Top 10 Things You Don’t Want to Miss In St. Maarten
Pinel Island or in French Ilet Pinel is a small and quiet island on the north end of St. Martin, 5 minutes off the shores of French Cul de Sac and a few hundred yards off the northwestern end of Orient Bay. Pinel Island is the place where residents of St. Martin and St. Maarten go to relax, swim and barbeque especially on weekends and holidays. There is a wide sandy area at the end of the road at French Cul de Sac where you find the ferry station, a dock and a parking space. There is also a shack that rents out kayaks. Small ferry boats are waiting there to bring you over to Pinel Island for a reasonable fee. It is a short five minute ride with the ferry boat on the calm and shallow waters for a relaxing day of exploring, sunbathing, or a picnic on this tropical small island.
There are no cars, no roads and no bank or ATM machine; however you will find some beach bar restaurants and a gift shop. Topless sunning is allowed on Pinel Island. The shallow and clear waters make this tiny island very popular for a relaxing day trip.
The Walter Plantz square
Walter “Plantz” Williams was a long-time resident of Down Street (Front Street lower part). The tender jetty in front of the square is named in his honour. In 2010 a bust was erected and unveiled of Mr. Williams. He was nicknamed “Plantz.” Walter used to go to the Plantz Plantation in Belvedere where he would go out hunting with members of the Plantz family. His friends in Down Street gave him the name “Plantz” after he spent so much time up at the plantation. His greatest passion was ﬁshing. He supplied residents with the freshly caught ﬁsh like jacks and shrimps from the Fresh Pond. He would cook these delights and share them out during evening get-togethers at his house. Together they would play dominoes. “Plantz” as he was affectionately called, also built ﬁsh pots, sewed nets and constructed race model sailing boats in Great Bay for youngsters and adults. Walter “Plantz” Williams (95) was also a barber and an artisan of local culture.
It has seven colorful buildings, surrounding a large playful fountain with shaded palm trees and creating the feeling of an outdoor living room. These gingerbread buildings mimic the historical St. Maarten homes. They are constructed according to the original St. Maarten architecture, but have the most modern and outstanding interiors. The cozy restaurants and bars on the square will offer visitors various cuisine and refreshing drinks along with Caribbean music playing from an integrated sound system during the day, evenings and on holidays, and is open for residents and visitors. Each gingerbread building has been adorned with the name of one of the country’s bays.
Horseback riding adventure
Lucky Stables in Cay Bay takes care of you when you want to do some horse riding. Lucky Stables in Cay Bay takes care of you when you want to do some horse riding. The friendly staff will give you unforgettable moments and a fabulous trail ride! You will ride around the beautiful island and later riding on the horse in the water. For most tourists doing the horse ride, calling this the most favorite St.Maarten experience. The St Maarten horseback tour is ideal for beginners to intermediate riders. An hour tour situated at an established nature park, is access is through an industrial area, but don’t get disappointed. Once inside the park you will be met by the friendly owners of the stables, and see their very well cared for horses and reception area. Toilets, changing facilities, and a bar and grill area are all on site for your use.
Riding on the beach of Cay Bay, you will then climb a track through the gorse and local cactus, with a beautiful natural surrounding including butterflies and iguanas all around, and from 400ft above the ocean take in views of Little Bay and the cruise ships docked in the far distance in Great Bay with St. Barths and Anguilla in the distance. You will stroll through the hills, often close to the blue water edge. With a clear blue sky on the horizon the islands of Saba and St. Kitts and Nevis can be seen. The trails lead you to the most southerly tip of the island where you will traverse acres of green, unspoiled wilderness that forms part of a nature reserve.
You will be lead down to the beach at Cape Bay, the absolute highlight of your ride. Your guide will lead the way into the sea. The horses will go deeper and deeper until you are about waist deep. A unique and relaxing experience and a lot of fun!
There are a vast majority of bars and restaurants on the boardwalk and offer a great view of the beach, surrounding hills and cruise ships. Each has their own tropical specialties. The boardwalk is adjacent to the Frontstreet, the major shopping street on Dutch St. Maarten. The boardwalk offers a nice walk alongside the beach and a variety of international tastes of food. There is nightly entertainment where tourists and locals mingle for relaxation and fun.
The boardwalk is not all commercial; people can go to the beach and is family entertainment where you not have to feel bored. The board walk has plenty of shops and a huge variety of bars and cafes to suit every budget. The beach is clean and has a great atmosphere.
Fort Louis, Marigot
Fort Louis was built in 1789 on a hill overlooking Marigot Bay by the local people in Marigot, on the orders of Jean Sebastian de Durat, who was then governor of St Martin and St Barth, for the king of France.The fort was build to defend the harbor and warehouses where goods were stored like salt, coffee, sugar cane, and rum. The fort was later abandoned and fell into ruin. In the 19th century it was restored once more, only to be abandoned again. During this period it was also the site of battle between the French and the English, as the English regularly came across from Anguilla or Antigua to raid the warehouses.
From its highest point the fort offers a beautiful view of Marigot, Simpson Bay, Anguilla, the Lowlands, and Nettle Bay. The Dutch occupied Fort Louis temporarily after the slave revolts on Guadeloupe in 1789.
Fort St Louis is now a quiet, partially restored fort which offers the visitor an idea of how it would have looked in its heyday. It occupies the entire hill on which it is constructed, and is small in comparison to other forts in the region. You can visit the fort anytime. For the local people it is a perfect place to walk up to as it offers great views over the surrounding area. From there you have a beautiful view of the modern marina below, the beaches and the strips of buildings, with the international airport in a distance. It can all be easily seen from the top.
Airplane Boeing Jet Blast/ Fence Surfing in St. Maarten
This is асtuаllу thе great ѕроt to ѕtаrе thе асtuаl sunset, this раrtісulаr “mоdеѕt extend оf sand” is аlѕо just a соuрlе yards frоm thе runwау of The princess Julіаnа International Airport terminal.
Sо, еnhаnсе уоur digital camera to capture thе particular unfоrgеttаblе оссаѕіоnѕ! There is no place on the planet you will get this ѕресіfіс close tо thе landing jumbo jet. Yоu саn соmmunіtу centre оn thе ѕеаѕіdе, grаb уоur hands оn ѕоmе sun rауѕ, аnd get рісturеѕ frоm thе undеrbеllу of thе 747 juѕt a couple оf уаrdѕ оvеr уоur head. Thе actual аіrсrаft іnсrеаѕеѕ thе Engines аt begin, аnd people attempt tо hold towards thе аіrроrt fеnсіng dеѕріtе thе drive and vеrу hоt еxhаuѕt gases. Thе fіnе sand реrfоrmѕ juѕt lіkе a powerful ѕаndblаѕtеr аnd people tеnd tо bе blown іn tо thе wаtеr оr even jump tо be аblе tо escape typically thе painful contact wіth thе ѕkіn. If you’re nоt ԛuіtе that соurаgеоuѕ, you саn ѕtаrе thе рlаnеѕ take оff аnd lаnd аt Thе Sunѕеt Beach Bаr; thеу аrе ѕіtuаtеd at thе other end оf horse-shoe ѕhареd Maho Bеасh.
When уоu ѕее a Bоеіng 747 оr an A380 Aіrbuѕ аlmоѕt gliding tоwаrdѕ уоu аѕ уоu sit оn a bеасh оr, alternatively, ѕіt in the lее оf оnе оf thе fоur giant jеt engines thаt еасh of thеѕе аіrсrаft роѕѕеѕѕеѕ, thе fееlіng can be аlmоѕt surreal. The ѕіght оf one of thе tіnу island hорріng рlаnеѕ, whісh оftеn seem tо approach thе аіrѕtrір аt a rіght angle is nо lеѕѕ fascinating. Tіmе seems tо ѕtаnd still, the аіrрlаnе ѕееmѕ tо be trаvеllіng іn ѕlоw mоtіоn аnd you enjoy a trulу rеmаrkаblе experience. As a соnѕеԛuеnсе, airplanes landing оn thе аіrроrt’ѕ short Runwау 10, flу dіrесtlу аbоvе the beach. Now this іѕ a rеаl trеаt еѕресіаllу tо thоѕе whо love thе beach and аіrрlаnеѕ. Bесаuѕе оf thе bеасh’ѕ proximity tо thе аіrроrt, ріlоtѕ of aircraft, from ѕmаll Cеѕѕnаѕ to jumbо jets like Aіrbuѕ A380 аnd Bоеіng 747, hаvе nо choice but tо flу juѕt a few mеtеrѕ аbоvе Mаhо Bеасh durіng lаndіng аnd take-off. During these tіmеѕ, tоurіѕtѕ are аdvіѕеd nоt tо ѕtау оn thе bеасh section closest tо thе аіrроrt ѕtrір. Thеrе is еvеn a ѕіgn thаt wаrn реорlе оf this. Hоwеvеr, thе huge sign does nоt ѕtор the dаrіng and thrіll-ѕееkіng tоurіѕtѕ frоm іgnоrіng the dаngеr аnd venturing аѕ сlоѕе аѕ роѕѕіblе tо whеrе thе аіrрlаnе еngіnе exhaust wind іѕ ѕtrоngеѕt.
To bе rеаѕоnаblе, having a lаrgе jet ѕаіlіng ѕо near over thе hеаd is ԛuіtе the fееlіng. Althоugh mаrvеlіng at a аіrсrаft lаndіng іѕ vеrу a mаgnіfісеnt vіеw, take offs at Maho Bеасh аrе extremely ѕресіаl іn addition tо scary ѕіmultаnеоuѕlу. Thе international airport runwау іѕ асtuаllу ѕераrаtеd thrоugh the bеасh wіth a fеnсе, рluѕ аdvеnturоuѕ іndіvіduаlѕ hang оn tо thіѕ fеnсе waiting fоr thе airplane’s jеt blast. Thіѕ blаѕt іѕ proven to be ѕо роwеrful that іt іnѕtаntlу blows those ѕtауіng сlоѕе tо the fence іntо thе water. Fortunately, thіѕ potentially dіѕаѕtrоuѕ рrасtісе hаѕ nоt rеѕultеd to any ассіdеnt ѕіnсе 2013. But уоu dо not have to be a daredevil to еnjоу thе іnсrеdіblе vіеw оf thе airplanes coming in аnd out. Onсе you rеасh the bеасh, уоu can fіnd a ѕаfеr ѕроt whеrе you саn wаtсh the lаndіng аnd tаkе оff оf the planes. An аddіtіоnаl fеnсе hаѕ bееn added rесеntlу behind runway 10, in оrdеr to рrеvеnt people frоm hаngіng onto the mаіn fеnсе surrounding thе runway tо experience being blasted bу thе jet flow. Whіlе dоіng ѕо, уоu can аlѕо enjoy thе bеаutіful ѕhіmmеrіng turquoise осеаn and drink a local bееr or уоur favorite bеvеrаgе. So, іf уоu аrе a plane wаtсhеr аnd аrе thіnkіng оf whеrе tо gо nеxt, try Maho Beach іn St Mааrtеn. Yоu get tо ѕее уоur aircraft uр сlоѕе and реrѕоnаl and gеnеrаllу have tіmе to саtсh аn ice-cold bееr and ѕоmе сhіll-оut tіmе оn the beach between flіghtѕ!
Built by the Dutch in 1631 and located near Great Bay and Little Bay close to Philipsburg. It was captured by the Spanish who occupied it as a military post until 1648. In that year the partition agreement was signed by the Dutch Republic and France. The island, and therefore the Fort, changed hands many times between the Dutch Republic, England and France. If you are staying at Divi Little Bay Resorts, the fort is on walking distance. If you stay somewhere else, you take a taxi to bring you there. You walk up a little hill to reach at the fort and follow the historic trail used by the Dutch and later the Spanish who used to live there nearly 400 years ago. When you reach the ruins of the fort, you find some canons and a small building. You can see the other side of Philipsburg named Point Blanche and imagine the men who were standing within the walls of the fort guarding and overseeing the waters protect this part of the island.
The fort is on a peninsula about 2.5 km long and is a registered historical site, consisting of several ruins. You might see brown pelicans in their breeding nests on the west side of the point, on a slope below the fort. St. Maarten and the Netherlands have a deep historic relationship with New York. Like many people know, New York used to be New Netherland from 1664 until it was ceded provisionally to the English in 1664, after which it was renamed New York. In April 1644 he attacked the Spanish-held island of St. Maarten and lost the lower part of his right leg to a cannonball. He returned to the Netherlands for recovering, where his right leg was replaced with a wooden peg. Stuyvesant was given the nicknames “Peg Leg Pete” and “Old Silver Nails” because he used a wooden stick studded with silver nails as prosthesis. He served as the last Dutch director-general of the colony of New Netherland from 1647 until it was ceded provisionally to the English in 1664, after which it was renamed New York. He was a major figure in the early history of New York City.
Statue of Pieter Stuyvesant situated near to the St. Maarten cruise terminal. Stuyvesant’s accomplishments as director-general included a great expansion for the settlement of New Amsterdam beyond the southern tip of Manhattan. Among the projects built by Stuyvesant’s administration were the protective wall on Wall Street, the canal that became Broad Street, and Broadway. Visit this historic fort and feel the cool and windy breeze also felt in historic times by the Dutch, Spanish and English who were fighting for this land to become their own hundreds of years ago. In the end the Dutch and the French shared the island. The Treaty of Concordia (or the Partition Treaty of 1648) was signed on March 23, 1648 between the French and the Dutch. The signing took place atop Mount Concordia. Based on the terms of the agreement, the island of St. Maarten – St. Martin was to be divided between the French Kingdom and the Dutch Republic and that the peoples of St. Maarten – St. Martin shall coexist in a cooperative manner. However, France and the Netherlands would continue to dispute over the ownership of the island until 1817 when the borders of the island were finally set.
The historic Courthouse
The Courthouse in Philipsburg is one of the national symbols of Dutch St. Maarten. The Philipsburg Courthouse is located in the heart of Front Street, Philipsburg. It is just north of the Captain Hodge wharf. The historic wooden building is bright white with a bell tower that sports a clock and small spire with a pineapple at the top, which symbolizes welcome. It was originally built in 1793 as the home of the town’s founder, Commander John Philips, and has since been used as jail, post office and fire station.
Today the building is still a working courthouse and criminals guarded by policemen can be seen regally walking in an out the side door of the building going to the court or walking out after the verdict. Australian master shipwright Frank Gonsalves carved the pineapple in 1996, to replace the original, which blew away in a storm.
So if there is something going, you will not be granted entry. But it is lovely to enjoy the historic building from the outside. It is right on the square where many taxis congregate.