Enjoy this private tour of both sides of St. Martin. Departing from the French capital of Marigot, you will travel along the French side of the island to Grand Case, a seaside town known as the "gourmet capital of the Caribbean," with its gingerbread houses and sidewalk bistros. A drive through the main street will give you an up-close look of this quaint little town.
Next on your St. Martin tour, a photo stop will be made to look out over the ever-popular Orient Beach area. From your hillside location you can see the peninsula that makes up Orient Beach, which is home to numerous resorts and the famous clothing-optional beach. In the distance you can also see Pinel Island, an uninhabited island that is popular for snorkeling.
You will continue on to the Dutch side of the island, arriving in the Dutch capital of Philipsburg, founded in 1763 by John Phillips, a Scottish Captain in the Dutch Navy. A drive along the main street will show you some of the famous St. Maarten shops, as well as the restored courthouse, originally built in 1793. Drive past the Great Salt Pond and through the rolling country as you make your way back towards the French side of the island, via a different route.
During this St. Maarten excursion, a stop will be made at Cole Bay Lookout for a photo opportunity of the beautiful Simpson Bay, where you will see the incredible development that has made this sleepy island a major destination. You will continue on through several quaint towns and fishing villages along the north side of the island.
Arriving back in Marigot, which started out as a fishing village, you will feel a truly European ambiance with a touch of Creole. Your driver guide will point out the main shopping areas where you will find the boutiques, as well as the open-air markets, which specialize in bright fabrics and souvenirs. You may choose to end your St. Martin tour in the shopping area or be taken back to the pier. Those guests wishing to end the tour in the shopping area are responsible for their own transportation back to the pier. From the shops at the Marina Royale it is approximately a 15-20 minute walk back to the ferry pier. The open-air market and West Indies Mall can be seen from the ferry pier. Ships docked at the Galisbay cargo facility are an additional 10-15 minute walk beyond the ferry pier (on the other side of Fort Marigot).
Please note: Tour does not visit the beach at Orient. This excursion may operate in reverse due to traffic conditions or crowds at the venues. On Sundays, most shops and restaurants on the French side are closed.