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Thread: This year it's St Maarten!

  1. #1
    Senior Member Windy's Avatar
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    This year it's St Maarten!

    Looks like next April we will be going to St Maarten for two weeks, taking a little break from Aruba (2012 perhaps!!!?) Staying in a wonderful-looking condo on Simpsons Bay Beach.
    I'll be interested to see if it reminds me of Aruba!
    Anyone with any suggestions for restaurants, places to see, shopping,etc?
    Any tips would be really helpful!

  2. #2
    Aruba since 1979
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    Andrea J.'s Avatar
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    st maarten is wonderful.
    we have been there 4 or 5 times, but only on cruise stops.

    went to orient beach a few times and another beach a couple of times near or at the divi on the dutch side.

    lovely island.

    paul and i like st maarten, but love aruba.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Chadd's Avatar
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    We were just there this past summer. We had a great room at Divi Little Bay that had a fantastic view. We watched some of the NHL finals from Bonita's Cantina while eating some of the best KC style barbecue I've ever had.

    Grand Case is one of my favorite places in the Caribbean. It's a little town with one major street that's about a half mile long and just about every building houses a restaurant. Some have more than one.

    The French side also had my favorite beaches, Friars Beach and Happy Beach. You have to take a 1/4 mile hike through the brush to get back to Happy beach, but it is worth the time. The only down side to Happy beach was the group of nudists that everyone would have paid to put their clothes back on, but it is a decent sized beach and they mostly kept to themselves.

    I would add in a trip to the Sunset Beach bar to watch the airplanes land right over your head. Even if you aren't an aviation enthusiast, it's fun to watch the enthusiasts get blown into the water trying to stand behind a 747 as it takes off.

    Other than the plethora of restaurants in Grand Case and Bonita's Cantina, the Greenhouse was decent, it's at the east end of the beach in Phillipsburg. Zee Best in Simpson Bay is a great spot for breakfast and lunch, the pastries are excellent.

    The airport Duty Free at SXM is one of the cheapest I have seen anywhere as well. They had better deals than every booze shop we saw on the island. Other than the $3 bottle of rum I got at the store in Grand Case, too bad I can't remember the name.

    As for reminding you of Aruba, it wasn't like that at all for us. In some ways it was more commercial and developed and it had more abject poverty as well. It really is a beautiful island and I strongly suggest spending a day or more driving around to see it all. Just make sure you aren't trying to go between Phillipsburg and Simpson Bay at rush hour, it will take at least an hour.
    Last edited by Chadd; 12-18-2010 at 11:01 PM.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Shnyda's Avatar
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    The restaurant called Escargot is fantastic in downtown Phillipsburg.

    Besides Aruba - St. Maarten is one of our fave spots in the Caribbean.
    -Eric, Karen and Mia-
    Aruba New Years 2017-18 12/28/17 - 1/3/18 (18th Trip)


  5. #5
    Senior Member Windy's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the great tips! I love the anticipation of going to an unknown place! Lots to research (half the fun!).
    Grand Case sounds like a spot we'll visit often -- such food!
    Sunset Beach Bar is also on our list!
    We'll add Escargo!
    We seem to eat out every night, so all suggestions would be awesome!
    Crime seems to be more of a concern than in Aruba, but it's everywhere now, so we'll just be smart! (heck, someone broke into our room during the night last year in Bermuda, of all places)
    I know we'll miss Aruba this year, but now and then have to check out a new place!

  6. #6
    Senior Member Chadd's Avatar
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    The weather wasn't the greatest when we were there, but it was fantastic the last day or so.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails This year it's St Maarten!-100_1681.jpg   This year it's St Maarten!-surfboard.jpg   This year it's St Maarten!-100_1661.jpg  

  7. #7
    Senior Member Windy's Avatar
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    Too bad about the weather -- rain?
    Great pictures!

  8. #8
    Senior Member nikko's Avatar
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    that was hubby's favorite place on earth...until i turned him on to aruba!!! i will look up my old restaurants and see if i still have the names....we kinda just knew where they were on the island!

  9. #9
    Senior Member Windy's Avatar
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    Thanks, Nikko!

  10. #10
    Senior Member jeffnev's Avatar
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    We spent a week in St. Maarten on 2 different occasions but haven't been there for a while so I couldn't reco specific restaurants. The island is a wonderful blend of Dutch and french and the 2 sides were very different. We stayed on the Dutch side both times but most of the great restaurants were on the French side. Definitely rent a car as there is lots to see and do and many great beaches, some of which are kind of "hidden" from the main road. it is a very different look than Aruba-in many ways a lot prettier and greener-but you will see more poverty and tin roof shacks as you ride around. And there a enough casinos to invest your money in as well.

    Enjoy and Aruba will be waiting for your return!

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