My Top 5 things to do while in St. Maarten

What makes St. Maarten unique is the melting pot of cultures and communities. St. Maarten boasts over 100 nationalities and has a variety of foods and celebrations from around the world. With the influx of people also comes new ideas, activities, and investments which means there is a lot to do and see in St. Maarten. New events and tours pop up regularly, and there is always a ton to choose from when you go to your hotels' activity desk.

Some of my favorites are off the beaten path and not necessarily something you have to book or reserve. What makes St. Maarten unique is the possibility to explore the island on your own, either by renting a car or by hiring a local taxi driver with plenty of island knowledge.

My list of favorites is not in any particular order and some I love doing with my children while others are nicer when alone or with a friend.

1. Lottery Farm

This secluded bit of nature is located on the French side of the island and offers a serene and tranquil experience in the middle of the mountain valley. It is easily accessible by car and has plenty of parking. This Farm includes something for everyone, so a great day for the entire family. They have zip lining, nature hikes and a tropical pool to die for. Cabana's need to be rented, but certainly worth it if you are going to spend the day by the pool. The restaurant offers mouthwatering meals, and the drinks are always cold! Lottery Farms sits on a centuries-old dairy farm of which some of the original buildings are still to be seen and admired. Plenty of mango trees and forest cover the area making this a dream location for any Caribbean day.

2. Tintemarre island

Located a boat ride away, this strip of land holds centuries of history in its overgrown brush. Once home to an airstrip in the '40s and a before that boasting a king, this small piece of land changes hands several times before it became part of the Dutch side permanently. It's often known as Flat Island. You will need to book a day trip to Tintemarre but fear not as they are several operators that range from smaller private tours to larger catamarans. Plenty of snorkeling and stunning beaches that make you feel as if you're on a desert island in the middle of the ocean, which technically you are! There are still ruins to there as well as what remains of an aircraft near the last remains of the airstrip before a hurricane ended it all.

3. Kayak trip

There is something to be said for seeing an island from the ocean. The view always makes me think of centuries ago when the first settlers arrived and what they must have felt as they approached the luscious green hills of St. Maarten. Although times have changed and there are of course more houses and buildings, the feeling is still the same, a breathtaking beauty like no other. There are several Kayak trips available, so check with your hotel activities desk and see which one suits your needs. Kayak tours are great for kids as they can ride with the adults and enjoy the trip.

4. Sunset Cruise

Growing up I was not a huge fan of going out on the water, only because I was seasick most of the time. Nowadays I pop a tablet and jump aboard and wonder why I didn't try this earlier in my life. Sunset cruises are the best in that you get the best of both worlds. A fantastic sunset cruise while combined with amazing local food and cold drinks! Be sure to bring a shawl or light sweater as it can get chilly after a day in the sun. Perfect for couples and families alike.

5. Hike to the Natural Pool

Located in Point Blanch is a beautiful natural pool that is off the beaten path. It takes about an hour to get there, and sturdy sneakers are a must as some of the terrains are rough. I highly recommend guided tours as the guides can point out local birds and plants which makes it fun for everyone. The pool itself is in the ocean, so it’s essential that you are a good swimmer. Be sure to take a camera with as the hike allows you to capture beautiful memories!

With the activities, I mentioned above you can be sure to have an action-packed week, but don't fret, there are about 100 more trips and adventures to be had in St. Maarten so I will a have a new list after my next trip. Regardless of age, there is something for everyone in St. Maarten.