The beautiful island of St. Maarten offers the world a lesson in sharing. With the lively Dutch Sint Maarten to the south and the laid-back French Saint Martin to the north with no marked border in between visiting this unique island is like visiting two countries in one.
As the Oasis of the Seas began to have St. Maarten into its view on the horizon I was pleasantly surprised but the mountains that you could see as we began to come into the port. You are instantly treated to the panoramas of the colourful scenery and towering green mountains. We had the opportunity to spend a full day on the island so we had chosen to book a speedboat tour that gives you a tour around the island, snorkeling and a chance to hopefully watch the planes come in and land at Princess Juliana Airport.
We met our captain for the day and immediately headed towards Simpson Bay Bridge on the dutch side of the island into the largest lagoon in the Caribbean where we got the opportunity to view some of the mega yhacts. From there we passed under the French side Bridge where all the private sailing boats moored in the Bay.
From here the tour took us to Tintamarre Island a deserted island that once had its own king, navy and airline. Here in the warm turquoise blue waters we got to swim with sea turtles. I had never swam with turtles before and it was really a neat experience. They would come up to surface for air every 10-15 minutes so you would just have to patiently watch for one to come up and you could get a pretty cool view of them.
While swimming with the turtles a Barracuda swam by. Barracudas are ferocious, opportunistic predators that can mistake snorkelers for large predators following them hoping to eat the remains of their prey. They are not who you want to be snorkeling in the waters with! Unfortunately, this would not be the last time we saw a barracuda that day.
From Tintamarre the group headed to Pinel Island where the boat docked and we waded into shore to explore. Pinel Island is a tiny island on the north end of St. Martin and a few hundred yards off the northwestern end of Orient Bay. This picture perfect island has no cars and no roads so it is the perfect place to relax, grab a drink and enjoy the scenery. If I had the opportunity I would come back to Pinel Island and spend a full day its off the beaten path feel was incredibly appealing.
There are some local iguanas that live on the island and are not afraid of humans. They just love to sun on the sand and watch as all the tourists walk by.
There are two restaurants on the island. On the left side of the beach there is Karibuni restaurant which is known for its fresh lobster and beach side tables. We didnt get a chance to eat here but that did not stop me from taking a few photos of this beautiful beachside restaurant.
On the right side of the island you can eat and relax at Yellow Beach restaurant, a local tiki-hut style place serving BBQ food, seafood and grilled fresh lobster.
After leaving the beautiful beaches of Pinel Island we headed over to Grand Case for some lunch. Grand Case is considered to be the gourmet capital of St. Martin as any of the restaurants that line them main street will provide you with a meal of a lifetime and for cheap. And we were not disappointed in our meals! We both had chicken, rice and salads and besides the massive portions the meal was delicious.
Our second last stop of the day was to Creole Rock, located in the middle of the Bay of Grand Case. This rock is considered to be the marine reserves best kept secret with shallow waters and sea life in abundance. We saw a lot of various fish in every shape and colour around the rock. It is a must do if you have a tour to take you out there.
Overall, I was in awe by the beauty of the island and would love to come back to spend more time in St. Maarten. As we headed back to the ship we could not wait to return to St. Maarten to explore more of the power white sand beaches and turquoise waters that they have to offer and maybe see a little less of the barracudas next time.