A relaxing beach and birding holiday on the two small neighbouring Caribbean islands
The St Martin and Anguilla Nature Holiday is a relaxing beach and birding holiday on the two small neighbouring Caribbean islands of St Martin, which is in fact divided between Dutch Sint Maarten and French Saint Martin, and Anguilla. There is a range of accommodation available on both islands and you can choose a hotel, guest house or villa to suit your taste and budget. Similarly, there are a range of activities that you can choose from, and we can design a holiday that is as active or relaxing as you would like it to be.
Day 1 – 7 ST MARTIN
Fly to St Martin, where you will spend the first week at the hotel of your choice. This is an island of contrasts and is home to busy resort beaches and secluded coves, it is action-packed but also laid back. French and Dutch have lived side by side on St. Maarten/St. Martin for hundreds of years—with no border patrols or customs between them. The French side has a more genteel ambience, more fashionable shopping and a Continental flair. The Dutch tends to be less expensive, has casino hotels and more nightlife. Water sports abound all over—diving, snorkelling, sailing, and windsurfing are all available. There is also a couple of great birding/nature guides on the island, with whom you will do two tours, as well as a full day tour to the nearby island of St Eustatius.
Tour 1 – Peak, Pond and Snorkel Tour.
This is a full day island tour, crossing the Dutch-French border twice, offering great views of both Saint Martin and Sint Maarten. The first stop is at the highest peak of the island, the green and tropical Pic Paradis at 424 mtr/ 1390 ft. A 20 minute slightly sloping and easy walk past lush vegetation, impressive rock formations, vibrant bird sounds and scurrying lizards will bring us to the top where a wide vista of the Eastern side of St Martin spreads out in front of us. While you rest and enjoy the view, your guide will tell the story of how St Martin came to be and he will point out more highlights of St Martin’s natural and cultural heritage throughout the tour. After the downhill walk back, there will be a short ride to the viewpoint on the Westside of the peak where you’ll enjoy Iced Tea and Coffee with a nice slice of homemade cake with a Caribbean twist.
The second stop will be at Étang de la Barrière, a salt pond in the Northern part of St Martin, where wading birds foraging in the pond and on mudflats can be seen, while crabs and iguanas can be spotted in between the mangroves. There will then be a chance to do some snorkeling, preferably from a quiet beach. Our favourite sites are the wreck of M/V El Maud which sank during hurricane Lenny in 1999 or in calm seas we like to show you the underwater world of Baie Lucas. Both our guides on the island are trained dive professionals, they will make sure you are comfortable with the snorkel gear before heading off for some underwater sight seeing. Expect at least Sargent Majors, Blue Tang, Chromis, Trumpet Fish, Brain Coral, Sea Fans and more.
Tour 2 – Birdwatching Tour
Whatever time of year it is, there will always be birds to see and interesting phenomena taking place. In summer there will be resident birds breeding and in winter you will see birds from the Northern Americas coming to our island to escape the cold. The tour will start in the early morning and will last 3.5 hours and will visit at least one salt pond, one fresh pond, rocky coast line and sandy shore and you will see many species, some of which are endemic to the region.
Tour 3 – St Eustatius Tour
St Eustatius – Statia for short – is the least touristy destination in the area and the Historic Gem of the Dutch Caribbean islands. Statia was once the busiest and economically most thriving island in the Northeastern Caribbean, lots of the old buildings have remained and the signs at them tell the story of the Golden Rock’s old times. Statia is home to more historical artefacts per square meter than any other country in the world.
A rich history is not all Statia has to offer, St Eustatius has many protected nature parks and is wonderful for hikers, bird lovers and scuba divers. Statia has quite a few species of special interest among her flora and fauna, for example Statia Morning Glory, a flower only growing on Statia and the endangered Lesser Antilles Iguana, which is no longer found on St Martin. Statia is also great for birdwatchers and is home of the second largest nesting colony of the Red-billed Tropicbird in the Caribbean, visible from October through to June. There is also an ancient tropical forest in the crater of dormant volcano called The Quill, a birding trip to this forest involves a good shaded hike and will take up most of your day. Other birds of interest on Statia are Purple-throated Carib,, Bridled Quail Dove and Caribbean Martin.
Statia is easily accessed from St Martin by small plane and this wonderful, very full day tour will be led by a wonderful guide who will show you all of the above, as well as providing you with a delicious home-cooked lunch.
Days 7 – 14 ANGUILLA
Anguilla is a warm and welcoming island destination tucked away in the northern Caribbean and very easily accessed from St Martin by ferry. Blessed by unrivalled white beaches and breathtaking turquoise seas, it also boasts more than 20 wetlands on the main island with a wide variety of flora and fauna. There are over 130 species of birds that live here for all or part of the year. During the peak migratory periods, it is not uncommon to see a wide variety of species as they make their way to and from their breeding grounds in the north. Its spectacular offshore cays play host to a number of locally and regionally important seabird breeding colonies. Anguilla also has five designated marine parks including: Dog Island, Prickly Pear Cays, Sandy Island, Little Bay and Shoal Bay extending to Island Harbour. Established in 1993 by the Government of Anguilla, these parks are home to a number of species of endangered turtles, colourful reef fish and corals, sharks, migrating whales and dolphins.
Tour 1 – Wetland, Beach and History Tour
This will be a full day filled with numerous opportunities to view and photograph the island’s spectacular beaches, wildlife habitats and learn a bit of Anguillan history. About mid day, the tour will stop at a restaurant on Shoal Bay East, where guests can enjoy lunch along with a beverage of your choice. You may then walk the beach, lounge in the sun or enjoy a snorkel along the reefs of the Shoal Bay Marine Park where colourful reef fish, turtles, and corals are seen.
Tour 2 – Birdwatching Tour
This tour is designed to provide an opportunity for optimal viewing of local wildlife. Although primarily focused on bird habitats, other types of wildlife and native botanicals will delight you. Departing in the early morning, the tour will last 2 to 3.5 hours and will include at least two wetland areas.
Tour 3 – Offshore Cays Tour
Prickly Pear cay is a privately owned island and one of Anguilla’s Important Bird Areas. Located just 5 miles north of the main island, it is best known as the site of two fun beach restaurants. Boats frequent this spot daily to play on its beautiful beach and snorkel the reefs and many a famous person has graced its pure white sand. If you explore beyond the beach you will find the nesting habitat of a number of seabirds. Brown Boobies, Brown Noddies, Bridled Terns, Laughing Gulls, and Red-billed Tropicbirds all nest on this 5 acre scrub island. There is also a small pond right behind the beach restaurant area with small groups of shorebirds like Black-necked Stilts.