After having gotten so much advice here, this is my chance to pay it forward.
Haven.t done a trip report in years, since my epic Concorde flight that later landed me on the Discovery Channel. Bear with me.Sunday
: Left Long Island @ 0510, arrived @ smartpark @ 0541, then arrived at JetblueT5 @ 0600, cleared the TSA checkpoint, with preTSA, by 0610.
flew on JB 787 lv @0800, actual departure @ 0825, arrived Maho @1216 local
When we got our timeshare @ La Terasse, we were young, married and no kids. The goal was to find a place with a mix of culture and potential to make memories, within 15 minutes of landing. It was a no brainer. Literally arrived at our unit at La Terasse to find a man painting the ceiling in front of our entrance. This was a prelude to the amount of 24 hr work that I saw being done at our TS as well as at Sonesta.
Our fridge was properly stocked by Jeannie with sxmshopand drop. Soon we were at Maho and the Driftwood, putting back Driftwood punches like it was the end of days. The waves were awesome and our 12 and 9 year olds loved it and could not get enough. Then we went to the Terasse pool for a bit, then dinner at Toppers. The coconut shrimp were off the charts. The brisket was ...good. Moist and well cooked but I was expecting a BBQ version of sorts. We met with Topper who invited us to see the Thursday night show. After dinner, we headed back to LT and....well, with kids...we called it a night and watched some TV.Monday
We planned for breakfast in the unit each morning along with Eta's ice cream at least once a day (Or QD, as we say in medicine, doctors orders
They drove to Buccaneer Beach bar on Kim Sha but the kids felt the waves were too mellow and it was quiet there. So we found Little Bay
instead and they enjoyed that. Note that the original road that leads to Little Bay, near a school, is closed off with rocks. But a venture further past the road to the hotel (can't recall the name) had a side road that led to Little Bay. Little Bay was pebbly in places but the kids found a smooth spot and enjoyed the waves.
From there, it was 5 mins into Philipsburg. As there were no cruiseships in town, it was DEAD...It was about noon when we were there. Not even a shot at taking a jetski ride but nice enough for a stroll with zero crowds and restaurants looking for ANY business. Then took a ride to the Rainforest Adventure park, which is just past Marks Place. The kids were too light for the biplane, so we told them we'd visit them in a few years. Lunch a Mark's Place was mozzarella sticks, the bacon chicken gouda burger and ....I had the chicken Satay. All good!
So guess where we went next? We apparently we birthed fish, so we were at Maho and Driftwood until past sunset. Then back to LT pool, and dinner at 3 Amigos. Good mexican food.
Took a walk along the upstairs of Sonesta where Sopranos Piano was and the entire upstairs is being gutted . Potential. But downstairs, there was 3 Amigos, a Pizza place, a video game lounge, cigar place and ice cream place. Tuesday
We started with at pool at LT; then scoped out Karakter, lunch at Pineapple Petes. PP we had the breaded chicken special and wifey had the Caesar salad. From the rear, Rhino boats were launching tours and we saw a few head out. Then headed to Grand Case as it was Tuesday and wanted to see the festivities.
But first took a drive to see Orient Bay and the wind shores there. Lots of kite surfing out there. Then drove to our beloved Galion and butterfly farm and....well, had you not known about the butterfly farm, you would not had known it existed. Only a concrete floor clues the observer that something was once there. A family of goats herded through the remains.
Gallon was as I remembered but ...undeveloped. Open but no facilities. The kids climbed some trees and we reminisced . This beach has the potential to reinvent itself.
Grand Case was a dichotomy. Pretty as usual but the devastation was in your face. We sat at a place playing cards and hydrating as the merchants all set up. You could see a lot of places boarded up on the first floor, but the second floor remains were open for all to see the devastation. Just awesome....
The kids enjoyed crepes with nutella and we just bought food and drink along the street, happy to spend the $$. I saw a hotel at the end of the street...Cherises IIRC. I would consider a stay there in the future.
Dinner was at Cynthia's talk of the Town Lolo and we were seated across from a loud vocal performer. That was the only gripe. the food was, Oh, my goodness, insanely good! We ordered, for 4 of us, the ribs, chicken breast, rice and beans and corn. $25 with tip and we were full. Now, understand my folks are from the Caribbean and my mother can outcook many people in may types of food (the women can cook haitian, french, lebanese, italian,...). But I think Cynthias beat here Rice and beans. DO NOT TELL MY MOM. And let me say this.....I love to eat. But one thing that keeps me at a healthy weight is the following "Its never as good as the first bite" That said, I take a forkful of rice and just chew and let the taste caress my tongue and palette. It was orgasmic.
By our last bite, the full moon and rain started so we paid the check and drove back to LT. A perfect Tuesday.Wednesday
Has anyone been seeing the recent "best of Geico" commercials? Weds was HUMP day. LOL We started out with a drive to Karakter but got there around 1030 and there was a sign saying they would have no service between noon and 5 because of the death of a ministers son. So we reasoned with the kids to head elsewhere for the day..
So we spent 6 hrs at Buccaneer Beach Bar/Kim Sha. Yes, it was too gentle for the kids but they met kids from cruise ships and they reveled in the fun. with 2 4 1 drinks all day (surely watered down) it was good fun all day.
Then we headed back to LT. Kids wanted to go to Maho again. !!!!!! I told them if I see a spot, we can do sunset. Spent another 2 hours there! (Im a tough Dad on vacay.....cant you tell? LOL)
from there, we headed back to Captains Rib lolo in Simpson Bay. Holy Angels in heaven. The ribs were seasoned to die for. Understand that I know ribs. I smoke them 3 hours and them use the steam convection oven 1:20 mins to make them tender fall off the bone. My Super Bowl Parties are packed b/c of my ribs.... Captains ribs are BBQed and made different but they are great.
Captain D needs to sell that dry rub. Thursday
Croissants at La Sucreire, then road trip to Parrotville. The main road through was blocked so we had to find our way around but made it. Spent an hour there and would highly advise it. Run by a father daughter , with a museum on the side (MUST DO)
They take pride in what they do.
Then a quick drive the dock to jump on a quick ferry ride to Pinel. Spent about 3.5 hrs there. The kids enjoyed the large iguanas, hermit crabs (which they all named ) and met some local children there. We sat next to a lovely young lady who was a local and worked the event planning industry there. She was thankful to have us back visiting . That means a lot.
Back from Pinel can only mean once thing.......drove back to LT and back on Maho Beach until was past dark. Then we showered and headed out to Isola for dinner.
Now, from a Long Island/Brooklyn is 40 mins away POV, Isola was meh. I mean, we can get amazing italina food for a fraction of the price. But they made a pretty good brick oven pizza and I had a pineapple chicken salad. The wife got...Chicken Parm and daughter got gnocchi. The dishes were all quite good. Friday
our last full day. We were gonna just go to Karakter but instead took the advice of a friend and went to el Zafiro. Set up 4 chairs there and spent a good 4 hours there. Honestly for a family of 4, with drinks (at least 4 each) and mozzarella sticks, I think we spent $80. The waves there was wild and the kids were happy in the water. Took a walk up toward karakter and got halfway before turning. It was a beautiful stretch of beach.
We skipped out for lunch and got the schwarma at Little Jerusalem and ate in the car on the way back to LT. Vey good and not overpowered by tahini as can sometimes happen. Got back to Maho so......well, why not. Another sunset at Maho Beach with the kids in the water. Had a pizza and some wings at Driftwood and they do a nice job there. Saturday
last day we spent poolside. For a flight on JB 788 @ 1500, we arrived at PJIA at 1206. Had to check in manually with JetBlue and we were past security at 1237. With boarding at 1425, I was annoyed to blow that time in the airport. . But as this is a busy time for departures on a Saturday, you can't take chances.
So thats it. . I thought we'd take a snorkel trip /speedboat trip, but my fish, ahem, children, were completely content to wallow in the waves all day. (By daughter looks like an Oreo cookie.....Thank G-D they can tan! )
I still can't get over how they loved Maho so much. I initially loved Maho as a self proclaimed avgeek, but they just could not get enough of the waves there.
Didn't have to plan a thing. Every day just took its course.
Lastly, regarding a thread about timeshares last week, I have to say so far Mr Sparado is doing a good job. We only make it here every 2-4 years. Its the only island we've been to in the Caribbean (aside from a trip to Haiti in the 70s) but we know its the best for us. And we hear from so many about how of all the islands they went to, SXM was the best.
Hope to post pics later.