Mountain biking is a popular outdoor activity on the island. There are many trails to ride for the beginner and expert, ranging in difficulty from white (leisure) to double black diamond (challenging, aka death defying).
The two main areas for trails are in Bellevue (15 rated trails) and Pic Paradise (3 rated trails). The most popular green (on the easy end) trails in Bellevue are: Bottom Trail, Behind the Square, Concordia Connector, and Middle Trail. Bellevue’s popular blue (mid-range difficulty) trails are: Graveyard, Fred’s Hard Work, Knoll Loop, and MK’s Backyard. For black and double black in Bellevue, hit Spider, Little Schleyer, and Bullet. Keep in mind that these are ‘ride at your own risk’ trails.
In Pic Paradise on the other side of the island, the trails are all mountain and downhill. Caretta is a blue (medium) trail, while Short n’ Sweet and Jack Spania are both black diamond.
There are multiple bike rental businesses. Included in the price will be helmets, locks, repair kits, and water bottles along with the bicycle. You can also choose to hire a guide, who will know the best places to stop and take a swim (wear your suit under your clothes), and regale you with local stories.
For the nature lovers, a kayak jaunt around the island is the way to go! Unlike other watercraft, this one allows you access to coves, inlets, secluded beaches and other quiet locations. Some of the favorite destinations for eco-travel are the nature reserve mangroves at Galion Bay; Red Bay’s cliffs; and Creole Rock for an extra snorkeling experience. Be advised that the Atlantic southern coast has strong currents, and should be traversed only by experienced paddlers.
I would recommend combining kayaking and snorkeling into a guided excursion in Simpson Bay as a doubly fun island adventure for beginners!
On the Dutch side of the island (Sint Maarten) sits an 18-hole (par 70) golf course. Situated at the edge of Mullet Bay Beach, what this course lacks in refinement it more than makes up for in beauty.
If a full day of golf is not in your schedule, take the family to the Orient Bay Driving Range. For evening fun, you can find miniature (putt-putt) golf courses near Simpson Bay and Green Cay.
If you love fishing, you’ll be happy to learn that the waters around Saint Martin are home to the largest blue marlin on the planet! This fish of legend (think Hemingway’s “Old Man and the Sea”) is just off coast, and waiting to test your skill. Charter a deep sea fishing boat, guide, and all the gear you need for this exceptional fishing destination. You may also get to fish for mahi-mahi, black fin, yellow fin tuna, wahoo, and barracuda depending on the season of your cruise. If you return with your nets full, there are local restaurants that will cook your catch.
It is also popular to inshore fish for the abundant sergeant fish, called ‘snook’. These beautiful fighters get active as the day cools into afternoon, and hang out at the mouths of rivers. Insider tip: Find them around Simpson Bay. They average 5 pounds, and you can either catch-and-release, or take your bounty to a local café for cooking.
Want to see the world through new eyes? Fly! You can do this in several ways while on your shore excursion in St. Maarten. Start at the Cul-de-Sac and schedule your parasailing adventure. You’ll start in the water, pulled by a speed boat; followed by a ‘launch’ into the air with your parachute. It will take your breath away twice – once upon launch, and then after you realize you’re flying.
You can also get a new outlook on the world with a helicopter tour of the islands. The most popular routes include a visit to the sister island of Anguilla and a buzz to St. Barth Island. You simply must bring a camera for this flight!
Thirdly, have you ever wanted to jump out of a perfectly good airplane? Tandem skydives over the Caribbean are the way to go…so to speak. Although, I’ve never done this one, I would be tempted since the professional is literally attached to you and will pull the cord at the right time!
These are a few highlights of the fun that you can find on your Caribbean cruise shore excursions.
There are also hiking clubs, zip lines, dive safaris, sailing schools, surfing lessons, motorcycle rentals, jet ski adventures and much more all waiting for you in Sint Maarten-St. Martin in the Caribbean.
Remember to book ahead when possible.
Angela is a professional freelance travel writer and published indie author – AngelaMinor.com