Caribbean Tourism

Sint Maarten Beaches & Watersports

The bays on the south and west shores are excellent for swimming, diving and fishing, and the beaches are of fine white sand. The most popular beach is Mullet Bay, where you can rent umbrellas, beach chairs et cetera. It can get crowded in season and all weekends.


On the east side is Oyster Pond, a land-locked harbour which is difficult to enter because of the outlying reefs, but which is now home to a yacht club and is a centre for bare boat charter. Dawn Beach nearby is popular with body surfers and snorkelling is good because of the reefs just offshore; Guana Bay, next to Dawn Beach, is the bodysurfers best beach. Maho Beach, by the airport, has regular Sunday beach parties with live music competitions; don’t forget to duck when planes arrive. The most westerly beach on the Dutch side of the island is Cupecoy, where rugged sandstone cliffs lead down to a narrow sandy beach, providing morning shade and a natural windbreak.

Every conceivable form of watersports is usually available. Surfing is possible all year round, from different beaches depending on the time of the year.

There are boat charter companies with sailing boats and motor boats, with or without a crew. You find most of them around Bobby’s Marina, Philipsburg, from US$200 a day for bare boat.

There are around 40 boats offering different trips around the islands, some just going out for snorkelling on the reefs or taking cruise ship passengers around. The Swaliga, a motor catamaran (US$50 per person plus US$7 port charge) sails daily to St Barts from Philipsburg. Also the 70 foot motor catamaran, Quicksilver. There are several other sailings from Philipsburg which can be booked through Dockside Management (T2024096) or hotels. On certain days there are sailings from Pelican Marina at Simpson Bay, or from Marigot. The trip to St Barts is normally quite rough and unpleasant on the way there but more pleasant on the return journey. Check the weather, the swell and the waves can be up to three and a half metres even on a nice day. The Golden Eagle, a new wing mast 76 foot catamaran sails to Tintamarre from Great Bay Marina, four hours, US$45 per person, breakfast on board, snorkelling gear, T75828/30068. Most boats offer some snacks, sodas and rum punch. Trips cost from US$50-75, plus departure tax. Check what is available from Marigot too. Some of the time share resorts offer free boat trips with snorkelling, lunch, taxis, (you pay departure tax), if you participate in one of their sales drives.

Fishing: For fishing there are numerous boats available for a whole (US$500-750) or half (US$280-375) day from Bobby’s Marina, Pelican Marina or Great Bay Marina. Arrangements can be made through the hotels or contact Leeward Islands Divers, (see Diving & Marine Life), or Rudy’s Fishing, Beacon Hill, T52177. Marlin, barracuda, dolphin (not the mammal) and tuna are the best catches. Game fishing tournaments are held all year round.

The largest annual regatta, the Heineken Regatta, takes place each February/March and lasts for three days with a round the island race on the Sunday. It is well attended with nearly 300 boats in nine classes. A race to Nevis and back is held in mid-June with a day for resting/parties. Other regattas held are for catamarans, match racing with charter boats, windsurfing et cetera. For more information check with St Martin Yacht Club, Simpson Bay (La Palapa Marina) or ask Robbie Ferron at Budget Marina in Philipsburg. A popular half day excursion is match racing on Canada II, True North, True North IV or Stars and Stripes, boats from the Americas Cup, US$60, races Wednesday 1315, three hours (T43354, Bobby’s Marina).


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