Being the type of person that plans everything in advance (and gets stressed out if they don’t), I spent hours planning and researching what excursions to do, what sights to see, and where to eat before leaving for St Maarten. Only being there for a week, I wanted to be sure we didn’t miss anything. Turns out, we actually discovered the best kept secrets of the island after arriving from our inside source: the islanders working at the Divi Little Bay. If you’re like me and looking to plan ahead, I’ve rounded up a list of the top 13 best things to do in St Maarten, from food to eat, excursions to partake in & some of the island best kept secrets.
1. Watch the planes on Maho Beach
This had to be one of the coolest things I did in st Maarten (and I have the pics to prove it! Lol) Maho Beach is one of the most well-known things to do on the island, and while it may seem touristy, believe me when I say it’s worth it. I actually had to go to Maho Beach three times to get a picture with a plane.. if thats not dedication, I’m not sure what is! See, there’s no guarantee to see planes that day. The secret to seeing one is checking out the surfboard with the times at Sunset Bar (its right next to the beach). I found that the majority of the larger planes come earlier in the day, so make sure to get there before 1pm.
While I can’t rave about sunset, rated “the #1 beach bar on the island”, you should definitely check out driftwood boat bar, the only other bar on the beach. Driftwood is cheaper and more of a local hotspot – and we loved the taxi driver that worked there – Ricky, who recommended some local spots we need to try before leaving.
2. Spend the day at Mullet Bay
We didn’t rent a car on the island, so we decided to make a day out of Mullet and Maho because they are within walking distance. In the morning we started at Mullet- and I’m so glad we did. This was one of the most breathtaking blue beaches I’ve ever seen with plenty of soft sand (at Maho there’s mostly just rocks). Another huge plus was that the beach is super quiet. There’s a shack that opens at noon to grill up food and serves drinks, but we decided to hop over to Maho before we missed the planes again.
3. Take a boat trip to Anguilla & Prickly Pear
Number three on my list is taking a trip to two islands surrounding St Maarten. During our time here, we did a full day excursion with Lambada to Anguilla and Prickly Pear. Did I mention it was unlimited booze and snacks on a catamaran? Yep.. I’m sold.. lol! While our other excursion with Billy Bones was a bit bumpy and more crowded on a motorboat, cruising on the catamaran was something I’ve never experienced before. We got to lay on the front net on the way there and back, and boy, I felt like I was living the dream! Lol
4. Go snorkeling at Creole Rock
outfit details:bathing suit
On Monday we did a Billy Bones trip – and one of the included places was Creole Rock. Unlimited rum punch & snorkeling – yes please!
5. Eat dinner at Pineapple Pete’s
Ricky from DriftWood beach bar told us to hit Simpson Bay Friday night, and I’m so glad we did. I ordered a seafood pasta dish and was in heaven. The portions are huge too. My seafood dish was hands down the best meal I had in St Maarten. I mean, this was SO good. A little bit pricy, but worth it.
6. Walk the Phillipsburg Boardwalk
On Thursday, we finally took a walk down the Phillipsburg boardwalk. It’s the spot where all the cruise ships come in, so you can imagine it’s pretty lively. Make sure to visit when cruise ships are there because a lot of shops close when the cruises depart.
After checking out the downtown shops (St Maarten is duty free), we stopped at Lizzys On Front Cafe for lunch. At the time I thought the cafes decor was cool, but came to regret it later because I felt deathly ill after something I ate there until the next day (YUCK). Plus- there’s tons and I mean TONS of restaurants lined across the boardwalk with beach views and better food we could have picked.
7. Visit Tintamarre
outfit details:bathing suit
outfit details:bathing suit
Another spot we visited on our Billy bones trip was Tintamarre. This beach gave Orient Bay and Mullet Bay a run for its money. Tintamarre was full of the softest sand and the most gorgeous red rocks overlooking the beach.
8. Try the island’s famous drink
Most islands have a signature drink- in St Thomas & The BVI’s, it’s a painkiller, but in St Maarten it’s the Guvaberry. This stuff is delicious! I tried some concoction at the resort with guavaberry and it tasted like an upgraded Pina colada – but more fruity, almost like strawberries.
9. Pamper yourself to a beach massage
Denise and Venise approached me at the Little Bay Beach and asked me if I wanted a massage. Getting a massage on the beach was something that I never had experienced before- so I decided to go for it! I did feet and back for $75, but it was pretty much “full body”, and included everything except my face and scalp. I liked how they used aloe (which is cool because it’s a natural sunblock) and were gentle – I’ve only gotten a massage once before in Mexico, and let me tell you- it wasn’t fun. Lol!
10. Take a dip in Orient Bay
Famously known as the “naked beach,” orient bay is also one of the most breathtaking with crystal clear waters. Because all the beach bars got hit so bad with Irma last year, tours don’t usually stop here anymore. We did a private tour with John from Divi Little Bay Beach Resort and he told us we couldn’t miss out. We didn’t mind that only one bar is open on the beach because the view was so worth it!
11. Eat at Lolo’s
John also brought us to the French side of the island (there’s a French side and a Dutch side) to eat lunch. We stopped a Lolo’s in Grand Casse, and OMG it was so yummy. So good, we went there twice (our Billy bones Charter also stopped there). The first time I got crab and rice/beans with plantains and the second I switched out the crab for ribs. Both meals were also super cheap!
12. Dance the night away at Belair
The little bar at Belair is truly a hidden gem. A walk from Divi, we ventured over there Monday night where we indulged in the delicious all- you-can-eat Barbecue. We went back later in the week and I got lobster – but in all honesty, I’m sticking to the lobsters in MA from now on! Monday was fun because they also had live Caribbean music playing. (I think I was caught on video dancing to the Kiki challenge- haha!)
13. Jetski at Little Bay Beach
Jet skiing was the boyfriends request, and I was happy to say yes! We did half an hour jet ski around Little Bay, which was plenty of enough time. If we did it again though, we would have splurged and rented our own jet skis – it’s so much more fun driving then being on the back!
Other things to do:
-Take a trip to Pinel Island to see tons of iguanas and check out the little gift shop on the island.
-Cruise by Plum Island to see P Diddys house, or Trumps mansion. He rents it out for 10k a night!
-Jump off cliffs at Long Bay (jk we didn’t do that – but we saw two people who did!). What we did do was go snorkeling and drink some more rum punch. This area is breathtaking, and the only place on the island with a 5 star hotel.
-Try the seafood sampler at Chesterfields. A close restaurant to Divi with an awesome view, so we were bummed when it started down pouring. I would definitely recommend going there earlier to enjoy the view.
What I wish I did:
-Went to Red piano earlier. We heard this was the place to be Friday night. We actually showed up 2 hours early and ended up leaving! Lol! Make sure you don’t come until 10:30 when the band comes on.
-Ate at Nowhere Special. We didn’t end up renting a car, so taxing back and forth got expensive. If I could go back, I would definitely check out this restaurant and bar because I heard so many good things.
-Hike up Pic Paradise Point. This is something I wish I could have done, but didn’t end up doing because it was so hot. But I heard the views are absolutely beautiful and so worth it.
-Zip line on the highest one in the world. Boyfriend was down for this, on the other hand, I was not. Being afraid of heights, I just couldn’t! They actually have two zip lines on the island, so if you’re feeling adventurous, I would definitely check one out.
If you’re not sure where to stay on the island, check out my blog on Little Divi St Maarten.