St. Maarten Location

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Andrew Dawid
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Andrew is a Real Estate Agent providing condo sales in St. Maarten as well as Condos Downtown Toronto.

St. Maarten Caribbean Vacation Popular places of Interest


On the very southeastern side of the island lays the Great Bay and the town of Phillipsburg, the seat of the Dutch government on Sint Martin.  This is the island’s cruise ship destination and offers a wide variety of duty-free shops, restaurants, historical sites and hotels.  Founded in 1763 by a Scottish captain serving in the Dutch navy, the town rapidly grew to an international trading center.  It still retains its international flavor, and caters to visitors of all nationalities. 

Most of the town is located on a thin strip of land which divides the Great Bay from the Great Salt Pond.  The main thoroughfares are Front Street and Back Street, with short alleys connecting them.  Here you can find the shops and cafes for which Phillipsburg is know throughout the Caribbean.  Around the circumference of the Great Salt Pond are shops, residential areas and historical sites. In the 1700s and 1800s, the entrance to Great Bay was guarded by two forts – Fort Amsterdam constructed in 1631 by the Dutch and Fort Willem build in 1801 by the British.  The site of Fort Willem is easy to spot as it on top of Fort Hill which also hosts the islands television transmission tower. However, the town’s most historical and famous building is the Courthouse built in 1793. The Courthouse exhibits artifacts from the original Indian inhabitants of the island, as well as items from the 1801 shipwreck of the HMS Proselyte.

Sint Martin Park

Sint Martin Park and Zoo is a great destination for the kids.  It features zoo exhibits that display animals found throughout the Caribbean – many not seen in North American or European zoos.  There is a reptile house, a nocturnal exhibit and walk-through aviaries with common and exotic birds, reptiles and mammals.  The squirrel monkeys are particularly entertaining, and the park hosts the largest outdoor playground on the island.


Residing on the northwest side of the island in French territory is the town of Marigot, the capital of the French side of St. Maarten.  It is a blend of French and Caribbean culture, with sidewalk cafes, gingerbread houses and outdoor markets.  This little part of France is replete with dining and shopping opportunities through the main market areas of the Port La Royale Marina, Rue de France (Port Road), Rue de la Republique, Rue du General de Gaulle and Le West Indies Mall.  Nightlife in Marigot is lively, with bistros, dance clubs, casinos and first-class shows and entertainment scattered throughout the town.  The waterfront area is the liveliest part of Marigot, with many restaurant choices, with French food dominating the menus.  As was common in the European colonization of the Caribbean, the town was protected by a fort – Fort St. Louis built in 1767.  A short walk from the town to the top of the hill where the fort is located will yield a wonderful view of the north Caribbean and the coastline of north St. Maarten.

Grand Case

Restaurants on St. Maarten are comparable to those you would find in New York, Paris or Amsterdam.  The restaurants in Grand Case are the best of the best.  Located up the coast of French St. Maarten from Marigot, Grand Case features a beautiful beach area lined with shops, cafes, restaurants and drinking spots.  Because Grand Case has one of the calmest beach areas on the island, it is a popular spot for families with small children.  Nevertheless, its central attraction is the quality of its restaurant fare.  The area has abundant hotels and guesthouses for those who want to use Grand Case as their homebase as they explore St. Maarten.


Columbier is a lush valley lying between Marigot and Grand Case, perfect for a quiet exploration along its trails.  In contrast to the numerous white sand beaches, Columbier offers walking trails through gorgeous tropical forest.  The newest addition to the valley is a watermelon plantation, the Carib Plantation, which is open to the public.


Orleans is a small fishing village located on the eastern part of St. Maarten, which is also the first Dutch colony on the island.  A number of 17th-century structures are still preserved there, and the area, also known as the French Quarter, is mostly undeveloped.  Just a short distance from Oyster Bay, Orleans makes a fine half-day trip to view some of the original settlement history of St. Maarten.

Pic Paridis

Paradise Peak, at 1,400 feet, is the highest point on St. Maarten.  Access is from the western side of the French-governed northern area, just north and east of Marigot.  There are two observation decks at the top which afford a great view of the tropical forest and the northern Caribbean.

Loterie Farm

Loterie Farm is a former plantation converted to a nature reserve.  Within walking distance from Pic Paridis, it is an interesting and beautiful area.  For those who are a bit more adventurous, a zip line through the tropical forest is available.

Butterfly Farm

Both for kids and adults, the Butterfly Farm is an enclosed area filled with many varieties of butterflies.  Guided tours are available, and the staff will show you how to safely handle the butterflies and their pupa. 

The Old House

Located near Orient Bay on the east side of the island, The Old House has been in the Beauperthuy family since 1843.  Originally a plantation house, it is open to the public for tours.