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St. Maarten Now


BrianAlt
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For anyone that has recently traveled to St. Maarten, what do you recommend for the day on the island?  St. Maarten is one of our favorite places to visit. We've been there more than a half dozen times.  We did Bernard's Tour our last time there and really enjoyed that.  But that was mainly because we were with a large group, some with mobility issues.   

Usually we will just taxi to Marigot, do some shopping and some pastry eating and then head to Orient Beach for the rest of the day.  Then taxi back to the ship.  Is this still a viable plan in the COVID era?  Would it be better to book a ship tour?  Or another organized tour?  We're going in April, if that makes a difference.

Thanks for any advice you might have.

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32 minutes ago, Pooch said:

Can I ask how you did that?  Are taxis readily available and easy to find?  
Adding that the ONLY ship excursion listed is the Regatta.  No other options.

How I did what?  Find a taxi?  There's a well staffed taxi stand near the front of the port.  You just walk out there and stand in one of the 4-5 lines for a taxi.

I'm on a Celebrity cruise in April and there are 6 excursions listed...

image.thumb.png.8079977a17eb7b260eacd4194d2a6908.png 

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2 hours ago, BrianAlt said:

How I did what?  Find a taxi?  There's a well staffed taxi stand near the front of the port.  You just walk out there and stand in one of the 4-5 lines for a taxi.

I'm on a Celebrity cruise in April and there are 6 excursions listed...

image.thumb.png.8079977a17eb7b260eacd4194d2a6908.png 

St Maarten was a sub for St John’s  Antigua a couple of months ago.  Since then, there has only been one excursion listed.

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6 hours ago, BrianAlt said:

Have you done it post restart?

Did it last week (Jan. 5). Had a great time. Two snorkel stops - Marine park and Tintamere Island (turtles). Snorkeling wasnt as good as our first time due to silty water and the hurricane a few years ago but was still enjoyable. Also had three beach stops and some nice speedboating. Ended up watching some planes come in at 3:30 as well as watching the Delta takeoff at that time. Lunch (sandwiches, chips, all you want to drink included).

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1 hour ago, Eggbert said:

Did it last week (Jan. 5). Had a great time. Two snorkel stops - Marine park and Tintamere Island (turtles). Snorkeling wasnt as good as our first time due to silty water and the hurricane a few years ago but was still enjoyable. Also had three beach stops and some nice speedboating. Ended up watching some planes come in at 3:30 as well as watching the Delta takeoff at that time. Lunch (sandwiches, chips, all you want to drink included).

I’ll likely do this as it was on my radar in the past. Thanks!

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On 1/11/2022 at 7:37 PM, cruisellama said:

Anyone visit the "Yoda Guy" in St. Maarten?

Yes! Very neat for Star Wars (or movie fans in general!) He's collected a lot of memorabilia over the years so there's a neat little museum that you can walk through (I think it's $12 that you'll get back as a discount on shop purchases?) 

I'm looking forward to returning because I absolutely regret not buying one of the framed script pages from one of my favorite scenes in Return of the Jedi. Big regret, hope to go back in May! 

I also recommend taking the walk there on foot from the port to the downtown area (rather than a water taxi) and stopping by the cheese shop on your way for some gouda! 

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5 minutes ago, Shay said:

Do you all have a preference of the two: Maho Beach vs Great Bay Beach? I'm looking for a low cost beach excursion that included a complimentary beach chair and access to purchase local foods 

Thanks

I think Great Bay Beach would be the way to go then - it's along a strip of shops downtown and it's easily walkable from the port or accessible via Water Taxi. 

While Maho Beach is a unique experience, I found it to be touristy. 

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3 hours ago, KLA said:

I think Great Bay Beach would be the way to go then - it's along a strip of shops downtown and it's easily walkable from the port or accessible via Water Taxi. 

While Maho Beach is a unique experience, I found it to be touristy. 

Do you know the price range of the water taxi? We planned to book through RC. Thanks so much for your help

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24 minutes ago, Shay said:

Do you know the price range of the water taxi? We planned to book through RC. Thanks so much for your help

I can't provide the latest updates since it's been a few years, but I believe it's $5 one way or $7 all day (per person) and the entrance is nearby the cruise port. 

You can get deals with beach chairs, drinks, and wifi all along the restaurants at the beach for anywhere from $15-$24.

Here's a post from this board discussing this: 

 

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I agree with @KLA. Great Bay beach is an inexpensive way to do a DIY beach day in St. Maarten.  You can buy a single trip on the water taxi to get over to the dock there or you can buy the wristband for unlimited rides back and forth.  You can also walk there along the main road.  It's about maybe a 15-20 minute walk.  There are restaurants and places that line the main boardwalk that runs along the beach. They all offer different specials and will sell you chairs and umbrellas, drinks and food.  One block up parallel to the main beach front road is where most of the local shopping area is located.

If you go out to Maho Beach you are really stuck with only the Sunset Bar right there and things are priced there because they recognize that.  I don't think they even offers chairs and umbrellas because the blast from the airplanes would send them flying!

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7 hours ago, Shay said:

Do you all have a preference of the two: Maho Beach vs Great Bay Beach? I'm looking for a low cost beach excursion that included a complimentary beach chair and access to purchase local foods 

Thanks

Maho is more about watching the planes, not so much about enjoying the beach. 

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21 hours ago, AshleyDillo said:

I agree with @KLA. Great Bay beach is an inexpensive way to do a DIY beach day in St. Maarten.  You can buy a single trip on the water taxi to get over to the dock there or you can buy the wristband for unlimited rides back and forth.  You can also walk there along the main road.  It's about maybe a 15-20 minute walk.  There are restaurants and places that line the main boardwalk that runs along the beach. They all offer different specials and will sell you chairs and umbrellas, drinks and food.  One block up parallel to the main beach front road is where most of the local shopping area is located.

If you go out to Maho Beach you are really stuck with only the Sunset Bar right there and things are priced there because they recognize that.  I don't think they even offers chairs and umbrellas because the blast from the airplanes would send them flying!

My son and I rented beach chairs and an umbrella from SB in May 2019. They set them up next to the bar.

The only thing getting knocked around from the jet blasts are the knuckleheads who grab on to the chain link fence and get slammed onto the road. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I believe the problem had to do with work being done (or needing to be done) at the Antigua pier that was not going to be completed in time.  Although I have heard other ships may be docking, it may be smaller ships.  It was NOT covid related 

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We've been to Maho a couple of times and I agree with all of them ^ - it's a tourist trap and crowded!   The beach in the flight path is tiny and full of people.

When we head to SXM next month, I think we might just hang out in Phillipsburg or grab a taxi - maybe to Orient but it's not the same as it was pre-Irma.

 

BTW - if you're looking for a great, insightful youtube blog about St. Maarten, check out The Travelling Island Girl.  I just found her last month and her vlogs are great.  She also gives guided tours when she's there but I'm afraid she will be too expensive for just the two of us.  

Here's one of her videos:  

 

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