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Marigot, St. Martin

Marigot is the largest town and capital of the French side of Saint Martin, an island in the Caribbean.

Saint Martin is an island split between the French collectivity of Saint-Martin and the Dutch territory of Sint Maarten (formerly part of the Netherlands Antilles, but now a constituent state of the Kingdom of the Netherlands). It is one of the smallest land masses that is divided between two countries.


Marigot, St. Martin


Marigot is the largest town and capital of the French side of Saint Martin, an island in the Caribbean.

Saint Martin is an island split between the French collectivity of Saint-Martin and the Dutch territory of Sint Maarten (formerly part of the Netherlands Antilles, but now a constituent state of the Kingdom of the Netherlands). It is one of the smallest land masses that is divided between two countries.


As of 2017, Marigot has 12000 inhabitants.

Marigot is located on the west coast of the island of St. Martin. It extends from the coast to the west, along the Bay of Marigot and the hills of the interior of the island to the east. On the south-west it is bounded by the Simpson Bay.

Originally a fishing village on a swamp for which it was named, Marigot was made capital during the reign of King Louis XVI, who built Fort St. Louis on a hill near Marigot Bay. Today, that building is the most important in Marigot.
Marigot is typical of Caribbean towns, with gingerbread houses and sidewalk bistros. Market days are every Wednesday and Saturday morning. The crew of the 1998 in film motion picture Speed 2 shot the finale scene here where the Seabourn Legend hits the island.


Marigot has a tropical savanna climate (Köppen Aw), with very warm to hot and humid weather throughout the year. Rainfall – which is reduced by the rain shadow of the mountains to the east – is not as extreme as in most climates of this type, with the peak occurring from August to November due to hurricanes.

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Marigot, St. Martin: Port Information

Cruise liner docks at the pier in the center of Marigot.
Only one cruise ship can dock at the pier. Other ships anchor offshore and passengers are transported ashore by tender boats.

Get around Marigot, St. Martin

Marigot is small and can easily be navigated on foot. Parking is essentially non-existent, so even if you have a car for other destinations on Saint-Martin, it's in your best interest to explore on foot.

What to see in Marigot, St. Martin

  • The Fort Louis, built in the 1790s, is on a tall hill north of the city. It won't take more than half an hour, but the views are nice and there are a few placards (in French and English) telling of the fort's history.
  • Butterfly Farm, ☎ 590/87-31-21FORMATNOCC. Rte. de Le Galion, Quartier d'Orléans. Daily 9 AM-3 PM. Stroll through hundreds of colorful butterflies under a tented mesh. 
  • Pic du Paradis, Route de Pic du Paradis from Friars Bay Beach. Pic du Paradis is the highest point on the island (1400 ft/427 m) with two viewing areas that provide great views. The road is steep and isolated and four-wheel drive is required. This is also an isolated area and is safest seen as part of an excursion or tour

What to do in Marigot, St. Martin

Beaches are the main attraction on the island of Saint Martin. It has 37 beaches total, with hotels holding property on most of them. Beach Bars and Cafés are very popular attractions on the island. Many offer unusually good dishes with European and Caribbean inspiration. Frozen cocktails are also a trendy treat to keep down the heat.

  • Orient Bay, for example, has an underwater marine reserve where snorkeling and other water sports are available.

All beaches of Saint Martin are fine for swimming and sunbathing, though the west half of the good beach at Philipsburg has better water. The island caters to all, with beaches of fun things to do as well as secluded and more private ones.

Clothing optional beaches. As a European island, topless sunbathing is frequently seen. Some tourists come to Sint Maarten / Saint-Martin because there are clothing optional beaches & resorts on the island. Not every beach is clothing optional.

  • On the Dutch side, there is Cupecoy Beach in the far western tip of the Dutch jurisdiction. The beach is not officially clothing optional, but the local administration does look the other way on nude sunbathing on the far western edge of the beach (Cupecoy is a very small beach located at the base of a cliff face). No other beaches on the Dutch side tolerate it, and you will be fined by the Sint Maarten Police for indecent exposure and/or lewd behavior.
  • On the French side, nudity is permitted officially at the Club Orient beach (Papagayo Beach), and topless sunbathing for women is accepted throughout the French jurisdiction. Unofficially, nude sunbathing is "tolerated" at some of the smaller, less touristy beaches (the southern ends of Prune and Rouge Beaches) generally on weekdays when there are fewer beach patrons. As long as beach guests do not make spectacles of themselves, French gendarmes (police) may overlook your lack of clothing.

One particularly famous beach is Maho Bay beach on the "Dutch side". The beach is situated at the end of the airport's runway, so landing large aircraft fly just feet over the beach. Some people (attempt to) hold on to the fence on airport premises as aircraft depart...not recommended due to flying gravel and debris. People have been injured, a very few killed doing this. However, the spectacular view of airplanes landing so close is one that you might find stunning. The greatest number of large aircraft arrive and depart in the early-mid-morning and mid-late afternoon.

Just beyond Maho Bay is Mullet Bay; some say it has the nicest beach on the island, with food and drink vendors and beach lounger rentals but few facilities. Virtually all beaches are described in web sites for the island. A full complement of tours and excursions are also available as well as water sports and parasailing.

Casinos are also a popular attraction on the island...only on the Dutch side. Some of them are in the Cupecoy, Maho, Cole Bay areas, while in Philipsburg you'll find five.

  • Kid Connect, ☎ +1 721 526-6152. An activity center for kids is open daily from 9 AM until 7 PM and until 11 PM on Friday and Saturday. Kid Connect is on the Dutch side across the street from Caribbean Cinemas and not too far from both Paradise Plaza Casino and Tropicana Casino.

Loterie Farm, Rte. de Pic du Paradis, Phone: 590/87-86-16 or 590/57-28-55. Location features an excellent restaurant, a Lounge with Tapas, Hikes, and Ecotours on a 150-acre preserve, and "The Fly Zone" a fun Zip Line experience with rope zips and an obstacle course high up in the trees. Also has a "Ti' Tarzan" zip course for the kids and "The Fly Zone Extreme" a new Zip that goes up over 100ft. On the "French side" but patronized by many American tourists, prices are shown in euro and dollars. You should call in advance for prices and check whether a cruise ship shore tour is visiting, as it is pretty packed on those days. If you're going on the Zips, wear closed shoes, flip flops are a no-no. The Activities are open only during the day, but the Restaurant and Lounge are open in the evenings as well...try the Curry Chicken.

  • Harley Davidson, Cole Bay, ☎ +1 721 544-2704. Don't hop on a bus and get herded around. If you're an experienced biker, ride a hog and enjoy the views, the right way. Contact Super Bikes located in Cole Bay on the Dutch side of the island and rent a Harley Davidson Fat Boy (My Favorite), or any of the other super bikes for the day or for your whole trip. There are special Harley Cruises that let the riders travel with their bikes and then head out with locals for a ride that hits all the hot spots. Go to this link ( and view a short video that includes footage of one of the rides. The Caribbean Eagles have their monthly ride on the first Saturday of every month, or just climb onto one of the most famous of all motorcycles and go your own way. If interested, contact Neo at SuperBikes for more info.

Phone: +1 (721) 544-2704

  • Harley Motorcycles Tour (Guided Rides on a Harley around St Martin), Cole Bay. Enjoy the freedom of the road and the intoxicating sights, smells and sounds of Saint Martin - St Maarten sitting on the saddle of a classic Harley.

The tour takes you along roads where you are overlooking beaches with white sand and turquoise sea, passing lush, green hills, and colorful meadows. On the tour, you will be escorted by two experienced guides who know the island well. With one guide leading the way riding a Harley and the second driving the back up jeep. It also secures the side roads and protects the rear.

What to eat and drink in Marigot, St. Martin


If you want a taste of French cuisine while on the French side, make sure to check out Le Mini Club, an upscale restaurant which serves traditional and top quality French foods. Bask in the flavor of a lobster tail with a lemonade beverage containing exotic fruit such as guava and pomegranate. You can also enjoy a grilled to perfection cut of steak with a raspberry sorbet too. Le Mini Club also features an indoor scenery with a bar as well as an outdoor scenery with a view of the tropical bay of Marigot.

On the road to Terres-Basses is a small family-run restaurant "Le Sous-Marin," which has home-made dishes.
Downtown Marigot has a variety of restaurants, from budget to fancy, to suit most tastes.

Shopping in Marigot, St. Martin

Marigot has all the shops you would expect of any French city. Opening hours, if posted at all, are approximate and most shops are closed on Sundays. Plan accordingly.

The West Indies Mall, on the north side of downtown, has a variety of shops but doesn't seem to be a particularly happening place.

Safety in Marigot, St. Martin

Locate some common sense and bring it with you when vacationing anywhere in the Caribbean.
  • Sun. You can burn within a remarkably short time; use sunscreen or block frequently depending on how long you're exposed. Do not fail to reapply it as recommended depending on where you are (e.g., swimming, on a boat, beach walking), with special attention to feet and backs of knees and neck. Brimmed hats, umbrellas and light clothing can offer further protection.
  • Crime. Though the island is generally a safe place, like everywhere else in the world there is a crime, and you should be aware of your surroundings at all times. Obviously, you should lock your doors, avoid unpopulated areas and do not flash your money and jewelry around. Remember that this is a foreign country, and act accordingly. Tourists report many instances of parked rental cars being rifled. Organized teams can break in effortlessly. Best advice: Leave nothing of value in them at any time.
  • Drinking. Be aware that drinking is practically a national pastime in St. Maarten, and it is relatively easy and inexpensive to obtain alcoholic beverages and therefore extremely easy to over-do it. Driving while impaired on the island is very risky as there are many places where you could end up in the ocean or down the side of a cliff. When in doubt, call a cab.
  • Drugs. Like most places, drugs are readily available for those interested, but despite what someone may tell you, marijuana is not legal and certainly is not regulated as in the continental Netherlands.
  • Parking. Take care in Philipsburg: There is very little parking and the tow zone areas are very poorly marked. If the spot is free and you think it shouldn't be, then it is probably a tow area.
  • Jet blast. If you're on Maho Bay, watch out for approaching and departing planes. Get too close and a jet engine from a plane taking off can blast a lot of air, sand, or water into your face, or worse cause serious injury or death.
  • LGBT travelers. If you are LGBT be careful of your surroundings: as with many other Caribbean islands, the local culture doesn't have the same level of acceptance found in other countries. While not a large problem, each year there are reports of attacks based on sexual orientation. Public displays of affection by LGBT individuals (especially on the Dutch side) may not be well tolerated, so practice discretion.
  • Pharmacies are denoted by a cross symbol, usually in neon, and there are hospitals with ambulance service on both sides of the island.

Language spoken in Marigot, St. Martin

Dutch and French are the official languages on their respective sides of the island. English is an official language of the Dutch side as well and is widely spoken on both sides, especially in tourist areas. Children on both sides of the island are educated in French, Dutch, English, and Spanish; language is typically not a barrier when visiting the island.


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