Sint Maarten is one of the three Windward Islands located in the former Netherlands Antilles. While Dutch ‘Sint Maarten’ encompasses 40% of the southern part of the island, the northern 60% of the island, known as ‘Saint Martin’, constitutes the French overseas collectivity.
St. Maarten is home to a diverse range of landforms. On the southern side of the island, you’ll find lush mountainous regions rising from white sandy beaches while on the western side of the island you’ll find lagoons and salt flats. The highest peak on the entire island is Pic Paradis or Paradise Peak, whose summit reaches an altitude of 424 meters.
Saint Martin has an array of varying landscapes ranging from coastal lowlands to mountainous highlands. The variety in landscape results in the many different types of soils on the island such as reddish clay-like soil, stony and shallow soil, and rich and fertile soil near the coast.
Table of Contents
- Which hemisphere is St. Maarten in?
- What is the area of Sint Maarten?
- What are the mountains of Sint Maarten?
- What are the plains of Sint Maarten?
- What are the rivers of Sint Maarten?
- What are the forests of Sint Maarten?
- What is the topography of Sint Maarten?
- What are the soil types of Sint Maarten?
- What is the average altitude of Sint Maarten?
- What is the highest point of St. Maarten?
- How long is St. Maarten’s coastline?
- What are the salt ponds found in Sint Maarten?
- How does the geography of Sint Maarten affect the climate?
- How does the geography of Sint Maarten influence its culture?
- What islands are close to Sint Maarten?
Which hemisphere is St. Maarten in?
Sint Maarten is located in the northern hemisphere, between the Tropic of Cancer and the Equator.
What is the area of Sint Maarten?
The entire island of Saint Martin occupies an area of 87 km2 (34 sq. mi.). The island consists mostly of mountains and hills that lead into lower plains such as beaches and salt lagoons.
What are the mountains of Sint Maarten?
The mountains of St. Maarten and their elevations are listed below.
- Pic Paradis (Paradise Peak) – 424 meters (1,391 feet)
- Mt. Flagstaff – 383 meters (1,256 feet)
- Mt. France Telecom – 372 meters (1,220 feet)
- O’Reilly Mount – 360 meters (1,181 feet)
- Sentry Hill – 341 meters (1,119 feet)
- Mt. Reward – 312 meters (1,023 feet)
- Mt. Diamant – 274 meters (898 feet)
- Red Rock – 270 meters (885 feet)
- Fort Hill – 217 meters (711 feet)
- Beef Hill – 214 meters (702 feet)
What are the plains of Sint Maarten?
The plains in Sint Maarten are listed below.
- Terres Basses: Located in western French Saint Martin, the elevation of this area spans from 0-25 meters above sea level.
- The Lowlands: Located in Dutch Sint Maarten, northwest of Simpson Bay, this area has an elevation that spans from 0-100 meters above sea level.
What are the rivers of Sint Maarten?
The rivers in Saint Martin are listed below.
- Paradise Ravine
- Quarters Ravine
- Colombier Ravine
- Ravine Rouge
- Zagers Gut
Many watersport activities are available along these rivers such as kayaking, paddle boarding, jet skiing, wakeboarding, etc.
What are the forests of Sint Maarten?
Saint Martin has a lot of dry forests that line the coast and are scattered throughout the island. Larger forests are located mostly in the highlands of French Saint Martin. The forests in Saint Martin are listed below.
- Loterie Farms
- National Nature Reserve of St. Martin
What is the topography of Sint Maarten?
St. Maarten is known for its mountainous terrain with hills that roll down into the beaches along the forest-covered coastlines. The highest peak is Paradise Peak which is 424 meters high. The western part of the country is flatter near the lowlands and grows in elevation towards the northeast of the island.
Saint Martin is also home to many lagoons and salt basins, such as the Simpson Bay lagoon, located in Simpson Bay, and the Great Salt Pond, located in Phillipsburg.
What are the soil types of Sint Maarten?
In Saint Martin, there are various types of soil depending on the region of the island. The three main types of soil in Sint Maarten are listed below.
- Mountainous Highland Soil: The soil found in the higher elevated highlands region of St. Maarten is derived from limestone and is found to be quite rocky and shallow. Some of these soils have a red clayish color to them from the surrounding mountains.
- Mid-Level Terrace Soil: This type of soil occurs at lower hillsides and is known to be quite deep and fertile. Many different fruits and vegetables grow in this region due to the soil’s good moisture-holding capacity.
- Coastal Lowland Soil: The soils of the coastal lowlands occur near the sea and lagoons. The soil found in this region is often very fine and sandy due to its close proximity to the beaches.
What is the average altitude of Sint Maarten?
The average altitude of Sint Maarten is from 20-60 meters above sea level.
What is the highest point of St. Maarten?
The highest peak of the region is Pic Paradis or Paradise Peak, whose summit reaches an altitude of 424 meters.
This mountain is very popular among tourists, the peak can be reached either by car or by taxi. Some choose to park at the local Loterie Farm that can be found at the base of the mountain and walk 10-15 minutes to the summit.
How long is St. Maarten’s coastline?
St. Maarten’s coastline spans about 70km. There are 37 different beaches are along the incredibly scenic coast that are known to be some of the best snorkeling spots in the Caribbean.
What are the salt ponds found in Sint Maarten?
There are numerous salt ponds found on the island of Saint Martin, these salt ponds are around 3 meters above sea level. The most popular salt ponds in Saint Martin are listed below.
- Great Salt Pond
- Simpson Bay Lagoon
- Little Bay Pond
St. Maarten has many hills and mountains that lead into salt lagoons. During the late 1800s and early 1900s, the salt from these pools of water was the main source of commerce in St. Maarten.
How does the geography of Sint Maarten affect the climate?
Sint Maarten’s interior parts are mostly hilly and slope downwards to coastal lagoons, sand spits, and salt pans. This geographical feature leads to the following three effects listed below.
- Warm and sunny weather throughout the year.
- The daily average temperature ranges from 25 degree Celsius to 37 degree Celsius during daytime and the night temperature drops to 20 degree Celsius.
- Winds that provide a pleasant and cool breeze throughout the island.
How does the geography of Sint Maarten influence its culture?
The location of Saint Martin within the Caribbean Sea has greatly contributed to the culture of the island. The main ways the geography of Saint Martin has influenced the culture of Saint Martin are listed below.
- The Cuisine: The cuisine of Saint Martin has been influenced by the local fruits and vegetables that are grown on the island and nearby the islands. Produce such as callaloo and guavaberry fruit are grown on the fertile soils of the coastal plains. These fruits and vegetables are featured in many local dishes and contribute to the flavorful cuisine of St. Maarten, which so many people love.
- Disposition of the locals: In Saint Martin, the locals are known for having a friendly and laid-back disposition and also for being very welcoming. This is due to the year-round sunny weather and proximity to beaches on the island and the fact that the island has had many cultural influences from surrounding countries and islands. St. Maarten has over 120 different nationalities.
- Music: Saint Martin has had cultural influences from French, Spanish, British, Dutch, African, and North America. This has resulted in the music genres that are widely loved on the island such as here are Merengue, calypso, zouk, soca, and reggae.
What islands are close to Sint Maarten?
The islands close to Sint Maarten are listed below.
- Anguilla: This island is approximately 10 miles away from Sint Maarten and takes only 20 minutes to reach if you’re taking the ferry.
- Saba: Being at a distance of only 15 miles from Sint Maarten, Saba is only a plane or ferry trip away. By plane, it’ll take you about 20 minutes to reach while 1.5-2 hours is the usual time taken by ferry.
- Barthelemy (St. Barths/St. Barts): St. Barthelemy lies approximately 22 miles southeast of Sint Maarten as is a small volcanic island. It is one of the four northern territories of the French West Indies and is considered to be one of the most lavish and elite islands of the Caribbean. You can reach there by ferry in approximately 30 minutes from Sint Maarten.