Why You Need to Visit Pinel Island


By Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon
CJ Travel Editor

Ever felt like you need a vacation from your vacation? A place where you can skip the sightseeing, paddleboarding, and zip-lining that’s cluttering your to-do list and simply sit?

If you’re in St Martin there is such a Paradise, and its called Ilet Pinel.


Hop the 30-person ferry from the French-side village of Cul-De-Sac ($12 roundtrip; every half-hour between 9:30am and 5pm) and in five minutes you’ll arrive at the tiny spit of sand, a nature preserve where locals flock to escape the everyday and in-the-know visitors join them.


Yellow Beach, one of a pair of restaurants here, might be your base for the day. With chaises and umbrellas for rent; lobster pizza on the menu; and drinks served to high-top tables in the surf, it’s a no-brainer. Or you might venture a few steps further to Karibuni for equally good food but with a more tranquil vibe. Feeling energetic? Make the 10-minute hike to the island’s far (northern) side, where the shore is more rugged but swimwear is optional.


Whatever you chose to do (or not do), the only distraction from this idyllic interval will be the souvenir stall between the two restaurants, where colorful sarongs and coconut-shell trinkets may tempt you to drop a euro or two.

Just don’t be tempted to stay the night. No one lives on the island (restaurant staff commute from the mainland); camping is prohibited; and the overnight security patrol will surely discover you.

Nothing – not even Paradise – lasts forever. So enjoy it while it lasts.


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