St Maarten is one island but two countries with two very different vibes but there are so many things to do in St. Maarten.
If you are planning a trip to Saint Martin, there are a couple of things you need to know to help help you figure out which side is better for you Saint Martin vs. Sint Maarten.
The island is only 37 square miles but it’s made up of two counties. One half is French, while the other half is Dutch.
We recently returned from spending 8 days there and it was definitely not enough time. While the island is small, there is so much to see on both sides.
Saint Martin is on the French Side, while the southern side is called St. Maarten or Sint Maarten.
The French side is known for its high-end restaurants and nude beaches, while the Dutch side is more of the party side with the nightlight, clubs, and casino.
The Island’s international airport, Princess Juliana International Airport, is on the Dutch side but it is very easy to travel back and forth between each side.
THINGS TO DO IN ST. MAaRTEN
WATCH THE PLANES MAHO BEACH
One of the best things to do in St. Maarten is to watch the planes land at Maho Beach!
Maho Beach was just steps away from our Hotel, Sonesta. So we went to Maho Beach a few times.
Maho Beach is right next to the Princess Juliana International Airport. The runway is short so the planes come in very low to land.
You can stand on the beach and feel the blast from the Jet.
Do it when a big plane lands and it’s an incredible feeling.
As a side note: you don’t hear the planes much from Sonesta if you are nervous about noise staying at this hotel.
SUNSET BEACH BAR
If you want to watch the planes land but don’t want to stand on the beach, head over to Sunset Beach Bar.
You can order some snacks, get a drink, and watch the planes land. Perfect spot right on the water.
And if you love sports, you can probably catch your favorite sports team on one of their TVs! Or head there at night to party.
Mullet BAY BEACH
One of the best beaches in St Maarten is Mullet Bay Beach.
The water is calm, the white sand is so soft, and the water is turquoise. You can rent beach chairs and umbrellas and enjoy the sun and water.
It is next to an 18-hole golf course and has a little place to get some snacks to enjoy on the beach.
We stayed at the Sonesta Hotel and Mullet Bay Beach was a short walk away. It took us less than 10 minutes each way.
If you can’t walk, you can grab a taxi for just a couple of dollars.
If you like to gamble, you can check out Casino Royale in Maho Beach. It is the largest Casino on the island.
Try your luck on some of the slots or table games.
If gambling isn’t your thing, they do offer free shows a few nights a week. Our favorite was the magic show!
Shop in Philipsburg
If you love to shop, you’ll want to head over to the capital of St. Maarten.
Philipsburg has so many places to shop for souvenirs, boutiques, and plenty of restaurants.
Walk along the water and take in all the sites and get all your shopping done in one trip.
If you love adventure, you will want to check out the Flying Dutchman zipline at Rainforest Adventures’ eco-adventure park.
It has been called the world’s steepest zip line.
They also have another zipline called the Sentry Hill Zipline.
If you love adventure, another thing to do in St, Maarten is SCHOONER RIDE!
You’ll slide down the mountain in an inner tube along a curvey track.
It doesn’t involve water, but you get to slide down the mountainside on a tube.
MAKE YOUR OWN PERFUME
If you want a break from the sun, head over to Tijon Parfumerie to make your own personal fragrance.
They’ll walk you through the process and help you to build the perfect scent.
Learning how to make your own perfume is definitely one of the most unique things to do in St. Martin!
RENT AN ATV TO EXPLORE THE ISLAND
Renting an ATV to explore the island was so much fun! We went around the entire island and got to explore everything!
We stopped at beaches, found some great eating spots, and shopped! We rented a side by side Polaris for about 8 hours. It was one of our favorite things about the trip.
We did everything on our own time, unlike booking a tour or relying on a driver.
If you want to spend a day touring the island on a side-by-side, quad, or Polaris, definitely check out Xplore Rentals! Make sure you reserve in advance as they get booked up quickly.
TAKE A HALF DAY TRIP TO PINEL ISLAND
You can take a quick ferry ride over to a nearby island called Pinel. Pinel has some gorgeous beaches with a beautiful view St. Maarten!
The ferry takes just a couple of minutes from St. Maarten.
Pinel Island has some hiking trails and 2 restaurants. The island is a very small and secluded island and a great way to spend a half day while traveling in St. Maarten.
Enjoy a fun relaxing day at Loterie Farm.
Loterie Farm is not a farm with cows and horses, so it’s not a place to bring the kids to feed the animals.
Rather, Loterie Farm is more like a beach club in the middle of the forest. There are monkeys and iguanas nearby, a pool to swim in, a private hut, and lounges.
If you want to relax during your trip to St. Maarten, Loterie Farm is the perfect place to check out.
They also have hiking trails and regular parties with a DJ. So it can really cater to everyone’s vibe.
One of the most popular beaches in St. Maarten is Orient Bay.
The beach stretches over a mile of white sand and it does have a nude section.
Nearby is a pretty cluster of pastel-colored townhomes and some cute boutique hotels.