Last updated: 09:00 PM ET, Thu March 19 2015

Opinion Home | Captain’s Blog: Cruise Tips and Advice

  • Amber Nolan | March 19, 2015 9:00 PM ET

    The 7 Best Shore Excursions in St. Maarten

    The 7 Best Shore Excursions in St. Maarten

    The part-French, part Dutch-owned island of St. Maarten/St. Martin is a hub that most cruise lines include on Caribbean itineraries. Cruise travelers will find an array of shore excursion options ranging from relaxing beach breaks and snorkeling to zip line adventures and aerial hover boarding. Here are some of the island’s most unique and popular excursions for cruise passengers.

    “SeaTrek” Helmet Diving Tour

    Spend the day at a Tiki hut on a floating snorkeling platform in a secluded cove over a marine park. Snorkel gear, sun loungers, lunch, and limited drinks are included, or a bar and grill serves additional items. Travelers can also descend down a 20-foot ladder with a helmet on their shoulders for an underwater stroll past a helicopter, a sunken submarine, a shipwreck, cannons, and a statue of King Neptune. This excursion (with the “SeaTrek” helmet dive) costs around $110 and can be booked through St. Maarten Shore Excursions.

    Zip Lining at a Nature Preserve

    Visitors can learn about conservation efforts at Loterie Farm, a 300-year-old estate located on the slopes of the highest peak on the island's French side. The eco-plantation is also home to a ropes course adventure with swinging bridges and zip lines. This four-hour excursion is offered through Royal Caribbean and costs $100 per person, or cruisers can visit Loterie Farm independently.  

    ATV Adventures

    Many islands offer ATV tours through off-road trails, but in St. Maarten travelers can ride ATVs just about anywhere − including in and out of traffic jams and busy streets. Most rental companies provide a safety briefing, map of the island, and useful information on places to see (Orient Beach is a popular gathering point and is also home to a naturalist beach). These ATV excursions can be booked through most major cruise lines and cost around $100 per day.

    Surfing Lessons

    The “surf taxi” will pick passengers up from the cruise port and bring them to the beach for a surfing lesson on the sand. Before long, the instructors will have travelers up on the boards and in the water catching waves. All ages are welcome, and prices are around $70 per lesson. This excursion can be booked directly with SXM Surf Explorer.

    Snorkeling with Sea Turtles

    There are a number of snorkeling combination excursions in St. Maarten, but to spend the most time in the water, the trip to Pinel Island and Tintamarre is an excellent option. The trip allows time for snorkeling or taking a break on the beach, and the boat also visits the picturesque areas of Creole Rock and Happy Bay for phenomenal photo opportunities. Tintamarre is home to numerous sea turtles and snorkelers may have a chance to see them underwater. This five-hour trip is offered through and costs around $105 per person.

    Water Hover Board Lessons

    The latest watersport technology (launched in 2014) includes hover boards powered by water pressure. Visitors can fly through the air with their feet strapped into boards and maneuver across the sky. These 30-minute sessions with an instructor are available through Jet Extreme and cost around $100 per person.

    Horseback riding at Seaside Nature Park

    Perhaps the best way to experience the beautiful Seaside Nature Park is on horseback along a five-mile beach. Horses wade through the sparkling water during the one hour-ride, and just next door is the butterfly farm and Orient Beach − two great stops after riding. Tours are offered through Seaside Nature Park or Ludot Shore Adventures and cost around $85 per person.

More St. Martin


You may use your Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook information, including your name, photo & any other personal data you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on Click here to learn more.

Amber Nolan Captain’s Blog: Cruise Tips and Advice

Amber Nolan Amber Nolan loves to be on the water, and although she enjoys the fun and excitement of larger cruise ships, she prefers setting sail on smaller vessels to unique destinations. Originally from western New York, this restless traveler has a knack for finding creative ways to travel and befriending interesting characters along the way. On her most recent adventure, she hitchhiked on private aircraft across the United States. She previously served as the cruise editor at Sherman’s Travel but her work can also be found on and USA Today Travel. She current resides in South Florida.
SeaWorld: One Moment of Inspiration

Impacting Travel