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Traveling to St. Martin (RIU Palace)

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I am traveling to St Martin staying at the RIU Palace on the French side. I read a thread on this site that literally terrified me. So naturally, I am now trying to plan every damn hour of this trip. (Sigh) Thankfully, there are so many brighter threads on here than just crime reports. =(

We are staying at the RIU Palace? Has any one stayed or been? Good, bad and ugly details?

For things to do, I think we want to:
- Visit Shoal Bay East in Anguilla for a day trip. (Will we have to rent a car once there?)
- We DID want to go to St. Barth but everyone says it is overrated. Thoughts?
- Fly Boarding... really excited about this one.
- Visit Marigot to shop, do a Segway tour, we think.
- I just read on the French side we should go to Pinel Island and Orient Beach.

I am wondering do we HAVE to rent a car? I wonder about airport transfers. Expedia has them at $50.00 per person. For that price, we were going to get a private SUV. Anyone think that isn't smart? The price is the same via Expedia.

For our trips into Marigot for activities, the trip to Anguilla leaves from there... then we were going to go another day to do the shopping and segway tours etc. So 2 trips. 2 different days. Other than that, we were probably going to stay on resort (since that other thread scared the sh*t out of us!) I am going to google Pinel Island and Orient Beach, maybe that is something to do as well.

Anything we should also consider? Any insight? Especially hotel insight. I HOPE it is gated. I stayed at a RIU in Costa Rica and it was isolated but had a gated car entry as well. I am hoping that guy DavidSXM is still around. His feedback is so clutch on these SXM threads.

Thanks Everyone!

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