Pinel Island is a small island off the coast of the French side of the Caribbean island 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 visited this island twice both before and after the 2017 Hurricane Irma. The island has recovered quite nicely, almost being better than before. With only two restaurants, the vegan and vegetarian options are very limited but not hopeless. I hope you enjoy this Pinel Island St Martin vegan & vegetarian guide!
Pinel Island Guide
In order to get to Pinel Island, you have several options. There is a ferry boat that leaves from Cul de Sac every half hour starting at 9:30 AM. Depending on the time of year, these hours may change so check the link I have posted for times. The ferry ride is approximately a five minute ride and is a rather enjoyable little trip. The cost is $10 roundtrip; just be sure to keep your return ticket stub to get back to the mainland.
If you are a guest at Le Karibuni, there is a private shuttle to take you back and forth from the resort to the island. Another option 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 shuttle, there is Caribbean Paddling where you can rent kayaks, paddle-boards, and snorkeling gear for the day and row over to the island. 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
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 nude beach, but you will often find people nude on this side of the beach. The waves at this side are much rougher so I would not recommend for children or weak swimmers.
Le Karibuni Restaurant
Le Karibuni Restaurant was established in 1988 and is easily the most popular of the two on Pinel Island. 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.
Vegan and Vegetarian Overview
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 not free for anyone to use without being a patron of either restaurant. Some of my favorite times are Pinel Island, 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!
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 on Pinel Island.
I hope this Pinel Island St Martin vegan vegetarian has provided you with some great tips for spending the day here. I loved every second of my trip to Pinel and was so grateful to be able to get a vegan impossible burger on a small island in the middle of the Caribbean!
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