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need help on island specifics
Posted by: sharonlulu (
Date: August 13, 2007 02:44PM

My husband and I are planning a trip soon and we're just starting to research the island. Any suggestions on the different areas, ie French side vs. Dutch side, altantic vs caribbean, don't want anything really secluded just good beaches, snorkeling, nice hotel with restaurant/bar, etc. Thanks for any suggestions.

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Re: need help on island specifics
Posted by: biturbo (
Date: August 13, 2007 04:44PM

Overall, we prefer the French side, for the most part (except Marigot) it's less crowded and touristy. If you want casinos, they are all on the Dutch side. There are great beaches, and restaurants on both sides. Keep in mind that most of the French beaches have a "continental" flavor to them. Also, you don't have to go to the fancy, more expensive restaurants to get a great meal. We've stayed 7 times on the French side, and once on the Dutch (Cupecoy). Can't wait to return to Oyster Pond, our favorite area. Have a great time!!, and hope you can post your impressions, good or bad.

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Re: need help on island specifics
Posted by: pat (
Date: August 13, 2007 06:08PM


And in counterbalance to the previous post, we always stay on the Dutch side and love that as well. It's all about what you like but rest assured, it's one very small island loaded with lovely people, beautiful beaches, incredible dining, pretty good shopping opportunities, and if all that isn't enough, there's lots of casinos and evening hot spots to occupy your time and lots of other tourist entertainments such as other near islands to visit, etc.

Rent a car and see all the island but do remember, wherever you stay and wherever you wander, you probably shouldn't leave anything in your car, not even locked securely in your trunk or glove compartment.

We've often suggested to first-timers to take one morning and just get in the rental car and drive the island, visiting beaches and areas that peak your interest and stopping now and then for breakfasts or lunches. Basically, there's one major road that goes around the entire island and if you do this it will certainly help you get your bearings for places you'd like to spend some time.

Our favorite beaches are Friars Bay on the French side of the island and Mullet Bay on the Dutch side.

Whatever you do, enjoy and have a great trip.


:-) :-)

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Re: need help on island specifics
Posted by: Az Guy (
Date: August 13, 2007 08:10PM

I agree with Pat. It doesn't really matter where you stay.
You can drive to anywhere on the island in 30 minutes. For what you are looking for you might want to stay on the West side of the Island. The water is calmer and that is where the better snorkeling is. If you like to go out at night, you will want to be somewhat close to the Maho area.

Here's some of our snorkeling spots:

Friars Bay – this is always our first snorkel, water is calm and smooth. There is usually a wide variety of fish. You can snorkel to the right all the way to Happy Bay.
Bay Rouge – Our favorite place, this is where the cave is, snorkel around to the right from the beach. Usually excellent conditions with lotza fish.
Long Bay – Very, Very good with large fish. However, it is hard to get in and it is often very rough. Snorkel to the Left towards La Samana, there is a slight current you’ll be swimming into, then coming back is a breeze. If you catch it when conditions are right, you’ll love it. There are no services on the beach so bring your own.
Divi – Quickly becoming our new favorite. Snorkel to the left from the beach. Water gets very deep towards the point. Lots of bigger fish. Look for the Cannons on the bottom.
Creole Rock – You can “Ride the Rhinos” from Simpson bay to Grand Case. There is a snorkel stop at the rock.
Pinel Island – Is a nice ½ day trip – snorkeling is average – nice beach for hanging out.
Prickly Pear – Definitely a MUST. Take the Bluebeard trip. It’s an all day excursion and the snorkeling is excellent !!! Not to mention the wonderful boat ride.

~~ Once you've slept on an island, you'll never be the same ~~
2008 St Maarten Pics

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Re: need help on island specifics
Posted by: sharonlulu (
Date: August 14, 2007 09:40AM

Thanks for all the helpful information-can't wait.

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Re: need help on island specifics
Posted by: Anonymous User (
Date: August 14, 2007 07:41PM

There are 2 things that "stink" on and snorkeling. If you're avid in either or both you're for a major disappointment. The one golf course has never recovered from hurricane damage and the snorkeling may rate a 2 on a 1 to 10's pathetic. Thus, we've learned to leave the golf clubs and snorkeling gear at home and enjoy the remaining 99.9% of things to do on the island. Cheers, spike

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