The outstanding beauty of St. Martin / SInt Maarten hits you when debarking your plane… Rocky hills covered with cactus and small trees, and on the other hand lush tropical vegetation with bougainvillea, alpinia, paradise bird flowers, hibiscus, swamp and mangrove with rare plants and wildlife. St. Martiners are aware and proud of their treasure, and since 1998 it is protected and declared Nature Reserve. It is home to a variety of species of seabirds (Frigate birds, brown pelicans, Northern gannets, etc), Iguanas, raccoons and mongooses. Sea turtles are regular visitors on the large beaches of the east. Offshore, from January to May humpback whales are very fond of the shallow waters between St. Martin and Anguilla. Large dolphins can be spotted from February until June, and all year round the coral reefs provide shelter for many fish species (parrot-fish, surgeon fish, tarpon, barracuda, angelfish, grouper, coffer-fish) not to mention mollusks as starfish, sea urchins, lobsters and conches.
Growing human activities, including tourism, is a real threat for the biodiversity of the island, including limited resources as land and water. Healthy tourism depends on healthy resources, which means increased awareness and care for the environment of both, the tourism industry and the traveler is essential to protect the islands nature and beauty.
To protect the environment, strict rules have been established by the governments of St. Martin / SInt Maarten. Do respect them, everybody must participate in the protection of Mother Nature: Don’t leave rubbish behind; do not support illegal trade in for example shells, cactus and turtles!