Sint Maarten: A Closure

Concluding a trip from now on, I will close it out with a list of reviews and links to official reviews I make on Trip Advisor! The sites reviewed will include restaurants, activities, housing, and general locations. Here’s my closure to St. Maarten and Anguilla!

Sint Maarten If you love the sun, love people, and love the beach, Sint Maarten is for you! Sint Maarten is ESPECIALLY for you if you’re into planes, which we are. Maho Beach (which I’ll talk about later) is a must see on an airplane spotters bucket list.

We were on the island for 3.5 days, (technically 5, but 1.5 of those were done traveling to and from) and I think that was the perfect amount. I, personally, am not a beach person. I can’t lie on a beach for an entire day, I need to be doing things. In those 3.5 days, I did virtually everything I wanted to (minus Lotterie Farm). BEWARE Remember, you are in the Caribbean. Everything here runs on Caribbean time. By that, I mean that there is almost no set schedule. You may have an appointment for snuba-ing at 11:00 am, but don’t be upset when you don’t actually get to go until 12:00. That’s just how things are. Be alert though, Sint Maarten is not a morning country. It is almost dead until about 9 am, when people start moving around.

IMPORTANT TIP: Carry buttloads of cash with you. You’ll be hard pressed to find places that accept card, even if they advertise that they do.

Sint Maarten is definitely family friendly. EVERYBODY here is friendly. Rando’s will greet you with a smiley “Good Morning” and casually start up conversation with you. It’s no wonder why they call themselves the “Friendly Island”. They definitely pride themselves on that.

Would I go again? Definitely!

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Food

-Café Atlantico In Simpson Bay, the area surrounding the airport, we found this petite French Bakery. We actually ate there twice it was so good! Both times there was one woman working, the same woman, and she was wonderful. Service was fast, food was good, and you could obviously tell she took pride in her work. And for the quality of the food, it was incredibly affordable. It cost me $6.50 for my breakfast panini.

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Karakter I hate writing bad reviews, especially for places I’ve only eaten at once. It could have just been this one time that they weren’t great, but none-the-less, I am reviewing on my experience and I have to be honest. It started off well, seated promptly, menus given, drinks ordered and given. From then on, it went downhill. Luckily for us (sarcasm), we arrived at almost the exact same time a group of 15 or so did. Needless to say, they forgot about us. No waiter came to replenish our drinks, or check in on how we were doing. We had to go searching for them. We also didn’t get our food until about an hour and a half after placing it. I’m 90% they forgot to actually give our order to the chefs. The worst part is that, while we were sitting there waiting, others around us were getting served. That was frustrating.

Okay, phew, the bad part is over. Now for the good. I actually enjoyed my meal! It was plentiful and well cooked! I’m not one to complain when getting bad service, I’m definitely more passive. But, this time we let them know our frustrations, and they were incredibly apologetic. They gave us our entire bill on the house. That included three rounds of drinks, one appetizer, four main courses, and two desserts.

On another note, the setting of the restaurant was pretty unique! For one, their drinks and registers and stuff were all inside of a gutted out school bus. There was no “floor” and, being situated by a beach, the “floor” was sand! The lights were dim, their were torches lighting the restaurant, and down closer to the beach were reclining chairs! Definitely a “chill” spot.

Would I go there again? Absolutely. I think it was an honest to god mistake and the food and ambiance was good enough for me to give them another shot.

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Zee Best We first heard about Zee Best Through Fodors. This breakfast place is also a small French Bakery. Their food was good, but not as good as Café Atlantico. WARNING There is no seating, at least not the one we went to. They do have another one in Simpson Bay that is more of a conventional restaurant. My favorite thing from here was their “Organic Super Fruit” juice. What were the super fruit? The world will never know… But it was good!

-Sunset Bar and Grill This restaurant borders the famous Maho Beach (don’t worry, I promise I’ll write about it later) and overlooks the beach and landing strip (check the view out, it’s the picture associated with Maho Beach below). Their food is very bar-y. Imagine wings, burgers, etc. Another WARNING: It gets freakin’ packed, especially when the KLM 747 makes its appearance. The food was good but service was a little slow, I’m assuming because of the number of people. But, the server was pretty cool, he made me laugh so I’ll give him that.

Side note, the restaurant is mostly outdoors so shoes/shirt are not required. It’s very easy to settle in, go run into the beach, and then come-on back to finish your beer.

-The Tides This is the restaurant associated with our hotel, which I’ll get to later. We ate here twice. The waiters were really nice, both times being French, and full of life. Stories on stories on advice on history, etc. They were awesome. The food was good, but expensive, which, by this time, you should have known because Sint Maarten is not a cheap island. The menu is a little limited, but they do well with what they’ve got. Tip: order their chocolate molten cake for dessert. Forget your diet, this dish is to die for.

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-Toppers Ahah! Finally, my favorite part. This restaurant was EASILY my favorite while we were here. The food was great, but the waiters are what did it for me. To begin with, our waiter introduced himself as the “Singing Bartender”. We had no idea why, but soon found out when we listen to him butcher ‘Don’t Stop Believing’. It wasn’t the singing that got me hooked, it’s the fact that he had the confidence to get up there and do it, and then have as much fun as he did with it! When he started singing reggae though, that was amazing! I was impressed.

The ambiance here was amazing. Outdoor seating, great for people watching, and it was honestly just casual and laid back.

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Activities 

-Maho Beach Finally! I’ve spoken about it many times, but here’s the actual review! Maho Beach is famous for being dangerously close to the end of Princess Juliana International Airport’s runway. Planes could be landing and be no more then 30 ft above your head. Like I said, heaven for any plane spotters. If your wild enough, you could even attempt “Fence Riding”. “What the ____…?” Is probably what you’re asking right now. Yes, people literally hang on for dear life to the fence at the end of the runway while planes rev their engines and cause massive jet blast. I personally was not interested in getting debris thrown into my face, but my thirteen year old brother thought it was the coolest thing in the world. I’m going to attach a video of it to this post later, hopefully you’ll come back and read it.

If you’re actually interested in swimming and relaxing on the beach, this is NOT the place to come. There are plenty of other beaches that are far superior than this crowded, loud, one.

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-Calypso Charters Calypso is the name of the ferry charter we went through to get to Anguilla. Calypso is the EPITOME of ‘Caribbean Time’. For starters, when we showed up 30 minutes prior to our departure time (as instructed), our lady person wasn’t there, the one who instructed us! She didn’t arrive until about five to ten minutes prior. Then, on the way back, we were asked to present a receipt to show proof of purchase… what? We didn’t get said receipt. Shame on us for not thinking ahead because, obviously, they would need to see something that showed the purchase of a return ticket, but we didn’t think about it.

Round trip, the tickets cost us $90.00. Don’t worry, you can get it for MUCH cheaper, the only thing is, those cheaper tickets are only found if leaving from Marigot, the capital of the French side, which was on the other side of the island. We wanted to leave from  Phillipsburg, and apparently that extra three minutes of boat time cost us $70.00, but whatever, it was way more convenient. We saw the $20.00 ferry, and that boat was PACKED. I mean, I’m talking a hundred+, while ours was faster, and there were only three of us.

All that being said, the trip was awesome! The boat ride over was half the fun! I definitely suggest some dramamine prior to departure, it gets choppy out there. The boat ride took us 20 minutes, and they even offered complimentary beverages! Not water or anything like that; I’m talking, Heineken, Rum Punch, Diet Coke, etc! It was nice.

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– The Dive Shop This is the shop we went to when we wanted to do snuba. In actuality, I’m 90% sure this is the only place on the island that snuba is offered, so it’s not like we had many options! Overall, the place was very productive! There was a miscommunication between us and them about when we wanted to snuba, but I think both parties were equally at fault. I’m not sure how legitimate they were, considering they let someone scuba dive who wasn’t certified, but who am I to judge? They were nice, helpful, and when we were actually in the water, they took safety very seriously! I’m not too familiar with snuba pricing, but I would say ours was a little hefty. That being said, it is a resort activity, on a resort island, in high season, what should I have expected? I think snuba-ing is a perfect activity to try if you’re not 100% sure you want to go the whole 9 yards and scuba. It’ll allow you to test the waters – literally – before you take the plunge. Wow.. so many puns in that sentence.

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– Fort Louis St. Maarten isn’t a mountainous island, so any high point will provide a great view. Fort Louis, located in Marigot on the French Side, is a nice easy hike (about 98 steps), that will give you a well worth shot over the city. They’ve got historic signs throughout the fort, but you know me, I didn’t stop to read any. Therefor, I cannot give you any history on it, so you’ll just have to go for yourself!

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I obviously did more while I was there, but I reckon these are the only ones I think are worth mentioning. And yes, I did just use “reckon”, deal with it.

Accomodations

– Mary’s Boon What a nice, quaint, little guest house. It was awesome, it had about 30 different rooms, some facing the beach, and the others facing the inner garden. There was a pool, a restaurant, a bar, and also had beach access. The rooms were fairly large too! It had a full sized kitchen, two sinks, a queen sized bed, dressers, drawers, and a tv. There was wifi, but it didn’t reach all the way to our room. Ricky, one of the employees, was fantastic! BEWARE: If you don’t like listening to planes take off and land, this is not the resort for you. It boarders the run way, so you’ll hear EVERYTHING! If you’re into that kind of stuff, it does have viewing decks! If/when I make it back to Sint Maarten, this is definitely where I’ll stay.

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Overall, it was a great experience. I really hope this wasn’t my last time there!

If you have any specific questions or clarifications, either comment below or use the “contact me” section to get a hold of me!

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