To enjoy St. Maarten to the fullest, a rental car is a must and not a luxury. This article describes a basic circumnavigation of the island – a task that could be completed in about an hour without stopping (and traffic permitting), but in order to enjoy the sites, you should allow half a day. There are many more neighborhoods and hidden attractions on the island and we will reveal these tips in future articles.
Our island tour starts at Princess Juliana International Airport. We are going to circle the island of Sint Maarten – Saint Martin in a clock-wise direction. As there is only one main road, your chances of getting lost are small, and any “Island Explorer” will be back on the regular road within a maximum delay of 15 minutes.
Airport to Maho Village to Terres Basses
From the airport terminal we turn towards the Maho area, where the first stop is the world famous runway, with large jets passing right over the beach and road.
The twisting road connecting Maho Village with the developments further to the West and leading to the French border at Terres Basses has been created many decades ago as an intra-resort pathway and was never intended to accommodate heavy traffic. The road's concrete surface is narrow and bumpy and leads through the sad remains of what was once St. Maarten's premier resort, Mullet Bay. Hurricane Luis in 1995 wrecked the property and only recently have the ruins been removed. The 18-hole golf course stayed open during all these years though. Mullet Bay Beach is popular with the local population, the students at the university and guests of the Maho resorts.
Right after the golf course, you'll find to your right the STARZ Casino and Gourmet Village. To the left are large condominium buildings. Leaving the new Blue Mall to the right, a round-about about will come up. Turing into the first exit – right – will lead into the Porto Cupecoy devolpment. Going straight – second exit – will now to lead to the border.
Insider Tip: At Maho Village, use the convenient three-level parking garage. Avoid parking close to the golf course. At Mullet Bay Beach, don't keep any valuables in the car when parked there at day time. Do not park there at night.