It’s only “natural” in Saint Martin…
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This exquisite French Caribbean island is continually striving towards developing its ecotourism opportunities.
For quite a few years now, St. Martin has been putting more and more effort into expanding ecotourism. At only 75 square kilometers, the island is rife with diverse landscapes, from dramatic mountains and plains to glorious beaches! These landscapes allow for a wealth of activities and features that allow hikers, bikers, wanderers, nature lovers and others to discover the natural beauty of St. Martin.
Many promotional campaigns have been launched, and nature-focused organizations have been established on the island to make the intrepid explorer chomp at the bit for a tropical adventure. Ideas include long walking trails, horseback riding, cycling outings and quad rides. Just make sure you bring along enough water and sun protection!
Further “eco” spots are listed below:
St Martin National Nature Reserve
In 1998, the National Nature Reserve opened in the northeast part of the island with a simple purpose: to preserve the unique and rich biodiversity of the 3 ecosystems present there. It was also designed to raise awareness for the need to protect this rare, exquisite environment full of amazing flora and fauna. Encompassing both land and sea, the various species live freely in a landscape made of rocky coasts, beaches, ponds, and red mangrove swamps. At sea, one can watch sea turtles and offshore humpback whales between January and May; herbarium and coral reefs shelter mollusks and fish abound for the pleasure of divers.
Natural Reserve of Saint-Martin: 803 Residence Les Acacias - Anse Marcel. Tel.: 0590 29 09 72
The Butterfly Farm
This amazing reserve shelters, under a 900-square-meter sphere, the most beautiful butterfly specimens in a luscious tropical garden with a small waterfall and pool full of Japanese fish. A fantastic spot with relaxing music and a peaceful atmosphere, this is the perfect backdrop against which to witness the incredible metamorphosis of the remarkable butterflies. The creators of the farm collaborate with scientists in order to safeguard the threatened species.
Open 7 days a week, from 9 am to 3:30 pm.
Route du Galion - 05 90 87 31 21 - www.thebutterflyfarm.com
The Loterie Farm
Without a doubt one of the most fascinating and unique spots on the island. Formerly a sugar cane plantation, the Loterie Farm has become, under B.J. Welch, American expatriate and successful contractor, a marvelous private nature reserve. A captivating place with 300 years of tumultuous and moving history to its credit, several kilometers of well maintained trails allow travelers to discover a tropical forest as well as the former trails taken by slaves between the sugar plantations and the sugar refinery located at the top of Pic Paradis. Pic Paradis is the highest point on the island, peaking at
424 meters and offering a magnificent panoramic view of St. Martin and neighboring islands. All the island’s plant and animal species are carefully registered and preserved here. A guided tour is essential. Recently, a tree-climbing track was set up for the most daring travelers of all. Discover the scents, the sounds of nature, and the freshness here at Loterie!
Information and hours: 0590 87 86 16 - Internet: www.loteriefarm.com
The first horse arrived in St. Martin at the same time as the first Spanish colonists. Considered a means of transportation by the rich, horses were very useful for the exportation of sugarcane until as recently as 1940. Now, several riding schools offer trail riding for an hour or a full day. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced rider, these organizations promise breathtaking trail routes overlooking majestic Caribbean scenery and paths where few have tread!
Bayside Riding Club
Tel: 0590 590 87 36 64
Whatever your skill level or comfort zone, you're sure to feel right at home in Saint Martin's warm blue-green waters. In fact, the hardest part is just choosing what to do! Just step out onto the beach and you'll be confronted with an astonishing array of choices. Experienced water adventurers will appreciate the kite-surfing conditions at Orient Bay and le Galion beaches, but even beginners can sign up to learn how to ride the waves at schools lining the beach.
Those craving a little more air should seek out one of the several parasailing companies on the beach at Orient Bay. Imagine soaring high above the ocean, taking in spectacular views of the island from your peaceful perch underneath a parachute. Then get closer to the water by renting jetskis at almost any of the island's beaches, or taking advantage of Saint Martin's tropical trade winds with a day of sailing.
Hitting the Road
You don't have to get wet to enjoy Saint Martin's magnificent beaches and waters: a coastal drive in a dune buggy is equally exhilarating! Cruising along the hilly coastline in an open-topped buggy allows you take it all in at your own pace - whether that means a leisurely drive or a high-speed tour. Stop off for a swim in a secluded bay, marvel at the view from the cliffs, and take in the sunshine and salty sea breeze.