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Trip Report Short trip to St. Martin/Day trip to Anguilla

We just returned from a long weekend trip to St. Martin, which included a day trip to Anguilla. We stayed in Orient Beach at the Alamanda, which is a great location if you want to basically be on the beach and only a 2 minute walk to several great restaurants in Place du Orient and the stores, cafe and bakeries along Rue de Plage.

Beaches/lunches:

Our first two days we stayed at Orient and enjoyed the beautiful scenery and fun beach bars along the beach. We set up for the day at Kakao as the chairs are free for guests at Alamanda. We had lunches at Kakao and also at Chez Leandra further down the beach and both were really good. Kakao was more sophisticated food but both enjoyable. Orient Beach is obviously very popular and with good reason as it is quite beautiful and a lot of fun for those seeking activity. We also realized we preferred not to be there when there are multiple cruise ships in port and on those days we went elsewhere. There are also many beach vendors but they are not at all pushy but it can get annoying to have to contstantly say 'no thanks" !

We walked to Le Galion as well as there is a path connecting the two beaches. Le Galion was incredibly beautiful and where Orient was action packed, windy and full of tourists, Galion had incredibly calm water that was shallow and there were local families enjoying a child's birthday party and only a few tourists. It is a really beautiful beach. We enjoyed a couple drinks at Tropical Wave and just took in the beautiful water and the verdant background of the hills surrounding the bay and enjoyed experiencing a beach where locals go as well.

Another day after a morning doing some shopping in Grand Case, we decided to settle in for the day and enjoy the beach there. While it's sort of narrow, we found Grand Case beach to be really great. The water was beautiful and like Galion, we liked the hills contrasting with the calm water in the bay. We rented chairs at Captain Frenchy's where we also had a nice lunch and plenty of drinks. The vibe in Grand Case is a great laid back French/Caribbean atmosphere. We will likely stay in Grand Case on our next trip to St. Martin.

Dinners:

We had two dinners in Orient Village which was incredibly convenient when staying at Alamanda but more importantly both meals were delicious. Cote Plage and La Voile Blanche were our choices although they all looked appealing. Cote Plage seemed more traditional French while La Voile Blanche had a few twists on the menu but all of our meals at both places were delicious.

We also ate two dinners in Grand Case but while both meals were delicious, we had two different experiences. Spiga was set in a Creole type house with a serene atmosphere. The service and food was great and like the restaurants in Orient, we all enjoyed our meals, The cheescake was a very memorable dessert and I thought about several times for days afterward! Our other meal was at Calmos Cafe, where we also enjoyed a few drinks before dinner one evening. Calmos is a great beach front setting and the food was good. We ordered several different small plates and sat practically in the water while enjoying some rum punches and beers.We arrived around sunset (luckily in time to enjoy the actual sunset) and it was just a perfect spot for a casual meal.

Nightlife:

Most evenings we had dinner around 9:00 and then on two nights we enjoyed some after dinner cocktails in the bar area at Table du Antoine in Orient Village. The staff/bartender there were very friendly and it was a great way to end the night. Orient Village is fairly quiet after midnight. One evening we were told about some nightlife at Kon Tiki on Orient Beach. For a bunch of 40- somethings, we did alright dancing with the young crowd until 2am (although there was actually a mix of ages) and we had such a great night. On our last night we decided to head over to Maho for some casino action. We stopped into Sopranos for a light meal, which was good and then spent some time in Casino Royale. While we enjoyed the evening and like spending some time in the casino, we all agreed the French side was more our style. However, the nice thing about St. Martin/St. Maarten is that you can enjoy both styles very easily.

Day Trip to Anguilla:

We took the ferry over from Marigot and depending on one's perspective, the ferry ride was either fun and exciting or sea sick inducing. Actually nobody actually got sick but the ride was quite bumpy. We arrived in Anguilla and headed right for Shoal Bay. It is a beautiful beach and the water is outstanding, We rented chairs at Madearimans and we enjoyed several rum punches and a very nice lunch. We walked the beautiful beach and enjoyed the powdery sand and stunning views. As beautiful as the beach is, the interior of Anguilla was not so appealing. Our taxi driver gave us a bit of a tour around the island. My preference is for a hilly island rather than a flat one, so even though Shoal Bay was amazing, I actually prefer the beaches of St. Martin because I like the contrast of beaches and hills. However, I do see why the quiet atmosphere and white sandy beaches of Anguilla are so appealing for many people.

Summary:

This was not our first trip to St. Martin and hopefully it won't be our last. Orient Beach has it's appeal but we would definitely stay on Grand Case next time. i like the vibe there better. Food was consistently good and the people were really very friendly. Some people express concern about crime and safety but we never had any problems nor did we feel uncomfortable anywhere we went. Although our trip was short, it was so needed during this miserable winter.

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