Pinel Island, a little treasure in Sint Maarten:
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.
On 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!
At 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!
Behind 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. Note: Do not try it with a Stand Up Paddle board. It is too choppy.
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.
Just 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. Isabelle welcomes you when you arrive. She is a marine biologist and has tons of information to give to you. Here you can rent snorkel gear and go for a tour with her. Isabelle has a passion for the sea and for all of its creatures. And if you come with our kayak or Standup Paddle board, you will get a discount.
A short distance from Pinel island and St Maarten lies Little Key. This island is only accessible with a kayak or a standup paddle. Little 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.
Take a look to these pages for information on the best ways to explore Pinel Island: