The Best Things to Do on St. Martin / Sint Maarten

Whether you’re going Dutch or feeling Frenchie, the Caribbean’s “One Friendly Island” has a little something for you! Everyone loves the warmth, the sunshine, and whole vibe of the Caribbean, but St. Martin/Sint Maarten truly personifies it. Here are the best things we did on our trip. I hope it inspires you, too!

10. Take in the View at Pic Paradis

You can hike here from nearby Loterie Farm, or drive all the way up until the road ends and hike from there. The views at the top are stunning! at one viewing point, you’ll see the Dutch side of the island, and from the other, the French side. Either way you look, you’ll find those classic views of rolling green hills below, along with turquoise blue waters dotted with sailboats. 

The view from Pic Paradis is worth the hike!
More here: The Ultimate List of Hiking Tips

9. Visit Fort Louis

On the French side, you’ll find the ruins of Fort Louis. It’s located in the French side’s capitol city of Marigot, and you can drive or walk to the top. Built in 1789 to honor French King Louis, it was originally built to protect the warehouses in Marigot, which held expensive essentials such as coffee, salt, rum, and sugar. From the top, you can see Simpson Bay, Galisbay, Marigot, Nettle Bay, and even the neighboring island of Anguilla!

Fort Louis
A little worse for wear, but check out that view!
More here: What to Know Before You Visit St. Martin

8. Visit Fort Amsterdam

For another of the best views on the island, be sure to visit Fort Amsterdam on the Dutch side! It’s located inside the Divi Resort property, but you can park outside the gate and let the security attendant know you’re here to see the Fort. They’ll show you where to go to walk up. Remnants of the original structure remain, but the really impressive part is the view of Grand Bay and Phillipsburg!

One of the Outbuildings at Fort Amsterdam
Check out the view of Grand Bay from Fort Amsterdam!
Live it up: How to Get the Most Out of Your Trip

7. Take a Half Day Trip to Nearby Pinel Island

Just offshore from a place called Cul de Sac, you’ll find a ferry and kayak company giving people access to a nearby island called Pinel. Here, you’ll find gorgeous beaches with a view of St. Martin, two restaurants, and a series of short hiking trails traversing the entire island! This is the perfect place to go somewhere secluded, and a fun way to spend half a day. 

Pinel is a cool place to explore nearby!
Read next: How to Spend a Day on Pinel Island

6. Cross the Border

This is fun and easy—and you’ll likely be doing it multiple times throughout your trip! At least two border crossing locations include an obelisk marking the 300th anniversary of the island’s peace treaty, along with four flags: Netherlands, France, the European Union, and, of course, St. Martin! There are shoulders on the side of the road at each location to allow you to pull over and take photos, just be aware of your surroundings as you’ll be on the main road around the island. 

You’ll see the Dutch, St. Martin, European Union, and French flags!
Read on: 9 Things You Forgot to Pack for Your Caribbean Vacation

5. Try Out a New Water Sport

You’re in a new place, so you’ll want to try new things, right? Try your hand at kayaking, paddle boarding, seadoo-ing, parasailing, or even kiteboarding! Orient Bay is a perfect place to try any of these. Or, if you’re just looking to relax, you can certainly do that here, too! 

Ever wanted to try out parasailing?!
There are loads of ways to experience the water in Orient Bay!
Also fun: The Top Experiences Every Solo Traveler Must Have

4. Dine with a View in Grand Case

Grand Case is reputed to have the best food in the Caribbean. It’s located on the French side (St. Martin), so there’s a heavy French influence. Grand Case also faces both nearby Anguilla and the sunset, so the views over the water are absolutely breath-taking. Make a reservation ahead of time, though, and know that dinnertime starts no sooner than 6:00pm pretty much everywhere. We were so glad we scored reservations at Grand Case Beach Club’s Sunset Cafe to coincide with our perfume making class!

Clearly this is why it’s called the Sunset Cafe!
Complimentary Carrot Soup
Mixed Sampler Appetizer: Edamame, Veggie Fritters with Sweet Sauce, Octopus Ceviche with Fried Pita Chips, Seafood Fritters with Sauce, Hummus with Pita
Caesar Salad with Shrimp
Seared Yellowfin Tuna with Veggies and Sweet Potato-ginger Aioli
Get your next beach read: This Year’s Summer Reading List

3. Eat All the Seafood

What else would you eat in the middle of the Caribbean? The sushi was so fresh, the poke was well-cooked, and we even saw a fresh catch of red snapper come in on a fishing boat one afternoon! It’s never as fresh as it is this close to the sea, so take advantage of your destination and eat up! 

We couldn’t pass up the chance to have truly fresh sushi on the beach!
Keep eating: What to Know Before You Visit the Caribbean

2. Make Your Own Perfume at Tijon Perfumery

This was the most fun! I was never a fan of chemistry, and honestly, I don’t wear perfume all that often. I did, however, love creating my own, unique scent here! Steve and I did this for our wedding anniversary, and I think we both found it to be interesting and fun. Your instructor will walk you through each step, and they even keep your recipe on file, just in case you love it so much you want to re-order! Don’t miss this one-of-a-kind opportunity!

We love our unique scents!
All the details: How to Make Your Own Perfume at Tijon Perfumery

1. Watch the Planes at Airplane Beach (Maho Beach)

This is probably the first thing that popped up when you Googled “What to do in St. Martin,” and for good reason! Princess Julianna International Airport (SXM) is well-known for being one of the toughest places to land or take off, but people flock here for a different reason: To watch! The runway for SXM is mere yards away from Maho Beach, which is also one of the most beautiful beaches on the island. 

Check the airplane schedule and plan to get airline-inspired pizza at Sunset Bar and Grill. Get a good seat so you can look out in absolute awe at just how close the airplanes come as they glide in for a landing! Take pictures, stay awhile, and hang onto your hat—the blast from the airplanes taking off will blow you over (and give you a sand-blasting)!

When wheels are down, you know it’s close!
Essential info: The Best Tips for Visiting Maho Beach (Airplane Beach) on Sint Maarten

Need more? Check out everything you want to know on my Caribbean Islands Page!

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