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Saint Marteen or St John

buzzy

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We are trying to get away without the kids and can rent at Westin St. John or trade into St. Marteen. We were originally thinking St. John but I have read a lot on these boards about St. Marteen.

Could anyone tell me the pros and cons of each? or is St. Marteen something better to wait and do with the kids? We are looking for quiet at the resort, nice beaches and things to do outside of the resort. We do not gamble or dive but love beautiful beaches, blue clear water (that is the one thing that disappointed us about Hawaii), exploring and some shopping. We were also considering Turks and Caicos or St. Nevis/Kitts, but there doesn't seem to have much to do. Any suggestions keeping in mind that we are alone and not with our kids. (7,5 and 3)
 
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lvhmbh

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I, personally, would go with St. Marteen. If you go to the reviews you'll see a fellows website that gives really good info. According to someone we know who lives in St. Thomas, there have been a few problems in St. John. They don't get publicized because it is bad for tourism but there are some peope living in St. John who are not too happy with the US affiliation with St. John and want to "take back" their island. Stupid, of course, but worrisome. JMHO, Linda
 

Kal

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We have visited more than 25 Caribbean islands and found St. Maarten to be our favorite. Go here for reasons why we like the island.

Check out the images from our 2005 visit.
 

Loriannf

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I vote for St John

I'm biased because we're owners at WSJ, but if you're looking for great beaches, and quiet, St. John is the place. 2/3 of the island is national park, so it's not developed. There are at least 39 beaches; all different, at least 37 of which might have only 20 people at most on any given day. Hiking is also a good option on St. John, there are many good trails in the park. The WSJ has great tennis courts, and if you use the Westin transportation/ferry, you get unlimited trips to St. Thomas for shopping. For more info on St. John, see the discussion boards on VINOW.com.

I, too, have heard about recent "unrest" on St. John, but tend to discount it because we've been going there over 7 years and have yet to meet anyone unfriendly or "hostile" to Americans. I think there is a very vocal, very small minority of people unhappy with the status quo - much like there is in any given situation.

I'd be happy to answer any WSJ questions you may have; just email me.

Lori
 

Blondie

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St.Maarten is wonderful. Lovely and romantic for fine dining. Lots of nudity on some beaches (which may only be a factor if you have kids with you), good shopping, some good casinos. Just a great vacation spot. We head back in April to La Vista. Many of the best beaches are worth a drive so get a car...
 

BarCol

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We'd vote for St Martin, been to both (as a twosome) and we really liked St. Martin better - for the diversity of the beach experience, the food, the wine, the food, the food and the food.........oh yes and the wine.......
 

grest

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St. John is our favorite...not at all commercial, just a lot of pristine uncrowded beaches, lovely for sunning, swimming, snorkeling. Just what you think of when someone says "tropical island".
Connie
 

Harvey and Lin

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I prefer St Martin/St Maarten better than St John's. In my opinion the VI's have some social problems to resolve. I don't believe they are dangerous but one poster said it better - that just a few vocal folks can spoil the fun. BTW, I would rate them as follows:

1. St Martin
2. St Maarten
3. St Johns

I have stayed in all 3 places and this site explains why I like St Martin over St Maarten better than I can.

http://www.geographia.com/st-martin/

Harvey
 

caribbean5

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We like both equally. Have been to both several times and like them for different reasons.

Like ST Martin (French side) because it has a European flare to it. Its slower paced then the Dutch side.

St Martin has much better dining than ST John. Food and the flare of it is much better here. The beaches are nice and some very good ones. Orient is always crowded (especiallly on cruise ship days) but if you get away from Orient there are several nice beahces that we like but we do like Orient Beach for a change of pace.

St John is very low keyed. A place to go to relax and get away from it all. Better beaches here and without a doubt much better snorkel. There are several good snorkel beahces. Some good dining but it is limited. I find the cost for food a bit higher in ST John when you purchase at grocery store. We have taken ferry to ST Thomas to get some food at better price.

IN ST John you drive on the left side of the road, in ST Martin its the right side just like in the USA. But there is one main road around the island and easy to drive and well maintained. Driving is easy.

St John is two thirds national park. Not a populated island like ST Martin, but again that is what is so special about ST John.

There really isn't any shopping to speak of although they do have many shops but nothing like Marigot in St Martin or Phillipsburg in Saint Maarten. St Martin wins in this catagory.

Bottom line if you want beaches and snorkel with quiet down time, go to ST John. If you want activity and great dining go to ST Martin (French side). Most americans like the Dutch side but we prefer the French side. Dutch side has casinos and dining is geared more to Americans.

If you would like more info or pictures just send me an email....

Bob
 

Lloydwa1

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For people that don't know their right hand from the left should carry a rock in the right hand. I would not want to meet you on the road in St Martin or in the US. You are really confused.
 

lawren2

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if you like crowds

and traffic, and petty theft on the beaches and overly built up islands by all means go to St Maarten!

We had been there 3 times over the last 15 years and the last time ( 3 years ago) was definately the LAST time.

Much prefer St John and there are plenty of fabulous restaurants and a smattering of placed if you want some night life.

You might want to consider renting your own private villa on St John much more romantic than the Westin.
 
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Carolyn

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Personally I feel MUCH safer on St. John than St. Maarten. SXM has gotten so commercialized and traffic can be a nightmare at certain times. My husband and I have travelled to many Caribbean islands with St. Barths being our favorite (no timeshares ) and St. John coming in a close second. Most of the island is National Park and very pristine with vistas that are breath taking. Cruz Bay can also be busy at times but has great restaurants.

Carolyn
 

tomandrobin

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I have only been to St John, so I can only comment about that. I think St John is place to go if you want to relax. When there I recommend renting a dingy for the day and just go cruising from bay to bay and snorkle. Most of the time we were the only people around. Very nice!

2/3 of the island is national park, great for exploring seeing and nature loving.

I don't think this would have been a good place to take smaller kids, like under 10. But I guess it really comes down to how you vacation.
 

sca6

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I'll be back!

We gave my niece a week in St. Maarten as part of her wedding gift. We then booked our trip only a few monts later. Her parents who are also our best friends accompanied us on that trip. It was wonderful! So much so that we decided to go back this year. We are going in about ten days and we are really looking foward to it. St. Maarten, while not heaven, is a great place to kick back and relax! Especially without the kids. But, it is an OK place for kids too! I can't really comment about the other location, but St. Maarten was the right fit for us. I'm really not that partial, I think that either place would be great.
 

mme

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St. Marteen this March?

[Message deleted. Ads are not permitted on these forums. Dave M, BBS Administrator]
 
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