Pinel Island, a little treasure in Sint Maarten:

Pinel island - St Maarten - Caribbean

Pinel Island is located on North East of St Maarten island. It is one of the most visited places in St Maarten. Pinel Island is considered one of the best snorkeling locations in St Maarten, too, and it is a paradise for kayakers and Standup Paddle board lovers. It is set in the heart of St Martin’s Marine Reserve and is accessible by ferry boat, kayak or Stand Up Paddle board from Cul-de-Sac, St Martin.

As the story goes, Captain Pinel, rejected from the island of Saba, came to Pinel Island to find refuge. A true story or a tall tale, it is simply a beautiful place to escape from the modern world.

The restaurants of Pinel Island:

Karibuni restaurant - Pinel Island - St Martin - St Maarten - CaribbeanOn the left side of the main beach of Pinel Island there is an exotic little restaurant known for its fantastic Caribbean cuisine. The French owners Eric and Marion arrived in St Maarten many years ago and started this restaurant when only a few people had ever heard of Pinel Island. If you haven’t had a fresh lobster at the Karibuni restaurant, you haven’t tasted paradise yet!

Yellow Beach restaurant - Pinel Island - St Martin - St Maarten - CaribbeanAt the right side of the beach you can eat, chill and relax at Yellow Beach restaurant. Marco, the owner of the restaurant, is famous in St Maarten. He has an acute sense for what guests really seek in paradise!

The other beaches of Pinel island:

Pinel Island - St Martin - St Maarten - CaribbeanBehind the main beach, you will find an untouched part of St Maarten. Follow the tiny trail and escape to the Northern side of Pinel Island. There, you will find a wild beach protected by a reef. It’s the kind of beach that makes you feel like Robinson Crusoe. You can reach it with a kayak by going through the channel between Pinel Island and St Maarten. You can feel truly quiet and at ease here.

Paddleboarding - Pinel Island - St Maarten

Continue on the path. On the top of the hill you will find a fantastic view of the other islands… Caye Verte (Green Cay) in front of Orient Beach, St Barthelemy, Tintamarre, Anguilla and of course St Maarten. Just below, you can see the lagoon of the last beach…

Protected by a large reef, this last beach is a good place for snorkeling. The water is shallow and you will likely find lobsters hiding in little crevices in the rocks. You can also get to this beach via sea by kayak. It is not really easy to approach this beach with a Standup Paddle board because the sea is usually a little bit choppy on this side. Still, if you decide to do it, once you are in the lagoon, you will have an amazing view from your Standup Paddle board.

Kayaking - Pinel Island - St MaartenA short distance from Pinel island and St Maarten lies Little Key. This island is only accessible with a kayak or a standup paddleLittle Key is the small, undeveloped island you pass on the ferry to Pinel island.  When the water is calm, it is possible to kayak around the island, which offers a variety of marine habitats. In front of Little Key, there is a sandbar which is THE perfect place to Standup Paddle Board in St Maarten. Because it is less accessible, the corals here are also in much better condition and the sea life is abundant. Tropical fish, like trumpetfish and parrotfish are everywhere. During your trip on your kayak or paddle board, keep an eye out for spotted eagle rays or sea turtles in the sea grass beds.

Another useful information about Pinel island:

Snorkeling - Pinel Island - St MaartenJust after the Southern point of Pinel Island there is a snorkel trail. Respect the rules and do not go between the buoys with your kayak or Standup Paddle board.

Since the snorkel company shut down few weeks ago, we provide snorkel gear. Think about it before taking the ferry or renting our kayaks. You won’t find any on Pinel island!


Ferry - Pinel Island - St MaartenFerry runs every half an hour in the morning, and every hour in the afternoon from 9.30am to 5pm.

Price is 10€/$13 per person roundtrip. Pay cash.

The ferry will drive you in 5mn to Pinel Island. You only have to enjoy your day, and don’t miss the last ferry at 5pm!



Kayaking gives you the opportunity to avoid queue at the ferry and to come back whenever you want. It’s also eco-friendly, quiet and give you the chance to see sea turtles on your way to Pinel.

  • Yannis Bibblenick

    If you visit St Martin and don’t visit Pinel, you have missed the best beach on either side. Go to the airport where you can rent a car for $20 a day or less. Pinel is 45 min away. The ride from the mainland to Pinel is $10 round trip via open boat ferry. Try to arrive by 10 AM to catch an early ferry. The only negative is it uses the Euro and kills you on the conversion. Figure 4 people, lots of drinking, and a good lunch with gratuity will run you $300. Much less if you BYO or don’t drink. Don’t miss the lizard feedings…bring your camera. We have been to st Martin 10 times and the one thing we never miss Pinel

  • Jennifer Bailey

    Took my family here in May 2013, AMAZING! The water was calm, warm and perfect! Something i really appreciated was the fact that you could put your kids in a life jacket (provided by you) and just let them go. At other beaches you have to physically be in the water at all times with children. The water is shallow quite a ways out so most kids can touch everywhere close to the beach. There are no large waves nocking the little ones over. Would love to go back with my hubby and chill in the sun! The food is delicious, the beach side drinks were amazing. The view from the beach is better than a postcard! There is a fee for riding the ferry from the mainland to pinel there were 9 of us and I believe it was around $90 round trip. The last ferry leaves pinel around 4:00 (I believe). There is also a fee for the chair/umbrellas, I want to say $30 (can’t quite remember), we only rented two since the kids don’t sit still ;) Can’t wait to go back, most tranquil beach I’ve ever seen! Have fun!

  • Miranda

    My fiance proposed here in September. It’s breath taking.

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