Adventure Seeking in Saint Martin
A guide for those seeking adventure in Saint Martin while not blowing the budget.
14 Places • ago
Free

Some background: I did this trip in early January. I flew out of JFK on JetBlue on a mid-week flight for $318 nonstop roundtrip. I think this was a perfect time to go, weather was great and there weren't any crowds. If you're wondering if you need a rental car the answer is YES. I felt very safe on the island and where we were staying but like always, still practice basic safety. 

Day 1

After landing at SXM airport our rental car company picked us up and brought us to their office. We rented with Sax Car Rental which was great. The total price for their basic car for the week was about $350, including insurance. Everything went smoothly during the return, would definitely recommend renting from them (I have linked their website below). 

After picking up our car we headed to our Airbnb, which I really can't say enough good things about. The Airbnb is a studio apartment located within a gated beach community on the beach of Nettle Bay. The price is amazing for what you get. We had access to pools, were right on the beach, amazing views, and massive porch. I have linked the Airbnb below as well as some pictures of the views. 

There was a grocery store within a 3 minute walk from the Airbnb, called Cadismarket supermarket. If you're on a budget eating in will obviously help you save a lot of $$. 

Day 2

This was a beach exploration day so I'm going to run through the beaches we visited and my opinions of each. 

Baie Rouge beach
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1st Stop: Baie Rouge (My favorite!!)

- Only a 3 min drive from our Airbnb 

- Never crowded, especially in the evenings and early mornings 

- Great sunset spot 

- Something to note: No facilities 

2nd Stop: David's Hole

So this isn't a beach but if you've done research on St. Martin you will probably see it come up as something to see/do. This was pretty cool to see BUT I wouldn't say it was a must do. If you're looking for something extra to do this could be it. It is also right next to Baie Rouge beach so if you're over there maybe stop by. 

So getting to David's Hole is a little confusing but here are my best instructions: 

You're going to either park your car in the parking lot of Baie Rouge beach or park your car on the other side of the road right before you drive down the road to Baie Rouge. Then you're going to walk down the gated street that you'll see on the right before the road to Baie Rouge. There will be an entrance on the left of the gate to walk through. Then walk all the way to the end of the street and then you'll have to walk up some rocks on the left and it'll be there. 

Happy Bay Beach
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3rd Stop: Happy Bay Beach (Another great beach!!)

I would say this beach is a bit more difficult to get to and there are a couple ways to get here. But with difficulty to access comes a pretty empty beach!! The first way to get there is park your car at the Friar Bay (I will warn you the road is pretty bumpy to get there) and then take the walking trail at Friar Beach to Happy Bay Beach. The second way is to park your car in the small parking lot on the road called RUE DE HAPPY BAY. You will probably see a couple other cars parked there too. Then you're going to have to walk the trail that you'll see next to the little parking lot on the left and that'll bring you to Happy Bay. The second picture is what the trail should look like. Again no facilities on this beach so come prepared. 

Anse Marcel
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4th Stop: Anse Marcel Beach

This beach was really nothing special. There is a restaurant on the beach here that was pretty pricey (we didn't eat here). The beach itself was nice, however, a lot of resorts had chairs lining the beach. You can access this beach by putting it into your maps. I will warn the drive to the beach is quite steep and windy. 

Dawn Beach
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5th Stop: Dawn Beach

So when I was here in Jan 2023 it was horrible!! Definitely not worth your time (things could have changed but that was my experience). The only reason I tried this beach is because I read that snorkeling could be good here but it's very windy and impossible to snorkel safely and reef had been damaged from Hurricane Irma. The directions will take you to Dawn Beach Resort and you will have to park in a dirt parking lot next to the resort. The resort was destroyed in the hurricane and has yet to be rebuilt. Once you walk around the back of the resort you will see the beach. The only hotel on the beach that was open was the Marriott that had a big pool and bar you could sit at. There was basically no one on the beach since most of the resorts had been destroyed. Not worth your time. 

Mullet Bay Beach
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6th Stop: Mullet Bay Beach 

We came here for sunset. Definitely a more crowded beach with a lot of restaurants on the beach. However, it is a very big beach so it's easy to spread out and not feel on top of people. 

Day 3 

Jet Skiing & Pinel Island 

Jet Skiing

Bikini Watersports
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We did an hour jet ski ride at Bikini Watersport's which was about $100. It was self guided, we went right off the beach and we had parameters we had to stay within. Although we did have a good time I would recommend jet skiing on the opposite side of the island because the water was very choppy here due to the wind. However, this location worked out great for what we did next. 

Pinel Island

Îlet de Pinel
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We took the ferry over to Pinel Island which was about a 10 minute ride (it's not really a ferry more like a small boat). It cost $12/ pp round trip and you pay when you get there (no need to book in advance BUT HAVE CASH!!). The boat leaves every 30 min. If you put directions into Pinel Island ferry the directions will take you there. On Pinel Island there are two restaurants / bars that offer chair and umbrella rentals for the day. There are also a few picnic tables on the island under some trees which is where we sat. The beach is pretty nice, a little crowded (make sure to go on a week day). We then hiked over to the other side of the island (don't worry it's not really a hike but bring water!!). This was a must do. The hike was very pretty and other beach had basically no one on it (note: this is a nude beach). I did try snorkeling on the island but didn't see anything so I wouldn't bother bringing gear. 

Day 4

Loterie Farm & "Secret Beach"

Loterie Farm

Loterie Farm
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When we arrived we bought two tickets for 2 lounge chairs by the pool which were $25 each. Since the pool didn't open till 10am we decided to go walk the hiking trails they had on the property. Within just 3 minutes on the trail we saw monkeys EVERYWHERE. It was a very cool experience since we were not expecting to see monkeys at all. I would say if you want to try to see the monkeys go earlier in the morning because when I went back in the afternoon they weren't there. We then had brunch at the restaurant there which was $40 per person for A LOT of food and bottomless mimosas. The pool area was also very nice, with a bar and servers walking around. There is also an option to rent day beds and cabanas. There is also a whole zip lining course you can do here. Would  definitely recommend. 

"Secret Beach"

We went back to Baie Rouge and this time to check out the "secret beach." So you're still going to park in the same place you would for Baie Rouge. The only way to get to this beach is to swim. So what you're going to need to do is swim around the rocks all the at the right end of the beach. Once you turn the corner you'll see the beach and it's not a long swim in from there. I would say make sure you're a good swimmer but it's nothing crazy (5 min swim). Also make sure someone is with you because once you turn that corner no one can see you. The beach was very pretty at sunset and no one was on it. If you're looking for a picture spot this is it!!

Day 5 

Tintamarre Island 

Tintamarre
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So to getting to Tintamarre Island is a little tricky since there is no public ferry like Pinel Island. You have to book a private charter. Most of the private charters are all day affairs where you hop around to different spots and cost about $100 per person. We weren't looking for something like that so we found out about Captain Hodge who takes you to Tintamarre Island and picks you up for only $25 per person. His number is +590 690 40 90 95 (text on WhatsApp). You leave from the same spot as the Pinel Island ferry. You then decide as a group (with the other people on the boat) what time you want to be picked up. This is the best spot to see a turtle! Bring snorkel gear. There is no reef, just sea grass. We also saw a sting ray. The beach is very pretty and there are some picnic tables to sit at. There are no facilities so bring lots of food and water. I would also recommend getting to the island early if you want to snorkel because by 12pm there were a lot of private boats crowding the water with snorkelers. 

Day 6 

Guana Bay Hike & Philipsburg

Guana Bay Hike

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I loved this hike!! I would say the entire hike took about 2 hours or so. I don't remember the exact location but if you get the app "AllTrails" and look up the hike called Back Bay that is this hike and there should be directions on how to get here. At the end of the hike there is a tide pool to swim in (bring water shoes as there are urchins). I would say do this hike in the morning since it gets hot. Definitely wear sneakers not flip flops. 

Philipsburg

Philipsburg
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If you're looking for a place to shop this is it. Was nothing special but does the job. There were plenty of shops and restaurants. I wouldn't say come here for the beach. This is where the cruises come in so lots of people walking around. 

Day 7 

Last day...beach day!

Petite Plage

Petite Plage
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This was a smaller beach. It was nice, I wouldn't say it was the best but definitely something to check out. There is a bar and restaurant here. 

Maho Beach

Maho Beach
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This is the famous beach that is right next to the airport. Although it was cool to see it's VERY crowded and there isn't much of a beach. With that being said, if you want to see it make sure you time it right so you get there when a plane is coming in. You can check plane times on websites like flight aware. 

Cupecoy Beach - Best sunset spot!!

Cupecoy Beach
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This was definitely one of our top three beaches and I wish we had found it sooner. Although it was small, there was basically no one on it. At the top of the beach there is a little bar with food that's owned by a couple who live on St. Martin in the winter, so I'm not sure if it's open during the summer. There were a good amount of people up at the bar enjoying the sunset, it was a lot of fun!!

* * *
CURATED BY
Hi! I'm Sofia, a passionate traveler with a keen eye for documenting the world through photography and blogging. Having explored 12 countries, I bring a business-savvy approach to my travels, blending meticulous research with a love for adventure. Specializing in budget travel, I uncover affordable gems and share cost-effective tips. Beyond the travel realm, you'll find me skiing, skateboarding, hiking, camping, and scuba diving – a true outdoor enthusiast. Join me on this journey, where every photo and blog post tells a unique story of discovery and exploration! 🌍✈️
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Adventure Seeking in Saint Martin
A guide for those seeking adventure in Saint Martin while not blowing the budget.
14 Places • ago
Free

Some background: I did this trip in early January. I flew out of JFK on JetBlue on a mid-week flight for $318 nonstop roundtrip. I think this was a perfect time to go, weather was great and there weren't any crowds. If you're wondering if you need a rental car the answer is YES. I felt very safe on the island and where we were staying but like always, still practice basic safety. 

Day 1

After landing at SXM airport our rental car company picked us up and brought us to their office. We rented with Sax Car Rental which was great. The total price for their basic car for the week was about $350, including insurance. Everything went smoothly during the return, would definitely recommend renting from them (I have linked their website below). 

After picking up our car we headed to our Airbnb, which I really can't say enough good things about. The Airbnb is a studio apartment located within a gated beach community on the beach of Nettle Bay. The price is amazing for what you get. We had access to pools, were right on the beach, amazing views, and massive porch. I have linked the Airbnb below as well as some pictures of the views. 

There was a grocery store within a 3 minute walk from the Airbnb, called Cadismarket supermarket. If you're on a budget eating in will obviously help you save a lot of $$. 

Day 2

This was a beach exploration day so I'm going to run through the beaches we visited and my opinions of each. 

Baie Rouge beach
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1st Stop: Baie Rouge (My favorite!!)

- Only a 3 min drive from our Airbnb 

- Never crowded, especially in the evenings and early mornings 

- Great sunset spot 

- Something to note: No facilities 

2nd Stop: David's Hole

So this isn't a beach but if you've done research on St. Martin you will probably see it come up as something to see/do. This was pretty cool to see BUT I wouldn't say it was a must do. If you're looking for something extra to do this could be it. It is also right next to Baie Rouge beach so if you're over there maybe stop by. 

So getting to David's Hole is a little confusing but here are my best instructions: 

You're going to either park your car in the parking lot of Baie Rouge beach or park your car on the other side of the road right before you drive down the road to Baie Rouge. Then you're going to walk down the gated street that you'll see on the right before the road to Baie Rouge. There will be an entrance on the left of the gate to walk through. Then walk all the way to the end of the street and then you'll have to walk up some rocks on the left and it'll be there. 

Happy Bay Beach
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3rd Stop: Happy Bay Beach (Another great beach!!)

I would say this beach is a bit more difficult to get to and there are a couple ways to get here. But with difficulty to access comes a pretty empty beach!! The first way to get there is park your car at the Friar Bay (I will warn you the road is pretty bumpy to get there) and then take the walking trail at Friar Beach to Happy Bay Beach. The second way is to park your car in the small parking lot on the road called RUE DE HAPPY BAY. You will probably see a couple other cars parked there too. Then you're going to have to walk the trail that you'll see next to the little parking lot on the left and that'll bring you to Happy Bay. The second picture is what the trail should look like. Again no facilities on this beach so come prepared. 

Anse Marcel
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4th Stop: Anse Marcel Beach

This beach was really nothing special. There is a restaurant on the beach here that was pretty pricey (we didn't eat here). The beach itself was nice, however, a lot of resorts had chairs lining the beach. You can access this beach by putting it into your maps. I will warn the drive to the beach is quite steep and windy. 

Dawn Beach
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5th Stop: Dawn Beach

So when I was here in Jan 2023 it was horrible!! Definitely not worth your time (things could have changed but that was my experience). The only reason I tried this beach is because I read that snorkeling could be good here but it's very windy and impossible to snorkel safely and reef had been damaged from Hurricane Irma. The directions will take you to Dawn Beach Resort and you will have to park in a dirt parking lot next to the resort. The resort was destroyed in the hurricane and has yet to be rebuilt. Once you walk around the back of the resort you will see the beach. The only hotel on the beach that was open was the Marriott that had a big pool and bar you could sit at. There was basically no one on the beach since most of the resorts had been destroyed. Not worth your time. 

Mullet Bay Beach
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6th Stop: Mullet Bay Beach 

We came here for sunset. Definitely a more crowded beach with a lot of restaurants on the beach. However, it is a very big beach so it's easy to spread out and not feel on top of people. 

Day 3 

Jet Skiing & Pinel Island 

Jet Skiing

Bikini Watersports
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We did an hour jet ski ride at Bikini Watersport's which was about $100. It was self guided, we went right off the beach and we had parameters we had to stay within. Although we did have a good time I would recommend jet skiing on the opposite side of the island because the water was very choppy here due to the wind. However, this location worked out great for what we did next. 

Pinel Island

Îlet de Pinel
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We took the ferry over to Pinel Island which was about a 10 minute ride (it's not really a ferry more like a small boat). It cost $12/ pp round trip and you pay when you get there (no need to book in advance BUT HAVE CASH!!). The boat leaves every 30 min. If you put directions into Pinel Island ferry the directions will take you there. On Pinel Island there are two restaurants / bars that offer chair and umbrella rentals for the day. There are also a few picnic tables on the island under some trees which is where we sat. The beach is pretty nice, a little crowded (make sure to go on a week day). We then hiked over to the other side of the island (don't worry it's not really a hike but bring water!!). This was a must do. The hike was very pretty and other beach had basically no one on it (note: this is a nude beach). I did try snorkeling on the island but didn't see anything so I wouldn't bother bringing gear. 

Day 4

Loterie Farm & "Secret Beach"

Loterie Farm

Loterie Farm
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When we arrived we bought two tickets for 2 lounge chairs by the pool which were $25 each. Since the pool didn't open till 10am we decided to go walk the hiking trails they had on the property. Within just 3 minutes on the trail we saw monkeys EVERYWHERE. It was a very cool experience since we were not expecting to see monkeys at all. I would say if you want to try to see the monkeys go earlier in the morning because when I went back in the afternoon they weren't there. We then had brunch at the restaurant there which was $40 per person for A LOT of food and bottomless mimosas. The pool area was also very nice, with a bar and servers walking around. There is also an option to rent day beds and cabanas. There is also a whole zip lining course you can do here. Would  definitely recommend. 

"Secret Beach"

We went back to Baie Rouge and this time to check out the "secret beach." So you're still going to park in the same place you would for Baie Rouge. The only way to get to this beach is to swim. So what you're going to need to do is swim around the rocks all the at the right end of the beach. Once you turn the corner you'll see the beach and it's not a long swim in from there. I would say make sure you're a good swimmer but it's nothing crazy (5 min swim). Also make sure someone is with you because once you turn that corner no one can see you. The beach was very pretty at sunset and no one was on it. If you're looking for a picture spot this is it!!

Day 5 

Tintamarre Island 

Tintamarre
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So to getting to Tintamarre Island is a little tricky since there is no public ferry like Pinel Island. You have to book a private charter. Most of the private charters are all day affairs where you hop around to different spots and cost about $100 per person. We weren't looking for something like that so we found out about Captain Hodge who takes you to Tintamarre Island and picks you up for only $25 per person. His number is +590 690 40 90 95 (text on WhatsApp). You leave from the same spot as the Pinel Island ferry. You then decide as a group (with the other people on the boat) what time you want to be picked up. This is the best spot to see a turtle! Bring snorkel gear. There is no reef, just sea grass. We also saw a sting ray. The beach is very pretty and there are some picnic tables to sit at. There are no facilities so bring lots of food and water. I would also recommend getting to the island early if you want to snorkel because by 12pm there were a lot of private boats crowding the water with snorkelers. 

Day 6 

Guana Bay Hike & Philipsburg

Guana Bay Hike

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I loved this hike!! I would say the entire hike took about 2 hours or so. I don't remember the exact location but if you get the app "AllTrails" and look up the hike called Back Bay that is this hike and there should be directions on how to get here. At the end of the hike there is a tide pool to swim in (bring water shoes as there are urchins). I would say do this hike in the morning since it gets hot. Definitely wear sneakers not flip flops. 

Philipsburg

Philipsburg
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If you're looking for a place to shop this is it. Was nothing special but does the job. There were plenty of shops and restaurants. I wouldn't say come here for the beach. This is where the cruises come in so lots of people walking around. 

Day 7 

Last day...beach day!

Petite Plage

Petite Plage
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This was a smaller beach. It was nice, I wouldn't say it was the best but definitely something to check out. There is a bar and restaurant here. 

Maho Beach

Maho Beach
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This is the famous beach that is right next to the airport. Although it was cool to see it's VERY crowded and there isn't much of a beach. With that being said, if you want to see it make sure you time it right so you get there when a plane is coming in. You can check plane times on websites like flight aware. 

Cupecoy Beach - Best sunset spot!!

Cupecoy Beach
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This was definitely one of our top three beaches and I wish we had found it sooner. Although it was small, there was basically no one on it. At the top of the beach there is a little bar with food that's owned by a couple who live on St. Martin in the winter, so I'm not sure if it's open during the summer. There were a good amount of people up at the bar enjoying the sunset, it was a lot of fun!!

* * *
CURATED BY
Hi! I'm Sofia, a passionate traveler with a keen eye for documenting the world through photography and blogging. Having explored 12 countries, I bring a business-savvy approach to my travels, blending meticulous research with a love for adventure. Specializing in budget travel, I uncover affordable gems and share cost-effective tips. Beyond the travel realm, you'll find me skiing, skateboarding, hiking, camping, and scuba diving – a true outdoor enthusiast. Join me on this journey, where every photo and blog post tells a unique story of discovery and exploration! 🌍✈️
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