Our Unplanned Climb to the Top of St. Martin…Sorta

Behind every great idea comes a great woman…with a not so great idea, occasionally…and this idea was one of those.

You see, sunset’s at St. Martin are usually reserved for Sunset Beach. Tourists pack up their car, drive to Sunset Beach, and sit on beach blankets waiting for the planes to fly into the airportWe, however, had a far better idea. 

We made the last minute decision to ditch the norm and see the sunset at Pic du Paradis, the highest point in St. Martin. We heard that there was a road that lead up to it. It sounded promising, but therein lies our bad decision. We are going to drive up to Pic du Paradis, the highest point in St. Martin….in this:

A Hyundai i10. 
Read again. 
A Hyundai i10.

That’s fine. We can make it, or so we thought. Maybe we should have reminded ourselves that we are in St. Martin.

A tid-bit about driving in St. Martin:St. Martin roads and driving in general on the island leaves much to be desired from a safety standpoint. Speed bumps and roundabouts are far more common than stop signs, yield signs, and traffic lights in St. Martin, specifically near our resort. Roads seem to be placed anywhere, safe or unsafe (usually the latter). 

Fun fact for those who are driving in St. Martin: Without the use of stop signs many times you have to rely on the “person on the right has right of way” rule. If you are hit on the right you are at fault, but if you get hit anywhere else, they are at fault. 

After several days driving through St. Martin, Adam was confident that we could get to the highest point in St. Martin, Pic du Paradis in one piece. I might have believed him if I hadn’t witnessed the road first hand with him trying to get up to the tippy tippy top.

We entered the roads less traveled (but there are some AMAZING houses up there) and it became obvious the second Adam laid eyes on the road ahead of us. The first thing we spotted of the road to Pic du Paradis, the highest point in St. Martin, was a long, steep hill. It was pretty bumpy and not well maintained, but as long as you don’t have to stop for any reason, you’ll make it up the hill…I hoped.

After that steep hill, it shifted into steep, tight switchbacks with intense inclines. While the roads were paved, there were huge potholes and large, bulging cracks in the road that could easily do damage to the bottom of the car we were driving. The roads were uneven do to huge pieces of road missing.  

I did not take pictures of those road because, let’s be real. I was more interested in living. 
 With less than a mile left, having dodged potholes, made it through all of the steep switchbacks, and the sun falling into place, we needed to get up their ASAP! Well, what went from bad road conditions (for a low car) went to worse quickly. It was a straight shot to the top, but the road began separating and our tires would have gotten stuck along with the underbelly of the car getting scratched by the rough edges and bulging surface of the road. There was no way our car would make it up there without any damage. We were going to have to walk the last half mile, to a mile. We reversed our car, parked it, and started to make our way up to the top.

This should be interesting.

We are mildly out of shape. It’s over 90* and humid. We are walking up a steep inclining hill. Que red face, asthmatic breathing, and pools of sweat. Somehow, remarkably, we I made it to the top.

When we finally got to the top…AMAZING!

This is not Pic du Paradis. We took the wrong path and ended up at another gorgeous view:

This is Pic du Paradis:

A view of St. Barth’s:

After climbing to the top of St. Martin at the highest point, Pic du Paradis, I was fearful of how we would see on our way down through the switchbacks, so we walked back to our car and started the drive down. As we were almost to the bottom we pulled of just in time to see this:

 

There is nothing that I love more than sunsets! This one did not disappoint by any means! What’s a sunset without a little adventure along the way?

What do you like better, sunsets or sunrises? Where was your favorite sunset/sunrise?

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