Traveltalkonline.com Forums


SXM Cruise Schedule TTOL Sponsors SXM Travel Calendar
Forum Statistics
Forums39
Topics34,950
Posts276,348
Members26,060
Most Online2,218
Jan 21st, 2020
Top Posters(30 Days)
pat 58
Colour1 35
jomarc 34
Manpot 31
Member Spotlight
dfmsml
dfmsml
Virginia
Posts: 94
Joined: September 2003
Show All Member Profiles 
Today's Birthdays
Timetugether
Who's Online Now
18 registered members (Buddyhog, ckamradt, MrEZgoin, beachy, xrayman67, BeachInertia, Zanshin, dlparch, Matt W, Clod, 8 invisible), 109 guests, and 75 spiders.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Rate Thread
More Questions sorry a little long : ( #273841
01/20/2022 05:17 PM
01/20/2022 05:17 PM
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 74
Nebraska
WILLVINO Offline OP
Traveler
WILLVINO  Offline OP
Traveler
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 74
Nebraska
I know this is long and I just want you all to know that I did do alot of searches before compiling my list of questions so that hopefully I answered a few on my own already and cut my list down to just the ones below ha..

Here is a little background about my trips.....

My last trip to SXM was in May 2017. I have missed that beautiful island so much. My late husband Russ and I started visiting the island in 1997. We stayed at the Sapphire Beach Club for 2 weeks and loved every moment of it. We took one or two international trips a year depending on the distance etc and had been to Barbados, St. Thomas, Aruba, Cancun, hawaii, mediterranean coast etc and we fell in love with SXM the minute we landed (our other love is Marbella Spain but SXM is much closer : ). I have never been able to explain to people why everything feels different in SXM vs other Caribbean islands. We felt at ease and loved the people, the beaches and the food. So it became a regular vacation place. We have a couple of timeshares in Colorado and we use RCI to trade. We took my sisters and their husbands on a trip there to do a celebration of life for my father who wanted his ashes in the Caribbean since we are from Cuba originally and Cuba was not an option. Russ and I thought SXM was the perfect place so we did a family trip and my family also fell in love with the island. We rented a villa on Orient and once they left Russ and I stayed for another week. One of my sister's and her husband loved the island so much they work hard on building a vacation fund so that they can join us on our SXM trips from time to time.

Sadly my husband of 30 years passed away in 2018 after 7 years of battling aggressive prostate cancer. Our last trip which included my sister and brother-in-law was for my 50th birthday in May 2017. We had to cancel the 2018 trip due to his illness and I couldn't get myself to go in 2019 because of sadness. After being consumed by sadness, loneliness and depression for over a year, I met a very nice gentleman and got married fairly quickly. His brother was dating my best friend and I went on a group outing where they were setting Rich up with someone else but someone we connected and the other person was not interested so her loss and my gain ha... My experience with death showed me that life is too short and we can't waste a minute of it. We dated for a couple of months and got married. We are both in our early 50s with no kids. Rich is from Nebraska (that is where I grew up after immigrating from Cuba) and he had never travelled outside the US and had not travelled much in general. On one of our first dates I told him if he wanted to date me he needed a passport and he got one right away. We ended up going to Grand Cayman for our honeymoon because I still did not have the courage to visit SXM without Russ and we booked a SXM trip for 2021. With COVID etc we changed our SXM trip to Hawaii so that it was a bit easier which gave me more time to adapt to the idea of visiting SXM without Russ. We rebooked for July of 2022 to celebrate our wedding anniversary. We originally booked a week on the island at Belair (my favorite place) and one week on Tradewinds sail which is something I had never done with Russ so that felt good. Rich is excited to visit the island I constantly talk about and I hope he falls in love with it also. He is very understanding of the situation and I do plan on putting a few of Russ' ashes in the ocean as that was one of Russ' wishes.

My husband, Rich is fully vaccinated, but I am not due to a health condition, so unfortunately I am not allowed on Tradewinds sails and that portion has been cancelled. We are still going and I am just working on the rest of the trip etc thus why I had previously asked about places to stay etc.

I am now searching posts to see what has changed in the last 5 years as I know IRMA caused alot of changes etc. I saw that Dreams is no longer there which made me so very sad but

Sorry for the long post, it felt good to post it here. I read so many great reviews and other chats on here that although I have never gone to a TTOL party I am familiar with many of your names and am very appreciative of your reports and pictures.

Here are my questions:

1. I read the sushi chef from Dreams went to La Playa so was excited to go there. I went to their website and there was a note about having to show a vaccine card or negative test within 72 hours. Given that I am not vaccinated, my negative test to enter the country will be good for 72 hours but what about beyond that? Will I be able to visit any of the French side restaurants?

2. We loved Dreams just because it was low key and relaxing. Is there anyplace like that anywhere else? We loved that we could have lunch and hang out on the beach chairs and make it a day. We would take a dip on the beach if we were hot etc..

3. Are there any beach bars that include the beach chairs as long as you buy food and drinks etc?? Or are they all independent in Orient?

4. We usually go to SXM in May and have visited in January and September. We have always preferred May as it was less busy and September we found too many things closed. July is off season right so will it be less crowded? Is there anything that we need to know about July? More mosquitos etc. I know it is hurricane season.

5. I have read many posts about some restaurants to try etc so I am excited about trying new things and making new special memories with new hubby although I will need to visit a few of the old places that we had visited before such as Oceans 82, Chesterfields, etc but as I was reading some older posts so that I am not redundant and ask the same things, I saw that there were comments about the beach bar in divi no longer being there? Is that correct? If so did they replace it with anything? Also what about Serafinas in Marigot? Is that still open and is it still good?

6. Carol Hill, I know that you stayed at a villa in Pelican ??? Do you have rental information for that place? It looked really good and I am trying to decided if I should do something like that which has a private pool type thing or stay at a more resorty place like Royal Palms which I know you said you have stayed at and is nice and so centrally located. I am leaning towards Royal Palms right now but have read some reviews about how loud it is etc so the peacefulness of a more remote location appealed to me too. We are usually in bed by 10 ha...Also was there wi-fi in the villa you rented? I am trying to see if my company will let me work remotely for a few weeks so that we can extend our stay a little. If it wasn't for having to board a dog and they allowed it I would consider doing a couple of months there but maybe not in midst of hurricane season ha... Or any other villa ideas (ocean view and full kitchen) are welcomed. Will want to stay on Dutch side to avoid any vaccination issues and budget is up to $3k a week. Less is better so that we can enjoy other things but I never know what you can get for the money ha..

7. Seaweed. I know it is a nature thing and noone can control it but what can I expect of the beaches? Are there some areas that are affected more than others? When we went to Grand Cayman we could not use the beach in front of our resort due to the seaweed and the smell was awful. I read on this board that Orient was pretty bad over the holidays so wondered about other areas?

8. Safety and French side. I have read here reports of protests etc. We are not ones to stay out late etc and are fairly cautious when traveling. We do love Grand Case for dinner so wondered if it was safe to go there and if we should take the bridge and go through Marigot rather than the Quarter de Orleans route if we do venture that way?

9. What is left at the Marina. I know Tropicana used to be one of my favorites. I know with the hurricane and even prior to that the Marina didn't have much left?

10. Rich loves to fish and I would love to take him Deep Sea fishing during our stay. Are there any recommendations? I did reach out to Neil of Celine as I thought it might be fun to do a sail and maybe stay overnight a few nights etc but it is a bit out of our price range for a private charter as I was hoping to keep it to under $2k a day. I sent Neil a message (he is so nice) to see what we might be able to work out since it is off season or I am trying to see if another couple is interested and then we can share the cost but just in case I thought that I would at least explore other deep sea fishing options. Any suggestions would be appreciated.


11. I have never done the boats to pinel can anyone comment on that experience and how to get there etc? Is it safe to leave the car where you get the boat? We are renting from Lesley.

Lesley if you are reading this I am going to have to update my reservation as I will need a car for a little longer it looks but let me see what I figure out for how long I am staying and then I will let you know right away. Right now it would be 7/9 - 7/27 but we will see.


Happy to read anyone else's trip tips. Oh and I am not concerned about testing etc. We decided if we have to stay longer that is ok by us. We do have travel insurance or can just pay for it. Rather be by the beach in quarantine than at home anyday ha..

I am super excited about the trip and hope it all works out. Sincere thank you to everyone who contributes here. I have learned so much from all of you and it has always helped us make a better trip. I look forward to your responses.

Irene

SXM Sponsors
Re: More Questions sorry a little long : ( [Re: WILLVINO] #273842
01/20/2022 05:25 PM
01/20/2022 05:25 PM
Joined: May 2002
Posts: 4,673
Kennys Online content
Traveler
Kennys  Online Content
Traveler
Joined: May 2002
Posts: 4,673
Hello Irene ,
Very touchy story and wishing you and new Husband the best in life to come.
Please resend me an E-mail on the dates because I just checked and didn't find any .
Thanks very much. Lesley.

Last edited by Kennys; 01/20/2022 05:26 PM.
Re: More Questions sorry a little long : ( [Re: WILLVINO] #273848
01/20/2022 06:23 PM
01/20/2022 06:23 PM
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 371
San Diego
BarleyMan Offline
Traveler
BarleyMan  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 371
San Diego
Hi Irene,

We are scheduled for a sail on TW in a few weeks.

I can comment on a Pinel trip. We went a few years ago, and it was great. Very relaxing, we had a great time standing in the water with a table, having a few cocktails. The restaurant we went to was great, right on the beach. We had a taxi, so didn't park. But we did visit the Ma Dou Dou factory beforehand. My wife loves Ma Dou Dou. The factory is a nice stop on your way.

Have fun!!


[Linked Image]
Re: More Questions sorry a little long : ( [Re: WILLVINO] #273856
01/20/2022 07:41 PM
01/20/2022 07:41 PM
Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 170
Washington State
Todd_Melinda_K Offline
Traveler
Todd_Melinda_K  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 170
Washington State
Hello Irene, thank you for sharing your story. I’m so glad you are planning on coming back to SXM to create new memories.

We just came back from staying on the French side. Although I do believe the restaurants are supposed to ask for your proof of vaccination, we only experienced one restaurant that did and that was Spiga in GC. When they confirmed our reservation, they mentioned that we would need to have our vax cards with us. But then when we arrived for dinner they never asked to see them. Go figure..

I miss the atmosphere at Dreams too. I do feel you can get that same feel at Wai Plage or Kontiki on Orient. I did not get a chance to go to Coco Beach on Orient, but from the looks of the pictures I’ve seen it looks very nice.

For us a day trip to Pinel is a must. You can park and catch the ferry at the end of road in Cul de Sac. The parking area is large and we’ve always felt safe leaving our car there. Is $12/pp cash to ride the ferry. Make a reservation ahead of time at either of the 2 restaurants (both are fabulous) of you want chairs/umbrella in the front row, a reservation will also secure you a time for lunch.

We never felt unsafe on the French side and there were no protests going on when we were there. But things can change quickly. As a rule, it’s generally safer to avoid Sandy Ground, especially at night. We drove through a couple times during the day and there were no issues.

Re: More Questions sorry a little long : ( [Re: WILLVINO] #273866
01/20/2022 09:47 PM
01/20/2022 09:47 PM
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 13,987
Brookfield, CT.
pat Offline
Traveler
pat  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 13,987
Brookfield, CT.
Like so many others here, we also enjoyed the quiet and laidback atmosphere at Dreams even if we didn’t particularly care for the slanted beach there. The food, furnishings and service were all excellent and honestly, I don’t think it can be matched elsewhere on the island when you take everything into consideration.

We thoroughly enjoy the occasional day at Anse Marcel Beach Club. The food is wonderful as is the service but it’s what I consider to be quite expensive and you must pay for the chair set-ups whether you dine there or not. It’s a drive for us since we’re on the Dutch side of the island near the airport and we always make reservations for both chairs and lunch.

We often frequent ElZafiro on Simpson Bay Beach right next door to Beachside Villas where we stay. Chair set-ups are free with meals and they serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. The bathrooms are decent and they do offer Beach service but I find it less than pleasant when they have cruise ship guests.

We also enjoy Friars Bay Beach Club. Chairs aren’t free but are discounted with meal purchase and the food is very good. We didn’t get there last trip but friends who did said they no longer have chair cushions for the hard plastic chairs which would be a deal breaker for me.

I could go on and on - so many excellent places on this tiny little island. Word has it there are at least two great places on Grand Case Beach with full service food and drink on the beach but we haven’t been there ourselves so I hesitate to recommend them.

Hope you have a lovely trip - it’s such an incredible destination. 😊😊


Respectfully,

pat



"Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat
them."
Re: More Questions sorry a little long : ( [Re: WILLVINO] #273878
01/21/2022 08:37 AM
01/21/2022 08:37 AM
Joined: Jul 2011
Posts: 1,421
Westchester /NYC
Colour1 Offline
Traveler
Colour1  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Jul 2011
Posts: 1,421
Westchester /NYC
Welcome back to our home away from home! I'm glad you are back living your life again!!! It's never easy!!! Have you thought about staying at Beachside Villa's???? (ask for Tracy) As much as we loved Royal Palm before Irma! It seems that no one has got a handle on the ridiculously LOUD music from Roxxy beach! We are true to BSV, and both back in April and November the music was POUNDING loud all the way to our unit # one. Way into the night. Fortunately we to, are down for the evening, so with the doors closed and the AC on, We get a good night sleep! On things to do for fun. Try The Rhino Safari riders!! (Ask for Leo) Leaves at 9:30 from the dock behind Pineapple Pete's, goes through the lagoon all the way up to Creole rock where you pit stop for some snorkeling! three hours apx round trip. So much fun!! Welcome home!!! https://www.rhinotours.com/ http://www.beachsidevillas.com/

Attached Files BSV chairs and beach (2).jpgDavid Rhino gang 2019.jpg

Sand Gravity, got to love it!
Re: More Questions sorry a little long : ( [Re: WILLVINO] #273883
01/21/2022 09:36 AM
01/21/2022 09:36 AM
Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 3,911
Rhode Island
RonDon Offline
Traveler
RonDon  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 3,911
Rhode Island
Your story was touching. It's difficult to start anew but you're doing it the right way with trips to new locations with your new husband to make new memories.

At times it may be difficult to visit places shared with your first husband so avoid those restaurants etc on SXM where you had memories and visit new places with Rich to make those new memories to warm you.

Have a great time.

Re: More Questions sorry a little long : ( [Re: WILLVINO] #273889
01/21/2022 10:01 AM
01/21/2022 10:01 AM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 78,175
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
Traveler
Carol_Hill  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 78,175
Central Florida!
Hi. The place we stayed in was called Sera Bells. A link to the VRBO site is here. Link

Enjoy your trip!


Carol Hill
Re: More Questions sorry a little long : ( [Re: WILLVINO] #273903
01/21/2022 01:39 PM
01/21/2022 01:39 PM
Joined: Jul 2011
Posts: 260
S
StMartinFan Offline
Traveler
StMartinFan  Offline
Traveler
S
Joined: Jul 2011
Posts: 260
I hope you have a wonderful trip and add to your memories of the island, I can respond to one of your questions…the beach bar at Divi, Gizmos, is open and still has some of the familiar bartenders that have been there for years, and Gizmo visits often herself. They have added a small counter area adjacent that serves Mexican food and there's also a swim up bar located in the newly-remodeled pool above the beach bar area. The SeaBreeze restaurant beside the other pool wasn't serving when we were there in November because of lower occupancy but that bar was open during the day.

Re: More Questions sorry a little long : ( [Re: WILLVINO] #273914
01/21/2022 03:26 PM
01/21/2022 03:26 PM
Joined: Jun 2008
Posts: 1,188
CT
pony600 Offline
Traveler
pony600  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Jun 2008
Posts: 1,188
CT
Hi Irene, and welcome.
We have found mosquitos to be a problem in times with no wind, so I guess it would depend on the weather conditions while you're there.
Serafinas is still in Marigot, in the marina on the side opposite Tropicana. Its near a great restaurant called Cool "something". Maybe someone here could help with the name. Serafinas is much smaller than it used to be. I would not feel safe to go to the marina at night and I have read others on this forum that feel the same way.
I have always felt safe on the French side. That is where we always stay. Of course, common sense will tell you to not wear flashy jewelry anywhere on the island, and to follow safety guidelines as you would anywhere...
Have you considered staying on the French side? Grand Case Beach Club (GCBC) is a wonderful gated place and you can walk into town for dinner if you wish.
Best of luck with your trip, and congratulations on your marriage!
And, of course, we all expect a long trip report when you get back!


[Linked Image]



If life hands you a lemon, just squeeze it on a lobster!
Re: More Questions sorry a little long : ( [Re: pat] #273922
01/21/2022 04:46 PM
01/21/2022 04:46 PM
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 4,737
Massachusetts
boucharda Offline
Traveler
boucharda  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 4,737
Massachusetts
Originally Posted by pat


We also enjoy Friars Bay Beach Club. Chairs aren’t free but are discounted with meal purchase and the food is very good. We didn’t get there last trip but friends who did said they no longer have chair cushions for the hard plastic chairs which would be a deal breaker for me.


Friar's Bay chairs have cushions...walked by them today

Re: More Questions sorry a little long : ( [Re: WILLVINO] #273928
01/21/2022 05:55 PM
01/21/2022 05:55 PM
Joined: May 2021
Posts: 66
E
erb923 Offline
Traveler
erb923  Offline
Traveler
E
Joined: May 2021
Posts: 66
Be Kool is the restaurant in Marigot, super good! Visited in December, would highly recommend.

Attached Files be kool.jpgbe kool 2.jpg
Re: More Questions sorry a little long : ( [Re: boucharda] #273934
01/21/2022 08:42 PM
01/21/2022 08:42 PM
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 13,987
Brookfield, CT.
pat Offline
Traveler
pat  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 13,987
Brookfield, CT.
Originally Posted by boucharda
Originally Posted by pat


We also enjoy Friars Bay Beach Club. Chairs aren’t free but are discounted with meal purchase and the food is very good. We didn’t get there last trip but friends who did said they no longer have chair cushions for the hard plastic chairs which would be a deal breaker for me.


Friar's Bay chairs have cushions...walked by them today


Good to know. Daughter was there very recently and they did NOT have them then. We really enjoy FBBC. 😊😊


Respectfully,

pat



"Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat
them."
Re: More Questions sorry a little long : ( [Re: WILLVINO] #273935
01/21/2022 09:49 PM
01/21/2022 09:49 PM
Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 825
Mississauga, ON, Canada
Southshore Offline
Traveler
Southshore  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 825
Mississauga, ON, Canada
Your post touched a chord with me. My husband and I first went to SXM in 1992 and fell in love with the island. We went back 25 times, often twice a year, until he became ill around 2013 and passed away in 2018. I'm not sure I could go back to SXM without him. We both thought that SXM had a very "adult" vibe - the food, the nightlife, the beaches, the shopping. I hope you have a wonderful trip.

May I add one piece of advice, learned in my second career overseeing a cemetery and crematorium? If you scatter ashes, please ensure that no one is standing downwind, that no one can inhale them. Very harmful.

Re: More Questions sorry a little long : ( [Re: boucharda] #273938
01/21/2022 11:43 PM
01/21/2022 11:43 PM
Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 4,421
Newtown, CT
kim Offline
Traveler
kim  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 4,421
Newtown, CT
Originally Posted by boucharda
Originally Posted by pat


We also enjoy Friars Bay Beach Club. Chairs aren’t free but are discounted with meal purchase and the food is very good. We didn’t get there last trip but friends who did said they no longer have chair cushions for the hard plastic chairs which would be a deal breaker for me.


Friar's Bay chairs have cushions...walked by them today


We were there all day Sunday 1/16. At Friars Bay Beach Cafe (not Kalis or 978) and Fbbc def did not have cushions. Did they get new chairs?

Re: More Questions sorry a little long : ( [Re: WILLVINO] #273944
01/22/2022 07:12 AM
01/22/2022 07:12 AM
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 4,737
Massachusetts
boucharda Offline
Traveler
boucharda  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 4,737
Massachusetts
They looked like they had/have a greenish cushion..not thick but definitely not hard

Pic from a few days ago

Attached Files 20220113_155847.jpg
Re: More Questions sorry a little long : ( [Re: boucharda] #273953
01/22/2022 08:44 AM
01/22/2022 08:44 AM
Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 4,421
Newtown, CT
kim Offline
Traveler
kim  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 4,421
Newtown, CT
Yes. That’s not a cushion. Just the chair webbing.

Re: More Questions sorry a little long : ( [Re: WILLVINO] #274006
01/23/2022 07:10 AM
01/23/2022 07:10 AM
Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 4,271
Portland, OR
jazzgal Offline
Traveler
jazzgal  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 4,271
Portland, OR
2. Coco Beach on Orient and Anse Marcel Beach Restaurant (may not be exact name)
8. I would take the Marigot route to go to Grand Case. Avoid Sandy Ground at night.
9. La Petite Auberge at the marina has been getting good mention lately. I used to love it years ago and plan to return on my next trip in June.


[Linked Image]
Re: More Questions sorry a little long : ( [Re: erb923] #274046
01/23/2022 03:12 PM
01/23/2022 03:12 PM
Joined: Jun 2008
Posts: 1,188
CT
pony600 Offline
Traveler
pony600  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Jun 2008
Posts: 1,188
CT
Thank you- Yes "Be Kool" is the restaurant I meant. I agree, it is super good!


[Linked Image]



If life hands you a lemon, just squeeze it on a lobster!
Re: More Questions sorry a little long : ( [Re: Southshore] #274049
01/23/2022 04:40 PM
01/23/2022 04:40 PM
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 74
Nebraska
WILLVINO Offline OP
Traveler
WILLVINO  Offline OP
Traveler
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 74
Nebraska
Southshore, Thank you so much and I am sorry for your loss.

Thanks for advice on the ashes. We are very careful.

Carol, Thanks for the info on the place you stayed. It looks so nice.

Jazzgal, thanks for the suggestions. I will check them out.

Erb923, Thanks for the menu pics - those mussles look delicious. I will have to try them.

Thank you to everyone for taking the time to post and for all of the advice you have offered. Really appreciate it and I am very excited about the trip.

You guys are all great. I love reading all of the travel reports etc. I will work on one while I am in the island and share info as well.

Re: More Questions sorry a little long : ( [Re: WILLVINO] #274050
01/23/2022 04:53 PM
01/23/2022 04:53 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 78,175
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
Traveler
Carol_Hill  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 78,175
Central Florida!
WILLVINO--if you have any specific questions about Sera Bella, let me know.

Best wishes on your trip.


Carol Hill

Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.6.1