So many of you have said you love St. Maarten -- would love to hear more about it! Good place to stay (not terribly expensive!), things to do, etc.
We got a great deal at the Divi Little Bay and have a snorkeling excursion planned with octopus dive shop. Car rental was cheap as well, $20 or so a day for a little Hyundai. Can't give you more than that, as we don't leave until tomorrow morning.
Last edited by Chadd; 06-01-2010 at 11:49 AM.
St. Thomas is wonderful that time of year and is realitively close to get to. I know there are direct flights from Newark and JFK, not sure about Boston. Like Aruba, there are lots of timeshares/condos you can rent and the hotels are nice-some are on great beaches. The snorkeling off of St. John is fabulous and the closest thing we have experienced since Hawaii.
The town is nice as long as you don't stray from the main areas. Since it is a main cruise stop, there are lots of good shopping and restaurants around. Some of the beaches rival Aruba's white sand and 2 of the world's top 10 are there-on in St. Thomas and one on St. John (which is only a ferry ride away).
It's a different experience than Aruba-more side trips, etc and may be worth looking into.
Follow up from St Maarten. Not a fan of the island. If we were to come back, we would want to stay in the Grand Case area as it is a quaint little village with a ton of restaurants. It's strange how the island feels both more commercialized and more poverty stricken than Aruba. The mountains are a nice change, but the roads are poor and the driving is interesting.
It's far more likely that my next trip through here will be as a hub for connecting to Saba, Statia, Anguilla and St Barths.
If you dive, I do suggest using Octopus divers in Grand Case. Very small outfit where the owners run the shop and dive with the guests. We snorkeled with them and were largely left to our own devices but I did listen to their dive briefings and was impressed with how they handled experienced divers, students and resort course customers.
Didn't even see a sign for it. Once I looked it up, I can see why. It's a fairly remote location and not really near the main "loop". Our hotel itself is nice, but we've spent a lot of time in the car. That takes a lot of the relaxation out of it. Especially since there always seems to be an accident or something broken down on the hill above Simpson Bay.
The elevation changes make for some great views but the beaches are largely obscured by buildings and much of it is "private" according to the posted signs. The only way to see much of the shoreline is to get higher up in the elevations.