The sint maarten and Saint-Martin archipelago in the north of the Lesser Antilles was the last stop on our Caribbean cruise today.
Table of contents
The divided island of St. Martin
The island of St. Martin with the capital Philipsburg is not very large, but consists of a Dutch part in the south (Sint Maarten) and a French part in the north (Saint Martin). We didn’t know before. St. Martin is thus the smallest inhabited island, which belongs to two states.
Arrival at the cruise port in Philipsburg
An island tour with the rental car
To explore the island we rented a car. After this had not worked out so well in St. Thomas, this was again quite simple: go to the end of the cruise terminal and then turn right in the direction of “Car Rentals”. There you will find many different providers. We chose Coastal Cars and a small Hyundai for a total of $75 incl. all insurances. So get in the car and go…
Our first stop was the small bay Dawn Beach in the east of the island. Here you should actually be able to snorkel quite well. However, the waves were quite strong on the day, so we preferred to leave it. And so really Caribbean beautiful we did not find the beach now also.
Iguanas on the roadside
On the way north we got to a place where a small coach had stopped. And where there is a coach, there has to be something. So we stopped, got out and then there were dozens of iguanas right on the road. We have certainly seen 30 iguanas, in the middle of the scrub between the sea and the road.
Butterfly Farm in Quartier d’Orleans
The next stop on our tour of the island was a butterfly farm in Quartier d’Orleans. The entrance fee was not exactly cheap for the size of the park (10 € per person). Nevertheless, we found the butterfly farm really great. There were really many butterflies in different colors and they felt no shy at all. Photographing was really fun!
The planes on the beach of Maho Beach
Afterwards we drove west to the Dutch part of the island. Here you will find one of the highlights of Sint Maarten: Maho Bay. The beach of Maho Bay is best known because you can get so close to the runway of Princess Juliana International Airport that the planes really fly just a few meters over you.
We’ve seen that many times in different TV reports and that’s really impressive to be there. So that you don’t miss a big plane, there is a surfboard board at a bar on the beach, which lists the times of all landing planes every day. But not only the landing planes are interesting, also the take-offs have it quite nice in themselves! The stream of the taking off planes sweeps away everything that is not held. Here’s a little video.
And our example in the video was just the stream of a smaller machine. How can this be when a large Boeing 747 from KLM or Air France takes off there??? In total, we spent over 2 hours at Maho Beach and watched the different sized and small planes take off and land.
Afterwards we headed north via Marigot and Esperance and finally back to Philipsburg to our cruise terminal for the Carnival Valor. The island can be explored really very well in a relatively short time by car. The influences of the French and Dutch, mixed with the Caribbean flair, make St. Maarten the most beautiful island of our cruise.
All travelogues from our Southern Caribbean CruiseThe Carnival Valor of the shipping company Carnival Cruise Lines has a capacity of almost 3,000 passengers and over 1,000 crew members. The ship, built in 2004, is 290 metres long, 35 metres wide and belongs to the so-called "Conquest Class". The Carnival Valor is a classic cruise ship that offers a wide range of entertainment. There is a huge theatre, a casino, numerous bars, a disco, a karaoke bar, sauna, jacuzzi, steam bath, a fitness centre with jogging track, two pools and several restaurants. Our route led us for 7 days through the southern Caribbean with stops in Puerto Rico, Saint Thomas, Barbados, St. Lucia. St. Kitts and St. Martin.
Day 01 Puerto Rico: Carnival Valor – Our 7-Day Cruise through the Caribbean
Day 02 Saint Thomas: By scooter across the island (US Virgin Islands)
Day 03 Day at Sea
Day 04 Barbados: Catamaran Tour & Swimming with turtles
Day 05 Saint Lucia: A tour of the island to the sulphur springs
Day 06 Saint Kitts: Diving on the west coast in Basseterre
Day 07 Saint Martin: Island Tour & The Planes at Maho Beach
Day 08 Puerto Rico: San Juan – Tourist Attractions, Things to Do & Photo spots
Day 08 Puerto Rico: El Yunque National Forest – Hiking through the rainforest