St. Martin - St. Maarten Travel Guide and Photo Gallery - Welcome to



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imgZDtiny.GIF (531 bytes) St. Martin / St. Maarten: Grand Case

As you leave town on the main road that heads northeast, you'll pass below Fort Marigot on your left before coming to the turnoff for Paradise Peak, the highest point on the island. At the top, at 1,500 feet above sea level, you'll be able to see the green countryside, the golden beaches, the turquoise shallows and reefs, and the offshore rocks and islets.

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Photo of the Island of St. Martin / St. Maarten - Heading for the Island of St. Barth

Continue north to Grand Case, St. Martin's second-largest town, located near the northern tip of the island. A sign at the entrance proclaims it "The Gourmet Capital of St. Martin," and about 20 restaurants are listed prominently on the sign. The town's main street, Boulevard de Grand Case, comes alive in the evening when its boutiques, art galleries and restaurants attract visitors and locals in search of a good meal or an evening stroll.

Although Grand Case's many top-notch restaurants have earned it a reputation as the center of haute cuisine in St. Martin, there is a restaurant for nearly every taste and budget.

imgZDtiny.GIF (531 bytes) St. Martin / St. Maarten: Grand Case to French Quarter

Traveling east from Grand Case, you will pass the small French-side airport and then enter a rolling countryside where cattle, goats and sheep abound. You'll then come upon a few newer villa and hotel developments before reaching Orient Beach the island's most famous clothing-optional beach. This long stretch offers more choices of diversion from shopping and eating to water sports and sunbathing than any other beach on the island.

The Butterfly Farm, located along Le Gallion Beach Road near Orient Bay, comprises a lovely garden, all covered by netting, that provides a home for some 600 butterfly specimens. You can observe the developmental stages egg, caterpillar, cocoon, butterfly or moth of the insects. The farm is open daily throughout the year from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Heading south along the eastern edge of the island, you'll pass through the historic Orleans area, or French Quarter, where you can still see many Creole-style houses.

imgZDtiny.GIF (531 bytes) St. Martin / St. Maarten: French Quarter to Philipsburg

For a quick trip from French Quarter back to Philipsburg, follow the signs through Dutch Quarter, where you'll get a glimpse of St. Maarten hillside living amid gardens and trees. Ascend Mt. William Hill, and on your way down you'll get a great view of Great Bay Harbour and Philipsburg. After passing the Amsterdam Shopping Center, take a brisk detour before going back to town turn left on Arch Road to explore the St. Maarten Zoo, featuring many indigenous animals.

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Photo of street on St. Martin / St. Maarten

imgZDtiny.GIF (531 bytes) St. Martin / St. Maarten: Philipsburg via Oyster Pond

To travel a lovely scenic route from French Quarter, turn left at the drugstore in French Quarter and embark on an adventure through the island's back roads to one of the Caribbean's finest yachting centers. After miles of beautiful yet virtually uninhabited landscape, the sight of the many masts in Oyster Pond is surprisingly impressive. Stop by one of the marinas for refreshment, or go farther to enjoy the Atlantic side's finest beach. You can continue along the same road (and back up the infamously steep Dawn Beach Hill) to get back to the main road; then make a left to head back to Philipsburg.

imgZDtiny.GIF (531 bytes) St. Martin / St. Maarten: Island Hopping: Anguilla

Ahough a mere six miles from the shores of French St. Martin, Anguilla's small villages and serene beauty are worlds away from bustling Marigot. A slender, low-lying island of limestone and coral, Anguilla measures 16 miles long and three miles wide at its largest curve. Its inland waters and salt ponds are home to variety of unusual birds, and its outer edges are a beach-lover's dream.

In addition to quaint inns and guest houses, Anguilla is home to a number of world-class resorts situated along gorgeous beaches. The island also boasts some excellent restaurants in romantic settings.

Soothed by gentle trade winds, Anguilla has 33 beaches, ranging from unspoiled stretches of powder-white sand to coves hugged by sapphire water.

Meads Bay, one of the widest beaches on the island, is a long strand of sparkling sand ideal for sun seekers and swimmers.

Rendezvous Bay is the beach for hikers, as well as for sun worshippers who just like a lot of space. Long, wide and tranquil, this sugar-white beach stretches on and on, eventually joining Merrywing, Cove and Maundays bays.

Road Bay in Sandy Ground is dotted with an interesting assortment of restaurants and bars. Scilly Cay, a two-minute boat ride from Island Harbour on the northeast end of Anguilla, offers excellent snorkeling opportunities. There's a mini-beach and a restaurant that serves an excellent lobster lunch.

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Photo of the Island of St. Martin

Anguilla is more than beaches and sun, however. The island is quickly gaining a reputation in the world of international finance, having adopted legislation for the offshore banking industry.

The ferry ride from Marigot to Blowing Point, Anguilla, takes 25 minutes; there are scheduled departures every 40 minutes. Winair offers scheduled air service to Anguilla. For more information, contact the Anguilla Hotel and Tourism Association at 264-497-2944.

imgZDtiny.GIF (531 bytes) St. Martin / St. Maarten: Island Hopping: Saba

Lovingly referred to as "The Unspoiled Queen," cone-shaped Saba is the peak of a volcanic mountain that rises sharply from the ocean floor. It's a beautifully pristine island where scuba divers and nature lovers alike come to enjoy tropical beauty above and below the sea.

Located approximately 28 miles south of St. Maarten/St. Martin, the island's steep terrain is home to four villages with charming red-roofed cottages clinging to lush green hillsides. The towns are linked by a single road that dips and curves like a giant roller coaster.

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Photo of the Island of Saba

If you decide to follow this twisting motorway, you'll come to the settlement known as Hell's Gate, where, ironically, you'll find Saba's largest church. As you leave the town, you'll wind through groves of ferns until you reach Windwardside, a picturesque village of gingerbread houses. From here, you can climb the 1,064 stone steps that ascend through cloud banks and orchid forests to the 2,885-foot-high peak of Mount Scenery, the highest peak in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The trail is well marked and meanders through a rain forest before reaching a breathtaking view of neighboring islands at the summit.

Back on the road, you'll arrive at Saba's oddly named capital and largest town, The Bottom. From here, the road makes its final descent, corkscrewing down to Fort Bay, where a 277-foot pier welcomes yachtsmen and ships from St. Maarten/St. Martin and other neighboring islands.

Although Saba's small size makes a day excursion possible, the island also boasts a collection of quaint hotels and inns, most with charming restaurants set amid tropical gardens. Saba can be reached via the high-speed ferries The Edge I and II, which depart from Pelican Marina in Simpson Bay at 9 a.m. daily and return by 5 p.m. The Voyager ferry departs from Marigot on Tuesdays at 9 a.m. and from Bobby's Marina on Thursdays at 9 a.m. Winair has five daily flights to Saba. The flight takes about 12 minutes.

imgZDtiny.GIF (531 bytes) St. Martin / St. Maarten: Island Hopping: St. Barths

A quaint and tranquil French colony, St. Barthelemy (usually called St. Barts) became a fashionable haven when jet-setters fell in love with it nearly 20 years ago. This tiny piece of paradise, administered by Guadaloupe, lies 15 miles from St. Maarten/St. Martin and can be easily viewed from the east coast of the island. Gustavia, the capital, was named for the Swedish king Gustav III, who acquired St. Barths from the French in 1784. The town wraps in a horseshoe shape around its scenic harbor, a favorite anchorage for international yachtsmen. Its architecture is a unique combination of Swedish-colonial and French-Creole styles. Quaint wooden and stone buildings house fashionable cafes, gourmet restaurants and an alluring array of specialty shops.

You can choose between two routes to explore the rest of the island. The Grand Fond route takes you past splendid north-shore beaches to the pastoral district of Grand Fond, where windswept trees and grazing cows dot hillside pastures.

The Corossol route takes you through the "straw village" of Corossol. Here, descendants of the first French settlers create straw hats, mats and baskets that they sell to visitors. These Caribbean Bretons hold tenaciously to their traditions and customs.


All 22 of St. Barths' beaches are open to the public, and many coves and open seaside stretches here are clothing-optional. The most popular beach on St. Barths' north shore is St. Jean Bay. The western area of the bay has the air of a fashionable beach resort, with waterfront bistros and cafés, as well as water-sports centers for windsurfing and small sailboat rentals.

Photo Copyright © - Luke Handzlik - All Rights Reserved
Exploring The Island of St. Barth

You can get to St. Barths via the Voyager ferry, which departs from Marigot seven days a week at 9 a.m. and from Bobby's Marina in Philipsburg every Wednesday and Friday. The Edge I and II ferries depart from Pelican Marina daily at 9 a.m. and returns by 5 p.m. Winair has regularly scheduled air service. The French government requires passports for all visitors to St. Barths; photo identification along with a birth certificate is accepted for U.S. and Canadian citizens.

imgZDtiny.GIF (531 bytes) St. Martin / St. Maarten: Island Hopping: St. Eustatius

St. Eustatius, commonly known as Statia, lies 38 miles to the south of St. Maarten/St. Martin. This 12-square-mile island is an unspoiled paradise for divers and hikers, and its rich past is sure to fascinate any visitor.

More than 200 years ago, tiny Statia was one of the busiest trading ports in all of the Caribbean. Its empty warehouses are proof of the slave and sugar trades that flourished here. Statia's capital, Oranjestad, is an excellent example of a typical 18th-century Caribbean colonial town and features a number of historic sites.

In 1776, the first official recognition of the United States' status as a sovereign nation occurred in Oranjestad's harbor. The Dutch governor ordered a cannon to be fired to salute the arriving American ship Andrew Doria; in retaliation, the British sacked the island.

Other historic places include Fort Oranje, built by the Dutch in 1636, and the ruins of Honen Dalim, one of the oldest synagogues in the Western Hemisphere. The building is just a shell, but the cemetery has headstones inscribed in Hebrew and English dating back more than 200 years.

Nature lovers can hike up and into The Quill, the spectacular crater of a dormant volcano that last erupted 7,500 years ago. One trail leads to the 1,970-foot summit, and several others of varying difficulty lead into a 500-foot-deep crater. At the bottom is a tropical rain forest.

Statia has several charming hotels and guest houses, as well as three dive centers. There are still many undiscovered shipwrecks here, and blue beads used as currency among slaves can still be found in the shallow waters around the island.

Photo Copyright © - Luke Handzlik - All Rights Reserved
Jennifer at Orient Beach in St. Martin

All the small volcanic-sand beaches on the southwest shore are perfect for swimming. Smoke Valley Beach, just off Lower Town, is a stretch of beige and black sand. Also on the Caribbean side is Crooks Castle, which is popular with snorkelers and divers. In its waters, you'll observe pillar coral, giant yellow sea fans and sea whips.

Photo Copyright © - Luke Handzlik - All Rights Reserved
Leaving for Saba from Princess Juliana Airport aboard this Winair DHC-6 Twin Otter
The DHC-6 Twin Otter is a specially designed aircraft for short-takeoffs and short-landings

Winair offers daily flights to Statia from the Princess Juliana International Airport. Contact the Statia Tourism Department Foundation (Phone 03-82433) for more information on the island.

Winair presently has a code-share agreement with our US partner US Airways. This code-share agreement enables passengers on US Airways to fly from their destination in the US on a US Airways ticket to any of Winair destinations. The advantage for our customer is that you and your luggage are checked through from your originating airport to your final destination. No need to go through immigration or customs. A great trouble-free way to start and end your vacation.

Winair also has interline agreements with several other major carriers like Delta, United, Air Canada, KLM/Air France, British Airways, and Virgin Atlantic. Winair also has agreements with several Caribbean regional airlines


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*1: Source/Copyright © Wikipedia and its authors. *2 Source/Copyright Winair Airlines. *3 Special thanks to europics and C. Starnes for Princess Juliana approach photos.