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Map of St. Maarten and St. Martin in the Caribbean

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Dutch St. Maarten occupies the southern half of this uniquely divided Caribbean island; resorts on the Dutch side can be found at Simpson Bay on the south coast, in and around the capital of Philipsburg , and at Dawn Beach on the west coast.

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Orient Beach -- a famous spot for au natural sunbathing -- is home to many of French St. Martin hotels.

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St. Martin - St. Maarten   Travel Guide

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Why Go To St. Martin - St. Maarten

If you associate the Caribbean with a laid-back atmosphere, a tranquil beach and a quiet sunset, then you haven't been to feisty St. Martin and St. Maarten. What's the best part of visiting this dual-governed island? You can get a taste of two distinct, lively cultures all for the price of one vacation. Like much of the Caribbean, the island was hit hard by Hurricane Irma in 2017. Make sure you call or check the websites of any businesses you plan to visit in advance to check on their status. The 37-square-mile dot is popular with travelers who like to eat well, party hard and shop duty-free in between trips to the beach. The north side, St. Martin, is controlled by the French government. It's the home of the island's tastiest restaurants and party beaches. Whereas cosmopolitan St. Maarten shelters the most animated casinos, bars and clubs. A territory of the Netherlands Antilles, St. Maarten takes up the southern 16 square miles.

But for all the excitement, St. Martin and St. Maarten still foster a stress-free vibe – starting out with how easily you can pass between both sides of the island. So catch a few morning rays on a quiet Dutch-side beach; later, take a leisurely afternoon stroll through a French-side mountain. You'll be more than primed to sneak back over the border for a night in the casinos.

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  • # 5 in Best Family Vacations in the Caribbean
  • # 15 in Best Places to Visit in the Caribbean for 2023
  • # 15 in Best Caribbean Honeymoons

Best of St. Martin - St. Maarten

Best hotels in st. martin - st. maarten.

  • # 1 in Hotel L'Esplanade
  • # 2 in La Samanna, A Belmond Hotel, St Martin
  • # 3 in Sonesta Ocean Point All Inclusive, Adults Only Resort

Best Things to Do in St. Martin - St. Maarten

  • # 1 in Sailing, Yachting and Boat Tours
  • # 2 in Orient Bay (St. Martin)
  • # 3 in Cupecoy Beach (St. Maarten)

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St. Martin - St. Maarten Travel Tips

Best months to visit.

The best time to visit St. Martin and St. Maarten is May and June or between November and mid-December. These select weeks are times when hotels advertise their best rates. The island's weather is pleasant year-round, but these are times when rain showers are less likely. Summer and early fall are not good for a vacation; many hotels close in this offseason and there's a chance of hurricanes. Also avoid visiting in winter and early spring (mid-December to April) if you can. That's when St. Martin and St. Maarten milks its wealthy vacationers.

Weather in St. Martin - St. Maarten

Data sourced from the National Climatic Data Center

What You Need to Know

The official language In St. Martin it's French. Meanwhile, St. Maarten's official language is both Dutch and English. Confused yet? Don't worry – English is widely spoken throughout.

How to say "watch out" in Dutch You should definitely go to Maho Bay to see a few 747s land at the neighboring Princess Juliana International Airport. But  uitkijken ! This can be a scary, noisy and windy experience.

How to say "Live and Let Live" in French St. Martin's beaches are well-known for their  vivre et laisser vivre  philosophy on swimsuits (in other words, expect to see a lot of bare chests and bottoms).

How to Save Money in St. Martin - St. Maarten

Don't tip extra  You'll see some restaurants have put an extra 15-percent "tax" on the bill that the wait staff might neglect to tell you is their service charge. Don't tip extra unless your service was really exceptional.

Email, don't phone  Making a call from the French side to the Dutch side, and vice versa, is considered an international call. Some businesses will have two numbers (to help you avoid this particular nuisance), but if not, attempt to make restaurant reservations and book island tours by email.

Take the bus  Things move at a more leisurely pace in the Caribbean, so take advantage of that by taking the bus to the top tourist sites. There's no set schedule for drop-off and pick-ups, but you'll get where you want to go for about $1.50 one-way.

Culture & Customs

A true "Tale of Two Cities,"   the island of St. Martin and St. Maarten is proud of its dual heritage and customs. There is no physical border between the French and Dutch territories and people and goods may travel freely between both sides of the island. The Dutch side's official currency is the Netherlands Antillean guilder (ANG) while the official currency of the French side is the euro (EUR). However, the United States dollar is widely accepted, as are most major credit cards.

What to Eat

Bring your appetite to St. Martin/St. Maarten, because you'll most assuredly put it to good use. Fresh seafood is often the star of many menus here (it is an island, after all), but there is a rich variety of cuisines to be found, from high-end French to Lebanese to Italian to traditional barbecue. Typical Creole dishes often include conch, goat and oxtail. You'll also want to try the island's national liqueur, Guavaberry, made from rum, cane sugar and local, wild guavaberries. A bottle also makes a great souvenir to take home.

Some visitors say the island's dining is some of the best in the Caribbean, especially in the Grand Case area on the French side. Bistrot Caraibes in Grand Case consistently earns rave reviews from diners, who praise both its food and service. The restaurant's signature dish is lobster, a big favorite with repeat diners. La Villa Restaurant , another Grand Case mainstay, is equally praised for its French-Caribbean menu and exceptional service.

If you're looking for a casual meal, try one of the  lolos , or open-air restaurants on the beach (outdoor cooking on large barbecues is very popular here). In the evening, live music is often a staple at these local spots. Recent travelers especially enjoyed the bars and grills along Simpson Bay. The Palms was a particular favorite thanks to its Caribbean and international menu. Popular dishes include the jerk chicken and curry chicken. Izi Ristorant Italiano was also a hit for those passing through Simpson Bay for its variety of Italian classics.

The dual-nation island is just as safe as other island getaways. Crowds are denser in St. Maarten, however, so travelers should exercise common sense when moving around the tourist areas; leave your valuables at home, and only carry small bills. St. Martin and St. Maarten's visitors should also be mindful of the jet blast when watching the planes take off and land at  Maho Bay . Blasts of sand can be powerful depending on where you're standing, and spectators should prepare by bringing a brimmed hat and umbrella, in addition to plenty of sunscreen (the strong winds can make it hard to determine when you're sunburned). For that matter, sunscreen and a hat should always be worn, since the island is located between the Tropic of Cancer and the Equator, receiving the full force of the sun. A good pair of sunglasses is also a good idea. 

Getting Around St. Martin - St. Maarten

The best way to get around St. Martin and St. Maarten is in a rental car. But really, outside of walking, just about any means of navigating between the French and Dutch sides of the island is manageable. Having a car will allow you more mobility and you'll find reasonable rental rates. Agencies are clustered on the outskirts of Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM), located in St. Maarten. Unfortunately, traffic can be pretty heinous on both sides. The island buses also cater to tourists and are fairly cheap to ride. If you don't like the idea of waiting on a bus, consider splurging on a taxi. And if you're feeling adventurous you might want to use a scooter; there's nothing like feeling the sea breeze in your hair – ahem, helmet.

Entry & Exit Requirements

You can travel freely between this island's French and the Dutch sides, but you will need to present a passport that has at least six months remaining validity (for the French side) when you first arrive. A valid passport is all that is required to enter the Dutch side. You might also be asked to present your return ticket, proof of sufficient funds for your trip and proof of lodging. For more information on customs, visit the U.S. State Department's  for information on St. Martin here and for St. Maarten here . Tourist visas are not required.

Marigot Harbor sits on the French side of the island.

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Orient Bay (St. Martin)

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Saint Martin – Sint Maarten

Saint Martin/Sint Maarten – Detailed Island Guide For Travel

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Saint Martin / Sint Maarten Detailed Friendly Island Guide For Tours

The Island of Saint Martin / Sint Maarten is located in the centre of the Caribbean, the aptly named “Friendly Island” is a subtle mix of multi-coloured landscapes, beautiful white sandy beaches revealing a turquoise blue sea and a warm and friendly welcoming population.

Whether you are a tourist or a resident of the Friendly Island of Saint Martin, you will find a guide with all the useful and necessary information about Saint Martin / Sint Maarten in this web portal.

Saint Martin - Sint Maarten - Welcome

This website is the perfect guide to get to know everything about the island. It’s also a media platform that is the natural relay of the SXM MAP , which allows travelers to friendly reach information before, during and after their stay. It is also the telephone directories of all the companies on the island. And finally, all practical information you might need about Saint Martin and Sint Maarten.

• Friendly guide for tourists, locals and island professionals • A support guide that has the will to relaunch and develop the destination • A support guide that reflects the different facets of the island and its surroundings • Bilingual: English – French (soon)

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Also a telephone directory, including more than 3000 referenced companies on the French side of Saint Martin / Sint Maarten.

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A tourist map through which you will discover all the magical places that shelters the beautiful island of Saint Martin / Sint Maarten.

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Sint Maarten – Directory

Also a telephone directory, including more than 3000 referenced companies of the Dutch side of Saint Martin / Sint Maarten.

Saint Martin - Sint Maarten Friendly Island Guide - St Maarten Telephone Directory

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Paradise in St. Maarten

Discover St. Maarten; The Friendly Island made up of two nations and one heart.

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Land, Sea or Air, St. Maarten is the island to do it all. No matter your age or interest.

The Perfect Stay

Laying your head down in absolute luxury or quaint charm is easy in St. Maarten

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Known as the smallest landmass to consist of two nations, and home of the "Friendly People", St. Maarten invites you to experience the true magic of the island. Find a tropical paradise with pristine beaches and sunny clear skies, as diverse as any cosmopolitan city yet as welcoming and familiar as your hometown. Where laid back island energy transforms into vibrant rhythms and finger-licking dining, and where European Culture blends so effortlessly with Caribbean Flair.

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Two Side of Paradise

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A popular tourist destination, Pinel Island is a perfect little paradise and has plenty of amenities to make any beach day as relaxing as can be. Explore

  • Things To Do

Tintamare is part of a natural reserve and is environmentally protected. The name of this undeveloped little island comes the color of its water. Explore

Sentry Hill

Sentry Hill is the highest point on the Dutch Side. Take a visit to the sky deck offering a 360 view, or zip down the steepest zip line in the world.

Simpson Bay

Simpson Bay offers sandy white beaches, bustling lagoon views filled with impressive yachts, and vibrant hot spots that embody the energy of St. Maarten. Explore

  • Places To Stay

Pic Paradis

Known as the highest point of the entire island, Pic Paradis peak reaches 1391 ft / 424 meters high, giving the best view you can get while on island. Explore

Philipsburg

Philipsburg is the capital of the Dutch Side filled with vibrantly colored houses, artistic murals, shops, and restaurants lined up on Great Bay Beach. Explore

Oyster Pond

Oyster Pond is known as secluded haven nestled between the Dutch and French Side. Those who favor a peaceful and sunny escape tend to flock to this area.

Orient Bay is a picturesque coastal community located on the French Side filled gingerbread architecture, and modern beach side bars and restaurants. Explore

Marigot, the capital of the French Side, is known for its iconic architecture. Stroll down Rue de la République, a street untouched since the 19th century. Explore

Maho is filled with lounges and rooftop bars offering a perfect view of planes coming from over the horizon, or get front row seats at Maho Beach. Explore

Grand Case is a beach side strip known for its up-scale restaurants, local road side grills, and quaint beach restaurants.

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THE 10 BEST St Martin / St Maarten Beaches

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  • Things to do ranked using Tripadvisor data including reviews, ratings, photos, and popularity.

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1. Maho Beach

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2. Mullet Bay

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3. Orient Bay Beach

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4. Great Bay Beach

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5. Little Bay Beach

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6. Happy Bay Beach

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7. Tintamarre Island

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8. Baie Rouge

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9. Grand Case Beach

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10. Friar's Bay

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11. Le Galion Beach

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12. Oyster Pond

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13. Cupecoy Bay Beach

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14. Kim Sha Beach

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15. Dawn Beach

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16. Long Beach

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17. Divi Beach

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18. Plum Bay

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19. Guana Bay Beach

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20. Miguel's Hot Beach Spot

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21. Adonis Touch Massage

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22. Petite Plage

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23. Plage Anse Marcel

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24. Lover's Beach

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35 Best Things to Do in St. Maarten on a Cruise [Cruise Port Guide]

St. Maarten Cruise Port Guide

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If you’re visiting St. Maarten on a cruise, you’re in luck! St. Maarten is one of the most beautiful cruises port of call in the Caribbean and a favorite among cruise travelers.

This unique Caribbean island is home to two distinct cultures and countries, often referred to as the Dutch and French sides.

Cruise ships dock in the capital city of Philipsburg, Sint Maarten on the South side of the island. However, the island is a relatively small at only 34 square miles. Cruisers can also experience the French culture of St. Martin, on the South side of the island.

There are so many great things to do in St. Maarten, from beautiful beaches near the cruise port to exciting excursions and island tours. In fact, we’ve visited St. Maarten during a cruise several times, and always find fun things to see and do!

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St. Maarten Cruise Port

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Cruise ships dock at the Dr. A.C. Wathey Cruise & Cargo Facilities, located in Philipsburg, the capital of St. Maarten, on the Dutch side of the island. The cruise port short walking distance from the heart of the town and nearby many popular attractions.

Many cruise lines dock in Philipsburg, from Celebrity Cruises to P&O and more. There can be as many as 5 cruise ships a day in port. However, when we were in St. Maarten recently, there were only 2 cruise ships docked.

Transportation options into the town of Philipsburg, local beaches and popular sights are conveniently located at the cruise terminal.

St. Maarten – What Cruise Passengers Need to Know

st.-maarten-cruise-port

The official currency in St. Maarten is the Netherlands Antillean Guilder or Florin (NAf). However, US Dollars are widely accepted.

The local currency in St. Martin, on the French side of the island is the Euro (€). Similar to the Dutch side, US money is accepted across the island.

Tip: Credit cards are used and accepted widely, as are US dollars. Keep some small bills handy for tips for tour guides , to use at souvenir stands etc.

In St. Maarten, the official languages are Dutch and English. However, there are several languages in Sint Maarten/St. Martin including French, Spanish and Creole.

St. Maarten has a tropical climate, and experiences sunny and warm temperatures throughout the year. It can get hot and humid in St. Maarten, which makes the island perfect for beach lovers.

Getting Around St. Maarten

The best ways to get around St. Maarten as a cruise traveler are by foot, taxi or water taxi.

There is a taxi stand within walking distance of the cruise port. From here you can pick up shuttle transportation to popular tourist spots including Maho Beach, on the Dutch side of St. Maarten and Orient Beach, in St. Martin, on the French side.

The water taxi booth located close by to the cruise ships. You can purchase one way or round trip water taxi tickets to downtown Philipsburg and Great Bay Beach. The water taxi is one of the easiest and most common way cruise passengers go from the cruise port to Philipsburg.

If you want to save money on a cruise , you can take the public bus, which is the least expensive option. This does take some planning and it’s best to exercise caution.

It is also possible to rent a car in St. Maarten if you’re comfortable driving. Keep in mind that the roads on the Island will be quite busy when several cruise ships are in port.

Best Things to Do in St. Maarten Cruise Port During Your Cruise

We’ve been St. Maarten/St. Martin several times by cruise ship over the years, and it’s one of our all time favorite Caribbean cruise destinations. Even though St. Maarten is a small island, there are so many fun and interesting things to do!

You can visit St. Maarten on your own or with an organized shore excursion . Keep in mind that traffic can be heavier during peak times or when multiple cruise ships are in port. If you’re taking a shore excursion with the cruise line, the transportation time will be included in the itinerary.

Here’s a list of best things to do in St. Maarten during a cruise port day:

Best Beaches in St. Maarten/St. Martin

Heading to the beach is a popular way to spend a day in St. Maarten while on a cruise. These are the best and most popular beaches for cruisers.

1. Great Bay Beach (Dutch Side)

st.-maarten-Great-Bay-beach

Located in Philipsburg, St. Maarten, Great Bay beach is easily accessible by water taxi. This pretty beach is minutes away from the cruise port, which makes this one of the most popular and best beach for cruise passengers.

At Great Bay Beach, you’ll have a beautiful view of the cruise ships docked nearby. You’ll also be within walking distance of local restaurants, bars and shops along Front Street and the downtown core.

map-of-great-bay-beach-st.-maarten

2. Orient Bay Beach (French Side)

Orient Bay Beach, located on the French side of St. Martin (St. Maarten), is one of the most famous and picturesque beaches in the Caribbean. In addition to it’s natural beauty, you’ll also find a vibrant beach club style atmosphere with restaurants, bars and water-sports all available.

Clothing Optional Section

Something to note is that there is a clothing-optional section known as “Club Orient.” This area is designated for those who prefer a clothing-optional experience, and it’s clearly marked. However, the main part of the beach is generally family-friendly.

3. Maho Beach (Dutch Side)

maho-beach-st.-maarten

One of the most popular cruise excursions is a visit to St. Maarten’s Maho Beach, sometimes referred to as “airplane beach”. This beach is famous for its close proximity to the Princess Juliana International Airport, where planes fly low overhead during takeoffs and landings.

While Maho Beach can get crowded, especially when several cruise ships are in port, seeing planes flying almost overhead is a thrilling and memorable experience for beachgoers.

At Maho Beach, you’ll find the Sunset Bar and Grill, a great place to grab a tropical drink and bite to eat, all while plane spotting at one of the coolest beaches you’ll ever find!

4. Mullet Bay (Dutch Side)

Mullet Bay beach in St. Maarten is well loved by locals, tourists and cruise passengers who prefer a tranquil and laid-back beach experience.

The calm waters at Mullet Bay beach make it perfect for swimming and snorkeling.

5. Cupeboy Beach (Dutch Side)

Cupecoy Beach on the Dutch side of St. Maarten is a captivating and rugged destination known for its dramatic limestone cliffs and sea caves. It’s a great option for cruisers who prefer a beach that’s off the beaten path or those who have been to St. Maarten cruise port before.

6. Simpson Bay Beach (Dutch Side)

Simpson Bay Beach is a beautiful beach located on the Southwesten coast of the Dutch side of the island in Sint Maarten. Simpson Bay Beach is well known for it’s beautiful white sand beach and clear turquoise waters.

Cruise passengers can relax or participate in fun activities and water-sports including jet skiing, banana boating, parasailing, snorkeling, sailing, scuba diving, surfing, and more.

Exploring St. Maarten

7. take a water taxi to downtown philipsburg.

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One of the easiest ways to spend the day while visiting St. Maarten on a cruise is to take the water taxi into town. While you can walk to downtown Philipsburg from the cruise port, it will take about 30 minutes or longer.

A water taxi is a nice 10-15 minute ride that will bring you to Great Bay Beach or Front Street, where you can spend the day exploring the town. Take a walking tour of Philipsburg or explore on your own.

The water taxi is $7 per person, round trip and free for children under 3 years of age.

Related: What to Pack for a Caribbean Cruise (full packing list )

8. Shopping in St. Maarten

Front street.

St. Maarten is well known for it’s duty free shopping opportunities! Front Street, the main shopping area in Philipsburg, has a wide range of stores and souvenir shops selling jewelry, electronics, fashion, and more.

Historic Old Street

Continue walking to historic Old Street, which is charming area with boutique shops and art galleries, perfect for finding unique gifts and local crafts.

Cruise Terminal Shops

For cruise passengers who don’t want to head into downtown Philipsburg, you’ll find jewelry, souvenir and local goods sold at the shops at the cruise terminal building and surrounding area.

Shops include Little Switzerland, Diamonds International, Effy’s and Boolchands. You’ll also find little kiosks or stands with local crafts and foods for purchase.

St. Maarten Shore Excursions (Sightseeing & Activities)

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9. St. Maarten/St. Martin Island Tour

Take a guided excursion to explore both the Dutch and French sides, visiting scenic viewpoints and historical landmarks. This tour is a popular cruise excursion for cruise passengers who want to see highlights of St. Maarten during a half day or full day tour.

A tour will usually bring you to the French capital city of Marigot. Other major sights which are often included in the island tour are Fort Amsterdam, Baie Rouge, and Sunset Beach.

10. Loterie Farm

The Loterie Farm and Nature Sanctuary in St. Martin has a mission to protect its beautiful countryside land and trees. This incredible sanctuary combines nature, adventure, and relaxation.

Whether you prefer to explore lush hiking trails, relax at the sanctuary pool or enjoy thrilling zip line tours with breathtaking views, Loterie Farm is a must-visit.

11. Marigot

Visit the capital city of Marigot, St. Martin and be transported into the French culture of the small island. In Marigot you’ll find boutiques, art galleries and duty-free shops. The charming town also offers markets with handicrafts, fresh produce and spices.

You’ll also find pastry shops and restaurants with freshly made croissants. Check out Croissant Royale for delicious croissants and crepes with a water view!

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12. Fort Louis

Perched on a hill overlooking Marigot, Fort Louis is a fascinating historical site dating back to the 18th century. Climb to the top of Fort Louis for panoramic views of the town, Simpson Bay Lagoon, and the surrounding coastline.

The remnants of the fort offer a glimpse into St. Martin’s past as a strategic stronghold. History buffs will appreciate a this popular tourist spot.

13. Fort Amsterdam

Fort Amsterdam, a historical fortress on the Dutch side of St. Maarten, was originally built in 1631. The fort’s well-preserved walls and artifacts offer fascinating insights into the island’s colonial past. Visitors can walk through its military buildings and cannons.

Impressively, the elevated vantage point offers panoramic views of Great Bay and the Caribbean Sea.

14. Catamaran Sail and Snorkle

The waters in St. Maarten are clear and beautiful. A catamaran sail and snorkel excursion is a fun way to enjoy the day in the sun!

15. Flying Dutchman Zipline

This zipline excursion is for those that are looking for an adventurous activity in St. Maarten. Located at the popular Rainforest Adventures Park, the Flying Dutchman Zipline will have you soaring down a 2,800-foot-long cable, descending from the top of St. Maarten’s highest point, Sentry Hill.

16. Guided ATV Tour

Cruise passengers can join a fun, guided ATV tour of Dutch and French St. Maarten. This tour will bring you to several popular spots on the island, and have you viewing pastel colored houses, tuquoise waters and lush landscapes.

17. Parotte Ville Bird Sanctuary

The Parotte Ville Bird Sanctuary in St. Maarten is a hidden gem that thrills visitors of all ages. The bird sanctuary houses a diverse array of colorful and exotic bird species from around the world.

The Parotte Ville Bird Sanctuary is a fun, family-friendly attraction. The sanctuary’s knowledgeable staff provide informative talks and feeding sessions, offering insights into the behavior and conservation efforts for these beautiful creatures.

18. Guava Berry Rum and Liquor Tasting

If you’re looking for a unique and tasty experience during your time in St. Maarten, you’ll enjoy a Guava Berry Liquor tasting. This locally-produced liquor is traditionally enjoyed at Christmas by local families.

The Guava Berry Liquor is made from the rare guava berry fruit, which is native to the island and known for its rich and distinctive flavor. During the tasting, you’ll have the opportunity to sample different varieties of the liquor, with several fruit flavors.

19. Visit a Perfumerie

Create your own perfume or cologne at Tijon, a perfumerie in Grand-Case, St. Martin, on the French side of the island. Tijon is a boutique perfumery and laboratory that crafts custom fragrances.

The staff will help you to create a scent that suits your personality and unique style. Along with an experience, you’ll also leave with a personalized fragrance that will be a great memory of your time in St. Maarten.

Video: St. Maarten Cruise Tips & Exploring Philipsburg & Great Bay Beach

20. Pinel Island

Pinel Island is a short boat ride away from St. Maarten. With an excursion, you may be able to kayak or canoe over.

At Pinel Island, you can snorkle and see colorful coral reefs and tropical fish. Beach chairs and umbrellas available for rent ($25 for 2 chairs & one umbrella).

There are other day trips to nearby islands that are available as well.

There are several casinos in St. Maarteen. The largest casino on the island is Casino Royale, located in Maho village. A casino that is closer to the cruise ships is Rouge et Noir Casino SXM, located on Back Street in Philipsburg.

Related: 50+ Must-have Cruise & Travel Essentials

22. Yoda Guy Movie Exhibit

For something completely different, check out the The Yoda Guy Movie Exhibit in Philipsburg, St. Maarten. This must-see attraction was founded by Nick Maley, a creator of the Yoda character from Star Wars.

This unique exhibit showcases movie memorabilia from iconic films like Star Wars, Superman, and The Terminator. Visitors can enjoy guided tours. This fun tourist attraction is a treat for movie enthusiasts and travelers alike.

23. Secret Garden

st maarten tourist map

While in downtown Philipsburg, be sure to walk through the Secret Garden. This free tropical pathway will take you from Front Street to Back Street.

This pretty garden pathway is worth walking through as you’re shopping and sightseeing in the town.

24. Philipsburg Courthouse

The Philipsburg Courthouse will be part of your walking tour, even if it’s informal. In addition to the charming building, you’ll find picturesque churches and hotels with interesting architecture.

A few years ago, St. Maarten was very badly affected by Hurricane Irma. While they have done an amazing job rebuilding much of the infrastructure of the island, the reconstruction is still a work in progress on the island.

25. Horseback Riding

If you’ve always wanted to go horseback riding, there are a few good options in St. Maarten. Lucky Stables at Seaside Nature Park offers a 1 hour trail and beach ride, riding lessons and a private or semi-private ride through the trails.

26. St. Maarten Bicycle Tour

For a different kind of tour, you can book a bicycle tour or e-bike tour where you’ll drive through the streets of Philipsburg, St. Maarten. You can also book a tour that will allow you to explore more of the island, including St. Martin. You can check the cruise line excursions as well as excursions with Viator, Shore Excursions Group and other local tour providers.

St.-Maarten-Cruise-Port-Guide

27. Ferry Ride or Boat Trip to Anguilla

If you’ve been to St. Maarten before, consider taking a ferry ride or boat trip from St. Maarten to Anguilla. The 25 minute ferry ride from Marigot will allow you to discover a tranquil paradise.

You’ll find stunning beaches, clear waters, and water sports like paddleboarding and kayaking. Anguilla has a great, laid-back atmosphere.

Keep in mind that you need to get back to the cruise ship on time, so this might be best as a cruise line shore excursion or if you are in St. Maarten for a long port day.

28. St. Maarten Art Galleries

St. Maarten’s art galleries showcase a diverse collection of Caribbean and international artwork, from paintings to sculptures. Located in Philipsburg and Marigot, art galleries offer a glimpse into the island’s culture. Whether you’re an art enthusiast or looking for a meaningful souvenir, exploring the local art galleries is well worth it.

29. Butterfly Farm

Unfortunately, at this time St. Martin’s Butterfly Farm is closed.

30. St. Martin’s Nature Reserve

St. Martin’s Nature Reserve is a serene sanctuary on the French side of the island, boasting diverse ecosystems, including mangroves and wetlands. This nature park is ideal for nature lovers and birdwatchers. The reserve offers guided tours and opportunities to spot indigenous wildlife.

31. Grand Case Beach

Grand Case Beach is a less popular, but very beautiful beach on the French side of the island. The beach is well known for it’s clear waters (more clear than on the Dutch side).

Unfortunately, according to recent reviews, the beach hasn’t fully recovered from the devastation of Hurricane Irma a few years ago.

32. Kayaking in Simpson Bay Lagoon

Paddle through the calm waters of Simpson Bay Lagoon, spotting wildlife and mangrove forests. Guided tours are available. This eco-friendly activity is a nice alternative to some of the busier beaches and excursions in St. Maarten.

33. Enjoy a Local Restaurant

st.-maarten-front-street-restaurant

There are many good restaurants in St. Maarten, and the ones on the boardwalk in Philipsburg are popular with cruisers and beachgoers alike.

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Oualichi (we ate lunch here and enjoyed it)
  • Lazy Lizard Restaurant & Craft Bar
  • Taloula Mango’s / Blue Bitch Bar
  • Ocean Lounge at Holland House
  • Bold Buddha (Asian)
  • Chez Delphine (French)
  • Shieka’s Vegetarian & Caribbean Cuisine (Caribbean)
  • Kalua Beach Bar & Restaurant

34. Enjoy a Beer or Drink at a Bar

st.-maarten-local-beer

Whether you like to beach bar hop or to grab a stool at a bar closeby to the cruise port, St. Maarteen is a great place to enjoy a frozen cocktail or local beer.

Any drink made with guavaberry is a must-try when in St. Maarten for the day on a cruise. You’ll find several popular bars along Great Bay Beach as well as near the cruise terminal.

What to Buy in St. Maarten

st.-maarten-cruise-port

35. Souvenir Shopping

There are quite a lot of shopping opportunities in St. Maarten. These are some of the best things to buy while in St. Maarten during your Caribbean cruise.

  • Guavaberry Liquor
  • Caribbean Spices
  • Local cheese
  • Duty-Free Jewelry and Watches
  • Handi-crafts and local artwork
  • Local Handmade Soaps
  • Delftware Pottery
  • T-shirts & souvenirs

Is There a Border Crossing in Sint Maarten – St. Martin?

This small island is unique, as it encompasses two countries, Sint Maarten (Dutch) and St. Martin (French). However, there is no border and people can move freely around the island.

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Final Thoughts on St. Maarten Cruise Port and Best Things to Do

St. Maarten is one of the most beautiful and enjoyable ports of call in the Caribbean. From crystal clear water and white sand beaches to duty-free shopping, its a favorite cruise port for cruise passengers!

In this St. Maarten cruise port guide, we went over the information you need to have a great day visiting St.Maarten during a cruise.

Happy Cruising!

If you found this article helpful, please pass it along. Please feel free to share on Facebook or PIN to your favorite Pinterest board (share buttons at the top). Thanks so much!

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For some beautiful jewelry – down the Old Street – across from the Chocolate shop is De Kross. I make a point to visit the owner/shop every chance we’re on the Island. She can also navigate you to some of the best ‘local’ food that will knock your sandals off!

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St. maarten tourism bureau hosts 2024 tourism symposium with emphasis on cultural tourism.

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A New Way to Travel to St Croix and St Maarten 

A new San Juan-based service will add another option for travelers looking to the islands of St Croix and St Maarten. 

Beginning in June, Frontier Airlines is launching new flights between San Juan and both St Croix in the US Virgin Islands and St Maarten. 

San Juan-St Croix flights will operate three times per week, with service kicking off on June 2. Even better? Fares will start as low as $19. 

San Juan-St Maarten office will launch on June 3, with flights twice per week. 

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While both routes add connections between two popular Caribbean hotspots, there’s a more important effect: they connect both St Croix and St Maarten to the massive network of flights from the mainland United States into San Juan. 

That includes of course Frontier’s huge number of flights from the mainland US to San Juan, with service from 16 different cities in the mainland US, from Miami to Cleveland to Dallas and Baltimore-Washington. 

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That’s particularly significant for St Croix, which has been seeing a surge in travel demand in the post-pandemic period.

Are you planning a getaway to St Maarten or St Croix? 

St Croix has become one of the culinary capitals of the Caribbean in recent years, with a wave of top chefs and new eateries opening their doors; it’s also home to one of the most popular adults-only hotels in the region, The Fred in the increasingly hip town of Frederiksted. 

St Maarten is actually two destinations in one, with the fun-loving Dutch side alongside the gourmet-friendly French side, the latter home to a wonderful collection of boutique hotels and beach resorts like the Grand Case Beach Club . 

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St. Maarten Tourism Bureau hosts 2024 Tourism Symposium with emphasis on Cultural Tourism.

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Esteemed attendees included Prime Minister and Minister of General Affairs Silveria E. Jacobs, Member of Parliament Grisha Heyliger-Marten, Secretary-General from the Ministry of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication (TEATT) Miguel de Weever, Director of Tourism May-Ling Chun, civil servants of the Ministry of TEATT, STB Public Relations and Marketing agencies, activity providers, tour operators, Port St. Maarten, Princess Juliana International Airport, hotels, airlines, local restaurants, and real estate firms.

The symposium commenced with a captivating keynote address by Ms. Clara Reyes, Head of the Department of Culture, emphasizing the paramount importance of directly engaging with the "St. Maarten story" as narrated by local artists. Subsequent presentations by STB’s Public Relations and Marketing agencies, including IMBRACE Group – representative of the Caribbean Market, USP Marketing – representative of the European Market, VOX International – representative of the Canadian Market, Diamond & Co – representative of the American Market, and Big Idea Advertising – responsible for the social media, digital marketing and branding, underscored the strategic efforts to promote the destination across diverse markets for the upcoming year.

Director of Tourism, May-Ling Chun, articulated the significance of cultural tourism, stating, “Our common objective is to ensure that St. Maarten is not just placed on the map but thrives by immersing visitors in our culture, history, people, stories, and experiences. Cultural tourism is the gateway to increasing our market share and solidifying our position as a premier destination.”

The second day of the symposium witnessed stakeholders engaging in scheduled one-on-one meetings with STB’s Public Relations and Marketing agencies. These sessions provided a unique opportunity for collaboration, fostering dialogue on innovative strategies to collectively promote and elevate the allure of St. Maarten in the global tourism landscape.

“The St. Maarten Tourism Bureau extends its deepest gratitude to all participants for their invaluable contributions. Together, we embark on a journey to weave the rich tapestry of St. Maarten's cultural narrative into the fabric of global tourism, promising a future where the destination stands tall as a beacon of cultural richness and unparalleled experiences,” concluded Director Chun.

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