A magnificent haven where peace and nature reign, the island of Tintamarre is located in the middle of the ocean, just 4 km north-east of St. Martin. The island, which has a surface area of nearly 100 hectares, is protected and falls within the bounds of the Nature Reserve.
A Day on Tintamarre
To get to the islet, you can take one of the regular shuttles that taxi to and from Destination Tintamarre, from the Cul-de-Sac pier. The journey takes about 15 minutes, depending on the mood of the sea. You can also get there on your own by renting a kayak, and those with a bit more experience can opt for a motor or sailboat. The most accessible beach for swimming is Baie Blanche, on the west side of the island facing St. Martin. There are no parasols or restaurants here, just white sand and crystal-clear water. Set out to explore the open sea with your flippers, mask, and snorkel. You’ll most certainly see turtles and stingrays swimming in the turquoise waters near the boat mooring area.
You can also adventure along the island’s northern and south-western cliffs, and on the windward side, discover the lagoon’s coral reef. A second beach is located further south, only a few minutes walking from where your boat is moored. This beach is the wildest and functions as a nursery for many species of fish.
Note: There is no food or water for sale here, so plan in advance!
The History of Tintamarre
Tintamarre was once inhabited by a Dutchman named Diederik Johannes van Romondt, who established a local economy around cotton crops, sheep, cow and poultry husbandry, and butter and cheese production. In 1902, approximately 150 people lived on Tintamarre island. Van Romondt also collected limestone and coral blocks which he exported to St. Martin for lime, the only cement available on the island at the time. The remains of a railway and its small wagons are reminders of this quarry exploitation. In 1931, Diederik Johannes Romont sold the island to Louis Constant Fleming, the mayor of St Martin at the time.
The island also served as an air base for a small airline called Compagnie Aérienne Antillaise (CAA), which used a 500-meter long dirt airstrip to launch flights to neighboring islands. Back then, Tintamarre was occupied by twenty-some inhabitants who maintained the base, but after several accidents, the operation was closed in 1952. Today, the island is uninhabited and you are free to explore its wild beauty, as well as the vestiges of the aerodrome, small railway, and cotton farm.