St. Maarten is an Island full of secrets, treasures and hidden gems. Here are 10 places you may want to visit on your next trip.
Oyster Bay Yacht Club
Before it became known as the friendliest resort on the “The Friendly Island,” Oyster Bay Beach Resort was known as Oyster Bay Yacht Club. It was frequently visited by some of the most famous people in the world, including Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Diana Ross, who were both treated with special care and attention. Since then, the resort has been renovated and remodeled several times, but the original structure still serves as the central courtyard and gathering spot for visitors and local Island VIPs.
Natural Pools of Back Bay
If you want to experience natural pools, look no further than Back Bay on St. Maarten’s lower east coast. Pools of water, fed by the ocean but protected from large ocean waves, are formed by the rocks along the undeveloped coastline near Guana Bay and Pointe Blanche. It’s a bit of a hike, but the refreshing swim in the natural pools is well worth the effort. You may even encounter some friendly goats or see wild horses along the way.
There are many great places to see sunsets on St. Maarten, but as far as we’re concerned, the best sunsets can be seen on the Island’s west coast, specifically Mullet Bay Beach. The beach is located near the airport in the Lowlands area of the Island and has ample parking and a new beach bar with bathrooms and showers. Go for the sunsets or plan to spend the day and rent beach chairs and umbrellas. Enjoy
Best Gourmet Experience
If you’re ready to take your dining experience to another level (literally), you must try La Villa Hibiscus on Pic Paradis. This is truly a hidden gem and a unique St. Maarten experience where the setting and the views are magnificent and unlike any other on the Island. The open kitchen allows you to see Chef Bastian in action, and he prepares your gourmet experience. Be prepared to tell them your food allergies and any foods you don’t care for, and let Chef Bastian and Sabine take care of the rest.
Happy Bay Beach – as primitive as can be.
If you’re looking to escape the crowds and find a serene and peaceful place, you can’t do better than Happy Bay Beach. Located between Friar’s Bay and Grand Case Beach on the Island’s northwest side, Happy Bay can best be accessed on foot. The hike from Friar’s Bay (about a 15-minute walk) is easy, with beautiful views of the ocean to your left and grassy hills to your right. You’ll find no facilities or restaurants on Happy Bay Beach, but the short walk back to the Friar’s Bay Beach Cafe is easy and worth the trip.
Baie Rouge (Red Bay)
Located just east of the Lowlands (the estates of the rich and famous) on St. Maarten is a beach with white/pink sand, made chiefly from coral. In fact, the entire beach and surrounding cliffs are colored red and give the area its distinct look and its name. The beach stretches for two miles but has only one parking area and entrance by way of Rue de Terres Basses. This is a special oasis you don’t want to miss.
The Wall of Art
The Wall of Art is a project created by local and international artists to demonstrate the resilience and passion of the people of St. Maarten following hurricane Irma. Each section of the wall is its own unique piece and creates an outdoor museum that is nothing short of inspiring. Located on Rue de la Nettle in Marigot, the Wall of Art is close to plenty of places to eat, drink and absorb the beauty of St. Maarten.
Trou David (Devil’s Hole)
Trou David, also known as Devil’s Hole, is a geological marvel carved of rock-hewn by the sea, creating something resembling a natural pool. It’s an ancient crumbling rock opening where natural erosion has built two arches that gobble up the waves crashing through it. After a short walk between Red Bay and Pointe du Bluff, you’ll find it more precisely by taking the path located at the Terres Basses and Red Bay crossing. You see it when turning left along the cliffside at the end of the path towards Petites Cayes Bay.
Just up the coast from Back Bay is Geneve Bay, famous for its beautiful hikes, rocky hills, and natural pools. Well protected from the rolling waves of the Atlantic, Geneve Bay Beach is also known as one of St Maarten hiking best spots, but be sure to wear good sneakers, walking shoes, or hiking boots. Once you’re down on the beach, go for a swim, look for goats on the hills and sea urchins in the natural tide pools.
Make Your Own Perfume
The sense of smell has amazing associative power, so what better souvenir from St. Maarten than a custom perfume to remind you of your trip. Tijon Perfumerie in Grand-Case on St. Maarten’s north side makes fine perfumes, colognes, and skin-care products and offers perfume-making classes for visitors. Staff guide visitors through the process of making perfumes and end each class with a champagne toast. Cheers.
Salt Pickers Monument
While it’s no secret, few people are aware of the history behind the Salt Pickers Monument at the roundabout in Philipsburg (near the Great Salt Pond). The monument is easy to find and pays homage to the hard-working people (some paid and some slaves) who worked the salt industry on the island from 1624 through the 1960s. St. Maarten was once known as Soualugia, meaning “the land of salt.” Salt was used to preserve meat and fish, and St. Maarten had three large salt ponds, which produced up to 400 boatloads of salt per year. The Salt Pickers monument honors the heritage of St. Maarten and its industrious people.