You’ll notice that most of our recommended beaches, walks, tours, and things to do in Saint Maarten / Saint Martin below take place outside, in nature, and away from crowds. This reflects our actions and St Martin Personalized Services recommendations. However, this also makes these more “Covid-friendly activities,” as doing things outside is less dangerous than doing things indoors or in large groups.
1. With the 12-Metre Challenge, you can race at sea and pilot a real America’s Cup boat.
Yes, you can ride on the Stars & Stripes, the winning yacht in the 1987 America’s Cup. This in itself is exciting. When you board the boat, each member of your group is assigned a crew position. After that, you get a little tutorial, practise a little, the helmsman provides the commands, and it’s off to the races with a customary 6-minute start.
You get to see and participate in the teamwork required to get a craft like this to fly on the water. This became increasingly clearer – and more dramatic – as we sailed directly into a brief tropical storm, the wind shredding the sails and our boat creating slightly scary angles.
The competition, on the other hand, was what really set this event distinct. We competed against another America’s Cup boat (True North from Canada) under conventional regatta rules, getting a taste of the adrenaline rush of a real race.
2. Get up early and go for a run (or stroll) in Cupecoy Bay, where you’ll have the entire Caribbean beach to yourself.
If running isn’t your thing, try walking or cycling instead. Get up early and head to the cliffs, whatever you do. Not only will you be rewarded with the beautiful glow of early morning light, but you will also have a Caribbean beach all to yourself.
3. Hike in Guana Bay to get away from it all.
It’s easy to become engrossed in St. Maarten tourist traps and wonder, “Is this all there is to the island?” However, a short trip over the hill to the island’s southeastern corner and Guana Bay provided our first glimpse of a different St. Maarten / St. Martin.
4. Take in the sight of jets landing above Maho Bay Beach.
We’ve never gone to a place where the airport is a major tourist draw. However, if you sit on or near the beach in Maho Bay, you’ll quickly realise why. The image below pretty much sums it up. It appears to be Photoshopped, but it is not.
5. Take a day trip to Shoal Bay, Anguilla, to unwind on the Caribbean’s best beach.
On our first day in St Martin Taxi Service, we were told that Shoal Bay beach was “paradise on earth.” The fact that the recommendation came from a long-term resident with extensive Caribbean expertise convinced us that we had to attend. But, having visited other “top beaches,” we kept our expectations in check.
6. At Pic Paradis, you can get above it all.
There’s something about climbing to the highest peak to gain perspective. An aerial picture of St. Maarten (and St. Martin) from the overlook of Pic Paradis, the island’s highest point at 1,391ft / 424m, allows you to see the contours of the terrain and how all of the spots you’ve visited fit together.
7. Ride a Rhino along St. Martin’s western coast.
“I designed this myself and it’s difficult to tip. “That’s why we name it a Rhino,” explained Oliver, the proprietor of Rhino Safaris, when we first arrived. He accomplished this so that everyone could enjoy the event, from youngsters to someone in their 90s.
I remembered tipping a jet ski on a college break many years ago, so I was relieved to learn that this hybrid Jet Ski/zodiac could not be flipped. It took some time to get used to the Rhino and what it could do in terms of speed, spins, and stunts, but once we did, it was a lot of fun and addictive.
8. Cross the border and brush up on your French.
One of the things that drew us to St. Maarten/St. Martin was the island’s long history of division between the French and the Dutch. The Dutch side is now an independent country, while the French side is still a French territory. We were curious about how that might appear and feel.
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