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St Maarten for week between Xmas and New Years 2007?

St Maarten for week between Xmas and New Years 2007?

Jan 2nd, 2007, 09:31 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 113
St Maarten for week between Xmas and New Years 2007?

I know itís only January 2, 2007, but in the past I have purchased plane tickets and made my hotel reservations in February for travel between Christmas and New Years. I have only gone to The Bahamas during this time, had a good time but the water temperature is not hot enough during that time of year to swim in the ocean. I will be traveling with my spouse, our daughter, her girlfriend (both 25) and another adult couple. I would love to go to a Caribbean island that has nice beaches, warm weather and decent restaurants. I have been to Aruba, glad I went but it is not one of my favorite islands. I have also been to Cancun, had a wonderful time but returned home sick (in bed for 2weeks) and just a little leery of going back. I will try to rent a condo instead of a hotel room so we can have some of our meals at the condo (mostly breakfast) and not be confined to a tiny space.

I would love to go to a destination that has:
Active Night Life
Gambling is a plus
Good public transportation
Easy to drive around the island
Many restaurant choices
Nice shopping

In doing my research, I thought perhaps St Maarten/St Martin would be the perfect island destination for us. My question is: would it be warm enough for us to swim in the ocean? I know the islands are very expensive but can you eat within reason less than $15 for lunch around $30 for dinner? How safe is the island? In Aruba, I found the island to be very safe but in Jamaica. I would not venture off the all-inclusive property. If we went to St Maarten, which area of the island is the best to stay in? If not St Maarten, what other islands would you suggest?

Thanks for taking the time to reply




need2travelasap is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2007, 10:16 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 1,716
First off, any Caribbean island (note the Bahamas are not in the Caribbean) destination will have relatively warm waters during the time your are considering. The further south you go the warmer the water will be. St. Martin is in the northern portion of the Leeward Island chain and you can expect water temperatures during the week between Christmas and New Years to be in the high 70's to low 80's F.

St. Martin appears to be a good choice for you given the fact you want to stay in a condo (there are loads of them on that island). The island has scores of restaurants in many different price ranges (budget to ultra expensive) so you should have no trouble finding places to dine on the budget you have set (assuming the dollar amounts are per person). This island has casinos, plenty of shopping, a very active nightlife and it is generally easy to get around. I'd recommend you consider a rental car rather than relying on "public transportation" - taxis will get very expensive and trying to take buses will limit your mobility.

Regarding saftey, St. Martin is a busy island and there are occasional reports of petty thefts. Use common sense (don't flash large amounts of cash, don't leave valuables unattended, don't venture into dark alleys alone at night, etc.) and you should be just fine.
A_Traveller is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2007, 11:53 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 264
I agree with A Traveller that St.Martin would be a good place for you. The beaches are absolutely beautiful and it's true that you can dine well in any price range. We take a fold-up cooler with us and pack it in the morning for a day at the beach:water, juice, pop,fruit,cheese,ham...whatever you desire. Add a fresh baguette and you're all set. If you go to the lolos (rib shacks)in Grand Case 2 people can eat for $20; ribs, salads, johnny cake and a cold beer or pop. There are cafes where you can dine in your budget range, especially if you forego the expensive drinks and fancy desserts. Many serve pasta or great pizzas or have a special like "moules/frites". The last 2 years there have been some restaurants and shops which give euro = dollar. We're Canadian so that makes a great difference to us money-wise.

Shopping is varied; know your prices before you go. Liquor is cheap and many people go in for jewellery and electronics.

Remember if you stay on the French side the voltage is 220 so you need a 110/220 hair dryer although most hotels have a small one in the bathroom.

Rent a car; we get ours from Budget.You pick it up right close to the airport.

You can also travel easily to Anguilla and St.Barths for a day.
baker is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2007, 12:09 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,114
I agree with all of the above and you are not booking too early. I was there for New Years night day before yesterday and had a very hard time finding a room beforehand. That is the busiest week on St. Maarten/St. Martin out of the whole year, so don't worry about booking too early.
Statia is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2007, 12:35 PM
  #5  
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 113
Thanks for taking the time to reply. St Maarten it is!!!!! Just one more question, how crowded was it? For those that have gone during that time of year, did you have to wait to get into the restaurants?
need2travelasap is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2007, 12:56 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,114
The week of Christmas is crowded, heavy traffic and whatnot, but you CAN get around. However, I can tell you that on New Years Eve it can take over 2 hours to drive just 2 miles....at least in the more popular areas. Everybody on the entire island is out that night so my suggestion would be to find a resort that is having a New Years Eve function or else find a restaurant of your choice and plan on parking it there until well after 2 a.m.
Statia is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2007, 04:53 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 686
Statia
you celebrated NYE over here? were you on the boardwalk or the toehr side of the hill?
The fireworks at the boardwalk were great and the place was packed..

as far as need totrqavelasap, I think you would love sxm.. maybe consider staying in the Maho or Simpson Bay area...... that's the heart of the night life on the island.
Barbara1 is offline  
Jan 5th, 2007, 06:14 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,114
Hi Barbara. It was actually a very last minute trip since DH had to fly to the States for a family medical emergency. So, since he was going to have to be on SXM overnight for an early flight on AA to SJU I figured I may as well go with him so we could at least have dinner together.

We didn't go out with both of us having to check in at the airport at 5:30 a.m. and we had a heck of a time trying to find a room so last minute, but Jackie at Flamingo got us a suite there (God bless her) and we had dinner at the resort.

We did have a toast on our terrace at mightnight, however, and could hear the booms from the fireworks in Phillipsburg, along with seeing the reflecting lights thru the clouds above us. As I'm sure you recall it was an off and on rainy day/night on New Years Eve.

You and I are still going to have to do that lunch or something when I'm back on island for a couple of days.
Statia is offline  
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