ISLAND ADVENTURES: St. Maarten “The Friendly Island”

Lush mountains, blue waters, impeccable beaches and top-notch cuisine – life in the Caribbean doesn’t get any better than beautiful St. Maarten. It’s one half of the smallest country in the world, and with more than 140 different cultures living harmoniously on the half-French, half-Dutch island’s 34 square miles, it’s no wonder this tropical oasis has been dubbed “The Friendly Island.”

Whether you’re an adventure-seeker on the hunt for the next big thrill, or a laid-back beach bum searching for the perfect shore, St. Maarten has something for everyone. We’ve rounded up the top activities and sights to see on and around the island:

RAINFOREST ADVENTURES
Ideal for adrenaline junkies, Rainforest Adventures offers the world’s steepest zip line, The Flying Dutchman, plus breathtaking 360° views of the island. You can also take a leisurely ride on the Sky Explorer chairlift, a thrilling tube ride down the mountain on The Schooner, or a quick zip over the mountains on the Sentry Hill Zip Line. This is one island experience you don’t want to miss! For more details, visit www.rainforestadventure.com.

Photo by @guiamundoafora

DOWNTOWN PHILIPSBURG Just minutes from Divi Little Bay Beach Resort, Downtown Philipsburg boasts plenty of history and beauty. Take a guided tour of Front Street, shop till you drop at the many duty-free stores, or snap a picture at the iconic courthouse, which is adorned with a wooden pineapple, the international symbol for welcome.

AQUA MANIA ADVENTURES
Offering boat tours, sunset sails, scuba diving and snorkeling adventures, jet ski experiences, day trips to surrounding islands and so much more, Aqua Mania Adventures is your one-stop-shop for water-related activities. Soar over waves on a high-speed jet ski, discover uninhabited islands and British territories with a trip to Prickly Pear and Anguilla, or visit the lush island of Saba, known as the “Unspoiled Queen” of the Caribbean for a hike to the top of Mount Scenery, the highest point in the Netherlands! For a romantic evening, book a sunset sail, and if you’re lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of the famous green flash as the sun sets. For more information, visit www.stmaarten-activities.com.

Photos by @jilldeconti

LOTERIE FARM
This hidden gem, where you can wine, dine and relax in blissful peace, is nestled in the hillside of Pic Paradis on the French side of the island. The private nature reserve features plenty of pools, secluded cabanas, fabulous food from their on-site restaurant and bar, and a picturesque setting ideal for soaking up the sun. If you’re feeling adventurous, there’s also zip lines, ropes courses, and hiking trails, and if you seek a lively party atmosphere, be sure to visit on Saturdays! For more details, visit loteriefarm.com.

FORT ST. LOUIS & FORT AMSTERDAM
Travel back in time with a visit to historic Fort St. Louis and Fort Amsterdam. Located on the French and Dutch sides of the islands respectively, both of these forts have been restored over the years and feature incredible views of St. Maarten and surrounding islands. Fort Amsterdam is on Divi Little Bay Beach Resort’s property, so guests can easily access this notable landmark.

Photo by @luxe.tourista

TOPPER’S RHUM & GUAVABERRY EMPORIUM
You can’t visit the Caribbean without trying a bit of rum,
and Topper’s Rhum Distillery will quench your thirst with
its award-winning rum bottled right on the island. Get your
taste buds ready for this delicious experience, where you’ll learn the history of St. Maarten’s rum production and sip on several satisfying flavors of rum. You can also visit the Guavaberry Emporium in Philipsburg to enjoy St. Maarten’s national liqueur, Guavaberry Rum. For more details, visit www.toppersrhum.com or guavaberry.com.

PAROTTE VILLE BIRD PARK Birds of a feather flock together at Parotte Ville Bird Park! Stop by this one-of-a-kind attraction to feed and befriend tons of colorful birds. A sanctuary for several species of parrots, this popular spot also features a playground and a small museum full of the owner’s ancient family heirlooms and household items.

PINEL & TINTAMARRE ISLANDS
Located off the coast of Orient Beach, Pinel and Tintamarre Islands are two spectacular snorkeling sites. There are a few ways to reach Pinel Island, but we recommend renting a kayak from Caribbean Paddling for a leisurely 20-minute paddle to white sand beaches, two lively restaurants and bars and hiking trails. If you’re hungry for seafood, you can even choose your own lobster right from the day’s catches. Plus, keep an eye out for the many iguanas that call this island home. To reach Tintamarre Island, you’ll need to book a guided tour, but it’s worth the trip, as the waters surrounding the area are teeming with sea turtles. For more information, visit www.caribbeanpaddling.com and www.stmaarten-activities.com.

TIJON PARFUMERIE
Treat yourself to a world of delightful smells and grab a lab coat and create your own custom perfume or cologne at Tijon Parfumerie, on the French side of the island. You’ll get a custom bottle with your own unique label and fragrance name. Plus, should you run out of your exclusive concoction, Tijon keeps a record of your formula so you can always reorder your perfect scent. For more information, visit www.tijon.com.

MAHO BEACH
One of the most photographed spots on the island, this beach sits directly next to the airport, which has one of the world’s shortest runways. Tourists and locals alike flock here to snap an Instagram-worthy shot of incoming planes flying just a short distance above the ground. While waiting for arrivals and departures, plane spotters can enjoy a refreshing beer and snacks at nearby restaurants and bars.

Photo by @luxe.tourista

CULINARY CAPITAL OF THE CARIBBEAN
St. Maarten is a foodie’s paradise with a strong culinary community, top-notch chefs and award-winning dining options. When you’re not savoring delicious dishes at Divi Little Bay Beach Resort’s on-site restaurants, stop by Taloula Mango’s for mouthwatering ribs and fantastic views, Emilio’s for award-winning cuisine or Barranco for a taste of fine French food in a Caribbean chic, beachside setting.

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