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First Time trip to St Maarten-St. Martin #159266
04/20/2018 10:43 AM
04/20/2018 10:43 AM
Joined: Aug 2013
Posts: 474
ski2play Offline OP
Traveler
ski2play  Offline OP
Traveler
Joined: Aug 2013
Posts: 474
Good day!

Long time poster on the BVI Forum. First time poster on this forum, so Hi..... and thanks in advance for your help.

We are headed to SXM on the 10th of May for a quick 4 night/5 day trip to meet with the window/door makers who are making our joinery package for our home on Jost Van Dyke that were destroyed in the Irma/Maria hurricanes of last September.

Booked to stay at the Simpson Bay Resort and Marina. Since we will have a little time to explore and, of course, eat, what are some things I really need to know?

Favorite places to explore, eat, beaches, beach bars? And go......



SXM Sponsors
Re: First Time trip to St Maarten-St. Martin [Re: ski2play] #159268
04/20/2018 10:55 AM
04/20/2018 10:55 AM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 71,936
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
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Carol_Hill  Offline
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Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 71,936
Central Florida!
Hi. Welcome! SBR is a good, central location in Simpson Bay. There are tons of restaurants and bars close. What type of food do you prefer? I assume you are renting a car, which you will need, in order to explore various beaches. The GOOD news is that prices for car rentals, groceries, booze, food, are cheaper than the BVI.


Carol Hill
Re: First Time trip to St Maarten-St. Martin [Re: ski2play] #159270
04/20/2018 11:03 AM
04/20/2018 11:03 AM
Joined: Aug 2013
Posts: 474
ski2play Offline OP
Traveler
ski2play  Offline OP
Traveler
Joined: Aug 2013
Posts: 474
Hi Carol!

Seafood, Italian, Caribbean for food. And I guess I best get on renting the car. Assuming I can do that at the airport?


Last edited by ski2play; 04/20/2018 11:03 AM.


Re: First Time trip to St Maarten-St. Martin [Re: ski2play] #159271
04/20/2018 11:04 AM
04/20/2018 11:04 AM
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 12,265
Auburn, WA
SXMScubaman Offline
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SXMScubaman  Offline
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Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 12,265
Auburn, WA
You would be best to make rental arrangements before you arrive.

Re: First Time trip to St Maarten-St. Martin [Re: ski2play] #159289
04/20/2018 01:01 PM
04/20/2018 01:01 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 71,936
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
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Carol_Hill  Offline
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Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 71,936
Central Florida!
Yes, you need to make a car reservation ahead of time. You can try the TTOL sponsors list. Most of them are still in business, although some you may need to call, as opposed to reserving by email.

For Italian in Simpson Bay, the most popular place is probably Izi, although there is also Sal & Peppe and Isola. Isola is at Simpson Bay Resort. At SBR is also Le Patrona, which is Mexican (as in the COUNTRY, not Tex Mex). I enjoyed our meal there, but some others have not liked it. Don't go, if you're looking for Tex Mex. For seafood, the best place WAS Skipjacks, but I don't think they have reopened since the hurricane, although they were working on it.

For beaches, suggest you go to Mullet, which is a BEAUTIFUL beach, but can be crowded. Toilet is a porta potty. Rosie's there serves great ribs and chicken. Chairs and umbrellas for rent, and you can take a cooler there with you if you like. Also you might try Karakter, which is in Simpson Bay, more upscale eats, free chairs and umbrellas when you eat. As a result, do NOT take your own cooler there. Orient Beach is stunningly beautiful now, but almost no services. If you like a beautiful deserted beach, Orient would be your best bet. Bring your own cooler, umbrella, blanket, whatever, for a spectacular day on a mostly deserted beach. There are only a couple of places to eat on Orient now, down close to, and at, Club Orient, or what remains of it.

If you have any other questions, please post!


Carol Hill
Re: First Time trip to St Maarten-St. Martin [Re: ski2play] #159291
04/20/2018 01:41 PM
04/20/2018 01:41 PM
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 12,790
Brookfield, CT.
pat Offline
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pat  Offline
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Posts: 12,790
Brookfield, CT.
Hi, Ski2play and welcome to this forum.

Though they may sound silly the following are a couple of things that might be helpful:

As a first timer I’d arrange for a rental car to be delivered to you ASAP after your arrival at your accommodations. It’s not always easy to find places your first time out.
Leave nothing of any value in your car anywhere, not even locked in the glovebox or the boot.
You don’t need a special license and the driving is as in the USA as opposed to so many of the British backed islands.
You don’t need to carry your passport to go from Dutch to French sides but a copy in your wallet isn’t a bad idea.
US dollars readily accepted on both sides of the island.
Take note of the bridge opening times and avoid them like the plague. Traffic can really back up.
Food is great across the island but as an island newbie I’d avoid the out of the way places.
If you see a spot that says no parking - take it seriously as they love to tow cars.
And while all the beaches are lovely my favorites are Mullet, Friars Bay although it can be tricky to find and Simpson Bay Beach. If you pass the Sunset Beach bar and stay in the road by the runway you’ll hit ElZafiro where they offer free chairs with meal or drink purchases. Also on Simpson Bay Beach, but in the other end if it, is Marys Boon which has the same chair arrangement but it’s a little trickier to get to.

Enjoy yourself - we’ll be heading back this fall for our 44th or 45th annual SXM vacation and we haven’t tired of it yet.

Last edited by pat; 04/20/2018 02:00 PM.

Respectfully,

pat



"Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat
them."
Re: First Time trip to St Maarten-St. Martin [Re: ski2play] #159292
04/20/2018 01:47 PM
04/20/2018 01:47 PM
Joined: Oct 2017
Posts: 750
S
SammyM Offline
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SammyM  Offline
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S
Joined: Oct 2017
Posts: 750
Hello ski ... Trust me, once you visit Sint Maarten you'll always want to return! Just adding to some of the excellent suggestions above I can offer the following. Maho Beach and the Sunset Bear Bar and Restaurant are always a must for me. The planes land right on top of you and you swear you can touch their landing gear as they descend directly over this beach. The Sunset Beach Bar is adjacent to this beach and has very good food, especially the burgers. It's a little pricey, but not bad overall. The staff sometimes can get a bit stuffy and they need to smile more, but it won't diminish from your visit.

If you drive into Philipsburg, there are also some good dining options. One of my favorites is Chesterfields which is very near the cruise port. Not sure if they're up and running after Irma, but if they are you might want to consider them. Holland House Hotel also provides more upscale dining on their patio which is tiered and overlooks Great Bay, Saba, etc.

My favorite beach has always been Orient, but it's going to take a little while longer to get that area up to pre-Irma levels. I also like Friar's Bay Beach and Happy Bay Beach to the west once you pass through Grand Case. Happy Bay Beach is quite secluded and can only be reached on foot through a couple of pathways. I suppose Saint Martin simply has too many beaches to choose from! As far as sites to explore and places to visit, there are still several good options. My beloved Butterfly Farm on the French side got destroyed, but Loterie Farm is nearby and provides hiking trails,, etc. Hope you enjoy your visit.

Re: First Time trip to St Maarten-St. Martin [Re: ski2play] #159294
04/20/2018 02:20 PM
04/20/2018 02:20 PM
Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 2,040
Southport, North Carolina, US
candj Offline
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candj  Offline
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Posts: 2,040
Southport, North Carolina, US
Welcome, we stay at the Simpson Bay Resort and if you like burgers, the Buccaneer Beach Bar is located just below the resort and we think they have the best burgers on the island. Just our opinion and it is close by so you can walk to it.


Fair winds and following seas!
SSN691-May She Ever Prowl The Seas in Defense of Human Freedom!
SSN787-Preserving Peace, Prepared for War
Re: First Time trip to St Maarten-St. Martin [Re: pat] #159300
04/20/2018 02:48 PM
04/20/2018 02:48 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 71,936
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
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Carol_Hill  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 71,936
Central Florida!
pat--not a bad idea, getting the car delivered to your hotel. SBR is pretty easy to find though.

And DEFINITELY agree with leaving NOTHING in your car--at any time, at any place, for any length of time. DON'T do it!!

In addition to Buccaneer, suggest the Greenhouse, which the OP may be familiar with in St. Thomas. Owned by the same folks. They have 2 for 1 drinks, something like 4-7 PM, and half price appetizers during the same time.

Last edited by Carol_Hill; 04/20/2018 02:50 PM.

Carol Hill
Re: First Time trip to St Maarten-St. Martin [Re: ski2play] #159301
04/20/2018 02:50 PM
04/20/2018 02:50 PM
Joined: Mar 2013
Posts: 29
C
chelea Offline
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chelea  Offline
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C
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Posts: 29
I would also recommend Friar's Bay and the newly reopened Friar's Bay Beach Club for a delicious lunch. A trip over to Pinel Island for the day is also fun and both beach bars have reopened there as well.

Re: First Time trip to St Maarten-St. Martin [Re: SXMScubaman] #159302
04/20/2018 02:54 PM
04/20/2018 02:54 PM
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 3,644
Massachusetts
boucharda Offline
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boucharda  Offline
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Posts: 3,644
Massachusetts
Originally Posted by SXMScubaman
You would be best to make rental arrangements before you arrive.


Quote
Booked to stay at the Simpson Bay Resort and Marina.


Covered....

Re: First Time trip to St Maarten-St. Martin [Re: boucharda] #159307
04/20/2018 03:27 PM
04/20/2018 03:27 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 71,936
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
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Carol_Hill  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 71,936
Central Florida!
boucharda--Scubaman was talking about CAR rentals..


Carol Hill
Re: First Time trip to St Maarten-St. Martin [Re: ski2play] #159316
04/20/2018 05:21 PM
04/20/2018 05:21 PM
Joined: Jun 2008
Posts: 2,658
L
LBI2SXM Offline
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LBI2SXM  Offline
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L
Joined: Jun 2008
Posts: 2,658
And if you rent a car, driving is on the right side in SXM, not the left as in the BVI.

Re: First Time trip to St Maarten-St. Martin [Re: SXMScubaman] #159337
04/21/2018 07:29 AM
04/21/2018 07:29 AM
Joined: Aug 2013
Posts: 474
ski2play Offline OP
Traveler
ski2play  Offline OP
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Joined: Aug 2013
Posts: 474
Originally Posted by SXMScubaman
You would be best to make rental arrangements before you arrive.


Working on that today. Will check the TTOL sponsors and go from there. Thanks!



Re: First Time trip to St Maarten-St. Martin [Re: ski2play] #159338
04/21/2018 07:41 AM
04/21/2018 07:41 AM
Joined: Aug 2013
Posts: 474
ski2play Offline OP
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ski2play  Offline OP
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Joined: Aug 2013
Posts: 474
Good morning, such great responses! I usually research the heck out of a trip before we go. Right down to sunrise/sunset times! This trip is short notice so your help is the best. Thanks to each of you.

The answers on driving and passports was on my mind.

Going to dig into some planning while I watch my sweet 10 month old grandson this weekend. I will be checking (and adding to my excel trip planner) each of them out.

Stay tuned!



Re: First Time trip to St Maarten-St. Martin [Re: ski2play] #159339
04/21/2018 07:48 AM
04/21/2018 07:48 AM
Joined: Sep 2003
Posts: 17,585
St Maarten
BillandElaine Offline
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BillandElaine  Offline
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Joined: Sep 2003
Posts: 17,585
St Maarten
I wouldn't worry too much about bridge openings at this time. There are very few boats here just now.

Chesterfields and Skipjacks are NOT open. Great place for a beach day is Mary's Boon. New folks have the restaurant and bar and it's lovely there. Simpson Bay Beach is long and beautiful.

If you don't want to break the bank for great Italian, try Spaghetti House in Cupecoy. Favorites in Simpson Bay are The Palms, Thai Savanh, Sublime, Vesna Taverna


Elaine
*********************************
God Bless the broken road....
Re: First Time trip to St Maarten-St. Martin [Re: ski2play] #159341
04/21/2018 08:49 AM
04/21/2018 08:49 AM
Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 7,060
St Louis, MO
SXMNorm Offline
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SXMNorm  Offline
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Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 7,060
St Louis, MO
Second the suggestion of The Palms on Airport Rd, also St Maarten Yacht Club during Happy Hour especially for their Grouper Fingers, Pineapple Pete's is good too.


Next SXM visit - January/February 2021
Re: First Time trip to St Maarten-St. Martin [Re: ski2play] #159344
04/21/2018 09:04 AM
04/21/2018 09:04 AM
Joined: Mar 2017
Posts: 558
Maine
SXMbeacher Offline
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SXMbeacher  Offline
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Posts: 558
Maine
The St. Maarten yacht club grouper fingers are raved about all the time, and is my high priority stop next time back! It's is close to where you are staying. Disclaimer on the Orient and Happy Bay beach suggestions, you may/will see neked people, mostly in front of Club Orient. Have a great time!



[Linked Image]


Re: First Time trip to St Maarten-St. Martin [Re: ski2play] #159356
04/21/2018 10:45 AM
04/21/2018 10:45 AM
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 12,790
Brookfield, CT.
pat Offline
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pat  Offline
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Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 12,790
Brookfield, CT.
It might not be a big deal for someone who already knows the Caribbean and the yachts that are based there, but we always check the morning bridge opening times and head to the Yacht Club for breakfast to coincide with the openings. It’s pretty unique to watch the boats coming and going from that vantage point, not to mention starting the day off with a Mimosa or a Bloody Mary, the latter of which they are known for...., and any of their great breakfast offerings. I enjoy their Eggs Benedict and DH usually goes for the French Toast but we always hear people raving about their ‘drunken pancakes’..... At least, I think that’s what they’re called?


Respectfully,

pat



"Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat
them."
Re: First Time trip to St Maarten-St. Martin [Re: ski2play] #159358
04/21/2018 10:59 AM
04/21/2018 10:59 AM
Joined: Sep 2003
Posts: 17,585
St Maarten
BillandElaine Offline
Traveler
BillandElaine  Offline
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Joined: Sep 2003
Posts: 17,585
St Maarten
Ah, but the yachts, for the most part, are gone this time of year Pat! Frequently, the bridge does not even open.


Elaine
*********************************
God Bless the broken road....
Re: First Time trip to St Maarten-St. Martin [Re: Carol_Hill] #159381
04/21/2018 09:47 PM
04/21/2018 09:47 PM
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 3,644
Massachusetts
boucharda Offline
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boucharda  Offline
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Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 3,644
Massachusetts
Originally Posted by Carol_Hill
boucharda--Scubaman was talking about CAR rentals..


Oops.....yup, see that now

Re: First Time trip to St Maarten-St. Martin [Re: ski2play] #159441
04/22/2018 06:46 PM
04/22/2018 06:46 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 2,616
Southern Maryland suburbs of D...
Bill_S Offline
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Bill_S  Offline
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Posts: 2,616
Southern Maryland suburbs of D...
One additional item of interest. SXM does NOT change to Daylight Savings Time. The time in the summer is still Atlantic Standard Time, which is the same as Eastern Daylight Time on the US east coast.

So... since you will be 1,000 miles further east, the sun will rise really early...like about 4 or 5 am, and if you want to watch the sunset from French St Martin it will occur around 6-7 pm.

No big deal, but don't be surprised by the " early" sunrise and sunset...

Bill


Bill

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