Pinel is a little idyllic island in the heart of the National Nature Reserve, just off the east coast of St. Martin. Access it by boat, kayak, or paddle from the Cul-de-Sac pier. The first of two beaches, a long covered stretch of sand, faces St. Martin. The water is transparent because it is very shallow, and the sand is white—a fantastic snorkeling spot in a truly picture-perfect landscape. On this beach, find two restaurants just steps from the water. The second beach is wild and rocky, located on the other side of the island, which you can reach on foot in 10 minutes.
Legend has it that, in his attempt to capture the island of Saba, the buccaneer Pinel was driven back by the island’s inhabitants who hurled great rocks down on the pirates from their mountain refuge. As they fled, the invaders ran aground, and the island since then bears the name of the defeated captain.