Video Tour St Maarten- St Martin - Map guided tour - The island by neighborhoods - Philipsburg - Simpson Bay - Marigot - Grand Case - Happy Bay - Low Lands - Terres Basses - Orient Beach- Island Info - Maps of Sint Maarten-Saint Martin
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Island tour of St. Maarten and St. Martin with great views

Ready for some sightseeing by car? See rental car info!

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This video is the Tourist Board introduction of St. Maarten
Tourist Board introduction of Sint Maarten (60 sec.)
St. Martin and St. Maarten by Video
Map guided Island Sightseeing Tour



The southern half of the island is Dutch St. Maarten, a member of the Netherlands Antilles and the Dutch Kingdom. The Dutch part is the center of tourism and business. The airport and the cruise ship port are also located on this side of the island. French St. Martin occupies the somewhat larger, less populous northern half of the island. St. Martin is a community -"Collectivité"- of France, and part of the European Union. The border is invisible except when noted on maps, or on a few welcome signs put up along the main road.
Tour the island by areas and neighborhoods!
The quarters or neighborhoods of Saint Martin and Sint Maarten date back to the old division of the island in the mid 1600, and many carry the names of ancient sugar cane plantations, or relate to the long tradition of salt raking. Some names of places mix French and English language together, you will however notice a difference in atmosphere in the two parts of the island.
The French side is filled with a relaxed Creole ambiance and easy going lifestyle, whereas the Dutch side has more an American touch with casinos, shopping boutiques, and a golf course. Now, follow us on a map guided video tour by clicking on the names on the map.

We start in Philipsburg, the capital of Dutch St. Maarten, continuing in a circle, counterclockwise. You can tour the entire island by car in approximately 2-3 hours depending on traffic, which can be dense at times.

Tip about use of rental cars for island tour

History

Since Columbus first sighted and named this island more than five hundred years ago on the day of St. Martin’s feast, the island changed hands many times. Several European nations had laid claim, brought first salt exploitation, later slavery, and sugar plantations with them.

But the French and Dutch finally came to co-govern this 37-square-mile island, actually since 1648. Click for more about history.

Click on the name tags on the map. Hyperlinks bring you to more information and videos of the selected areas.


Map of St Maarten/St Martin - click on video icons for video clips

Video map of Sint Maarten St. Martin
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Philipsburg and Southeast

 
Philipsburg Impressions
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A day visit of a cruise ship tourist in Philipsburg, St. Maarten
Impressions of a cruise ship visitor.
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Philipsburg is the capital of the Dutch side, the now independent country of Sint Maarten. The town is situated on a spit of land that separates Great Bay from the Great Salt Pond. The streets of Philipsburg are filled with appealing duty free, tax free shops and boutiques, restaurants, several casinos, and government buildings. The town is bursts of life, especially on days when cruise ships are in.

Street scene in Philipsburg, Sint Maarten
Front Street Philipsburg

The two main roads are Front Street and Back Street, which are connected by small alleys with Dutch names. Old renovated buildings, and typical Antillean architecture border these two streets where you can find just about anything.

Philipsburg textile market
Downtown Philipsburg at the market square

Wathey Square, the place where the cruise ship people arrive, sets the tone of this busy and bustling small town.

Philipsburg  cruise ship terminal Philipsburg is a very popular destination for cruise ships.

At the end of Front Street, you will find a small museum, which traces the island´s history from prehistoric times to the present. To the center of town is the old Court House, constructed in 1793, which is now the City Hall.

Aerial view of Philipsburg/Great Bay & Little Bay
Aerial view of Philipsburg/Great Bay & Little Bay

At the extremities of Little Bay are the ruins of Fort Amsterdam. Over 350 years ago, this fort was constructed by the Dutch as their first, and most important military outpost in the Caribbean. It was built in 1631 atop an old Spanish military building. From there you can see the mines of Fort Willem, which is another piece of St. Maarten´s history. The Dutch took over this site in 1816 and changed the name from Fort Trigge to Fort Willem. From the hilltop, the panoramic view of neighboring islands is spectacular!
Further down the road, Southeast of Great Bay, lies Pointe Blanche. On your way, you will pass two marinas with the restaurants Chesterfields and the Greenhouse, which may serve as stopping off points. You will also see a beautifully restored, colorful Antillean House to your left, which is now home to the Philipsburg Liquor Store.

Philipsburg Liquor Store
Guava Berry Emporium Liquor Store

Otherwise, the area of Pointe Blanche is mostly influenced by commercial activities, and the road is lined with shipping buildings, containers and gas tanks. But nevertheless, Pointe Blanche is worth a visit for its splendid views. Very impressive is the view onto one or more cruise ships as it put the enormous size of these vessels into perspective.

Philipsburg map, click:
Directions and map for Philipsburg

Philipsburg St. Maarten Front Street
Front Street


Philipsburg St. Maarten Board Walk at Great Bay
On the Boardwalk, try the Segway Tour!


Philipsburg St. Maarten Court House in towncenter
Philipsburg Streets
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Impressions of Philipsburg, St. Maarten
View of shopping area in Philipsburg.
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Island overview map, click:
St. Maarten St. Martin island map
 
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Center, East and Northeast

 
Aerial views of the coast
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Aerial impressions of the coast line on the Atlantic coast at Point Lucas on the French side of the island
View of the Atlantic coast and islands on French side.
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Sint Maarten places to stay: Rent by owners: the best island accommodation
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View onto Dawn Beach
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Dawn Beach at Atlantic Coast St. Maarten
Short view of Dawn Beach from above.
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On the road from Philipsburg, heading North, you have the choice to take either the road passing through the Middle Region or the road more to the east, passing by Guana Bay and Dawn Beach. Don´t be afraid, you won´t get lost, as the two roads join each other again in French Quarter. Middle region, and a bit further North French "Quartier d´Orléans", are the islands´ original settlements, with no special attractions, unless you see local housing, and cows and goats on the bumpy road!

Guana Bay at Sint Maarten
Guana Bay Beach

If you take the other road heading Northeast "along the coast" (which is still more or less a mile away!), shortly after the Salt Pond you will see the sign for Guana Bay to your right.

Scenic view at Oyster Pond
Scenic view at Oyster Pond
This road to Guana Bay has recently been paved and is well worth the ride, as it ends on a beautiful, quiet beach, which is also a good spot for surfers. Unfortunately, the road to Guana Bay doesn´t lead any further, so you have to return and continue heading North to Oyster Pond and Dawn Beach. Oyster Pond is divided in two, one part is on the French, the other on the Dutch side. Its picturesque marina is the island´s safest shelter, and a prime spot for pelican watchers. Right on the border on the waterfront is Captain Oliver´s, a popular restaurant for a casual lunch or dinner lobster buffet. Being in the area, don´t miss to take the windy road to Dawn Beach, although this white sand beach lost its original charm with the new huge condo and hotel developments of recent years. Dawn Beach still offers a magnificent view of the neighboring island of St. Barth.
 
Famous Orient Bay on St. Martin
Great Views to the coast overlooking Orient Village


On the road on the French side, between Orient Bay and Grand Case
On the road between
Orient Bay& Grand Case

Back to the main road heading further North from Oyster Pond, you will pass by Le Galion Beach (or Coconut Grove), a stop off point for a swim with small children or for good surfing. On the same rough road is also the Butterfly Farm, great activity for kids, too! When you continue for about a mile or so on the (only) main road, you eventually miss the entrance to famous Orient Bay with its long curve of white beach and turquoise waters. This is certainly the most popular beach on the island with plenty of water sport activities, sun umbrellas, loungers, bars and restaurants that suit to all tastes and budgets.

Link to Video Clip of Mullet Bay
The video clip about Orient Beach is in the beach section. Click!
Orient Bay has become very popular in recent years. It offers mainly villa and condo accommodation.

Orient Bay is primarily known for its nude beach and its naturists´ resort Club Orient. So, if you are up to, no attire required on some sections of this beach! Click for Clothing Optional Beaches!

Then the scenic road takes you further North over the hills with panoramic views of Orient Bay, Pinel Island, Green Key and Tintamarre, Mont Vernon and French Cul de Sac.
Goats, horses, cows on the road - that's something pretty common on the roads of the island, and you should be prepared for it!!!
Horse on the road to Orient Bay

At Mont Vernon you'll find residential homes, condos, and the large complex of former Mt. Vernon Hotel (now converted into long and short term apartments) and enjoy great vistas of the Bay and small islands. Cul de Sac serves as a departure point for fishermen and the 'ferry' to go to the uninhabited islands of Pinel or Tintamarre. Pinel Island is known for its beautiful beach and excellent snorkeling, and is a popular weekend escape for locals and expats. There are taxi boats and vendors in Cul de Sac who take you over to Pinel Island for $7, and you may consider to have a quiet day on the beach, with great snorkeling and a picnic. From Cul de Sac you could also cross to the isolated Pointe Nord by foot (challenging walk though!), and enjoy a deserted beach there. If you are up to dining: there are a few lovely restaurants in the area of Cul de Sac: Le Grain de Poivre, Jam Rock for seafood Caribbean style, and the inexpensive Le Taitu (French Antillean fare).

North area map, click:
Directions and map for Philipsburg
Island overview map, click:
St. Maarten St. Martin island map
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Anse Marcel to Grand Case

 
Marina at Anse Marcel
Anse Marcel Marina

Grand Case Impressions
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Best of SXM Video of Grand Case area
View of Grand Case highlights.
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The road continues to climb North to Anse Marcel. At the end of the road is a splendid lookout with a boasting panoramic view of Anse Marcel with its luxurious hotels and the marina. This is a charming neighborhood with wonderful hillside views of the island, the sea, neighboring Anguilla, and the tropical beach with calm waters. Driving back on the road N7 heading South, it takes a sharp turn westwards to Grand Case. Take a look back from time to time, the views from the top of the hills are unbelievable!

Boutiques and restaurants in Grand Case
Boutiques and restaurants are lined up in Grand Case

As you continue on "Nationale 7", you will come upon the sign for the small Airport of Grand Case. It is the main connection to the other French Caribbean islands. Driving on Airport road will take you straight into Grand Case. This quaint laid-back Caribbean village features the highest concentration of fine restaurants.

There is only one main road in Grand Case, but its dotted with bars, restaurants, pretty Creole houses, boutiques and shoppes, art galleries, and charming hotels.

Excellent food at Grand Case at St. Martin
See our restaurant directory for more info. Click!

There is only one main road in Grand Case, but its dotted with bars, restaurants, pretty Creole houses, boutiques and shoppes, art galleries, and charming hotels.

There are also several low-key "Lolos" downtown Grand Case. These are small open air eateries where you can taste local dishes, grilled lobster or BBQ chicken, in a casual. Originally, Grand Case was a tiny fishermen village, which became important due to its salt ponds. Today, Grand Case is recognized as the "Gourmet Capital of the Caribbean".

Below video provides a short glance into the exceptional life at Grand Case. The full video with many island episodes can be downloaded at "Best of SXM" !

Video about Grand Case
Start video by clicking on above video still. The Grand Case sequence of this video introduction of St. Maarten and St. Martin has been provided by "Best of SXM". The full video can be downloaded from www.PinPointParadise.com.
Grand Case map, click:
Directions and map for Grand Case

Grand Case view towards Anguilla
Grand Case view towards Anguilla

View in Grand Case between fishermen houses
Grand Case village
At Pic Paradis east of Rambaud
White heron at Pic Paradis

A few miles away from Grand Case heading South on N7 is the turn to your left for Pic Paradis, the highest point on the island (424m/1200ft) with an incredible overlook. The higher you go, the worse the road gets. Walk from the end of the asphalted road to the peak, where you find an orientation table. But it is well worth the effort as this peak boasts the most magnificent views of entire St. Martin/St Maarten, and the neighboring islands as well. Around Pic Paradis, there are hiking and mountain biking trails, so you can enjoy the natural beauty of this area to the full extend. One of the newer attractions in the area is The Loterie Farm with its popular Canopy tours.

When you continue on N7 towards Marigot, the road takes you up and down, through small valleys and hillsides, and crosses the quarter of Colombier which became a small village in the recent years, as did Rambaud. The valley of Colombier is filled with lush landscapes and pastures. You'll also find some quaint colorful traditional Caribbean homes, the "Case Creole". A couple of miles before arriving in Marigot, don´t miss to turn right to Friar´s Bay, a pretty and protected creek with calm waters and a couple of beach bar restaurants. The dirt road leading to Friar´s Bay is a dead end road, so you can't get lost.

Island overview map, click:
St. Maarten St. Martin island map

Marigot

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Impressions of Marigot
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Marigot, French Caribbean Video
Bird's view of Marigot from the West..
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Statue at Marigot Market
View from Fort St. Louis


Marigot Harbor Area
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Marigot, French Caribbean Video
View of Marigot from the harbor towards West Indies mall and Fort St. Louis.
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Need some shopping ideas? Click here for Marigot!




If you don't want to miss French cuisine, see our restaurant directory, click on icon: French Cuisine on St. Martin

The first view of Marigot is impressive. As you come over the hill of "Nationale 7", the view opens up to the town and Marigot Bay, Fort St. Louis, Simpson Bay, Sandy Ground & Nettle Bay, Terres Basses/The Lowlands, the Airport, and off in the distance Anguilla. Originally a fishermen village, Marigot acquired its name from the swamplands which extended out to the bay. Later on, during the sugar period, Marigot became the capital. This was under the reign of King Louis XVI, who, end of the 18th century, decided to build Fort St. Louis atop the hill overlooking Marigot Bay.

Fort St. Louis above Marigot

The historic monument is the largest of its kind on the island, and a witness of the history of this charming town that started to develop after the abolition of slavery in 1848.

Marigot Saint Martin port area with fort in background

Additional quarters were created during the past decades, such as Spring and Concordia, which are of less interest to tourists. Marigot has turned from a tiny village into a commercial and administrative town that counts today more than 10,000 residents.

We recommend these villas between Marigot and Grand Case: Click on buttons!
Villa Dream in Blue at Happy Bay
Dream in Blue
Villa Canoua at Happy Bay
Canoua
Stylish villa - Villa Happy Days
Happy Days
 

Marigot is still very colonial in appearance with gingerbread and colorful Créole houses and a casual, laid-back Creole ambiance. It is also elegant, Mediterranean, and lively with a tropical touch, with sidewalk cafés and bistros, open air restaurants, and chic boutiques.

Main square in Marigot
Wednesday and Saturday mornings are market days on Marigot´s new market place, located around the kiosk by the port.

Apparel and art market at Marigot

Those days are particularly busy. Vendors sell almost everything from coconuts, avocados, sweet potatoes and plenty of other tropical fruits & vegetables, all kinds of spices and fresh fish, to fine batik wraps, local arts, crafts and paintings. Other sites to see include the Marina Royale, where fine shops and restaurants abound. This is also a great place to sit and relax on the terrace of one of the many French bistros.

Marina at Port Royale, Marigot, St. Martin

Marigot map, click:
Directions and map for Philipsburg
Island overview map, click:
St. Maarten St. Martin island map
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Around the Lagoon

 
Long Beach at Lowlands
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Long Bay Beach on St. Martin French Caribbean
View of Long Bay Beach at Lowlands near Hotel La Samanna
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Clothing optional beaches at Sint Maarten/St. Martin
Don't miss out on our beach section! Click!



Cupecoy View
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Cupecoy Bay, St. Maarten Caribbean Video
Cupecoy Cliffs near Puerto Cupecoy on Dutch St. Maarten.
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Simpson Bay View
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Simpson Bay, St. Maarten Caribbean Video
Lagoon and yacht port, Simpson Bay and Cole Bay on Dutch side.
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Maho Bay and Maho Hotels
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Maho Beach, St. Maarten Caribbean Video
View of Maho beach at the Maho hotel complex and Maho Beach at airport runway.
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Head out of town westwards to Sandy Ground and Nettle Bay, but be aware of the opening hours of the Sandy Ground bridge (8:15am, 2:30pm, 5.30pm) to avoid traffic jams! You will pass some hotels and resort facing either the Caribbean Sea or Simpson Bay Lagoon. The scenic road takes you on through Terres Basses/The Lowlands.

Casa Bamboo

Villa Louis for rent directly from the owner

Formerly considered to be unsanitary, Terres Basses is now a popular residential area, where the rich and famous live, with sumptuous private villas (if you get a glance to see behind the walls!) The roadside landscaping is lovely with colorful bougainvillea, hibiscus, and cactus.
At Simpson Bay Yacht Club at Sint Maarten
Simpson Bay Lagoon
Sunset at Simpson Bay at Sint Maarten
Sunset at Simpson Bay
In the Lowlands are also some of the most secluded and romantic beaches of the island and great spots to watch sunsets: Baie Rouge, Plum Bay and Long Bay. At the entrance of Long Bay is one of the most beautiful hotels of St. Martin, "La Sammana" of elegant Spanish architecture, that hosted already many Hollywood celebrities.
As you drive to the south west corner of the island, you cross the border to arrive at one of Dutch St Maarten´s most beautiful beaches: Cupecoy, where clothing is optional. Then the road turns left taking you through the lively areas of the Sapphire Club, Starz City Casino complex, the golf course and right behind it, Mullet Bay, a wonderful moon-shaped bay with a long stretch of white beach.
Link to Video Clip of Mullet Bay
The video clip about Mullet Beach is in the beach section. Click!
Cupecoy clothing optional beach
Cupecoy clothing optional beach

Several casinos provide plenty of gambling opportunities. Starz city casino entrance


Mullet Bay Beach on Sint Maarten
Mullet Bay Beach

More Information on beaches is available at our large Beach section.

Video Clip of Marigot,  St. Martin
More videos about the Maho Beach area is in the beach section. Click!

Next you will come upon the Maho Resort& Casino, with its mini shopping district and "Cheri´s Cafe", probably the leading nightspot on the island for dining, dancing and making new friends.

Maho Beach
Maho Beach South of the airport runway

Then comes Maho Reef, a small shopping and open-air commercial centre, including the island´s largest Casino, restaurants and night clubs. And behind all, facing the Caribbean sea, lies little Maho Beach - the place to sunbath underneath approaching airplanes!

Island overview map, click:
St. Maarten St. Martin island map
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Airport Area & Simpson Bay

 
Airplane Landing at SXM
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Airplane Landing at SXM airport St. Maarten
Airplane Landing as seen from Maho Beach flying right overhead.
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Airplane approach to SXM airport
Come to Maho Beach around 2:00pm, the best time for airplane spotting.


Best of SXM Video Trailer
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Trailer Best of SXM
Trailer of the island introduction "Best of SXM".
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As you pass by Maho, you have actually come to the end of the runway of Princess Juliana International Airport, also known under its airport code SXM. Indeed a great place to take pictures of jets landing over the beach! The airport is built right behind Simpson Bay, between the sea, the lagoon and the hills. Simpson Bay, to your right, features a nice sandy beach, a wide choice of restaurants and resorts.

The new Princess Juliana International Airport - SXM - of Sint Maarten

The Simpson Bay bridge lifts three times a day (more info here), so try to avoid those hours on the road, otherwise you can get stuck in traffic jams for half an hour! Short after the drawbridge you may want to make a turn to the right to the densely populated hotel and villa area of Pelican Key. If you do so, return to the main road, and complete your trip, heading back to Philipsburg. You may wish to stop at the observation deck atop Cole Bay Hill. It offers a spectacular view of the neighboring islands Saba, Anguilla, St. Eustatius, St. Barth and St. Kitts. The road will then bring you back to Philipsburg, and the roundtrip is complete.

If you don't want to use a rental car, taxis, usually large American passenger vans, offer tours of 3 - 4 hours around the island. You also can rent a Harley-Davidson and do the tour.

KLM Jumbo Jet landing on St. Maarten
B747 approach into St. Maarten. Click on airplane photo for an exciting video!

If you look for more videos, and wish to get a more comprehensive knowledge of this island and its two countries, you may want to check this website for their "Best of SXM" video. The trailer is available by clicking on the video icon at the left column. Enjoy your island trip!

More information about this modern airport is here. Most rental cars are parked off airport. Some companies provide the rental car right at the airport parking lot, e.g. Alizes-Best for Less-, which is a reliable and very competitive company.

The narrow strip between airport and Simpson Beach has a few nice places to offer. Some restaurants and bars are great places for a drink or lunch.

 
 
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St. Maarten and St. Martin Island information for tourists
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St. Maarten and St. Martin Island information for tourists