Touring St Maarten/St Martin, Dutch and French in one day
February 15th, 2017, Posted by travelwith2ofus
Nikks and I both agree that St Maarten/St Martin is one of the most beautiful Caribbean islands we have visited. However, it is unfortunate that we did not get enough photos to do justice to our claims. The trip was really short, we had just about five hours to take in all we could with the little time we had in St Maarten/St Martin.
We arrived in Philipsburg and docked in Port St. Maarten around 12 noon on December 20th. We disembarked the ship, eagerly wanting to spend some time on this beautiful island with two different identities. We visited the tourist booth and checked what tours were available. After flipping through the information, and having a chat with the booth attendant we decided that we would take a tour of both the French and Dutch sides of the islands.
St Maarten/St Martin is actually a very interesting little island. It is just 37 square miles and is shared by two nations, the Dutch and the French. What is more interesting is that Dutch St Maarten is an independent country within this set up. Interesting, I know, right!
Anyway, we boarded our mini bus with several other visitors; some we recognized from our cruise ship and others who were probably from another ship. There were other cruise ships docked in the port. The Carnival Vista docked next to us made the Costa Magica, our ship, look like … well small. We later learnt from the driver of the mini bus that there are sometimes more than five ships docked in the port at once. The Port of St Maarten is one of the few cruise ship ports in the Caribbean that can accommodate the Harmony of the Seas, which is currently the largest cruise ship in the world.
More on the Dutch and French Caribbean islands here.
The tour was about three hours long and the first stop we made was at Cole Bay Hill where we got an amazing view of Cole Bay Town and Simpson Bay Lagoon. It is really breathtaking. After spending around twenty minutes or so, and finally catching my breath I saw a small café not to far from the lookout. I thought it would be the ideal time to get some refreshments. I asked the attendant at the café if I can have a local beer? You would never guess what her reply was. Heineken she said. It took me a couple of minutes to understand what she meant. Let me know if you figured it out. Hint, what is the local beer of The Netherlands? Ah ha! Now you understand.
Cole bay hill and a local beer
Maho beach, No more KLM Boeing 747sThe next stop was the famous Maho Beach. Famous you ask? It is the beach close to the Princess Juliana International Airport which have been featured in as much photos as grains of beach sand in St Maarten/St Martin. These photos are of airplanes approaching the runway, but which flies over the beach with individuals reaching to the sky and making it appear that the planes are within touching range. Unfortunately we did not get the opportunity to pose for such a picture. We later understood that the KLM Boeing 747s, which is seen in most of the photos, will no longer be in service and will be replaced by the much smaller Airbus 330. Ahh! Opportunity lost! The last KLM Blue painted 747 flight to St Maarten took place in October 2016.
Coconut water, Vibes at this bar, Tequilla Beer
Anyway, we stopped at Maho Beach for about twenty to thirty minutes. It was supposed to be twenty. We found out later that we were the ones keeping back the bus because we got caught up in the vibes at the beach club. They know how to party out there. We sat at the bar and issued a challenge to the bar man. We like rum and go! He made us a pretty colored drink, and while it looked pretty it was not really anything special. But, who cares once it has rum in it right. Also, look out for the rasta hair styled coconut vendor at the side of the road a couple meters from the beach club. Not only will you get refreshing coconut water, but you can get it with a little rum if you desire. He is a chatty fellow and will keep you entertained as well.
We crossed over to the French side and the next stop was Marigot. It is the main town and capital of the French side. We visited some of the shops and generally acted like tourist. After having our fill of Marigot, we sat down at a café and had a local beverage. Well not exactly. I had something called Cortes Tequila Beer. It's beer, tequila and a hint of sweetness. Win! Win! Win! By the way, in case you are curious, Cortes Tequila Beer is brewed in Poland. Go figure.
most popular beach on the island
The last stop we made was at Orient Beach, which is supposed to be the most popular beach on the island. Besides its beauty it is also known as a swimsuit optional beach. Nikks was interested in taking a jet ski ride, but the sea was a bit rough and there weren't many activities for that day. Of course the bars are always open in any weather and we planted roots at one of the bars. Had a couple of drinks and some fried calamari and that was the end of that.
We headed back to the cruise port with a couple hours to spare, sat in one of the restaurants located close to the cruise ship port and enjoyed their free wifi until it was time to head back to the ship. Yet, another wonderful trip under our belts. Other islands we visited include the Dominican Republic, Martinique, Antigua and Barbuda and Guadeloupe.
If you are visiting St Maarten/St Martin remember:
The official currency of St Maarten (Dutch side) is the Netherlands Antillean guilder or Florin. The currency for St Martin (French side) is the Euro. The US Dollar is accept on both sides.
If you are in St Maarten and you make a phone call to St Martin you will be charged for an international call.
HEADING TO THE ST MAARTEN/ST MARTIN? THEN WE RECOMMEND THESE:
Have you ever visited St Maarten/St Martin? Would did you think about the island?
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