St. Maarten, an island with 37 beaches…
St. Maarten, an island with 37 beaches…
St. Martin features some of the world’s finest seascapes. From unspoiled, quiet shores to lively hubs of activity, every single one of St. Martin’s beaches is fantastically unique and reflects the rich diversity of the island itself. St. Martin’s 37 beaches are such pearls that they rank among the finest in the Caribbean. With 37 distinct beaches, St. Martin (Sint Maarten) is lauded the world over as a prime Caribbean vacation destination. While this beautiful island’s beaches may all seem the same at first glance, each has its quirks and charms. We list the sands every traveler here should seek out here.
Whether you’re here for diving, surfing, wakeboarding, windsurfing or kitesurfing, or if relaxing and basking in the sun on the island’s warm golden sands is more your style, there is something for everyone in this haven of pleasure…
1 – Long Bay
Located in the heart of the Low Lands on the western coast of the island, Baie Longue, or Long Bay, is the first beach on French Saint Martin when travelling north from the Dutch side. One of the longest beaches on the island, Baie Longue stretches from La Samanna’s Hotel Resort on the left to “Pointe du Canonnier” on the right. It is also one of Saint Martin’s quietest beaches, with only the gentle lapping of the waves to disturb you. The bar at La Samanna’s restaurant is the perfect place to view the sunset that is simply unmissable. Its turquoise seas, white sands and resident pelicans, places Long Bay in a dreamlike setting.
2 – Plum Bay
Also in the Low Lands area,between “Pointe du Canonnier” and “Falaise aux Oiseaux”, Baie aux Prunes or Plum Bay is a secluded and rarely visited beach. With golden sands and water in every shade of blue under the sun, Plum Bay is perfect for visitors looking for peace and harmony. This magnificent beach is quite wild and not much frequented, but offers two features:
In calmer seas it provides the perfect setting for snorkelling; with a good swell it becomes an adventurous playground for experienced surfers.
3 – Red Bay
Taking its name from its slightly coloured sand, Baie Rouge or Red Bay is without a doubt one of the most beautiful beaches on Saint Martin and one of the most popular. Small beach restaurants cater for your dining needs. The beach is lively and has a pleasant atmosphere. Competent swimmers will enjoy swimming through the small rock arch, where a small secluded beach awaits at the base of the cliffs.
4 – Petite Baie
Petite Baie beach (Little Bay), which lies across from “Baie de Marigot” (Marigot Bay), is rarely visited because it is largely exposed to the forces of nature in bad weather.
5 & 6 – Nettle Bay
Caribbean side: This long stretch of sand lies just 5 minutes from the town of Marigot and is home to a number of resort hotels. Rocks, stones and strong currents mean that this is not the ideal swimming location but the gentle breeze of the trade winds make this rarely frequented beach a pleasant place to visit. Lagoon side: These pretty beaches, shaded by palm trees benefit from the amenities of the hotels along the edge of Simpson Bay Lagoon, e.g “Mercure St Martin et Marina” and “Le Flamboyant Hotel”.
7 – Grand Ilet
Lying in the middle of Simpson Bay Lagoon and accessible only by boat, Grand Ilet features a small and picturesque beach.
The ideal spot for a picnicking.
8 – Galisbay Beach
Overlooked by “Fort Louis”, Baie de la Potence or Galisbay beach, constitutes the northern section of Marigot Bay and is less attractive for visitors given the many other beaches on the island. There has been a shipwreck there since Hurricane Lenny in 1999.
9 – Lovers’ Beach
Nestled in the rocky coastline of “Pointe Arago”, Lovers’ Beach is the smallest beach on Saint Martin, it was named that way because it can only accommodate two people at a time! Hard to find but worth it!
10 – Friars’ Bay Beach
Known in French as “Anse des Pères”, the very scenic Friars Bay Beach is a sheltered, family friendly beach in the northwest of the island. The beach is famous for its two well-known beach restaurants, Friars Bay Beach Café and Kali’s Beach Bar.
By day, visitors relax by the calm waters of the Caribbean sea, but when the sun goes down Friar’s Bay Beach moves to the sounds of rock and reggae. Don’t miss the legendary Full Moon parties at Kali’s Beach Bar. Friar’s Bay Beach Café frequently hosts concerts in this magical and intimate setting.
11 – Happy Bay
With its paradise setting, this is the quintessential tropical beach. Accessible only by a 10-minute hike through the hills, Happy Bay is one of the island’s most beautiful beaches and has managed to preserve its authentic and untouched charm.
Lined with coconut trees, Happy Bay’s white sands are ideal for picnicking.
12 – Grand-Case Beach
Located at the heart of the picturesque fishing village that bears its name, Grand Case Bay is a long beach at the foot of celebrated gourmet restaurants and smaller renown traditional eateries, known as lolos. Grand Case Bay is sheltered and the Caribbean blue waters there are calm and clear. Divers will enjoy exploring the famous Creole Rock.
13 – Little Beach
Lying opposite Creole Rock at the northern end of Grand Case Bay is Little Beach. Practically untouched, the beach is the perfect place to relax under the shade of sea grape trees and swim in the calm turquoise waters.
14 – Anse Marcel
The magnificent Anse Marcel is a sheltered and well-developed beach at the base of the exquisite Port Lonvilliers resort in the north of the island. As the bay is protected on both sides, the water here is calm and the beach is popular with families.
Visitors will enjoy strolling around the marina and its shops.
15 – Petites Cayes
Access to Petites Cayes is via a roughly 30-minute walk, but this unspoiled and often deserted beach is well worth the trek.
Perfect for nature lovers, Petites Cayes is also a favourite spot for surfers when the swell picks up.
16 – Grandes Cayes
Grandes Cayes is a traditional site frequented by Saint Martin families for barbecues. A large beach facing Tintamarre island, Grandes Cayes is a superb location for coral reef diving.
17 & 18 – Tintamarre Island
A wonderful haven of peace and greenery covering 100 hectares in the middle of the ocean, the island of Tintamarre is located 4km off the northeast coast of Saint Martin. Taking a walk around this now uninhabited island, you will find the remains of an airstrip, a small railtrack and a cotton plantation. The most accessible bay, “Baie Blanche”, is situated on the west coast facing Saint Martin and has a delightful beach for swimming. A second beach is located on the East part of the island just a few minutes away from the main one where everybody arrives. Wild and rocky is it not the best spot to swim but it remains the perfect nursery for numerous fish species. Tintamarre lies within the boundary of the Saint Martin Nature Reserve. There is nowhere to buy food or water on the island, so come well prepared.
19 & 20 – Pinel Island
This small paradise island lies just off the east coast of Saint Martin, at the heart of the Nature Reserve. Legend has it that in his attempt to capture the island of Saba, the buccaneer Pinel was driven back by the island’s inhabitants who hurled great rocks down on the pirates from their mountain refuge. As they fled, the invaders ran aground on Pinel Island, which has since borne the name of the defeated captain. Two breathtaking beaches await visitors here: the first, facing Saint Martin, is a very sheltered sandy strip with shallow waters. Ideal for children, the beach here is postcard perfect, with clear waters and white sand. There are two beachside restaurants here and the area is a superb shallow-water dive spot. The second beach, which is stony and exposed to the forces of nature, is a 10-minute walk away on the other side of the island. To get to Pinel Island, take a traditional boat known as a Saintoise from the pontoon at Cul-de-Sac. The 10-minute boat ride costs around $6.
21 – Orient Bay
Known as the “Saint Tropez of the Caribbean”, Orient Bay (Baie Orientale) beach, situated in the north-eastern part of the island, is one of the island’s largest and most popular beaches. The beach offers a full range of tourist amenities, including beach restaurants, hotels, shops and watersports. Orient Bay is a favourite celebrity and jetsetter hotspot. A naturist beach can be found to the extreme south of the bay.
22 – Green Cay
Several hundred metres across from the bustling activity of Orient Bay beach, the tiny and secluded island of Green Cay (Caye Verte) is the perfect escape for those wanting to get away from it all.
23 – Galion Beach
The ultimate family beach, Galion Beach is a favourite spot for local families during island festivities.
Le Galion is a surfers’ and windsurfers’ paradise and is well sheltered and protected from the ocean swell by its coral reef. Here, you can also pratice snorkeling, sea kayaking, stand up paddle and hawaiian canoe.
24 – Baie de l’Embouchure
The southwards continuation of Galion Beach that runs as far as the “Etang aux Poissons”, the long strip of sand and mangrove swamp along “Baie de l’Embouchure” forms part of the Nature Reserve. Swept by the trade winds and protected from the Atlantic swell by a coral reef and the rocky islands of Coconut Grove, the bay offers perfect conditions for windsurfing all year round.
25 – Lucas’ Bay
Lucas’ Bay is the last beach on the French side of the island before you enter the Dutch side, and is a very popular location for amateur divers.However, the beach is rarely visited due to its exposure to Atlantic swells and East winds.
26 – Dawn Beach
Fine sand and coconut trees are the backdrop for this exceptional beach located near the Oyster Pond Marina. This pretty little beach was for a long time undeveloped, however new hotels have recently been constructed around its edges.
27 – Guana Bay
The picturesque and unspoiled Guana Bay Beach faces out towards the island of Saint Barths and isn’t very frequented. The beach is very popular with water sports fans. Beware of the strong undertow and strong currents in deep waters.
28 – Geneve Bay
Accessible via an hour-long hike from Guana Bay along a pleasant coastal path, Geneve Bay is nature’s swimming pool “par excellence”, and is well protected from the rolling waves of the Atlantic.
29 – Great Bay
Great Bay Beach is located right in the heart of Philipsburg and is lined with the bars and restaurants that spill out onto Front Street. The beach is accessed via a promenade that runs most of the way across its length. At the eastern end one can enjoy the view of cruise ships in port.
30 – Little Bay
Little Bay Beach is cut off from Great Bay by the Fort Amsterdam peninsula and is therefore fairly well protected. The Nature Foundation group has recently initiated a programme to replant the site, which is rapidly becoming a haven for birdlife.
31 – Cay Bay
Cay Bay is a small and very pretty cove. The beach, which owes its serenity to its remoteness, is popular with walkers, pony trekkers and mountain bikers. Incredible underwater seascapes.
32 – Pelican Cay
This small and pleasant beach sits at the foot of the resort hotels, opposite Simpson Bay, in the south-west of the island. A number of tourist amenities are available there.
33 – Simpson Bay
Skirting the runway of Princess Juliana International Airport and the picturesque fishing village of Simpson Bay, this undeveloped strip of fine sand runs to the foot of the “Pointe Burgeaux” rocks.
34 – Burgeaux Beach
Along the coast from the long stretch of Simpson Bay and the rocks of “Pointe Burgeaux” lies the small, stony cove of Burgeaux Beach. There are many shells and sea urchins there and the beach is very popular with surfers on days when there is a good swell.
35 – Maho Beach
Maho Beach is world-famous for its unique location right at the business end of the Princess Juliana Airport runway.
Crowds gather to watch jumbo jets take off and land. Don’t leave anything on the beach under the flight path as the jet blast will whip it away. This is a must see!
36 – Mullet Bay
Very popular with tourists and locals alike, the beautiful fine-sanded Mullet Bay Beach sits on the edge of the golf course. North winds provide fantastic offshore conditions for surfers.
37 – Cupecoy
Nestled at the foot of dramatic ochre-coloured cliffs, Cupecoy is a succession of small beaches, gently lapped by the waves.
Sunsets are breathtaking at Cupecoy. Its beaches are the last on the Dutch side before the northern border with French Saint Martin.