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Thread: A different Caribbean place, but keeping it Dutch

  1. #1
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    A different Caribbean place, but keeping it Dutch

    Good afternoon,

    I hope everyone is doing well on what is a cold, snowy Sunday afternoon here in Winnipeg.

    This coming fall, or may be in winter of 2024, I would like to head back to the Caribbean. I might go to Aruba but I was hoping to go to another part of the Dutch Caribbean. Bonaire, Sint Maarten, Saba or Statia are what I'm looking at. Donna and I had been to Curacao and of course Aruba many times but I could never talk her into going to any of the others.

    My thoughts are Bonaire or Sint Maarten. Have any of my forum friends been to these two? Love to hear what you think. Re:Bonaire, I'm not a diver.

    If you've been there, let me know what you think.


    Glenn
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    We have been to Aruba and have been to Bonaire many times. If you are not a diver or an avid snorkeler you probably would not enjoy Bonaire. There are no walkable beaches and few beaches. There is good dining. Have been to Sint Maarten once. It was okay, there are beaches and lots of shopping. It may have more of what you are looking for. Know nothing of the other islands, hope someone else can help
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    Senior Member robin's Avatar
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    We've been to Sint Maarten many times, but all before the devastating hurricane in 2017. We have friends that spend about a month there every winter. Lots of good restaurants, nice beaches, however; the last time we were there, there was a lot of seaweed on one end of the island. When we were there last, we went to the beach at the Divi and it was very nice. We went to the bar and they had a parrot(or some other bird) that lived around the bar and like one specific chair, which I unknowingly sat in. He made it very clear I was not welcome to sit in that chair. He also didn't like people showering in the showers near the bar-he thought it belonged to him. That was probably in 2014, so it's been awhile.

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    Remember Saba and Statia are incredibly small islands and have a population of 2000 and 3000 respectively. These are islands that are worth a day trip from St Maarten, not really somewhere to stay for days unless you want to go on a retreat to write a book or something. Bonaire is similarly very small population wise <20k and so there is little else to do beyond diving/snorkeling. Its the larger 3 of the 6 islands population wise (Aruba, Curacao, SXM) that have things going on. I've never been to SXM, but I've been told its extremely congested being 5x smaller than Aruba, but at the same time having a population only 3x smaller.

    Personally, as this is something i've been looking to do as well, I would go to SXM and take a day or two and fly to Saba. If you have time do Statia as well. Saba is worthwhile for many as they have the smallest airstrip in the world and its also the highest mountain of the kingdom and also the Netherlands proper seeing as they are a Dutch municipality. Bonaire is nice, but if you don't dive its going to get a bit boring fast.
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    We have been to St Maarten numerous times and to Bonaire about 6 times.
    St Maartrn has wonderful shopping but that is all I like about it.
    The restaurants are ok as are the beaches, but the wether is nothing like the ABC islands.

    Bonaire is lovely and has lots to see and do, even if you are not a snorkeler or diver.
    A day out to Klein Bonaire is terrific. A tour or self driving tour to the salt piles and the slave huts and national park is terrific.
    There are snorkel and sunset sails.
    The island is still very "local feel"

    We have stayed at the Capt Don Habitat a few times and Eden Beach resort a few times.
    Once we stayed at a Divi property and thought it lousy (in comparison to other Divi properties)
    We always get a car and always enjoyed our selves for a very low key relaxed trip.
    The beaches are few and tiny.

    IMO, Aruba is the top of the rung for wonderful"ness".
    You wil lfind yourself comparing where you are to Aruba......Aruba sets the bar high.
    THINK.. is it Thoughtful? Helpful? Inspirational? Necessary? Kind? sidtm
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    Senior Member act1966's Avatar
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    We literally just arrived home from Bonaire a few hours ago. I wouldn’t recommend it. More later.
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    Hi Andrea,

    I'm thinking that you're probably right. After having been to Aruba many times since 1980, I would, even subconsciously, be wondering why I am in whatever place and not in Aruba.

    I probably will go to Aruba in the fall, but I was just thinking about the other parts of the Dutch Caribbean. No rush to make any decisions on this yet.

    Yes, Aruba has set the bar very high.


    Glenn





    Quote Originally Posted by Andrea J. View Post
    We have been to St Maarten numerous times and to Bonaire about 6 times.
    St Maartrn has wonderful shopping but that is all I like about it.
    The restaurants are ok as are the beaches, but the wether is nothing like the ABC islands.

    Bonaire is lovely and has lots to see and do, even if you are not a snorkeler or diver.
    A day out to Klein Bonaire is terrific. A tour or self driving tour to the salt piles and the slave huts and national park is terrific.
    There are snorkel and sunset sails.
    The island is still very "local feel"

    We have stayed at the Capt Don Habitat a few times and Eden Beach resort a few times.
    Once we stayed at a Divi property and thought it lousy (in comparison to other Divi properties)
    We always get a car and always enjoyed our selves for a very low key relaxed trip.
    The beaches are few and tiny.

    IMO, Aruba is the top of the rung for wonderful"ness".
    You wil lfind yourself comparing where you are to Aruba......Aruba sets the bar high.
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    Senior Member Kent-ArubaBob's Avatar
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    Been to Aruba over 64 times and Bonaire over 21 times. To me, its like asking me, which one of my Kids are my favorite! They are both great, so I will keep going back to both Islands.
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    Senior Member robin's Avatar
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    The first time we went to St Maarten we stayed on the French side-it as a USAir Vacation that hubby bought in 2002. The boys were 10 and 11 years old. We explained what they would see on the beaches and that for women of all ages and weights to go topless. We explained that was their culture and they were not to stare at them. We also explained thong bottoms were worn by by both guys and girls and that there was a clothing optional beach that we would not be going to. We did see them glancing and looking, then looking away and back again the one day we went to a more public beach than at the hotel. Anyway, the kids were playing in the sand and water and I got a few great pictures, or so I thought. Once I saw the pictures on my computer, there was a guy walking away in the background in a thong bathing suit who should not have been wearing one. Boy, were the kids upset. They did not even want to look at the picture.
    Last edited by robin; 12-06-2022 at 10:33 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by robin View Post
    The first time we went to St Maarten we stayed on the French side-it as a USAir Vacation that hubby bought in 2002. The boys were 10 and 11 years old. We explained what they would see on the beaches and that for women of all ages and weights to go topless. We explained that was their culture and they were not to stare at them. We also explained thong bottoms were worn by by both guys and girls and that there was a clothing optional beach that we would not be going to. We did see them glancing and looking, then looking away and back again the one day we went to a more public beach than at the hotel. Anyway, the kids were playing in the sand and water and I got a few great pictures, or so I thought. Once I saw the pictures on my computer, there was a guy walking away in the background in a thong bathing suit who should not have been wearing one. Boy, were the kids upset. They did not even want to look at the picture.
    We were in St Maarten over 25 years ago and we experienced same with the topless/clothing optional beaches. Agree with you. We also stayed on the French side. We ate in the Grand Case area which is definitely a foodies paradise. Food was amazing but in those days expensive. Have no idea how it is now.
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