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4 warnings for the non-seasoned, naïve tourist about to go to St Martin.

4 warnings for the non-seasoned, naïve tourist about to go to St Martin.

Mar 24th, 2013, 08:27 AM
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 129
I don't believe that taking electronic devices on vacation is silly. I take my Kindle to read on the beach, a small laptop to use Skype and also to access restaurant reviews, find directions, and check the local weather. Of course, I carry a smartphone. These devices makes my trip much more pleasurable.
After having my belonging burglarized in Puerto Rico a few years ago, I have taken the precaution of going to the Cayman Islands, where crime directed against tourist is relatively low when I want to go to the Caribbean.
GeorgeR is offline  
Mar 24th, 2013, 03:45 PM
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 2
Visited sxm for the first time 8-15-12 for two weeks.First week with out my husband. I rented a car and spent the week driving around the island meeting people and eating in local spots. Safely seeing all but 4 of it's great beaches. I did feel unsafe a few times when I was lost. All and all that was great. Rented a home on Cupecoy beach, meet the best American couple to hang with and they showed us around the island. Less than two months later,next door to where we stayed,they were murdered. Michael and Thelma King. I had no clue the crime was so bad just by searching St. Martin. After all this we still love St.Martin. We want very much to go back, and feel ok about our safety.Please someone who knows,let us know of a good or better area to stay safe. And tell us where not to go.I have probably all ready been there.
Jtmize is offline  
Mar 26th, 2013, 05:39 AM
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 4,934
What is interesting to me is that I am more than certain that most any Carib island is multitudes safer than where the majority of us reside....all the time. I would welcome the comparison between neighborhoods where we live, versus the island of your choice....
SAnParis2 is offline  
Mar 26th, 2013, 10:36 AM
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 4,934
GeorgeR - apparently you missed my sarcasm - the op states "...Mac laptop, Ipad,Ipod and other electronics that were not left out in plain view. " Why, pray tell, do you need all that & more ??
SAnParis2 is offline  
Mar 26th, 2013, 12:20 PM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 808

I don't know where you live but crime where I live and the surrounding area is very, very low. Most of us don't even lock our doors.

I would venture to say that unless you live in a big city, per capita crime, especially property crime, is higher on many Caribbean islands.


P.S. the only time I've been ripped off is when a hotel worker stole a new bottle of perfume out of my room in Costa Rica when we were at he beach. The guy confessed and the owners immediately compensated us. I felt bad for the guy and asked that he not be fired unless this was a pattern. It wasn't - just a spur of the moment thing on his part. (He gave the perfume to his wife.)
gualalalisa is offline  
Mar 28th, 2013, 03:15 PM
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 2
My family and I just returned from St. Martin. We didn't experience any problems, and we had a great time. We stayed in a villa in Cay Hill and rented cars for a week. Driving in St. Martin takes some getting use to and is not recommended for the timid. Police were visible throughout the tourist areas we frequented for shopping and dining.
flmom5 is offline  
Mar 29th, 2013, 09:43 AM
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 4,934
Lisa - Not sure where you live but I live in a Charlotte suburb & I would reckon that most US cities of any relevent size have higher crime rates than the Caribbean, but I have no data to prove or disprove that...
SAnParis2 is offline  
Apr 14th, 2013, 08:35 AM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 1,128
Bixa525, you sound like me!! LOL. These are the things I do. I just came on this site I have been gone for quite some time so I don't know if you will see this--I now just read what you wrote. I am still going but air fare are so ridiculous I am unsure right now about the trip. I am glad it all worked out well for you and that you enjoyed your trip.
diann24 is offline  
Apr 17th, 2013, 10:41 AM
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 15
We went to St Maartin for 10 days two years ago. Although I liked the resort - La Samana, we didn't care for this island near as much as all the others we've been to (which is many). The doorman at the hotel did not even want me to go out for dinner alone the evening my husband was not feeling well. We weren't that impressed with the beaches in comparison to other islands and truly friendly people were hit and miss.

On the other hand, we learned of a Festival on Anguilla while staying on SXM and quickly booked a room a CuisinArt for the evening and took the ferry there. WE FELL IN LOVE.

We're going back to Anguilla for a week next month. I've arranged the trip so we won't have to travel through St Maartin.

Be safe all!
CagneyBella is offline  
Jul 15th, 2013, 04:10 PM
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 1
I am in St Martin right now and couldn't agree more. We were robbed. When I return home I will enter all the details here that hopefully assist others in rethinking a trip to this death trap of an island that was once worry free. If you are like us and have been to St Martin before, I can't tell you just how critical it is to NOT rely on your past experience, but to gather RECENT information. The targeting of Americans is out of control, those are the words of several Gendarmerie, not mine. All the details will be posted when I return, typing that much on my Droid phone is too much.
chicomantico is offline  
Jul 17th, 2013, 05:30 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 1,128
I just returned from st. martin yesterday. I was there when you were there chicomatico. Yes please offer details.I do see a police presence everywhere so perhaps they are trying to make people feel safe. We did not have any problems we went out to Simpson Bay and Phillipsburg every p.m. for dinner. WE did not vensture to Grand Case as there were 3 couples on different occasions tell us they did not recommend it as the parking was not good, and the roads coming back at night were difficult and the towns were "unsettled." They are pulling people over for drinking and giving breath tests randomly mostly on the French side. We did got to Marigot one day. We ate at an open cafe and there was a begger who just would not leave us or others alone. This makes me feel sad. I am glad I went and I have to say I did not feel unsafe. I did tour the entire island in the day time. Visited many beaches. I am happy to return home safely. I am use to Aruba. This was quite different then Aruba.
diann24 is offline  
Aug 11th, 2013, 12:22 AM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 1,420
Chicomantico, I would like to hear about what happened. My husband would like to return to St Martin but I am very hesitant.
travelenthusiast is offline  
Oct 28th, 2013, 11:42 PM
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 4
Just thought I'd weigh in on this discussion of crime in St Maarten. St Maarten/St Martin is a dual nation with a very porous border. The police on each side are unable (legally, politically) to cooperate with each other. A crime can be committed on one side and the perpetrators can literally saunter across the border to safety. It is the perfect place in which to run drugs or guns for this very reason. Crime is big on St Maarten.

My husband & I were carjacked in St Maarten on March 11, 2004. We were attacked by 4 young men in our hotel parking lot around 9:30 PM, before we had even turned off the car. My husband was beaten & stabbed with a rusty machete. My entire head was duct taped. They also taped our hands. My husband was thrown in the trunk and I was forced into the back seat between 2 of the abductors with my head down and covered with a jacket. I could not believe the security guard at the gate allowed our entry and not 5 or 10 minutes later allowed the same car with 4 young black kids to scream back out racing up the hill behind another car. No one called police. We were on our own. They abducted us off the hotel property (Divi Little Bay) and held us for over 4 hours while they drained our bank accounts of $1900.00 ($100 at a time). Yes, they had their pictures taken 19 times. They had a loaded gun and we were frequently threatened with death & further violence. "Do you know what a vanilla milkshake is?" we were asked. That would be our brains splattered all over by gunfire, I finally surmised. My husband was repeatedly assaulted & pistol whipped. It was unspeakably violent. Fortunately, when we were left alone, I was able to convince one of the captors that we were NOT rich Americans and that we had a large family back in Canada who would be devastated if we didn't return home. In the end, he fought the ring leader for our release. They eventually let us go on a deserted beach near the Atlantis Casino. A kind & elderly couple from France picked us up from the side of the highway and took us to the Gendarmes in Marigot who could not investigate because the crimes were believed to have taken place on the Dutch side. Bruised, bloodied and battered we got a ride back to our hotel, notified the security but NO ONE would awaken the hotel manager to let him know about it. We waited till 7 in the morning to go to the front desk & start the reporting process. That day went by in a blur, filled with doctors & police. I had the good fortune of placing my police report with the best cop on the island. He had it solved within minutes of speaking with me (long story).

We left the Friendly Island the following day, as previously scheduled. In the ensuing months we received regular emails from Theo Heyliger updating us on the progress of the case. Within a few months they were all apprehended. Turns out they were on a crime spree of sorts. There had been previous robberies, each time with escalating violence. They were all convicted & given rather lengthy prison sentences. I have followed the crime situation on this island for almost 10 years and I know for a fact that it is not any better now than it was back then. And believe me, crime against tourists is frequent, whether you are just dropping in for a few hours from a cruise ship or otherwise. Here's a little known fact - St Maarten has one of the highest rates of violent crime PER CAPITA in the world. This is easily verifiable.

A number of years later, I went back to St Maarten to speak to the Court of First Instance. Frightened beyond belief, I felt it was important to the case for them to hear from me in person. On my lawyer's recommendation we stayed at the Westin Dawn Beach. In the early morning hours on the day of our arrival, the casino at the Westin was robbed by 5 men with machine guns. Machine guns!

It took years for me to find my way out of this horror story. That and many, many hours working with a psychologist. I now make it my business to share it so that others might think twice before putting themselves in harm's way without conducting due diligence. Believe me, there are much better places in this great big, beautiful world in which to spend your hard earned vacation dollars.

Oh and BTW, during one of my discussions with the 'empathetic captor' as my shrink would later come to call him, I learnt that St Maarten has 37 beautiful beaches. Guess how many the locals can use without police harassment? None of them. It is no wonder there is so much animus.
joanthephone is offline  
Nov 4th, 2013, 06:24 AM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 1,128

It seems crime there is escalating. A couple were beat and stabbed recently. Very sad. You have to scroll down to ready about it--We personally are glad we went and had a great time but would be hesitant to return. To many other places to visit.
diann24 is offline  
Nov 4th, 2013, 06:38 AM
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 256
Wow, that report in the link Diann24 provided is scary. We are in the planning stages of a late Winter/early Spring trip to the Caribbean and we were seriously considering staying in Grand Case. I think we will come up with a new plan on a different island. What a shame.
genio67 is offline  
Nov 4th, 2013, 10:02 PM
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 4
From yesterday's paper, be sure to read the comments afterward.

joanthephone is offline  
Nov 15th, 2013, 10:43 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 5,444
>> I learnt that St Maarten has 37 beautiful beaches. Guess how many the locals can use without police harassment? None of them. It is no wonder there is so much animus. <<

This is interesting because a friend of ours who goes to SXM frequently has commented to us that she sees a disturbing trend of locals being harassed by authorities on the beaches. She thinks this creates resentment and escalates the "separateness" and alienation of locals from tourists - which in turn leads to a lack of empathy that can fuel criminal behaviour.

Also I am so sorry about your terrible experience and I think that you were very brave to see this through. We have been to SXM a few times (and are going again soon after a lapse of a few years). We have never had a problem but our next trip may be our last if we are not as comfortable as in the past (which is a shame because we love the ambiance of the island and have always had positive interactions with local people). We always take what I consider "normal" travel precautions. We don't wander around at night (particularly in "quiet" areas). We don't wear expensive jewelry. When we rent a car we leave nothing of value in it.
semiramis is offline  
Nov 18th, 2013, 01:47 AM
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 33
This is interesting, I really get excited while reading.
DCarla is offline  
Nov 29th, 2013, 07:55 AM
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 433
For your information, the restaurant owners in Grand Case, subsequent to this highly unfortunate incident, had a meeting with the Chief of Police (the Gendarmerie - NOT the Police Municipal who only work 9 to 5 and are completely useless apart from directing traffic which they don't do very well anyway!) and, as a result, there are REAL police now patrolling the Boulevard in the evenings which seems to act as a significant deterrent to the persistent nuisance of the local youth riding their motorbikes at full speed and performing other unpleasant acts.

I think that the 'harassment' of 'locals' on the beaches, referred to in a post above, was most probably mistaken for the 'boys in blue' doing their job chasing off vendors (who are 90% non-locals without residency permits and operating illegally) and are a grade 1 pest from time to time here - as in most Caribbean tourist locations.
DavidSXM is offline  
Dec 4th, 2013, 06:37 PM
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 476
Nice to see you back here, David! Hope all is well!
BellaClaire is offline  

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