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Saint Martin for 1st timers ... help!

krmlaw

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We are heading to SXM and staying at Royal Islander La Plage at the end of June 2009.

We have been to the island twice before on a cruise ship, and have only went to Orient Beach both times.

So we need HELP!

What is a not miss thing to do? Where is good to eat? What boat excursions should we book?

Thanks!
 

nerodog

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things we enjoyed in St Maarten

Hi, its been many years, but we enjoyed our stay at the Divi Little Bay when it was expanding... we took day trips to Anguilla via boat and then a catamaran to St Barts. Both were very nice and quite different in terms of scenery so I would recommend both. There was a great little store called java wraps with lots of nice clothing which I still have and is great for hot days... I am not sure if they are still in business but take a look in Philipsburg. Hope this helps !:)
 

stmartinfan

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There's a terrible condition you'll need to watch out for on SXM: "sand gravity." Of course, SXM has lots to do and see, but many visitors find that the pull of a beautiful beach with sunshine and clear blue water seems to edge out the all the other activities they may have planned!

We've been going for more than 10 years and still find new things to try, but we also enjoy just visiting different beaches and relaxing.

Some favorite activities: catamaran excursions to Prickly Pear (deserted island with beautiful beaches) and Anguilla. (We haven't made the trip to St. Barts or Saba, because I understand the waves can be high going there and seasickness is a problem for us.) You can also just take the ferry to Anguilla and hire a taxi to take you to a beach or for a tour of the island. Rhino riders excursion (like a cross between a dingy and a jet ski), you travel with a guide and go out from the lagoon to snorkel and just enjoy bouncing on the waves. Pinel Island - a small island just offshore with nice beaches and restaurants; you take a small ferry for the 5 minute ride over to the island.
Shopping at Rimas (in Philipsburg), the place to buy inexpensive souvenirs and beach wear; it's where all the vendors buy their stuff but is open to the public with a huge selection. Island tour - our first year, we drove around the island with a map and just checked out all the beaches. It was fun to see the variety and we have gone back to spend a day at lots of different ones like Dawn, Friar's and Mullet.

Restaurants: Lots of wonderful ones to try. Where you're staying may influence where you'll eat dinners, depending upon whether you want to drive the roads across the island at night. There are lots of great restaurants in Grand Case, but we usually don't want to drive there at night from where we stay by Philipsburg. In Philipsburg, we like Antoines and The Greenhouse. We also enjoy going to the Marina Royale area in Marigot (restaurants all open air along the marina area; many to choose from. On our list to try this year based on recommendations from others: Pineapple Petes, Mark's Place and Lal's Indian food.
 
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krmlaw

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OMG, this is so much to learn! Anyone know if the french side is close to where we are staying at maho?
 

gorevs9

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OMG, this is so much to learn! Anyone know if the french side is close to where we are staying at maho?
The French side is close to anywhere you stay. Last year in P-burg, spent the day at Orient Beach, then drove around the island through Grand Case and Marigot before going back home. One could probably drive around the island in a couple hours (not counting traffic around the airport).
Restaurants can get expensive on the French side, because of the USD to Euro exchange rate (though some will accept USD 1 for 1).
If you haven't tried it yet, go to Andy and Cheryl's on Beach. They are on the end near Club Orient. Andy is from Brooklyn (I think) and Cheryl is from NJ.
 

LynnW

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Check out traveltalkonline.com. They have a lot of information on St Martin. I spent a lot of time reading over there before we went 2 years ago. I'd love to go back some day.

Lynn
 

JRS

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I would definitely recommend a catamaran trip - half day or full day. Went to Anguilla - it was truly worth it like nerodog indicated. From Flamingo on Monday - 10 yrs ago - a bus trip that took you to the hotspots of the island for a nominal fee - Marigot, Orient beach, ending up in Phillipsburg. Hint - if you want to shop, wait until the majority of folks board the ship after what 4:00 or so - believe they are more willing to deal ....
 

pgnewarkboy

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La Sammana

I recommend the restaurant at La Sammana for an outstanding and romantic dinner. La Sammana is a luxury resort on the French side. My wife and I went to dinner at the restaurant at sunset. We sat overlooking the beach and the ocean. The service and the food was great. It was expensive but worth it. We always look for one great eating experience on every trip - no matter what the cost (well cost matters but we will splurge). La Sammana stands out in our mind as one of our best experiences.
 

krmlaw

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These are all great ideas! La Sammana sounds nice. I siged up over at travel talk too. Anguilla sounds so nice! And deserted!
 

caribbean

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It is fun sitting on the beach by the airport, drink in hand and watching the planes land. Also don't miss the Butterfly farm.
 

AKE

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Go to an outdoor cafe in Marigot for french pastries (you will never eat croissants anywhere else after this) and real coffee.
 

Jbart74

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I have to chime in and recommend the Tropicana Restaurant at the marina in Marigot. Best meal we've ever had anywhere. And the chef was more than willing to make all of the sauces gluten-free for my partner who has Celiac Disease. Truly, a great 4 hour experience that we will never forget! And for the four of us, with 3 or 4 bottles of recommended wine, the check was under $250 US!
 

Kal

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Go Here for all kinds of information and images of St. Maarten. We visit the island every year for 3 weeks so if you have any specific questions, shout out!
 

krmlaw

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It sounds very nice and reasonable at the Tropicana! Thanks!

Marigot sounds wonderfu!l We'll have to wander over there for breakfast/lunch before or after a beach over there. Which beach is best to visit?
 

Dave&Linda

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Be Aware

We have good friends who will be spending Christmas week out of St. M. on a catameran with Tradewinds and got a call from them a couple days ago. Seems there has been an outbreak of Dengue Fever going around St. Martin that has not been well publisized. There was an article in the Travel section of the Washington Post last sunday that outlined the problem. You can probably find the article on their website. Also, go to http://woodshedenvironment.wordpres...-st-barths-to-the-list-countries-with-dengue/
Not a big deal but take precautions and avoid the mosquitoes down there!
Otherwise, also recommend checking out the harbor restaurants in Marigot, as well as the open market there by the ferry landing.
 

JudyH

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We just got back yesterday from St. M and did not have a mosquito problem at all. I actually just saw one in the unit, killed it, and that was that. We did get some bug bites, but don't know from what, but I know they weren't mosquitos. Now, we did n't go in heavily vegetative areas, but did sit at outside bars and had no problem.
 

krmlaw

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We have good friends who will be spending Christmas week out of St. M. on a catameran with Tradewinds and got a call from them a couple days ago. Seems there has been an outbreak of Dengue Fever going around St. Martin that has not been well publisized. There was an article in the Travel section of the Washington Post last sunday that outlined the problem. You can probably find the article on their website. Also, go to http://woodshedenvironment.wordpres...-st-barths-to-the-list-countries-with-dengue/
Not a big deal but take precautions and avoid the mosquitoes down there!
Otherwise, also recommend checking out the harbor restaurants in Marigot, as well as the open market there by the ferry landing.

Yeah, we had read about it b/f we went on our November cruise. We used OFF and we were fine. We didnt see any mosquitos at all. Thanks for the heads up though!
 
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