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dem372

Dutch side, French side, and a beach. Looking for advice on my itinerary.

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I was hoping some of you experienced folks might be able to help me out.  I am coming into St Maarten on a Royal Caribbean cruise. We will be in port from 8-5.

 

My wife wants to do three things:  see the French side of the island, and go to a nice beach, and see the Dutch side.  My initial thought is we should get off the boat early, catch a taxi over to Marigot and do some shopping/see the sights, then catch a taxi to Philipsburg where we can see the Dutch side of things and spend some time at Great Bay beach before heading back to the ship. 

 

My main questions out of this are:

1. Is Marigot the best area to go to on the french side?  Any other locations we should consider?

2.  Is there a better beach we could take a taxi to, and still have time to get a taxi back to Philipsburg before getting back on the ship? Mullet Bay maybe?  We will have young kids with us, so nude beaches are probably out.

3.  Does anyone have any opinions on food/restaurants?  French side superior to Dutch side?  Is there a must stop place for lunch?

 

We just want to make sure we see interesting things on both sides, spend some time at a nice beach, and still have plenty of time to get back on the ship.  Any advice is greatly appreciated.  Thank you.

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4 hours ago, dem372 said:

1. Is Marigot the best area to go to on the french side?  Any other locations we should consider?

It's the main town on the French side so its worth seeing from that perspective. Last time we were there it was very sleepy early in the morning-- I didn't see most of the shops open until around 10am. They do close for very long lunches mid day as well. Grand Case is a nice beach on the French side worth looking at and of course Orient Bay beach (which is partially nude but you can stick to the clothed side). 

 

4 hours ago, dem372 said:

2.  Is there a better beach we could take a taxi to, and still have time to get a taxi back to Philipsburg before getting back on the ship? Mullet Bay maybe?  We will have young kids with us, so nude beaches are probably out.

Aside from the two just mentioned, kids really get a kick out of Maho Beach with the airplanes landing over it (just make sure they don't get knocked over in the middle when a jet is spooling up for takeoff which we've seen happen). It's on the Dutch side. 

 

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Thanks for the reply.  That is helpful.  Maybe you can answer something else for me...does Orient Bay Beach have a "shopping" area within walking distance of it?  An area maybe similar to Marigot Market where you can browse through stores, get some lunch, that type of thing?  My wife is very interested in experience the culture of the French side of things.  I am wondering if I can accomplish that by just going to the Orient Bay beach area and skipping Marigot all together?  Thank you.

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19 hours ago, dem372 said:

Maybe you can answer something else for me...does Orient Bay Beach have a "shopping" area within walking distance of it?  An area maybe similar to Marigot Market where you can browse through stores, get some lunch, that type of thing?

Not really-- its mostly beach concessions, bars (lots of bars), and smaller hotels. It's very European-- they don't follow the American model of putting malls or shopping areas next to beaches like you see in a lot of places. A lot got destroyed by the storm since I've been there so anyone feel free to chime in if something got built. 

 

19 hours ago, dem372 said:

My wife is very interested in experience the culture of the French side of things.  I am wondering if I can accomplish that by just going to the Orient Bay beach area and skipping Marigot all together?

From a culture standpoint, Orient Bay has you covered there (or not covered as they case may be!). From a shopping standpoint not so much. Stopping in Marigot on the way there or back wouldn't be wildly out of your way if it was a priority though. 

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On 2/26/2020 at 3:39 PM, dem372 said:

I was hoping some of you experienced folks might be able to help me out.  I am coming into St Maarten on a Royal Caribbean cruise. We will be in port from 8-5.

 

My wife wants to do three things:  see the French side of the island, and go to a nice beach, and see the Dutch side.  My initial thought is we should get off the boat early, catch a taxi over to Marigot and do some shopping/see the sights, then catch a taxi to Philipsburg where we can see the Dutch side of things and spend some time at Great Bay beach before heading back to the ship. 

 

My main questions out of this are:

1. Is Marigot the best area to go to on the french side?  Any other locations we should consider?

2.  Is there a better beach we could take a taxi to, and still have time to get a taxi back to Philipsburg before getting back on the ship? Mullet Bay maybe?  We will have young kids with us, so nude beaches are probably out.

3.  Does anyone have any opinions on food/restaurants?  French side superior to Dutch side?  Is there a must stop place for lunch?

 

We just want to make sure we see interesting things on both sides, spend some time at a nice beach, and still have plenty of time to get back on the ship.  Any advice is greatly appreciated.  Thank you.

 

Having toured the French side, on the return stop off for lunch at La Samana

Great food with fabulous views.  It’s a must do.

 

https://www.belmond.com/hotels/caribbean/st-martin/belmond-la-samanna/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIhYnJ2PH05wIVAbDtCh0IaQCWEAAYASAAEgLH2vD_BwE

 

Lunch in the Laplaj Restaurant -

https://www.belmond.com/hotels/caribbean/st-martin/belmond-la-samanna/dining

 

Book

https://www.belmond.com/hotels/caribbean/st-martin/belmond-la-samanna/dining

 

Menu

https://belmondcdn.azureedge.net/pdfs/LAS-Laplaj-Menu.pdf

 

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On 2/26/2020 at 10:39 AM, dem372 said:

 

 

My main questions out of this are:

1. Is Marigot the best area to go to on the french side?  Any other locations we should consider?

2.  Is there a better beach we could take a taxi to, and still have time to get a taxi back to Philipsburg before getting back on the ship? Mullet Bay maybe?  We will have young kids with us, so nude beaches are probably out.

3.  Does anyone have any opinions on food/restaurants?  French side superior to Dutch side?  Is there a must stop place for lunch?

 

We just want to make sure we see interesting things on both sides, spend some time at a nice beach, and still have plenty of time to get back on the ship.  Any advice is greatly appreciated.  Thank you.

I have taken taxis to Orient and also rented a car.  Car was the best way to see it all.  Start with the car rental place, easy, close to the pier. Drive to Orient, easy ride. Stay 2 hours there  and drive to Margoit.  we had lunch,  park only where you can get out not in a general parking lot.  We got boxed in but ended up picking up the rental car and kind of adjusting it until we could get out.

 

Went to Fort Louis, beautiful view then drove to Maho Beach to watch the planes land.  All in plenty of time not rushed but diligent.  Maho could be skipped but if you do it that is when you don't want to forget your time.  Gets a little busy on that road when everyone is coming back so be aware.

 

I was like the tour guide and the enforcer when we had to leave each spot. It was  lot of fun and everyone enjoyed it.  Orient might have a topless one or two but I don't think you can avoid that 100%  Just don't go to the right as that is where the clothing optional is.  

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@glentally Did you rent the car when you got to the port or ahead of time? I'm thinking of doing a rental versus taking cabs and trying to think it through.

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1 hour ago, mnpurple said:

@glentally Did you rent the car when you got to the port or ahead of time? I'm thinking of doing a rental versus taking cabs and trying to think it through.

I think I did it ahead of time.  Didn't have to put anything down. It was pretty easy.  Take video and /or pictures of all scratches dents. I never had a problem but I was reading on other islands they had video or pictures to prove flaws were already there.  We had a gas with the car.  Easy roads to navigate.

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