Photos: A 360-Degree View of St. Maarten from Its Highest Point
Pic Paradis is the highest point on St. Martin (1,391 feet), and those who make their way to the top are rewarded with 360-degree views of the island. You can either hike or drive to the top, so the beauty is open to all ages and abilities.
The view was a bit hazy in certain directions on our recent visit, but it is an absolute must-do for visitors with a few days to explore. You have to change positions at the summit to see the whole island -- it will be obvious -- but its perspective will not only show you the beautiful green-blue contrast of the land and the sea, but allow you to gain a feel for the different corners and layout of the island thanks to a labeled map at top.
We start with a above and below looking southwest towards Simpson Bay and Maho Beach:
Looking towards the east, with Orient Beach to the north and Baie de l'Embouchure to the south.
Looking southeast down the coast, with St. Barth's in the distance:
Depending on where you are staying, you'll most likely need to rent a car or take a cab to get to Pic Paradis. The cab becomes a problem if you're not going to hike up from a major road -- if you take one to the top, you'll have to ask it to wait or call for one when you're finished. There are several hiking trails from various starting points that can take you to the top. Stop by one of the tourism offices in Marigot (St. Martin) or Philipsburg (St. Maarten) or request one from your hotel prior to arrival.
[Photos: Will McGough]