Travel Guides

Sherpani Travel: Your Guide to the Best View in the Caribbean, Exploring Sint Maarten

It’s a prime time of year for Caribbean travel! Travelers craving an escape from the chill of winter will find it in the tropics, which is aptly timed with the Caribbean’s temperate and enjoyable dry season.

A wide range of cultures can be found throughout the thousands of islands that dot the Caribbean waters. Among them, is Saint Martin, a Caribbean destination we feel should not be overlooked.

A woman standing in front of a colorful mural with her Sherpani convertible travel bag, the Soleil (Merlot color)

If you arrive to Sint Maarten by plane, you’ll fly into Princess Juliana International Airport. Landing in Sint Maarten is an experience in itself as planes fly amazingly low over the island’s most famous attraction, Maho Beach. These planes are a big hit with tourists who gather on the beach below, mere feet from the runway.

An incoming plane flys low over Maho Beach in Sint Maarten

Another popular way to reach the island is by cruise ship. With so many islands to explore, cruising is a great choice for the traveler who wants to do it all. In fact, these waters play host to the largest cruise ship in the world, the Wonder of the Seas, the crowned-jewel of Royal Caribbean.

Whichever way you arrive to Saint Martin, you’ll recognize right away that it’s a special place. Whether you stay for a few hours or a few weeks, we want to help you make the most of your time on “The Friendly Island.”

Sunset view from Maho Beach. On the sand, is a woman's feet, next to a Caribbean beer and her Sherpani RFID wallet, the Barcelona (Lavender color)



Saint Martin is due east of Puerto Rico and east still from the clusters of islands that comprise the US Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands. The closest recognizable Caribbean destinations are Anguilla to the north and St. Barts to the southeast. The island's west side offers access to the Caribbean Sea, while the east gives way to the Atlantic Ocean.

The island has a border separating its two independently governed sides: the French "Saint Martin" in the north, and the Dutch "Sint Maarten" in the south.

St. Maarten & St. Martin 

While both spellings reference the same land mass, each represents a different side of the island. Making any of the following spellings correct:

St. Martin

Saint Martin

Sint Maarten

St. Maarten

In other words…

St. Martin = Saint Martin = French side

St. Maartin = Sint Maarten = Dutch side

Incorrect spellings would be “Sint Martin” or “Saint Maarten” as they combine the French and Dutch spellings. 


Throughout the day, you may pass between Saint Martin and Sint Maarten freely, as they share an open boarder. You don’t have to pass through a checkpoint or present any documentation when crossing between sides. Each side has its own cultural influences and should be regarded as its own entity.

Naturally, the French side has excellent cuisine, including decadent pastries that can make any mouth water. Besides culinary endeavors, the French side is known for providing a more restorative, retreat experience. We’ll drop our honorable mention now by suggesting you spend a day relaxing at Loterie Farm.

Mouthwatering French pastries in a display case in Saint Martin

In contrast, the Dutch side is recognized for all the fun of its bustling nightlife! The streets of Sint Maarten are dotted with casinos and clubs, and the rhum is never far from reach. We suggest tasting your way through the tropical flavors of the many offerings at Topper’s, the local rhum joint.

English is widely spoken throughout the island, but isn’t one of the official languages. That would be Dutch for Sint Maarten, and French for Saint Martin, with a higher likelihood of a language barrier on the French side.

Both sides accept the US Dollar and the Euro, and you can expect to receive change in a combination of both. We love this island's relaxed, “anything goes” attitude, and it extends beyond just currency.

The laid-back lifestyle is also noticeable when dining at a restaurant. You’ll be encouraged to enjoy your meal with ample time and may have to chase down a server when it comes time to pay the tab. This isn’t poor service, but rather the result of the cultural attitude that meals should be thoroughly enjoyed with little interruption. Reminding a traveler of the all-important message to enjoy her present moment.

A woman lounges on a beach chair with her hat pulled over her eyes

We suggest leaning all the way into this mentality while in Saint Martin.


Has a view ever made your jaw drop? That’s what happened to us when we discovered this Sint Maarten must-do!

The Sherpani Unmissable recommendation for visiting Sint Maarten: The View from Sentry Hill!

Sentry Hill is one of the highest points on Sint Maarten. The top offers a breathtaking, 360-degree view that will capture the heart of any island goer. In addition to seeing virtually all of Saint Martin, you can spot surrounding islands and, of course, a vast expansion of ocean that will make anyone marvel.

There are two ways to access the best view in the Caribbean. Hikers that welcome a challenge can trek through the jungle landscape on the Sentry Hill Hike Trail. A more leisurely and accessible option would be to take the Sky Explorer chairlift, operated by Rainforest Adventures.

The Sky Explorer chairlift in Sint Maarten

The Sky Explorer includes two lifts that together span nearly 3,000 feet. As beautiful Sint Maarten is revealed below your dangling feet, you’re going to want to have your camera ready.

View from the Sky Explorer chairlift in Sint Maarten
View from the Sky Explorer chairlift in Sint Maarten

Once at the top, grab a drink from the bar and take in the panoramic view. This is absolutely one of the best selfie spots on the island!

The fun doesn’t end there, Rainforest Adventures offers a variety of thrills and experiences for visitors. Adrenaline junkies rejoice with their "Big Three" rides. These are the Schooner Ride tube slide, the Sentry Hill Zip Line, and the coveted Flying Dutchman, which is the steepest zip line in the world!

If thrill seeking isn’t on your agenda, you can learn the history of the land at the the Emilio Willson Museum, located at the base of Sentry Hill. An experience is offered for every kind of traveler, but the thing we value most about this place is the view itself. Simply witnessing the scenery was enough for us to recommend it to all.

If you’re looking to have this experience as a cruise ship passenger, you’re in luck! Your ship will stop in Philipsburg, the capital of Sint Maarten. Rainforest Adventures is located a quick fifteen minute ride from port, an easily achievable stop for travelers with time constraints. 

Ready to Go?

Have you explored Sint Maarten or Saint Martin? We think this island an idyllic place to experience culture, flavor and fun. If you’re heading to this part of the world soon, make sure Saint Martin is on your agenda! We know you won’t regret visiting the island, especially if you make your way to our favorite view.

This time of year has us dreaming of sunshine, beach getaways, and the sort of relaxation that can only come from a place like the Caribbean. What is your favorite Caribbean destination?

A lush palm tree on a Caribbean beach


The above post is part of an ongoing segment of the Sherpani Travel Blog. We want to give travelers a singular, tangible recommendation for destinations; something we deem truly unmissable. These recommendations are carefully chosen from the personal travels of the Sherpani team.

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Five seagulls flying over the ocean on a pristine beach

By women for women, the Sherpani Travel Blog talks about all things travel. With a new post every week on Travel Tuesday, our blog is the go-to place for unique travel guides, general travel tips, personal travel stories from women in our community, and more!

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