The Great Salt Pond next to Philipsburg is historically one of the most important areas of the island. Salt was of crucial importance for food conservation during 17th and 18th sea voyages. In addition, Dutch side St. Maarten’s salt was an export product. The large salt lake in conjunction with the natural harbor of Great Bay guarded by amongst others Fort Amsterdam and Fort Willem made Philipsburg an excellent salt trading post.
Work on the Philipsburg salt pans was hard. After extraction of salt in the shallow waters, salt was stored next to the landmark Courthouse and shipped from what is now known as the Captain Hodge Pier, one of the main cruise ship moorings in Philipsburg.
Over time, some parts of the Great Salt Pond have been filled, amongst others with excavated materials in the Fort Willem Area. Amongst others the St. Maarten Government building, festival or Carnival Village and the University of St. Martin are built on land gained from the lake. Most famously, Philipsburg’s main artery WJ Nisbeth or “Pondfill” road reminds of the towns expansion into the salt lake. The central roundabout  of Pondfill Road with the Salt-pickers Monument still reminds of the arduous work at the pans.
Some smaller salt lakes can be found, for example on the French side of the island around L’Esperance Airport( SFG)/Grand Case.

Important Bird Area

The Great Salt Pond is one of five Important Bird Areas on St Maarten, together with Fort Amsterdam, Fresh Pond, Little Bay Pond  and the Pelican Rock islet outside Guana Bay.

Where To Find The Great Salt Pond

The Great Salt Pond is located north of Philipsburg and is next to Fort Willem.

Find The Great Salt Pond and other Areas on St Maarten / St Martin on our Interactive Map !