St. Martin trip report

Old Jan 28th, 2008, 11:16 AM
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St. Martin trip report

I came back last week from vacation in St. Martin/St. Maarten. It was a great trip. We stayed on the French side mostly. We went to a few different beaches, Cupecoy, Baie Rouge, Orient Beach, and Pinel Island. Each was a little different. Other than that, we mostly hung out in 2 towns on the French side, Marigot and Grand Case. Grand Case has a livelier nighttime scene. It's mostly for tourists, but shops are open late and there are some fun bars there. Marigot is quiet at night except for the marina area where the restaurants are. Marigot is where we shopped during the day. There is a tourist market by the water, also there is the Mall of the West Indies with more upscale shopping. On the road out of town there is a big modern supermarket where you can get stuff for lunch or dinner.

We took the ferry over to St. Barths one day. That was a nice trip. We walked around Gustavia and took a taxi to Governors beach there. I was a little worried, having read some bad reports about the ferry crossing, I took a Dramamine before boarding, but we had a smooth ride. We may have gotten lucky. We were on the Voyager out of Marigot.

Restaurants
Grande Case
Le Pressoir, a fancy French restaurant, we both got the lobster special menu.
Il Nettuno, more casual Italian, the food was good, even better was the dining room on a raised balcony above the beach.

Marigot
Tropicana, French restaurant, this was probably our best meal on the island.
Le Saint Germain, casual French, we just wandered in here, pretty good
La Belle Epoque, casual French/Italian/pizza, a very good meal for a reasonable price, it was one of the few restaurants open on Sunday
Le Chanteclair, also a fancy French restaurant, we liked the Tropicana better, but also very good

General notes:
We had a 4x4 Jeep, but only because we stayed way up on the hill (Pic Paradis). For just driving to/from the beach and town a regular car would be fine.
Passports are needed to go between the islands. We werenít sure about this and took ours just in case. It was a good thing we did.
Almost everywhere accepts US cash. We werenít prepared for this and did not take nearly enough USD. Vendors will give you a great exchange rate for cash, much better than the credit cards and banks would.

I highly recommend it. We were there a week and definitely had enough to do. We could have filled up a few more days. There were a bunch more restaurants on our list that we didnít make it to. I also would have liked to see Anguilla or Saba. Maybe next time.
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Old Jan 28th, 2008, 03:31 PM
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"We went to a few different beaches, Cupecoy, Baie Rouge, Orient Beach"

Sounds like you went to the clothing optional beaches. Great choice.

I too was happy with the exchange rate at most places when using cash. I tried to get Francs the first day I arrived but they didn't dispense them on the Dutch side. I'm glad I wasn't able because the local merchants, restaurants, and even gas stations gave a better rate when using dollars.

Thanks for the trip report. Sounds like you had a great time.
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Old Jan 29th, 2008, 05:37 AM
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Haha, you got me there. More about the beaches, they are clothing optional so you can do whatever you're comfortable with. At Cupecoy, most but not all went without. At Baie Rouge most were with and only without on the way western side. Orient Beach also most were with, the big naturist resort is on the sourthern end, but people walk back and forth. Pinel was very family oriented so I don't think it was allowed there unless you wandered off to the other side by yourself.
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Old Jan 29th, 2008, 07:36 AM
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The only C/O beach on the island actually is Orient,and only the section in front of Club O.
nudism is usually tolerated on the other beaches mentioned , but is not really legal.
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Old Jan 30th, 2008, 04:40 AM
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Oops, sorry about that. I just followed the lead there.
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Old Jan 30th, 2008, 04:45 AM
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that's OK..glad you followed the lead and had a good time.
it's just that people should know the actual facts. Sometimes...very very rarely...the police do patrol and some sunbathers are highly insulted because they think it is their right to sunbathe nude on those other beaches, when it really..... strictly speaking..isn't...
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Old Jan 30th, 2008, 11:47 AM
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We're heading there in March. Thanks for sharing your experience.
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Old Feb 2nd, 2008, 09:10 PM
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Carib traveler - When are you going? We'll be there from March 25th to April 2nd.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2008, 10:00 AM
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Travelenthusiast: March 22 till March 28. We're staying at L'Esplanade on the French side. What about you?
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Old Feb 3rd, 2008, 05:07 PM
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We're staying at Esmeralda from 3/25/08 to 4/2/08. I'm celebrating the big 40!
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Old Feb 3rd, 2008, 06:59 PM
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Caribtraveler:
I look forward to your trip report upon return from SXM. I'd love to hear about your stay at L'Esplanade and Grand Case, in general. Have a great trip and I wish you calm seas and clear skies!
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Old Feb 4th, 2008, 01:19 PM
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Travelenthusiast: Oh fun! Happy 40th! Hope you have a GREAT time!

CaribbeanSoul: You know me. I'll post that trip report ASAP! Thanks for the wishes!
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Old Feb 17th, 2008, 01:59 PM
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Thanks for the trip report - we are heading to St. Martin the first week of April and are staying at L'Esplanade. Your info will be very helpful!
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