There’s nothing between the Leeward Islands and the west coast of Africa but the Atlantic Ocean, so the trade winds blow a little fresher than in the BVI. A mix of cultures have contributed to the uniqueness of the Leeward Islands and visitors can enjoy everything from busy towns and remote villages, to sandy coral islands and lush rain forests. Because volcanoes created most of the Leeward Islands, giant craters and other remnants can be seen throughout the chain.
Saint Martin/Sint Maarten
For nearly 350 years, the French and the Dutch have politely shared this paradise and somehow managed to maintain their cultural clarity. The Dutch side is a busy commercial area bustling with trade and tourism. The French side offers luxury resorts, high fashion, fine dining, and beautiful beaches.
Grande Case, St. Martin
On the northwest coast of the French side of the island is a far-reaching beach surrounding a beautiful open bay. Grand Case itself is simply one very long street lined with flamboyantly painted buildings and restaurants. Near the mouth of the bay lies a great snorkeling opportunity. Roche rock rises a conspicuous 100 feet out of the northern end of the bay and makes a perfect dive and snorkel site attracting a wide variety of colorful Caribbean creatures.
Marigot, St. Martin
Built in 1767 to protect the settlement at Marigot, Fort St. Louis remains the most impressive historical monument on St. Martin. The steep climb to the top is rewarded with a breathtaking bird’s eye view of the island and surrounding waters. A busy open-air market lines the wharves up and down the Boulevard de France where local merchants present a colorful display of spices, fresh fish, and homegrown fruits and vegetables.
St. Barths (St. Barthelemy)
You’d be forgiven for thinking you’re in the French Riviera when you arrive in Gustavia on St. Barths. Visitors will enjoy the quaint architecture, chic boutiques, rich French culture, and amazing cuisine. Rental jeeps are used to explore the island’s narrow, winding roads, pristine beaches, and stunning overlooks. A stop at Airport Beach will be quite unforgettable as planes fly just overhead to land right behind the beautiful white sandy spot.
Visitors to Saba get to hike through the clouds and come to the summit of Mt. Scenery. This island is the highest point in the Netherland Antilles, and its picturesque villages seem to cling to clefts in the rock. A taxi ride up the mountain brings you to Saba’s main town called “The Bottom”. An artistic glass bead studio, the gubernatorial mansion, and Wilhelmina Park are worth exploring. Ambitious visitors can walk down the 400 steps to Ladder Bay to enjoy a nice swim and relaxing picnic. We will take time out to snorkel and dive as Saba offers some of the most remarkable diving in the Caribbean.
Explore More: Leeward Islands Dive Sites Map