How to Make the Most Of Your Stay in Sint Maarten?

Wondering how to make the most of your stay in Sint Maarten? You’ve come to the right place! This article offers top tips and activities for exploring the stunning island. Whether you’re a beach lover, a foodie, or an adventure seeker, Sint Maarten has something for everyone.

From beautiful beaches and thrilling adventures to local cuisine and cultural experiences, there’s no shortage of things to do. Discover the best of Sint Maarten and get ready for an unforgettable journey! Let’s begin exploring how to make the most of your stay in Sint Maarten.

Key Takeaways

  • Explore both the Dutch and French sides of the island to get the full experience
  • Visit Maho Beach and Pinel Island for unique and memorable experiences
  • Shop, dine, and explore historic sites in Philipsburg
  • Enjoy outdoor adventures such as hiking and zip lining
  • Try the local cuisine, including Johnny cakes and fresh seafood
  • Take time to relax on the island’s beautiful beaches and soak up the laid-back vibe.
A blue beach chair on the beach sand.

How to Make the Most Of Your Stay in Sint Maarten

To make the most of your stay in Sint Maarten, be sure to explore both the Dutch and French sides of the island. Visit Maho Beach to watch planes land and take off, and take a ferry to Pinel Island for a secluded beach experience. Shop and dine in Philipsburg, and explore the historic Fort Amsterdam.

For outdoor adventures, hike to Pic Paradis or take a zip line tour. Don’t forget to try the local cuisine, such as Johnny cakes and fresh seafood. And of course, relax on the beautiful beaches and soak up the island’s laid-back vibe.

Getting to Know Sint Maarten

Sint Maarten is a small island located in the Caribbean Sea, known for its stunning beaches, diverse marine life, and vibrant culture. As a destination that attracts over a million visitors every year, it’s worth getting to know the history, culture, and geography of the island before diving into the top tips and activities.

Sint Maarten has a unique history of colonization by both the French and the Dutch. This has resulted in a blend of European and Caribbean influences, reflected in everything from the architecture to the cuisine.The culture of Sint Maarten is a melting pot of different ethnicities and traditions. Visitors can immerse themselves in the local culture by attending music festivals, exploring historic sites, and sampling the rich cuisine.Sint Maarten is divided between the Dutch and French sides, each with their own distinct characteristics. The island is only 34 square miles but boasts over 30 beaches, as well as lush rainforests, rolling hills, and sparkling lagoons.

With its fascinating history, rich culture, and stunning natural beauty, Sint Maarten offers visitors a truly unique vacation experience. By getting to know the island, visitors can gain a deeper appreciation for everything it has to offer.

Top Attractions in Sint Maarten

For those seeking to explore the beauty of Sint Maarten, there are several must-visit attractions on the island that are sure to impress. Whether you’re interested in history, nature, or just soaking up the sun, Sint Maarten has something for everyone.

Maho BeachMaho Beach is one of the most famous beaches on the island, known for its proximity to the airport runway and the exciting experience of planes flying overhead.
Fort LouisFort Louis is a historic fort offering breathtaking views of the island. It was built in 1789 by the French to protect their territory from invaders and is a must-visit for history buffs.
The Butterfly FarmThe Butterfly Farm is a unique attraction showcasing exotic butterflies from all over the world. Visitors can learn about the life cycle of butterflies and even interact with them in a beautiful garden setting.

In addition to these top attractions, there are also several other notable sites to visit on the island, including Loterie Farm, the St. Maarten Museum, and the Yoda Guy Movie Exhibit. No matter what your interests are, you’re sure to find something fascinating to explore in Sint Maarten!

Enjoying Sint Maarten’s Beautiful Beaches

If you’re looking to bask in the sun and enjoy the crystal-clear waters of the Caribbean, Sint Maarten’s beaches won’t disappoint. While there are 37 beaches to choose from, we’ve rounded up the top three must-visit locations.

Beach NameLocationActivities
Orient Bay BeachFrench SideJet skiing, parasailing, kiteboarding, beach bars, restaurants
Mullet Bay BeachDutch SideSwimming, snorkeling, beach bars
Great Bay BeachDowntown PhilipsburgShopping, dining, water sports, beach bars

For those looking to explore underwater marine life, we recommend heading to Simpson Bay Beach. The calm waters of Simpson Bay Lagoon make it ideal for snorkeling and spotting colorful tropical fish.

Don’t forget to bring your sunscreen, hat, and sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun’s rays. And when you’re feeling thirsty, be sure to try Vita Malta, a local favorite non-alcoholic malt beverage to cool down.

Divi Little Bay Beach Resort, Philipsburg, Sint-Maarten
Photo by Vinita Babani on Unsplash

Experiencing Sint Maarten’s Cuisine

Sint Maarten’s cuisine is a delicious fusion of Caribbean and European flavors, with fresh seafood and tropical fruits as staples. Here are some dishes and restaurants you don’t want to miss:

  1. Johnny Cakes – These fried or baked dough cakes are a popular breakfast food. They can be eaten with butter and jam or used as a sandwich bread.
  2. Seafood – With an abundance of fresh fish, lobster, and shrimp, seafood is a must-try in Sint Maarten. Some popular dishes include grilled mahi-mahi, conch chowder, and Caribbean lobster.
  3. Rum Cocktails – The Caribbean is known for its rum, and Sint Maarten is no exception. Try a refreshing mojito or a local specialty like a guavaberry colada.
  4. Local Restaurants – For an authentic taste of Sint Maarten, visit local restaurants like Mark’s Place, Antoine Restaurant, or L’Escargot. These restaurants serve traditional dishes alongside international cuisine.

“Sint Maarten’s cuisine is a delicious fusion of Caribbean and European flavors, with fresh seafood and tropical fruits as staples.”

Don’t leave Sint Maarten without trying some of the island’s unique and mouth-watering dishes. Enjoy!

Outdoor Adventures in Sint Maarten

Sint Maarten is a haven for adventure enthusiasts who love outdoor activities. The island’s tropical climate, stunning landscapes, and crystal-clear waters offer an array of adventurous options that cater to every type of traveler.

Zip-lining at Loterie Farm

If you’re looking for an adrenaline-pumping activity, zip-lining at Loterie Farm is a must-do. The eco-park features a three-hour zip-line course that traverses across the lush rainforest canopy, offering breathtaking views of the island.

Zip-lining at Loterie FarmDetails
LocationLoterie Farm, Pic Paradis Road, Rambaud, Saint-Martin
DurationApproximately 3 hours
Price$99 per person
Age & Weight RestrictionsMinimum age is 12 years, and minimum weight is 70 pounds. Maximum weight is 275 pounds.

Kayaking in Simpson Bay Lagoon

For a more relaxed experience, kayaking in Simpson Bay Lagoon is an excellent option. The lagoon is home to a diverse range of marine life, including sea turtles and colorful fish. Paddling through the calm waters surrounded by the island’s lush vegetation is a serene and unforgettable experience.

Kayaking in Simpson Bay LagoonDetails
LocationSimpson Bay Lagoon, Cole Bay, Sint Maarten
Duration2-3 hours
Price$50 per person
Age RestrictionsMinimum age is 12 years.

Hiking at Pic Paradis

Pic Paradis is the island’s highest peak, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding areas. The hiking trail leading to the peak is approximately 1.5 miles long and takes around two hours to complete. The trail is moderately challenging and requires sturdy hiking shoes and plenty of water.

Hiking at Pic ParadisDetails
LocationPic Paradis, Saint-Martin
DurationApproximately 2 hours
Difficulty LevelModerate

These are just a few of the many outdoor adventures that Sint Maarten has to offer. Whether you’re an adventure junkie or just looking to explore the island’s natural beauty, there is something for everyone.

An aerial view of Great Bay Beach.
Photo by Tomasz Tomal on Unsplash

Exploring Sint Maarten’s Marine Life

As soon as you arrive in Sint Maarten, you’ll quickly discover that its crystal-clear waters are teeming with an abundance of marine life. With its vibrant coral reefs and diverse marine species, exploring the underwater world is a must-do activity on the island.

One of the best ways to experience the marine life is through snorkeling. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced snorkeler, you’ll find plenty of spots to explore around the island. Some popular spots include Mullet Bay Beach, Simpson Bay, and Little Bay Beach.

Snorkeling ToursIf you want to explore the best spots to snorkel in Sint Maarten, consider booking a guided snorkeling tour. Tours typically include gear rental and a trained guide who can take you to the most interesting areas.
Scuba DivingFor a more in-depth experience of the island’s underwater world, consider scuba diving. There are some excellent dive sites around the island, including the famous “Proselyte Reef,” a sunken 18th-century British frigate.
Boat ToursIf you prefer a more relaxed experience, take a boat tour around the island. Many tours include stops for snorkeling and allow you to see parts of the island only accessible from the water.

One of the most unique marine experiences on the island is the chance to swim with dolphins at Dolphin Discovery. Visitors can interact with the dolphins in a natural lagoon environment, touching and swimming alongside them under the guidance of experienced trainers.

Whether you’re snorkeling, diving, or observing from a boat, exploring Sint Maarten’s marine life is an unforgettable experience. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to witness the beauty of the island’s underwater world.

Cultural Experiences in Sint Maarten

Sint Maarten has a rich cultural heritage, influenced by its fascinating history and diverse population. Exploring the island’s cultural experiences is a must-do for any visitor looking to get a deeper understanding of Sint Maarten’s traditions and customs.

Fort Amsterdam

Fort Amsterdam is a Dutch colonial fort located on the peninsula of Point Blanche in Sint Maarten. This historic landmark offers visitors a glimpse into the island’s past, with exhibits on the region’s history, culture, and architecture.

Traditional Markets

The Philipsburg Market offers visitors a chance to experience the local culture first-hand. This open-air market is the perfect place to pick up some souvenirs or taste some local food and drink. Visitors can expect to find everything from fresh produce and seafood to handmade crafts and jewelry.

Local Festivals

Sint Maarten is home to several festivals throughout the year that celebrate the island’s unique culture and history. The Carnival festival, held each year in February or March, is the island’s biggest cultural event and features a lively parade, music, and dancing. Another popular festival is the Heineken Regatta, held each year in March, which attracts sailors and music lovers from around the world.

Maho Village

Maho Village is a popular tourist destination that combines entertainment, dining, and shopping. This vibrant destination is located in the heart of Sint Maarten and offers visitors a variety of cultural experiences, including live music, dance performances, and art exhibits.

With its rich cultural heritage and many attractions, Sint Maarten is a destination that has something for everyone. Exploring the island’s cultural experiences is a great way to make the most of your stay and gain a deeper appreciation for the history and traditions of Sint Maarten.

The walkway Sonesta Maho resort in Sint Maarten.
Photo by James Thomas on Unsplash

Day Trips from Sint Maarten

While Sint Maarten has plenty to offer, there are also many exciting day trips you can take to explore beyond the island. Here are a few options:


Just a 20-minute ferry ride from Sint Maarten, Anguilla is a beautiful island known for its pristine beaches and upscale resorts. Spend the day lounging on the white sands of Shoal Bay or taking a dip in the turquoise waters of Meads Bay. You can also explore the island’s art galleries, shops, and restaurants.

St. Barth’s

This French-speaking island is a favorite of celebrities and the jet-set crowd. From Sint Maarten, you can reach St. Barth’s by ferry or by plane. Once there, you can enjoy its chic boutiques, gourmet restaurants, and stunning beaches like St. Jean and Flamands.

Pinel Island

Just a short boat ride off the coast of Sint Maarten, Pinel Island is a small, uninhabited paradise with calm waters and soft sands. Snorkel or swim in the clear blue waters, or relax under the shade of a palm tree. You can also rent kayaks or stand-up paddleboards to explore the island’s surroundings.

Maho Beach on Dutch Side

If you’re a fan of planes, you’ll love Maho Beach on the Dutch side of the island. This unique beach is located right next to Princess Juliana International Airport, and planes fly low overhead as they come in for a landing. It’s an exciting and unforgettable experience for aviation enthusiasts.

Whichever day trip you choose, make sure to plan ahead and check ferry or flight schedules to ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip.


In conclusion, Sint Maarten offers an incredible experience for travelers seeking a tropical paradise filled with diverse activities and attractions. Whether you’re looking to relax on pristine beaches, indulge in delicious local dishes, or embark on thrilling adventures, this Caribbean gem has it all.

By following our expert guide on how to make the most of your stay in Sint Maarten, you’re sure to create unforgettable memories and cherish the beauty and culture of this remarkable island.

So, pack your bags, embrace the warmth of the sun, and let Sint Maarten enchant you with its unique blend of adventure and relaxation. Happy travels!

At the beach in Sint Maarten.
Photo by James Thomas on Unsplash

FAQs: How to Make the Most Of Your Stay in Sint Maarten?

Planning a trip to Sint Maarten can be exciting but overwhelming, especially if it’s your first time. Here are some frequently asked questions to help you make the most of your stay.

When is the best time to visit Sint Maarten?

The best time to visit Sint Maarten is from May to June or between November and mid-December. These months offer the best weather and fewer crowds. However, it’s important to note that Hurricane season runs from June to November, so be sure to check the weather forecast before booking your trip.

What is the currency used in Sint Maarten?

Sint Maarten uses the Antillean Guilder (ANG), but US Dollars are widely accepted. It’s recommended to have a mix of both currencies on hand when visiting.

Is Sint Maarten safe for tourists?

Sint Maarten is generally safe for tourists, but it’s important to take precautions like locking valuables in a safe, avoiding poorly lit areas at night, and being aware of your surroundings. As with any destination, it’s always best to exercise common sense and stay vigilant.

What transportation options are available on the island?

Taxis are readily available on the island, and car rentals are also an option. However, driving can be tricky due to narrow roads and aggressive drivers. Public transportation is limited, but there are buses that run between major towns.

What language is spoken in Sint Maarten?

The official languages of Sint Maarten are Dutch and English, but many locals also speak French and Spanish. English is widely spoken in tourist areas.

Do I need a passport to travel to Sint Maarten?

Yes, a passport is required for entry into Sint Maarten. Additionally, some nationalities may require a visa. It’s recommended to check with your local embassy or consulate for the most up-to-date information.

What are some must-try dishes in Sint Maarten?

Some popular dishes to try in Sint Maarten include Johnny cakes, conch fritters, fresh seafood, and guavaberry liqueur. Be sure to check out local markets and beachside restaurants for the best culinary experiences.

What are the emergency numbers in Sint Maarten?

The emergency number in Sint Maarten is 911 for police, medical, and fire emergencies. It’s also recommended to have the contact information for your embassy or consulate on hand.

With these tips in mind, you’re sure to have a safe and enjoyable stay in Sint Maarten. Don’t hesitate to ask locals for recommendations and explore all that the island has to offer.


  • Karin K

    Meet Karin, the passionate author and founder of My love affair with St. Maarten began in 1994 during a memorable trip. The island's allure was so captivating that I decided to make it my permanent home. Since then, I've been committed to sharing the beauty and wonders of St. Maarten through my adventures and insights. Join me on this incredible journey!

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