St. Maarten/St. Martin Journals

Dual Personality: St. Maarten/St. Martin

A July 2002 trip to St. Maarten/St. Martin by books

Simpson Lagoon Photo, St. Maarten/St. Martin, Caribbean More Photos
Quote: Great place to relax on the beach--white sand and clear water. St. Maarten also offers the unique experience of sampling two cultures on one tiny island.

Dual Personality: St. Maarten/St. Martin

Overview

Quote:
Parasailing at Orient Beach
Shopping in Marigot

Quick Tips:

No need to exchange American dollars into Euros or Antillean guilders.

Best Way To Get Around:

The ONLY practical way to get around the island is to rent a car. Bus service is unpredictable; taxis are expensive.

Royal Palm Beach Club

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Hotel

Simpson Lagoon Photo, St. Maarten/St. Martin, Caribbean
Quote:
Best Things Nearby:Marigot Market Beaches Best Things About the Resort:The unit was large and right on the beach. Also a midweek cleaning at no extra charge.Resort Experience:The resort is 5 stories with elevators and stairs. All units have a full view of Simpson Bay. The living room has a wall of windows overlooking the bay as does one bedroom. There is a balcony accessible from the living room and one bedroom with a table and chairs. This is shaded in the morning and was a wonderful place to have breakfast. The beach was pretty much deserted in the early morning; allowing us to soak in the beauty of the clear blue water with boats bobbing in the...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 28, 2002

Orient Beach

Attraction

Quote:
Orient Beach is a very long crescent-shaped beach with white sand and some waves (not enough for surfing). It has a gradual descent. More people were on this beach than any other we visited.

Of all the beaches at St. Martin/St. Maarten, this one has the most activities and restaurants. Vendors also stroll the beach selling everything from drinks to necklaces. You may rent umbrellas and beach chairs. This was the only place on the island to parasail.

The French beaches are clothing optional This beach has a nudist resort at one end. We played near the opposite end and saw only a few topless women.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 28, 2002

Cupecoy Beach

Attraction

Cupecoy Beach Photo, St. Maarten/St. Martin, Caribbean
Quote:
What a picturesque beach! There isn't a very big swimming area here as there are a lot of rocks. Morning is a good time to go as there is some shade provided by the cliffs. We got some great pictures utilizing sunny and shady areas. This would probably have a great sunset, too. We enjoyed sitting on some rocks watching the waves and the crabs scurrying around. Occasionally waves would break over our rock seats and get us wet.

There weren't many people here, but several were nude, even though this is a Dutch beach. We were a little nervous about where we had to park our car. The path to the beach was narrow.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 28, 2002

Parasailing

Attraction

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Our teenage daughters considered this the highlight of the trip. Sign up for a parasail ride at kiosks right on the beach. It was $90 for the 2 to go together. They picked the girls up on a jet ski from our "spot" on the beach to take them farther out to the boat. The view was awesome; they could also see Anguilla. The guys added a little excitement to their ride by dipping them once in the water as they were bringing them down.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 28, 2002

Marigot

Attraction

Marigot Market Photo, St. Maarten/St. Martin, Caribbean
Quote:
The market seemed to be open every day, but the food market was only open on Wednesday and Saturday. Most of the "shops" closed up in mid afternoon when it got really hot.

All sorts of souvenirs were for sale--T-shirts, hats, beach wraps, tropical dresses, jewelry. Prices were reasonable.

I wasn't impressed with the produce for sale, but the produce in the regular grocery stores wasn't the quality we expect in the US, either. There were spices for sale. They had nutmegs which they would grind as you watched and then bag it up for you.

Friendly people! Beautiful location right on the waterfront. Everything was very clean!

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 28, 2002

Three hikes

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Attraction

Fort Amsterdam Photo, St. Maarten/St. Martin, Caribbean
Quote:
1. Ft. Amsterdam--access is through Divi Resort. Just tell the guard where you want to go, and he will let you through to park. Walk through the resort on paving and then take the dirt trail on up to the fort. There isn't much left here--one building, some cannons, and a few walls. The view of Great Bay, Philipsburg, and the cruise ships coming in is wonderful. There are some interesting cacti growing up there. The waves crash into the rocks below. Very windy! 2. Pic Paradis is beyond Marigot on the French side--just follow the signs. We drove up most of the way, but pulled over to park when we saw what looked like a parking area. We were glad we did as the road became even worse in a ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on September 28, 2002

Match

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Attraction

Quote:
Grocery shopping on the French side of the island is quite an experience when you don't speak French! While the Dutch grocery stores carry mostly American products and everything is in English, the French grocery store has mainly French products and everything is in French. When I had a question about some meat, I couldn't find an employee who spoke English. Finally I approached a well-dressed lady customer and asked her if she spoke English. She was very helpful and friendly--answering my question about whether the ham I had was already cooked or not. We got a delicious rotisserie chicken off the spit in one aisle. The ice cream was excellent--very creamy. Vegetables, of course, are recog...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 28, 2002

Impressions

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Story/Tip

Quote:
The island has a number of pretty beaches and mostly friendly people. If your "thing" is spending your days soaking up sun on the beach and your evenings in clubs or casinos, this is a place for you. There is little of natural or historic interest here. There are numerous shops in Philipsburg and Marigot. One big plus is there is no sales tax. I felt the shops in Marigot were more interesting, but Philipsburg definitely is the place to go if you are interested in jewelry. The designer clothing stores in Philipsburg had merchandise for sale that I had seen months earlier in the malls of Houston. Much of it I could have already purchased on sale more cheaply at home. The Marigot clothing sto...Read More