Pinel Island is a small island off the coast of the French side of the Caribbean St. Martin. With white sand beaches, crystal blue water, two restaurants, umbrella and chair rentals, Pinel Island is the perfect getaway. Whether you are a local or just visiting St. Martin for a short visit, Pinel Island should be near the top of your list of attractions. I have had the great privelage of visiting St Martin many times over the past few years. In total, I’ve spent about a year on the island so it’s like a second home to me. The small St Martin Pinel Island is just a short ferry ride away from the mainland. In this guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about visiting St Martin Pinel Island including the Pinel Island ferry, restaurants, things to do and so much more! Let’s get into it!
St Martin Pinel Island Guide
How to Get to Pinel Island from St Martin-Pinel Island Ferry and More
In order to get to St Martin Pinel Island, you have several options. St Martin Pinel Island is a fairly short trip from the mainland and is definitely worth a visit. I highly recommend allowing an entire day to explore. Some people try to make this a half day thing, but there is quite a lot to see and do. While it isn’t huge, you’ll want to leave plenty of time for exploring St Martin Pinel Island. If you are on a private charter boat around St Martin, then you can come visit easily. If not, there a few options for how to get to Pinel Island from St Martin mainland.
You can also book some excusrions around St Martin that have stops at Pinel Island. You can book many different boating excusrions around the island of St Martin.
Pinel Island Ferry Boat
The Pinel Island ferry boat leaves from Cul de Sac on the northeastern side of the French side of St Martin. The ferry boat runs on a first come, first serve and there are no reservations. You can only pay with cash, and the cost at the time of writing the blog post is 10 Euro roundtrip. There is no discount given for different ages, so the cost is always 10 Euro per person. You can also pay in USD, which would be $12. I recommend coming as early as possible to catch the first Pinel Island Ferry Boat. The island can get very busy and it is best enjoyed without the large crowds.
The Pinel Island Ferry Boat runs from 9:30AM-5PM during the high season and from 9:30AM-4PM during the low season. The high season is from December 1st-April 31st and the low season is May 1st-November 30th. I recommend not waiting to take the last Pinel Island ferry boat of the day, because it gets very crowded. It is best to get to St Martin Pinel Island early in the morning, then leave mid-afternoon. But that all depends on how long you want to stay.
Rent A Kayak or Hobby Catamaran
Another option for how to get to Pinel Island from St Martin is to rent a kayak or hobby catamaran from either Orient Beach or Cul De Sac. Next to the pier where you will grab the Pinel Island Ferry, there is Caribbean Paddling where you can rent kayaks, paddle-boards, and snorkeling gear for the day and row over. This is a very fun way of getting to the island, and is a very easy paddle. There are small sandbars along the way to stop at as well. Orient Beach is very close if you wanted to rent a hobby cat, which offers a truly memorable ride around the bay over to the island. Prices may vary on rentals.
Things to do on Pinel Island
Pinel Island offers so many fun activities for the entire family, whether you are looking for some activity or just want to relax. The main area of the island boasts two restaurants, Le Karibuni and Yellow Beach, both of which also rent chairs with sun umbrellas and drink and food service. The main beach here is as calm as a swimming pool with crystal blue warm Caribbean waters and gorgeous, soft white sand.
Depending on the time of year, snorkeling is offered on the eastern side of the island. Some of the reef has been destroyed by Hurricane Irma and some from other natural causes. You can rent masks and snorkel gear at a shop by the snorkeling area with a dedicated walkway down to the water.
If you’re in the mood to get some exercise, there is a very mild hiking trail that circles the entire island. The trail offers up some great cliffside views, beach views, and views of the entire eastern side of St. Martin. There is also another beach along the trail on the western side of the island. Be aware that this is not technically a good beach, but you will often find people on this side of the beach. The waves on this side are much rougher so I would not recommend for children or weak swimmers.
Where to Stay on St Martin near Pinel Island
If you are looking to be in close proximity to Pinel Island, there are going to be some hotels that are better than others. I highly recommend staying on Orient Beach, which is just about a 10 minute drive from the Pinel Island ferry pickup spot. Orient Beach is my favorite beach on the entire island for its amazing restaurants and beautiful beach. You can check out my full guide to Orient Beach here if interested.
There are a few resort hotels that look over to Pinel Island in the Cul de Sac area of St Martin. Some of these resort hotels even have their own designated ferry to take you to the island. This would be a great option if you are looking to stay as close as possible to make a day trip. Follow the link below for the best places to stay close to Pinel Island.
Pinel Island Restaurants
Le Karibuni Restaurant was established in 1988 and is easily the most popular of the two restaurants. The wooden restaurant sit directly over the crystal blue Caribbean waters, offering up French-Caribbean favorites like seafood, salads, and more. The service at Karibuni is just as warm and friendly as the atmosphere.
Vegan and vegetarian options are in short supply here, but there is some availability. The salad section of their menu is quite expansive and can be modified for vegan or vegetarian needs. The incredible impossible burger(vegan meat-like burger) is available at Karibuni and is as delicious as ever. How can anyone say no to burger and fries on the beach?
Yellow Beach restaurant has a beach bar/ beach shack design with a very laid back atmosphere. Smaller than Karibuni, Yellow Beach is a great place to grab some drinks, some food, and relax in the Caribbean sun. Yellow Beach food options are mostly seafood, meat, and pizza. I did not spend as much time at Yellow Beach, but they make wonderful cocktails at a slightly more affordable price than Karibuni.
Vegan and vegetarian options at Yellow Beach Restaurant are incredibly limited. Salads are really the only option I could find as far as entrees go, but needing modifications to make them vegan or vegetarian. There were also pizza options, which you could make vegan by ordering without cheese. Otherwise, Yellow Beach was very limited in options.
If I had to pick one of the restaurants, Karibuni was my favorite for sure. Not only did they have the impossible burger, the vibe is a little more high end when compared to Yellow Beach. Karibuni is also pretty expensive, so be prepared to spend some money. Yellow Beach is a little more afforadable comparatively, but still a little pricey when compared to other parts of St. Martin.
If you are looking to save some money, pack your own lunch and eat on the beach. The main beach area is separated between the two restaurants, but there is a small area of beach that is free for anyone to use without being a patron of either restaurant. Some of my favorite times were packing my own lunch, bringing my own chairs and umbrellas, and setting up for a long day in the Caribbean sun. This is a great way to save some money!
Shopping on the Island
Pinel Island is an amazing way to spend a gorgeous day in the Caribbean. On top of what I’ve already mentioned, be on the lookout for hundreds of lizards roaming around the island. Also, an ice cream boat drives around throughout the day and sells ice cream cones and novelties directly from the water. It’s a really fun experience and great photo op.
Also, be sure to check out the cute shops on the main beach area. Here you will find Pinel themed merchandise, shirts, hats, keychains, and many other souvenirs. The shop owners are extremely warm and friendly. You don’t want to miss out on getting a souvenir to remember the fantastic day you’ve had.
St Martin Pinel Island Guide Conclusion
In my opinion, visiting St Martin Pinel Island is one of my favorite things to do when visiting St Martin. I always make sure to schedule it into my trip. The beach on Pinel has some of the calmest waters and the most beautiful, powdery white sand. I also love the laid back atmosphere. The best way to spend a day at St Martin Pinel Island is simply by relaxing in the warm Caribbean sun with a cocktail in your hand. You will not find anywhere more relaxing in all of the Caribbean than Pinel Island. In addition to Pinel Island, I have written much more content on St Martin. Be sure to check out the rest of my St Martin/St Maarten travel content here for planning the rest of your trip!
I hope that you found this St Martin Pinel Island travel guide to be useful and informative. If you did, please consider sharing it with your friends and fellow travelers! Also, be sure to sign up for my e-mail list to be notified when I post new content! Be sure to follow me on social media as well to stay up to date with my current travels. Thank you so much for visiting my travel blog!