St. Martin’s often dry subtropical climate means that it lays claim to exceptional flora and fauna, and the island makes continued efforts to protect it.
The contrast between lush vegetation and dry scrub on the island is striking.
Cactus, bougainvillea and flamboyant grow side by side with hibiscus, coconut palms and ferns in this beautiful setting.
Along the coastline and on the edges of the mangrove swamps, terns, frigatebirds, gannets, brown pelicans and other bird species coexist, while bananaquits and hummingbirds are frequent garden visitors.
Lizards and iguanas bask nonchalantly on the island’s sunny rocks.
To protect these priceless assets, a nature reserve was set up in 1998.
Situated in the north-east of the island, the reserve covers 3060 hectares of land and sea.
The reserve has been designated a special zone for the preservation of certain species. Sea turtles, large dolphins and humpback whales have begun to adopt the area as their hunting and breeding ground of choice. It is not unusual to see these animals between January and April.
In the interests of environmental protection, St Martin has stepped up its ecotourism efforts.
Hiking, pony-trekking, mountain biking, quadbiking and kayaking are a great way to discover the island without damaging its natural resources.
Hiking is another great way to discover the island paradise of St Martin and return home with some great memories.
Local guides have compiled this list of 17 walking trails around the island.
Ensure that you take adequate water supplies and sun protection with you.
Distance: 4.5 km - Altitude difference: 410 m
Start: Pic Paradis - Finish: Orient Bay
Before crossing RN7, the path winds through the abandoned hamlet of Petit-Fond, where ruins and gravestones can still be seen.
Distance: 6,5 km - Altitude difference: 155 m
Start: Pic Paradis - Finish: Col de Concordia and Mont Saint Peters antenna
The path roughly follows the line of the ridges. This hike is often unsuitable in rainy weather.
Before you reach the Col de Concordia, a long stone wall represents the border between the two parts of the island.
Distance: 4.5 km - Altitude difference: 315 m
Start: Mont Saint-Peters - Finish: Fort Amsterdam
For experienced hikers only.
When leaving Mont Saint Peters, the trail passes through Sentry Hill and then winds its way down to Cay Bay Beach and on to Fort Amsterdam via the coast path.
Distance: 4.5 km - Altitude difference: 290 m
Start: Williams ridges - Finish: Mary's Fancy.
Distance: 3.5 km - Altitude difference: 410 m
Start: Pic Paradis - Finish: Hope Lake.
Distance: 2.5 km - Altitude difference: 315 m
Start: Pic Paradis - Finish: Hope reservoir
This trail follows the ravine for the most part and passes through the Hope Estate archaeological site.
Distance: 3.5 km - Altitude difference: 215 m
Start: Pic Paradis - Finish: Pic Paradis.
The trail follows a ravine on the northern slopes of Pic Paradis, passing the remains of the Paradis sugar mill and a well with two great cast iron kettles before climbing back towards the peaks.
Distance: 3 km - Altitude difference: 335 m
A historic trail that was once the shortest route from Marigot to Quartier d’Orléans.
Distance: 2.5 km - Altitude difference: 360 m
Start: Sentier des Crêtes - Finish: Quartier d'Orléans
This walk passes near Moho Spring and an Arawak petroglyph, a rock engraving.
Distance: 3 km - Altitude difference: 320 m
Start: Sentier des Crêtes - Finish: summit of Mount Flagstaff.
Distance: 2.5 km - Altitude difference: 205 m
Start: entrance to Colombier village - Finish: Sentier des Crêtes
This path skirts along the edge of picturesque Creole gardens. Panoramic views over the valley.
Distance: 1 km - Altitude difference: 225 m
Start: bottom of Colombier village - Finish: Sentier des Crêtes
For experienced hikers only.
Distance: 1.6 km - Altitude difference: 90 m
Start: Rambaud - Finish: Friar's Bay Beach
This path descends to the valley. Previously the track allowed access to Etang Guichard and Friars Bay Beach.
Located at the foot of Pic Paradis, the highest point on Saint Martin at 424m, is Loterie Farm.
A former sugar plantation that was constructed in 1773 and ceased activity in 1855, its last owner was Georges Dormoy, first mayor of Saint Martin from 1838-1866. Today, the smells, noises and coolness of Loterie Farm provides a striking contrast with the rest of the island. The Loterie Farm is a real tropical gem, where plant and animal species are identified and carefully protected.
For some years now, this unique venue has offered a zip-linning forest adventure course for the young and old alike. The Hidden Forest Café and Tree Lounge will cater for your refreshment and snack needs. The Tree Lounge offers a selection of tapas and fast food dishes from noon onwards. Or why not sip a cocktail as you take in the exceptional views over Pic Paradis?
In April 2011, Loterie Farm has opened "L’eaulounge cabana club & piscine de source". L’eaulounge, it’s more than 500 square meters of free form multi-level swimming areas connected by cascades and surrounded by almost an acre of lush tropical vegetation and only 11 chic & stylishly designed cabanas for rent on a daily basis. Each cabana can accommodate up to 10 guests.
Information and opening hours: 0590 87 86 16