Read this before booking St. Maarten

Old Jun 1st, 2000, 06:39 AM
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Read this before booking St. Maarten

If you're visiting this board to decide if you should visit St. Maarten, then you should read this trip report, copied by me from another board.

Just got back from Orient Bay, and the Esmeralda. This is our 2nd trip; previous in 1994, and it will be our last.

What bothers me is that I have been monitoring this site for months prior to our visit, and no one seems to have the wherewithall to describe the real SXM. I agonized for days about making these comments, but I just can't resist trying to tell people what they should really expect rather than listen to the defenders in this forum. Is this real or is their a SXM Defense League editing this bulletin board ?

Folks, why can't you accept the fact that this island is a dump? Junk trucks, junk cars, and in case you get past them, you have junk houses, junk stores and garbage, dirt and poor vergetation. Sure, hurricanes and storms can be blamed for some of this, but can't the locals simply pick up their garbage and clean up their ghetto neighborhoods? I am not a snob, but if you have been to St. Thomas, SXM looks just like it now and IT WAS NOT this way in 1994 ! This place has gone way down hill. We got so disgusted we went to St. Barths. Now that is an example of what the Islands should be and can be and SXM should not expect to keep raking in tourist $ if they don't stop this disease. The locals on St. Barth's talk about how dangerous and dirty SXM is and that they are afraid it will invade their paradise. The servise folks who come to SXM for the high season told us over and over again that they have watched this place turn into a dump, are afraid to go out in Marigot at night, won't dare even go to Philispburg, leave their cars open rather than have their windows broken and stereo, batteries etc. stolen anyway. The restaurant owners in Grand Case will also tell you if you ask carefully that they know the locals are ruining the island and many said they will leave soon, before it is too late.

The Esmeralda desperately needs remodeling and a Reception Office attitude transplant. The local retail clerks are uniformly rude, and incompetent and don't seem to care that their life revolves around the tourist. The drivers are crazy, reckless and arrogant, and the general attitude of the many people we met from many countries was, "we just ignore the locals, garbage, junk cars and stay close to the beaches and the restaurants."

We loved L'Astrolabe, fine food, terrfic service and beautiful atmosphere. La Tastevin was fabulous, probably the best Caesar salad and then scallop dishes anywhere. Lolos were inconsistent and also unfriendly and I had the feeling they would rip off anybody if you turned your head. Pinel Island was beautiful, but we got ripped by a one serving 1/2 lobster for $55 on a paper plate for lunch ! Masa's in SF CA doesn't charge that much. Marios Bistro was WAY overrated as the Shrimp dish was uninspired and the famous DUCK was roasted together( rather than breast separate ) and tasted like a sawdust chicken. The airport was horribly inefficient and the staff was almost vulgar in their attitude and "screw you" stance. The lines were ridiculous and it takes an hour to get checked in even with boarding passes. American Airlines should be shut down for their screwups, terrible food and tight seating. ( 1 1/2 delay on arrive, 4 hour delay on return )

The reason I am SO negative is because all the rest of you are ignoring the very things that need to be noticed in order for this to improve. If you say that this is acceptable, it will get worse and then even you won't be able to tolerate it. Don't tell me about the hurricanes! I know all about them, but I also know that the government and the locals must have enterprise to recreate the atmosphere that I dreamed about for 6 years, desiring only to return here for the most important vacation of our lives. Then, this is what I got.

So, anybody who reads this drivel, has not been there recently, or never before...CHANGE YOUR PLANS... go to St. Barths or Hawaii. Or, if you want to save $, get a room in a rundown hotel in looks the same if you walk to the water. Sorry folks, but somebody has to say it.

This articulate post certainly changed my thinking.

Bonne chance!

Old Jun 1st, 2000, 09:32 AM
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Thanks for the info. I was considering St. Martin but had heard similar things from a co-worker (druggies on the beach). Now that's it's confirmed, I'll go elsewhere. There are too many great islands in the Caribbean to risk a bad experience.

Old Jun 1st, 2000, 02:47 PM
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Ironically, I have heard an incredible number of horror stories about Hawaii - crime - assault, rape, murder, etc. There is a website dedicated to it.
Old Jun 1st, 2000, 06:07 PM
Karl L.
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Thanks for the post. Ditto for St. Lucia. I don't know where it gets its fans but is sure was a dump. No honeymoon paradise there; crime, animal abuse and filth. You will not regret changing your plans there either.
Old Jun 12th, 2000, 08:16 AM
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Thanks. I'll go to Jamaica instead.

Old Jun 13th, 2000, 06:35 PM
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and the same can probably be said for every place in the world... Europe, the east, the pacific, etc. And its in our own back yard... so, do we all stop travelling? i have heard from people who have been to all of these places & loved them. yes, the caribbean is loaded with all of the icks... obviously many of us find a lot that outweighs it.
Old Jun 15th, 2000, 12:24 PM
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You miss the point. Obviously crime is worse in some destinations than others. St Maarten just happens to be one of the worse.
Old Jun 15th, 2000, 01:46 PM
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St. Martin is far from the worst. I had to laugh when I saw that someone would choose Jamaica over St. Martin because of crime. I think when we reach that point we're beyond the realm of intelligent conversation.
Old Jun 16th, 2000, 05:43 AM
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Jamaica is not comparable to St. M. for a number of reasons -- it's size and population are the big 2.

There are definitely areas of Jamaica that are "safer" than St. M.

St. M. is small -- you're never far from a dangerous area. Plus, you shouldn't walk on even Orient Beach at night.

Jamaica is like California -- parts are extremely safe, other parts are not.

Old Jul 11th, 2000, 09:46 AM
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It's really too bad that I did not read this before I left on my trip to St. Martin in June. I never would have gone. It was one of the ugliest islands that I had ever seen. Brown & dead with no vegetation. It was dirty & the people were extremley rude. I posted a similar trip report on another web site & was basically bashed by all of the die hard St. Martiner's who apparently are blind to the fact this island needs help to maintain their hold on tourism. I really hope that it does get help soon along with all of the rude people who obviously have never heard of Freedom of Speech.
Old Jul 11th, 2000, 09:49 AM
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Probably no uglier than you and your vile, selfish being. Why don't you go back to the other boards and answer all the questions that were asked of you.
Old Jul 11th, 2000, 12:02 PM
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Amber --

There's another member of the St. Maarten propaganda machine. Don't worry about it -- many people agree with you.

Keep educating the public! They need to know the truth!

Old Jul 11th, 2000, 02:33 PM
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Hey Amber, next time you take a trip - save the airfare. Take your broom.
Old Jul 12th, 2000, 09:37 AM
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After reading some negative comments, I must say that these individual(s) may have visited St. Maarten or the other islands but they missed the beauty of it all! The natural beauty,the tranquility, the peace and harmony are truly remarkable. Not to mention the magnificient water.
It seems as if you can reach up and touch the moon and the stars. It is true that a bad storm takes its toll on these islands and their natives. Not only do the storms destroy the plants, vegetation and homes but it causes ecomomic havoc for the people. These islands survive on tourism and tourism declines when hurricanes come thorugh. Also, the islanders do not receive welfare or government assistance, or food stamps, etc. as has ruined the so called work force of the US.

I love the islands and there are areas that do need attention as in everywhere you may travel. Please recognize the many ghettos in the US and why aren't these areas cleaned up?..... after all, the US is very wealthy and has the ability to restore and maintain these areas.

For all of those that complain about the islands, stay at home. As for living in a US tourist area, this is when I like to use the phrase "We are glad that you chose to visit here, spend all of your money and go home!" If you don't like our US tourist location, just spend your money and we will enjoy the visitors that are happy coming here. Having worked in the tourist industry for a lifetime, there is nothing more disgusting than a tourist that constantly complains and finds fault with everything, no matter how small the matter. For all legitimate complaints...we will fix the problem because we have adequate funds. Our tourist location does not compare to the beautiful islands and our charges are more expensive in most cases!

For those of you that have never visited the islands, you can't imagine what you have missed. They are absolutely magnificient. The beauty certainly outweighs any bad, period! I go every chance that I can and will always do so. In fact, I will be visiting St. Maarten again in several months.

Old Jul 12th, 2000, 03:56 PM
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Amber, you were given your freedom to speak. Just because others who also have freedom to speak did not agree with you, does not mean that they are "rude". Yes, some comments did attack you. However, your comments attacked many people. Plus, many replies simply expressed the writers' tolerance towards diversity.

If you think my response is "rude", that is your right.
Old Jul 12th, 2000, 04:30 PM
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This thread is making me laugh! I've been to several islands (not St. Martin) but the past few years we've settled into Jamaica (friends there, know our way around now, etc.)

Anyway, every so often someone will come to a B board and say they hated Jamaica for whatever reason and loyal fans will speak up in defense...I had no idea that every island has these people that hate their trips! Just since I started visiting this board a few days ago, I think I have seen every single island in the Caribbean trashed for the same reasons - mainly those that have to do with the country being too dirty, too much trash, too many hustlers, everyone drives too fast...

I though it was only Jamaica that got trashed like that but I guess I've only read Jamaica boards lately...

I feel so much better now, thanks!
Old Jul 13th, 2000, 03:09 AM
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Just an innocent question to this otherwise torrid string....
is it St. Maartin or St. Martin? I always thought it is the former.
Old Jul 13th, 2000, 03:25 AM
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Actually, it is both. That's what is the beauty of this island. It is two countries in one. Sint Maarten is part of the Netherlands Antilles and Saint Martin is part of the French West Indies. It is the smallest land mass that has two nations coexisting peacefully. Each has maintained a distinct personality and charm. As a result, it has something to offer to everyone.
Old Jul 13th, 2000, 04:46 AM
Neil Rooney
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As a resident of SXM for 12 years and a BB reader for 6 months I am surprised at Ambers comments. This board, Traveltalk, Caribbean-on-line and GoBeach boards all with the same EXTREMELY negative SXM review. there a destination which you do like?
Every island is different, and culturally different from the USA.
To those of you considering a vacation to Sint Maarten/Saint Martin feel free to visit and e-mail me your thoughts on SXM, positive or negative. But please, don't beat a dead horse.
Old Jul 13th, 2000, 07:28 AM
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We just got back from 12 days in St.Martin in June.It was absolutely wonderful.We stayed at beautiful LaSamanna. We went out every night and felt completely safe, and the people were all wonderful, not the least bit rude. In fact just the opposite, so very friendly and polite. Yes it's true the island is a little dry and brown b/c they have not had rain in a while, so that would be expected. We can't wait to go back.

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