Sentry Hill Hike St Maarten, St Martin


If anything, St. Maarten / St. Martin became famous for its natural beauty. Though the island has grown to become a bustling destination, there is still plenty of nature to enjoy. Here is our top 10 things off the beaten track not to miss as a Nature Lover.



1. The Natural Pool


On a short hike between the Pointe Blanche and Guana Bay areas along the Atlantic Ocean, one finds the Natural pool, a rocky reservoir of sea water on the coastline. The walk itself gives a great impression of Atlantic vegetation in the Caribbean.



Picture of the Natural pool, hiking trail St Maarten, St Martin, Nature on St Maarten



2. Mangroves


Larger mangrove areas can be found along the Simpson Bay Lagoon or in Baie L’Embouchure. Take the EPIC mangrove hike along the lagoon mangroves, one of five dedicated Key Biodiversity Areas of St Maarten.



Picture of the St Maarten Mangroves, Hiking on St Maarten, St Marteen



3. Brown pelicans at Fort Amsterdam


There is no better location to spot St Maartens national bird the brown pelican than at Fort Amsterdam near Philipsburg. The steep cliffs on the western side of the peninsula and the bountiful fish in the popular snorkling grounds alongside the cliffs allow for continuous fishing by the pelicans. Little Bay Beach allows for a more relaxed view of the birds in full flight – but binoculars are recommended. The peninsula is an International Bird Area (IBA).



Brown pelican swimming near Fort Amsterdam, Divi Little Bay Resort, Little Bay Beach, Animals on St Maarten



4. Pinel Island


Tiny Pinel Island is (partially) a popular retreat during the day boasting two restaurants, but at night and at its Atlantic coast, nature reigns. The island is first and foremost a nature reserve. Large colonies of iguanas, hermit crabs and also turtles can be seen. Small walking paths allow for exploring the island in between of drinks at the beach. At 5pm, the island closes for the public and the last boat departs.



Take a trip to Pinel Island, Beaches on St Maarten, French side St Martin beaches


5. Tintamarre island


Slightly further than Pinel in the atlantic lies Tintamarre. A beautiful beach on its western side is a known place to spot sea turtles. Goats and iguanas are the key inhabitants after the last residents left during the 20th century. Ruins, also of a former airport, can still be seen. Unlike Pinel, boats go irregular and need to be chartered. As no amenities are on island, it is advised to come well stocked with a water supply.



Tourists walking and relaxing on Tintamarre island, St Maarten, St Martin, best beaches on St Maarten, Caribbean



6. EPIC hikes


Environmental Protection in the Caribbean (EPIC) has created a set of hiking routes like Fort Willem, Point Blanche, Natural Pool, Vineyard and more. Pick your own that appeals! 



EPIC hiking trails, Nature on St Maarten, Fort Willem hill trail, things to do on St Maarten



7. Serene beaches


Of its 37 beaches,  St Maarten has various without buildings – and hence mostly people – around. For those wanting to immerse in such a total Nature experience, think of Happy Bay and Lovers Beach. The three large beaches in the Lowlands are also relatively quiet compared to those in the tourism areas.



Quiet Beaches on St Maarten, St Martin, French side Happy Bay Beach



8. Diving


St. Maarten offers a wide variety of diving opportunities , and also possibility to do recognized diving classes. It is a great way to explore the reefs and underwater nature around the island, both in the Caribbean and the Atlantic.



Diving on St Maarten, Things to do on St Maarten, Activities on St Maarten, Diving PADI



9. Snorkeling


Easier however is to explore the sea at great snorkeling spots. You can do so with experienced guides or venture out yourself. Renowned spots are Fort Amsterdam’s Little Bay side, Baie Rouge and Creole Rock.



Tourists snorkeling in the Caribbean Sea on St Maarten, St Martin, things to do in the water St Maarten



10. Heritage Museum & Amuseum Naturalis


Last but not least, Amuseum Naturalis in between of Orient Bay and French Quarter provides a great overview of St. Maarten / St. Martin nature. The same applies for the Heritage Museum in Philipsburg



Picture of Les fruits de mer Amuseum Naturalis, located in the old house on the French side of St Martin







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