St.Maarten is beautiful! We decided to take a taxi for $20 to the French side of the island at Maho Beach. We had food at the beach bar there.. it was ok. Then we watched the planes come in over the beach. It was pretty cool. There are a lot of solicitors on the beach but they are polite. We caught a taxi back which took us directly to the ship (avoiding the water taxi). We cleaned up and came back out for drinks and walking the boardwalk. Very friendly people trying to make a living and rebuild. The sites are worth it.
I was very fortunate to visit on Christmas Day 100 days after the hurricane hit St. Maarten. Locals on the pier greeted us with smiling faces and held banners welcoming us. I had mixed feelings about a Christmas Day stop here as St. Maarten residents are very spiritual but I also know they need our support and they made us feel very welcome. I took an island tour by bus excursion. I’ve been here many times but it was interesting to hear about island history, the relationship between the Dutch and French sides and to see the parts I’ve never visited. Yes the damage from the hurricane was very apparent but it in no way impacted our day here. Nicholas our tour guide was excellent. With family in both counties and having served in the French army he knew the island well. Many of my fellow guests were lined up on the pier for various excursions and it was good to see thousands of us contributing to the local economy. We had a number of excursions to choose from. From sail boats or jet skis, snorkel and dive boats to land excursions like the tour I booked. After my excursion I took the water taxi to the beach and shopping district. There were many different bars and restaurants open to serve us along the beach and the drinks were ice cold. It was great to see everyone enjoying the wonderful weather and amazing water. There is no mistaking there is hurricane damage but I never felt unsafe or unwelcome. Some people focus on the damage but I chose to see the wonderful spirit of St. Maarten’s people and focus on the positive. Every where we went residents thanked us for visiting and asked us to come again. I tipped well and I hope you do to. The loss of employment and income is added insult from the hurricane and it felt good to give to them on this Christmas Day. I’ve uploaded nearly 40 photos to this app, check them out.
St. Maarten took a direct hit from a hurricane in the fall of 2017. It is still recovering, and the devastation was wide spread. That being said, the water is still the bluest ever, the beaches still have the softest sand, and the people are still welcoming! We took the water taxi and went to the downtown boardwalk and spent the day at NuLove, a restaurant and beach front bar in Phillipsburg. It was wonderful! Alibaba took care of us and set us up with chairs and an umbrella. Was one of the best days of the cruise. The stores and bars are still in repair mode and the people are obviously suffering PTSD after the storm and are apprehensive of another storm. But their resiliency is amazing and they were thankful for us to come back. Many of the resorts were destroyed but the amazing beaches are as beautiful as ever and the guavaberry coladas are delightful and refreshing. We will be back next year to see their progress in recovery and spend another wonderful day in paradise.
Visited: Jan 07, 2018
St. Maarten: the damage is still quite apparent and the reconstruction is impressive. We were pleased to see work being done while we were there. It will take time but you can see the progress. We were told, by locals, that each time a cruise ship comes into port more income is generated and more provisions are available to repair the damage.
Visited: Jan 20, 2018
I think this might be my favorite island to date. It’s a close runner up to Aruba. We had an excursion that took us around the entire island. There is so much culture and history here. I enjoyed the scenery and the French capital. I’m looking forward to returning in April.
Wife and I did some research before our cruise and found a local tour group called Jo Junie Tours that we reserved instead of a Royal Caribbean excursion. We paid $40 a piece and had an all day tour of the island all to ourselves. Normally they are booked full, but no one else showed up so we enjoyed our private tour that included all we could drink rum punch and beer choices. Since we were the only ones in the van, we got to see all the highlights and some of the not so great places. We asked for it, so Lucius showed us some of the less fortunate out of site areas. We saw Orient Beach, Marigot, Maho Beach, and everything in between. We asked him to take us to a local restaurant, one he would eat at. He did not disappoint as we saw one of the American Icon Grill managers eating there as well. After that, we skipped the shopping and went back on board the ship with about 45 minutes to spare. All in all, wonderful time on the island. Jo Junie Tours did a wonderful job and we would totally book them again if we go back, since we saved money over regular excursions.
Checked Maho beach off my bucket list. The island still shows devastation from the hurricane damage. It put it into perspective how lucky we got in Florida this past hurricane season. We took a bus to Maho beach for $32 for two people round trip. It was well worth it. Once we were ready to leave the beach, there was a van/bus there within two minutes to take us back to the port. We traveled with two two year olds and they did not charge us for them and we had no problem fitting the double stroller in the van/bus coming or going
Third visit to St Maarten this past week. Our first visit was before the hurricanes of 2017. Second visit was April 2018. Things are progressing since our April visit. The recovery is going well. Still have work to do but definitely an improvement. The striped greenery on the mountains is coming back. The beach is Phillipsburg is great. We took our own excursion to Maho Beach. We used the city bus (large van). It is $2 per person each way. You can't beat the price! I never felt concern for my safety and would do this again.
We loved our last visit to the island. We took a $7 water taxi to the boardwalk and the beach that’s right there. We got 2 chairs, an umbrella and 5 drinks for $25. We weren’t pestered by the locals like what others have posted. It was quiet and very relaxing. The locals were nice and helpful and directed us to the best places to shop and walk around. A very nice experience to say the least.
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