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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.

Jan 25th, 2014, 08:49 PM
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 20
Yes, crime is escalating. Every year it gets worse, I can not believe nothing is done about it. Robberies, not safe.
caroline123 is offline  
Jan 25th, 2014, 09:07 PM
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 20
Also..health issues. Mosquitos and diseases on the island. Check out the CDC site.
caroline123 is offline  
Apr 24th, 2014, 05:53 PM
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 1
Oh Good Lord! I had no clue about the amount of crime in St Martin. I just booked a week long trip for late June 2014 to take my daughter to St Martin as her HS graduation gift! Two women traveling alone - she tall, thin attractive and me, older, short, very non-threatening - tell me we are not the ultimate targets! Hearing these experiences is so disheartening and frightening. If I could I would cancel the trip, but I'm stuck now. I don't have a lot of money and saved for a year in anticipation of giving my daughter a nice graduation gift that she so deserves. She not only is graduating from HS, but worked so hard for the past two years to also obtain her Associate in Arts - all her college generals done before she's even out of HS! When I asked what she wanted for a gift, she said to go somewhere. I was planning to rent a car, tour the island, do a snorkeling cruise, possibly visit Antigua, take in some night life, be independent of tour groups. My daughter is a huge photography buff and I am sure would want to have her "nice" camera with her everywhere we go. I don't want to seem paranoid, but it sounds like the reality is, that I will almost need to be, in order to try to keep ourselves and our belongings safe. How horrible would it be were something to happen to her while supposedly celebrating her graduation!?!? Sigh.... well, at least now I'm not going completely unaware of these concerns.
Kriser_99 is offline  
Apr 24th, 2014, 06:24 PM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 227
I waivered on the same choice and rebooked my flight a year after cancelling the first trip. That trip would have been in January 2014. In the end, I decided it would not be much of a vacation if I were constantly on edge, and blew off the ticket. One option may be to look at St Barths and Anguilla, which are just a ferry ride away and both - especially St Barths - are safer than St. Martin. The odds are that you will have a perfectly safe trip, regardless, but I certainly understand your concern.
gabriele is offline  
Apr 25th, 2014, 04:38 AM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 1,126
I also understand completely your concerns. Where are you staying exactly? My husband and I went last July we stayed on the Dutch side at the Divi Resorts. I was also skeptical but decided what was done, is done and went anyways. We had a great time, and were ok. If I may direct you to a site

www.traveltalkonline.com there is a st.martin forum. People go there yearly some are retired, and live there. I think they might at least offer you a different perspective on your trip.

Driving is not easy there. The people drive pretty crazy. If your hotel offers tours by all means take them and do not be afraid of structured tours. If you are staying in a place that is busy there will be restaurants near by. Ask on that site and they will tell you. They are a wealth of information and will offer some positive aspects to create more of a balanced feeling for yourself.

I do know when we rented our car he advised us to leave nothing in our car locked or unlocked. Good luck and try not to stress. I think you will be fine. As long as you are aware, and do not attempt to do foolish things. (walk on a beach at night) you should be fine.
diann24 is offline  
Apr 25th, 2014, 06:05 AM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 10,163
On occasion the rhetoric in this thread has veered so far off the scale that I think people are being unnecessarily scared. St. Maarten does have crime (so does every island), but it's not something that even approaches the scale at which I'd "blow off" a nonrefundable airline or hotel reservation.

The best advice for two women traveling alone is not to walk around late at night by yourselves and be aware of your surroundings, as you would anywhere. So if you go out to dinner, take a taxi back to your hotel if you aren't renting a car (though it's much easier to get around St. Maarten/St. Martin with a rental car.

I also would tell you not to be overly stressed. Thousands of people have happy, event-free, and crime-free holidays on this island, which is lovely and has great, friendly people. Don't feel you have to stay hermetically sealed in your resort or hotel either.
doug_stallings is offline  
May 7th, 2014, 08:34 PM
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 1
My wife, then 3 year old daughter and myself visited St. Martin last summer for six days. We stayed at a condo rentals in the area above Dawn Beach. We traveled to the French side very day visiting Orient Beach a couple times, Grand Case for dinner twice, a couple other small beaches on the French side and a day trip by Ferry to Anguilla. The a French side is decidedly less developed and therefore does have that look that might be viewed as "dangerous" by those who equate underdeveloped with dangerous. There are parts of the island especially the route that takes you from the dutch side to the French side that feels very sketchy with many locals sitting and standing around in virtually pitch dark, unlighted side streets. That being said the Dutch side never really appealed all that much to us as it seemed overly tourist is a cheezy sort of way. The beaches on the French side were gorgeous. The beach as Shoal's Bay by the way in Aguilla was the most beautiful we have ever seen. Exactly like a Corona commercial.

Grand Case again also felt somewhat dangerous with all the locals sitting in the dark on porches and stoops along the street. It's a strange feeling to walk down the dark street to see a strip of high end restaurants. Meanwhile while eating you hear and see the youths riding their bikes at high speed back and forth. A guy tried to rip us off asking for a parking fee where nine was required.

The closest brush we had was at Marigot. We went three twice to eat lunch as they had a great strip of local BBQ restaurants where we had some amazing Oxtail with Rice and a great bakery with the best pastries. Both times we were there, there was an extremely aggressive and dangerous looking homeless guy who literally would eyeball us and try to follow up from place to place looking for an opening to approach us which he never got. One of the toe days a huge fight broke out amongst some teens as well that rolled into the strip of restaurants. Police were there in minutes.

The third time we went to take the Ferry to Anguilla we saw the same homeless guy again and were able to avoid him coming in. When we departed he was there again! At that point I was almost to the point of confronting him to get him off my back but thought better of it and thought again.

Maybe because we are from NYC and my office is in a transitional area with million collar condos on on side and the projects a few blocks away, and never felt particularly uncomfortable in Harlem or any where else, St. Martin didn't really bother me but my wife really felt uncomfortable and in danger several times. There were the few times above where I also felt a bit uneasy and I usually have no qualms walking through the roughest areas.

We drove all around and in pitch darkness and seeing these other stories I feel a bit lucky nothing happened to us especially with our then three year old. It's true that most of the Caribbean has pockets where one may feel a bit vulnerable whether it's Bahamas (where we were Actually accosted and where a friend's sister had her face slashed) , T&C, or San Juan. That being said I was on the fence about booking another trip this summer in st. Martin. Gorgeous beaches. Great food and not too far. Some pockets of the island have multimillion dollar homes especially on the higher elevations on the Dutch Side so not all of the island feels dangerous but I kind of wonder if it's worth any risk when there are safer choices out there. No guarantees but can always try to minimize guarantees that are existing.
libtech75 is offline  
May 8th, 2014, 04:53 AM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 1,126

When my husband and I were in Margot last summer we also encountered a homeless man who was relentless. This was in the area where you catch the ferry to Anguilla.I bet it was the same man! Funny you should mention that. He made me feel very uncomfortable. There was also quite a bit of police presence in that area.

There is a French pasty shop along the strip with the best coffee I have ever had. All the coffee was wonderful in st. martin I might add. I am a coffee "snob" and I was highly impressed. I am glad you and your family had a safe trip. I am a timeshare owner in Aruba so it was easy to visit another island. I enjoy the diversity of other island versus Aruba. That being said I also like the safe feeling I get in Aruba, the friendliness and warmth of the people. It cannot be beat anyplace else. I will stick with the "Americanized Aruba."
diann24 is offline  
Aug 7th, 2014, 10:39 AM
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 2
I joined this website just so I could comment on this post. I read this before I left for St. Maarten with a group of 8 girls who are all around 30. Needless to say I was a nervous wreck and wished I never read this discussion. After visiting the island I can honestly say I never once felt unsafe on this island. We drove around the island all day/night and never encountered any problems. We rented two cars and I read all about car theft and break-ins and we didn't have any problems at all. I even left a $300 Michael Kors bag in our car unlocked and it was still there when I returned. The people were so friendly and very helpful. We met someone who is from our hometown and she owned a restaurant in Maho Beach and so many others who migrated to the island from England, Australia and the US. We went out many nights and the only advice I could give is on the French side the roads at night are very dark and its a bit scary when unsure of where you are going. We drove around Grand Case at night and got lost and I didn't like that area too much as there were a lot of locals outside their homes and I felt a bit intimidated but no one bothered us. I am not denying that there is no crime on this island but please remember there is crime everywhere so be smart and stay safe!
mungi25 is offline  
Aug 13th, 2014, 05:12 PM
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 1
I went to St. Martin in July and had no problems. I don't doubt that some people have had bad experiences, but you can have those anywhere. Practice some common sense, and you'll probably be fine.

There were four of us, me, my wife, and our two teenage kids. We had a great time.

I wrote a much more thorough review here: http://whoistomwright.com/2014/08/14...vacation-spot/
tomonkwaj is offline  
Jan 28th, 2015, 05:28 PM
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 4
Current worldwide homicide rates (2012 being the latest figures available) per capita are available on Wikipedia. Sint Maarten/St Martin is not listed. But this does not mean there is no violent crime, not by a long shot. There were 10 homicides on the island in 2012. The (combined) population of the island in 2012 was roughly 13,000. This makes for a homicide rate of 76.9 PER CAPITA, which places The Friendly Island at 2nd highest in the world - behind only Honduras. Food for thought.
joanthephone is offline  
Jan 28th, 2015, 05:56 PM
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 256
Joanthephone, I am not sure where you got your numbers but St. Maarten has a population of about 36,000 and St. Martin has about 31,000. You need to recalculate that homicide rate.
genio67 is offline  
Jan 29th, 2015, 04:35 AM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 3,712
Joan, tourists are interested in crimes against tourists, not domestic homicides

Crimes against tourists is the only thing that truly matters--

So with Chicago and Baltimore being dangerous (and really tourists don't usually frequent non tourist areas where most crime happens) should be avoided?

Same with St. Martin--crime in general is in non tourist areas

Now Libya having a hotel bomb the other day possible being a hotel would affect tourists

Just saying!
blamona is offline  
Mar 16th, 2015, 02:37 PM
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 1
Bart5151 your post on St. Martin is pure evidence that traveling probably just isn't your thing. That or you lack basic common street knowledge. Been going to this island for over 10 years. Never once have I encountered someone trying to rob me or break into my car. Probably because Im not staring at them or "familiarizing" myself with my surroundings nonstop. That kid on his Phone you think is talking about you is probably getting an earful from his mom to get his ass home. That or hes telling his friend that he may need help because there is a strange looking tourist creeping on him and taking pictures of him while hes at dinner with his wife. To conclude you should probably just stay in the US. The Jersey Shore and Yellowstone seem to be for fitting for you sir. Cheers!
Dompos2 is offline  
May 21st, 2015, 12:19 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 6
Dompas2, I guarantee you I travel ten times as much as you and I know St Martins is by far way worse that any other country I visited. Apparently you are so upset about me hitting the truth on the nail, that you reply as if all the horror stories don`t exist. Some are right here in this feed. To be nice I will repost what a few said incase you are conveniently not interested in looking:

Wingfoot1 on Mar 21, 13 at 11:30am

Let me tell you about St.Martin, being an experienced Caribbean traveler for many years visiting many islands and understanding the cultural diversity also being aware of the surroundings this place is not safe. Last May we went to the French side to stay at a place on Orient Bay, It looked OK according to the reviews and seemed to be laid back, but upon arrival we noticed that the neighborhood looked tacky and run down. Our room was broken into and we were robbed of our Mac laptop, Ipad,Ipod and other electronics that were not left out in plain view. The sneaky gypsy weasels had entered the room through an 11"x 22" toilet room window in a two hour period when we went to dinner that night. Other people that we met also had cars broken into and had items stolen or were accosted by scruffy looking locals looking for money. It seems to me that St. Martin is loaded with what I call "Euro-trash" types who think tourists are ripe for the picking and the Police are useless and lazy. Please look up reviews for Palm Court Hotel and read "broken into and robbed" which I wrote and received over 4,000 views. According to the St. Martin tourist bureau rep. I contacted he said "crime has increased on both sides of the island and Police never solve the crime or find the stolen property" If you are looking for a safe vacation try St. Lucia,Grenada,Tobago or Jamaica. I am a big guy and know how to take care of myself in situations, but I don't go looking for problems on vacations.Remember this ..you can't take back a bad vacation.. cross St. Martin off your list !

Oh did you read this one? Well please do Dompas2, as its even gotten worse since.

joanthephone on Oct 29, 13 at 3:42am

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.

From me (Bart)
Finally, I will tell everyone here, that there are about 25 individuals from St Martin, that flood all feeds on Crime in St Martin. These 25 people say the same thing over and over obsessively which is "St Martin is no more dangerous then anywhere" It`s rotten that these people are trying to spread to cover up how bad it is there. Why do they do it? Because they own a property there, or a business there, and they want more tourist no matter what is happening.
Bart5151 is offline  

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