This little oasis of sand, rock and coastal heathland waiting to be discovered can be reached by shuttle boat from the Cul-de-Sac jetty. It feels like the edge of the world.
You’ll be surprised by the peacefulness and warmth that oozes from this unique place. You’ll spend a day amid blue and gold on this tiny speck of land dotted with palm trees and cacti.
Getting to Pinel Island
It’s easy to find a space on the large parking lot in front of the Cul-de-Sac jetty. You can leave your vehicle for the whole day.
The shuttle boats to Pinel Island make the return trip every 30 minutes, every day. The fare is 10 euros or 12 dollars and the last boat back leaves at 4:30pm. The crossing only takes 5 minutes. You can also get there by any other vessel, such as a sea kayak, a paddleboard, or even a small inflatable boat. The islet is just off the coast and can be seen from the jetty. In this channel, the ocean is shallow and very calm. The bay is sheltered and caressed by gentle trade winds. Come listen to them, they have lots to tell you!
Things to do on Saint Martin’s Pinel Island
This dot of land shows off Saint Martin in all its glory and feels like a promised land of awe-inspiring tranquility. Before your feet lies heaven on earth, and heaven at sea is all around. You won’t be able to resist the call of the water, exploring below the surface as you swim along the jagged coastline.
There are two beautiful beaches, each with its own character. The first, located opposite Cul-de-Sac, is a very well-sheltered strip of sand. Here, the ocean offers all the magic of its shallows, while the immaculate white sand and turquoise water take you on a heavenly journey.
On this beach, you’ll find two restaurants at the water’s edge; they also propose private beach services. You’ll love the Caribbean specialties, local fish and freshly caught lobster served at Le Karibuni. On Saint Martin’s Pinel Island, your eyes are in for a feast and so are your taste buds. Even on a deserted beach, you can enjoy the flavorful culinary delights of Saint Martin and the quality of local produce. Afterwards, you can peacefully relax in your deck chair and cool off with a house cocktail in the middle of the afternoon.
On the vast strip of sand, another restaurant, Yellow Beach, also proposes food and private beach services. Beach chairs right by the landing jetty invite you to enjoy a wonderful moment of contemplation. Yellow Beach serves a selection of barbecued meat and fish.
There is no running water on the islet, which is a protected area within the Nature Reserve. So the restaurants can only serve bottled mineral water. We recommend you come with a bottle or two in your bag to last all afternoon. There are also composting toilets at your disposal above Karibuni.
The second beach is a stony wilderness on the other side of the island. Nothing has been built on this virgin beach. It takes a 10-minute walk to reach it, through the coastal heath on a narrow path that winds its way across the islet. The sheer beauty of the site is an invitation to wander along the shores searching among the thousands of seashells that lie between the stones and watching the waves thrashing the coastline rocks. On this beach, the Atlantic Ocean shows off its full power and energy.
Pinel Island is also a magnificent spot for snorkeling enthusiasts. The Nature Reserve’s underwater snorkeling trail starts at the shuttle-boat landing jetty. It promises an underwater exploration full of discoveries. You’ll be able to see some of the most beautiful marine creatures where the waters of the sandy, sheltered cove meet the waves that roll onto the wild beach. Turtles, conch snails and tons of multicolored fish are easy to spot at depths of 15 to 30 feet.
How to Take a Shuttle Boat for Pinel Island
Come spend a day on this gem of an Atlantic island. Treat yourself to a magical journey and the joy of discovering virgin territory! Pinel Island off Saint Martin keeps all of its promises. Every day, budding Robinson Crusoes line up to board the first shuttle boat at 10am. The boats then sail every half-hour, carrying about 40 passengers on each trip. They leave as soon as they are filled to capacity. Passengers embark in their order of arrival at the jetty. Seats cannot be booked in advance. There is nobody left on the islet once the last boat leaves at 4:30pm. Pinel then returns to its natural solitary state, jealously protecting its treasures again until the following morning.