 thing people are glad I recommended to them for a beach trip? Water shoes! Save yourself the cuts from rocks and coral and wear your water shoes!

Read on: The Ultimate Guide to Your Feet and Your Travels (from my podiatrist)

Dry Bag

What’s the #1 thing people don’t know they need for a beach trip? A dry bag! It’s the best way to keep the water away from your valuables, keep sand out of your stuff, and even better–it floats! Trust me, whether you’re going solo and have no one else to watch your stuff or you’re traveling with your family and don’t want to be left behind watching the “stuff” while everyone else gets in the water, you’ll want this!

Want more? Get everything you need to know to plan your trip on my dedicated Caribbean Islands Page!

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