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By: Dave Helgeson

Places to Ride: Island of St. Martin

Riding on French Soil.
Riding on French Soil.

Beautiful Scenery
Beautiful Scenery

Taking a Break in the Shade.
Taking a Break in the Shade

Where else in the world can you legally ride an ATV on a paved road, tour two countries within a couple of hours, cross an international boundary without stopping or showing a passport, and then stop for a swim to rinse off the dust from riding where the water is over 80 degrees on a beautiful tropical beach? Forgot your swimsuit, not a problem either, as many of the beaches are clothing optional! You can even ride double if you like. It’s all possible on the island of St. Martin / Sint Maarten in the West Indies. Regardless if you arrive on the island by ship or airplane, obtaining an ATV to ride around the island is easy.

The Caribbean Island of St. Martin (Sint Maarten in Dutch) is 37 square miles in area making it the smallest island in the world divided between two countries. The northern portion of the island is French territory while the southern section is administered by the Dutch Netherlands. Most of the ATVs on the island come equipped with turn signals and some with side mirrors. They are allowed most anywhere on the island and are a pleasant change from renting a car or taking a taxi. The island is tropical;, so plan on riding in shorts and tee shirts during your visit and bring sunscreen. Stay alert for critters too as goats, chickens and other farm animals freely range in the rural areas. Most of the roads are paved, but there are opportunities to play in the dirt as well.

My wife and I arrived on St. Martin by cruise ship having pre-arranged a guided tour through an online listing. We were picked up in a van and driven a mile or two to the rental agency where we were given a helmet along with operating instructions on the machines. An advantage of riding with a guide is they know were they are going, and the scenic way to get there. All you have to do is follow and enjoy the scenery and tropical breeze. If you are staying on the island for several days, I would rent an ATV in place of a rental car and get a map. The ATVs on our tour were Chinese imports and featured ample storage for a daypack under the seat.


If you didn’t arrive on a cruise ship, there are plenty of resorts on the Island.
Visit for lodging options.

Getting There:

St. Martin is in the Caribbean Sea, 18.02 latitude and 63.07 longitude, 150 miles southeast of Puerto Rico. Sea or air transportation are your only options there.


As mentioned, we arranged a guided tour through a local agency Reserved guided tours were also available through the cruise line, although you will typically pay more. To rent your own ATV without a guide, Google “St. Marten ATV Rentals”; your search will supply you with a list of vendors that will deliver an ATV to the airport, cruise dock, or your hotel. If you arrive on a cruise ship and didn’t book ahead, just start asking around the pier as you exit the ship, you will quickly have two or three ATV vendors fighting for your business.

Rules and Regulations:

  • The minimum age to operate an ATV is 18 years of age.
  • Riders are required to wear a helmet while the ATV is being operated.
  • Closed- toe shoes are highly recommended.

Be safe, enjoy, and I hope to see you out riding.

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