- Submitted by: Gary J. Fischman
- Website: None Available
- Submission Date: 04th Feb 2005
WHAT TO DO
There isn't much in the way of tourist sights in St. Maarten/St. Martin.
There is the old ruins of the fort in Marigot. It's up on a small hill next to the Marigot waterfront. The fort itself isn't much to see, but there is a great view of the northwest corner of the island.
You can allocate a day to shopping in Philipsburg, but there are few bargains. Many of the so-called discounts are more expensive then the same item would be in a US discount store. Liquor made outside the US is very cheap and bargains can be found in cosmetics as well. Camera prices vary, so you may get a discount, but again, you can do just as well in NY. Know prices of what you want *before* you leave.
Watersports are abundant. Water skiing, parasailing, sailing, wave runners, can be found at several of the larger hotels. Prices can be high, though. Snorkling around the island is mediocre. The best snorkling spots are Rouge Beach (at the far right end of the beach under the pretty house on the promontory) and Dawn Beach. Much better snorkling can be found elsewhere, but you need to take a boat. In particular, there is an underwater park on the north side of Anguilla, but it's about an hour by boat. Scuba diving around St. Martin is also mediocre. I don't waste my time anymore. Note that the waters around St. Martin can be quite rough. (This is what limits the visibility for diving.) If you're prone to sea sickness, be *sure* to take the appropriate precautions.
I'm sure I'm leaving a few things out.
WHERE TO EAT
St. Martin is noted throughout the Caribbean for its excellent restaurants. The food selection is better than any island I've been to. In most cases, the prices reflect the quality. There are, however, a few bargains around. I'm giving the names of places I've been to. I would recommend any of them. I`ve put **** to indicate how good *I* think they are.
Le Santal (French) (****) - Sandy Ground (Outside of Marigot)
Hevea (French) - (****) - Grand Case.
L'Escapade (French) (****) - Grabnd Case
Le Paroquet (French) (****) - Near airport
L'Escargot (French) (****) - Philipsburg
Captain Oliver's (Seafood) (***1/2) - Oyster Pond
Jean Dupont (French) (****) - Marigot marina
Asia (Vietnamese) (**) - Marigot marina
Le Calanque (French) (****) - Marigot waterfront
Alizea (French) (****) - Mt. Vernon (My favorite)
Saratoga (Continental) (***) - Near Pelican (Others rate this higher)
Don Carlos (Mexican) (***) - Near Airport
Le Belle Epoch (**) - Marigot marina
David's (**) - Marigot
Mark's Place (Creole) (***1/2) - Cul de Sac
Crime is on the rise. Don't leave anything in your car - locked or not. Drugs are a bit of a problem and you may get approached just outside the Marigot marina at night. There have been muggings and even murders on the island more frequently in recent years. (There was a murder last time I was there.) I was a victim of a credit card problem once. (I left it at a restaurant and the next day I picked it up only to find that over $1000 had been charged to my account. I guess an employee *borrowed* it for the night.)
Gary J. Fischman