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Going to Sint Maarten next month and looking for Tips/Adivce/Recommendations

swantz1984 1,590 591 April 26, 2016 at 06:09 AM
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I am going to Sint Maarten May 29th to June 5th. Staying at Sonesta Great Bay Beach which is an inclusive, but hoping for some recommendations on excursions/restaurants/etc. We wanted to do a jet ski tour and atv tour to see the island. Has anyone been?

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#2
I spent 10 days in SXM in January. Loved it and can't wait to go back. We stayed in Oyster Pond/Dawn Beach which is right next to French/Dutch border. Please rent a car so you can explore the island easier. You should also reserve it beforehand since you will be there over the holiday weekend. We reserved ours through Hertz and the resort arranged for us picking up the car there and dropping off at the airport. The island is ridiculously easy to navigate because there are two main roads that run through the entire island.

We visited Maho (airport) beach, Orient (best beach on SXM IMO), Grand Case, Dawn Beach and Little Bay. My husband rented a Harley and did an island tour. I highly, highly recommend the boat tour with Captain Bob. Easily my fave part of the trip. Swimming with sea turtles on Tintamarre island was AMAZING. We did the boat tour our first full day there to get an idea of how the island is laid out. Link - https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attra...artin.html. My daughter and I rode jet skis from Dawn Beach. Lots of fun!

Shopping for liquor and cigarettes in SXM is dirt cheap. Bear this in mind in case you need to bring stuff back home. I recall paying $30 for a bottle of Henny White. Prescriptions on the French side are also dirt cheap to fill so if you have any prescriptions you can walk with them. I refilled asthma medication for $7/pop. Island currency is USD, Euro or guilders. Every place gives a small discount for paying cash. Every place took credit cards so that wasn't issue. Make sure they are the chip and pin kind.

I found the food on the Dutch side extremely underwhelming. Food on the French side was much better. It's an island so food is pricier than mainland since almost everything has to be imported. My favorite restaurant was easily Canoa by Dawn Beach. Inventive dishes, great service and spectacular views. https://www.tripadvisor.com/Resta...artin.html. We also went to Sunset Beach Bar on Maho for cheap drinks and to watch the planes land.

For day trips we went to both Anguilla and St. Barth. If I had to choose one I would go with Anguilla because the beaches were much nicer. You can also visit Pinel Island for a day but go early as it starts to get crowded around 11a.

I had a really wonderful time in SXM. Easily one of my favorite Caribbean islands simply because there's so much to do and so many beaches. If you have any questions please let me know.
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#3
Quote from chicinnyc View Post :
I spent 10 days in SXM in January. Loved it and can't wait to go back. We stayed in Oyster Pond/Dawn Beach which is right next to French/Dutch border. Please rent a car so you can explore the island easier. You should also reserve it beforehand since you will be there over the holiday weekend. We reserved ours through Hertz and the resort arranged for us picking up the car there and dropping off at the airport. The island is ridiculously easy to navigate because there are two main roads that run through the entire island.

We visited Maho (airport) beach, Orient (best beach on SXM IMO), Grand Case, Dawn Beach and Little Bay. My husband rented a Harley and did an island tour. I highly, highly recommend the boat tour with Captain Bob. Easily my fave part of the trip. Swimming with sea turtles on Tintamarre island was AMAZING. We did the boat tour our first full day there to get an idea of how the island is laid out. Link - https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attra...artin.html. My daughter and I rode jet skis from Dawn Beach. Lots of fun!

Shopping for liquor and cigarettes in SXM is dirt cheap. Bear this in mind in case you need to bring stuff back home. I recall paying $30 for a bottle of Henny White. Prescriptions on the French side are also dirt cheap to fill so if you have any prescriptions you can walk with them. I refilled asthma medication for $7/pop. Island currency is USD, Euro or guilders. Every place gives a small discount for paying cash. Every place took credit cards so that wasn't issue. Make sure they are the chip and pin kind.

I found the food on the Dutch side extremely underwhelming. Food on the French side was much better. It's an island so food is pricier than mainland since almost everything has to be imported. My favorite restaurant was easily Canoa by Dawn Beach. Inventive dishes, great service and spectacular views. https://www.tripadvisor.com/Resta...artin.html. We also went to Sunset Beach Bar on Maho for cheap drinks and to watch the planes land.

For day trips we went to both Anguilla and St. Barth. If I had to choose one I would go with Anguilla because the beaches were much nicer. You can also visit Pinel Island for a day but go early as it starts to get crowded around 11a.

I had a really wonderful time in SXM. Easily one of my favorite Caribbean islands simply because there's so much to do and so many beaches. If you have any questions please let me know.
Thank you so much. Do you recommend renting a car for the entire trip or just a few days? I thought about golfing as well. We have the all inclusive so food for the morning and afternoon are covered. We def want to see the night life though. Did you happen to go to the Casino? Was the sea turtle excursion in deep ocean or walking water levels?
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#4
Quote from swantz1984 View Post :
Thank you so much. Do you recommend renting a car for the entire trip or just a few days? I thought about golfing as well. We have the all inclusive so food for the morning and afternoon are covered. We def want to see the night life though. Did you happen to go to the Casino? Was the sea turtle excursion in deep ocean or walking water levels?
You probably only need a car for a few days. Your resort is in Phillipsburg and is centrally located so Front Street, Maho and Little Bay are right there already. You would only need a car if you are venturing towards the French side or the Dawn Beach area.

I went to three casinos on the island. They were all pretty underwhelming. I'm probably unfairly comparing them to Vegas or Atlantic City. I won $400 at the Princess Casino. You can get an all you can eat lunch by the casino at the Westin but I found it grossly overpriced as the food selections were really limited. I think it was $45/pp but there were unlimited drinks. We did a pub crawl in Simpson Bay and stumbled upon two great piano bars whose name escapes me. Simpson Bay has tons of nightlife so you can just walk around. Your resort should have a club too. The best club on the french side is the Palm D'Or. A lot of locals go there. We were there on a Saturday night after dinner in Grand Case and had a ball.

Tintamarre island is deep water but there are no waves. The boat guide will give you a life vest, snorkel gear and fins so as long as you can swim or float you will be fine.
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#5
Good Peruvian food downtown Phillipsburg. Right on the beach -- I think it's Nazca. Ate there twice the week we were down there.

We have stayed in Simpson Bay area and found getting around without a car not too bad, the minibuses come around and are cheap enough -- maybe a dollar or two per person. They have bus stops but haven't gotten around to making bus schedules yet. We rented a car towards the end of the week just to check out the sights that we couldn't access by bus and brought it back to the airport as we were leaving. Part of the cost is offset by not having to take a cab to the airport.

Took the ferry over to St. Bart's a couple times that we've gone. This trip, we stayed near Cupecoy so a car was pretty necessary. We were so close to Marigot. We liked the local food at Rosemary's a lot. There's also a good bakery if you wander the streets of Marigot and you can sit and enjoy coffee and a pastry while you watch the passers by.

We found the casinos to be underwhelming, as well. We also didn't win anything -- went more than once and it was lose-lose.
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#6
Thanks for the information. Since our resort is an all-inclusive we probably won't need to eat too often off the resort. I am debating the golf course, but reviews seem to say its bad. Did you guys see it?
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#7
I signed up for this newsletter last time I went: http://www.sxm-info.com/contest.html

There's a contest -- my dates didn't coincide with the contest so I don't know how likely you will win -- they give away prizes every couple of months. The new contest runs now to 22 May 2016.

Lagoon Pub Crawl - two for one ticket
Skipjack's - $50 off a dinner for two
DK Gems - $150 off a $500 purchase
Random Wind - $40 gift certificate
Select Wine Cellar - Wine tasting and a bottle of wine
Piazza Pascal - $50 off dinner for two
Pizza Galley - $25 off on a dinner for two
Ti Coin Cr?ole - $30 off on a dinner for two

Future Contests:
22 May to 21 August | 21 August to 20 November

same cast of characters as current contest



Just go to the each website, look over the information, find the contest codes, and then to go to the contest/SXM-Info newsletter signup form. Put all the contest codes on ONE entry. Do not enter more than once. There are only five entry slots on the contest form. Choose only five contests to enter.

Copies of previous newsletters can be found here. If you use AOL or have any email blocking software, note that you will receive the newsletter from Erich Kranz (esk@SXM-Info.com).
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