gusnyc
Posts: 139
Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2005 6:06 am

11 Hours In St. Maarten... Help!

Wed Nov 02, 2005 6:28 am

Hi Everybody!

I've been reading these posts for the last three years, and finally I feel confident enough (with my English) to subscribe and make my first posting.

I am taking a cruise from NYC to San Juan de Puerto Rico in a week, and the ship will stop on Thursday Nov 17th for 11 hours at Philipsburg, St. Maarten.

Of course, I want to go to Maho Beach! I want to make my dream come true. I am very excited about that, but I won't be alone and I don't want to alienate my partner with this experience. Remember, I have just 11 hours in the island.

So, I need your help to take advantage of the 2 or 3 hours that I could be there, at the beach. I tried to find information about schedules or about how to get there from the port, but I couldn't find anything useful on the internet. The website for the airport looks incomplete.

Could anybody who has been there share some info/suggestions/xtras about Maho beach? What is the best way to get there? What time of the day?

Thank you very much in advance.

Gustavo
PS, I am excited to post my first message here!  

[Edited 2005-11-01 22:29:24]
 
ahlfors
Posts: 1281
Joined: Mon Oct 23, 2000 1:44 am

RE: 11 Hours In St. Maarten... Help!

Wed Nov 02, 2005 7:07 am

Best way to get there would be Taxi. I doubt there are buses, and if there were, I doubt you could get your hands on schedules. The best time for arrivals at the beach is 1pm-4pm (US airlines 1pm-3pm, AF A340 is at 2:55pm, KL B747 at 3:25pm).
 
WestWing
Posts: 1133
Joined: Thu Feb 03, 2005 2:01 am

RE: 11 Hours In St. Maarten... Help!

Wed Nov 02, 2005 7:36 am

The "bus" is one of several well-worn passenger mini-vans with no markings. They do have a sign, usually inside the windshield on the passenger side, indicating their destination and operate quite frequently.

To get to Maho Beach, flag a van heading towards "Mullet Bay". For your first trip suggest to tell the driver or a co-passenger when you get on that you want to go to Maho Beach. You'll figure out the system and become an expert in how it works when you're on the bus. You pay the driver (usually less than $2 US) when you get off.

To get back to the pier, flag a van headed towards "Philipsburg".

Don't be shy in asking locals for help in where (on which street) to catch the bus.

Enjoy your trip.

[Edited 2005-11-01 23:43:49]
The best time to plant a tree is 40 years ago. The second best time is today.
 
A350
Posts: 1011
Joined: Tue Nov 30, 2004 6:40 am

RE: 11 Hours In St. Maarten... Help!

Wed Nov 02, 2005 7:40 am

Don't forget to write a trip report after coming home  bigthumbsup 

A350
 
MarshalN
Posts: 1474
Joined: Sat Sep 03, 2005 9:39 am

RE: 11 Hours In St. Maarten... Help!

Wed Nov 02, 2005 7:44 am

My next carribean destination is definitely St. Maarten. Ah, I wish I were there now!!
 
DarthRandall
Posts: 294
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2005 8:17 am

RE: 11 Hours In St. Maarten... Help!

Wed Nov 02, 2005 8:16 am

Quoting WestWing (Reply 2):
To get to Maho Beach, flag a van heading towards "Mullet Bay".

Sounds like a rokkin' place! Yo, I stole my dad's Camero and bought a six pack of Pabst! Let's hit the beach and get us some highschool 'tang!
Ninjas can kill anyone they want! Ninjas cut off heads all the time and don't even think twice about it.
 
gusnyc
Posts: 139
Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2005 6:06 am

RE: 11 Hours In St. Maarten... Help!

Wed Nov 02, 2005 10:23 am

Thanks for the suggestions. I am very, very excited about going there. I saw all those pictures and they look amazing. The closest thing I have ever done was to stand in one of the "cabezeras" of Aeroparque, in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I used to stay there for hours.

Coming back to St. Maartin, I guess the beach is public, right? There is anything around there to do while I am waiting for the next flight to arrive? Is it possible to stand next to the fence and take pictures?

I bought a digital movie camera (Sanyo C5) and I am planning to take videos and still pictures like crazy.

Gus
 
airfoilsguy
Posts: 3485
Joined: Sun Oct 09, 2005 7:28 am

RE: 11 Hours In St. Maarten... Help!

Wed Nov 02, 2005 11:18 am

When I was there I rented a "Jeep". It wasn't really a Jeep but the locals called it a jeep and it looked just like a real Jeep. You can circle the entire island in like 40 minutes. It cost me about $50 American but it was well worth it. You can also get a Taxi. You can get both these at the pier. You don't even have to look for them. As soon as you touch dry land you will have like 100 locals trying to get you to take a "tour" in their taxi. I counted the number of time people asked me if I wanted a Taxi. I reached 15 before I even reached the main road. There is also an old jet on the side of the road you can have lunch in. I would recommend renting a "jeep" I saw the whole island in 11 hours and drove myself. Also don't forget to visit the nude beach.
It's not a near miss it's a near hit!!
 
fishe388
Posts: 29
Joined: Thu Feb 17, 2005 12:26 pm

RE: 11 Hours In St. Maarten... Help!

Wed Nov 02, 2005 12:20 pm

I was in St. Marteen over the summer, it is about a 20 min bus ride to the beach but well worth it the bus is only 1.50 $ to cross the island so it is by far the most cost efficient means of getting to the beach. Hope you enjoy.
 
vivavegas
Posts: 422
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2004 11:56 pm

RE: 11 Hours In St. Maarten... Help!

Wed Nov 02, 2005 1:07 pm

Did this just a few weeks ago (we arrived on RCCL Navigator of the Seas). In the morning I needed to do a shore excursion with my niece before have some time for myself before hooking back up with my family for a bit of shopping.

So I really only had about 1-1/2 hours. From the cruise pier I proceeded to the taxi stand where they had published rates of $16 to Maho Beach. They hooked me up with a driver in a Chevy Astro van (wide range a vehicles are used as cabs in SXM).

On the way to Maho Beach I enquired on how hard it would be to get a cab back, he said "very hard mon" all the cabs are over in Orient Beach picking cruise passengers going back to the ship. So I asked how much for the round trip, he stated $30 I asked if he would wait for a bit while I caught some video and pics and perhaps a beer. Stated "no problem mon". Upon arrival to the Sunset Beach Bar he dropped me off and stated he would be parked up the road under a tree and I should take my time.

Ordered up a Heinekein (sp?) $3!!!!, bought a few shirts, caught a American 757 and a DC-3 arrival, all told about 15-20 minutes.

Made my way up the road, found my driver and sure enough he was taking a little snooze.

We proceeded back towards Phillipsburg, it took about 20 minutes and we were back in town and dropped off with my family for some shopping and MUCH cheaper $1.00 beers! ** He stated if you try to get back to the pier any time after 3pm it can take upwards of 2 HOURS to get back through the traffic in Simpson Bay and Phillipsburg. BE WARNED!

My driver was very happy with the trip and the $30, he said no tip was required (good as my wife forgot to give me much money).

I have a few videos uploaded of the new SXM terminal project, a few of the Maho Area and one arrival. Let's see if you can kill my server!

http://www.wiscomm.com/skyone/

Let me know if you have any questions, I would be happy to help!

Craig
MKE
MKE / EYW / LAS - The true trifecta of aviation!
 
vivavegas
Posts: 422
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2004 11:56 pm

RE: 11 Hours In St. Maarten... Help!

Thu Nov 03, 2005 1:02 am

Also, to add....

Sunset Beach Bar has a live arrival feed online -

http://www.sunsetbeachbar.com/airport_radio

Let's you plan ahead... Enjoy!

Craig
MKE
MKE / EYW / LAS - The true trifecta of aviation!
 
gusnyc
Posts: 139
Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2005 6:06 am

RE: 11 Hours In St. Maarten... Help!

Thu Nov 03, 2005 2:21 am

Hey Guys!

Thank you very much for the suggestions. They are very helpful indeed.

Any tip about what time of the day, in your experience, is better to spot the arrivals? The ship will be docked from 7AM to 6PM. I guess I could take 2 or 3 hours in between. Oh! And this will be on Thursday (the 17th).

What time of the day do you suggest to go?
Do you agree with Ahlfors on 1-to 4 PM?

Thanks!

Gus
 
Ratypus
Posts: 185
Joined: Thu Apr 15, 2004 8:26 pm

RE: 11 Hours In St. Maarten... Help!

Thu Nov 03, 2005 3:21 am

By the way - welcome and congrats on your first post!

enjoy your trip!
 
FLY2LIM
Posts: 1095
Joined: Thu May 06, 2004 6:01 am

RE: 11 Hours In St. Maarten... Help!

Thu Nov 03, 2005 3:38 am

Quoting Airfoilsguy (Reply 7):
When I was there I rented a "Jeep". It wasn't really a Jeep but the locals called it a jeep and it looked just like a real Jeep. You can circle the entire island in like 40 minutes. It cost me about $50 American but it was well worth it. You can also get a Taxi. You can get both these at the pier. You don't even have to look for them. As soon as you touch dry land you will have like 100 locals trying to get you to take a "tour" in their taxi. I counted the number of time people asked me if I wanted a Taxi. I reached 15 before I even reached the main road. There is also an old jet on the side of the road you can have lunch in. I would recommend renting a "jeep" I saw the whole island in 11 hours and drove myself. Also don't forget to visit the nude beach.

I did a posting on my first trip to SXM back in August. I suppose I could go find it and link you, but I'm too darn lazy.  Smile

I just did this with my family in the middle of August, on the 18th to be exact, and I arrived on the Carnival Valor. Since we were a family of four, we rented a real "jeep" (made by Chrysler) as opposed to a mini jeep (made by Suzuki, usually). We paid a little more and we got A/C and other amenities. We got off the port, walked outside the gate, and turned to the right to the car rental companies. They SWARMED us because this is low season for cruises, so there isn't much business. We rented the jeep for $50, paid insurance and the whole bit, but they were offering us cars for much cheaper. You figure a taxi is no less than $30 so a car for $35 is a bargain for 11 hours. We rented ours for six and it was a DEAL. From the port, we went CLOCKWISE around the island, stopping first at Maho. My girls had a blast at Maho. It's a public beach and it's gorgeous, only it's limited in size. I caught about 10 planes that landed, starting with an AA 757, and everything else was an island hopper, mainly. From there we went to Belle Rouge beach, up the coast, past Philipsburg and into the French side (Marigot). After that, we kept driving and went to Orient, the popular beach in SXM, although we were disappointed.
By the way, the "nude beach" doesn't really exist. European women and men are more comfortable with their body and will take their bathing suits off freely, as opposed to being in designated nude areas like in the US. There is, however, a clothing optional resort at Orient, although we just drove past the entrance.
The trip takes you about 45-60 mins to complete. Traffic is fairly heavy in the two main cities, but after Orient Beach (following the clockwise pattern) there is little traffic on your return to the port.
Very easy to get around, very fun place. I want to go back to stay there for a few nights.

Quoting Vivavegas (Reply 9):
We proceeded back towards Phillipsburg, it took about 20 minutes and we were back in town and dropped off with my family for some shopping and MUCH cheaper $1.00 beers! ** He stated if you try to get back to the pier any time after 3pm it can take upwards of 2 HOURS to get back through the traffic in Simpson Bay and Phillipsburg. BE WARNED!

Again, this is if you come from Philipsburg in the counterclockwise direction.

FLY2LIM
Faucett. La primera linea aerea del Peru.
 
TPASXM787
Posts: 1667
Joined: Tue Mar 29, 2005 6:31 am

RE: 11 Hours In St. Maarten... Help!

Thu Nov 03, 2005 3:44 am

Don't worry about the nude beach, there were plenty of topless hotties right on Maho. I rented a car and drove out there, the rental cost me about $50, well worth it. The large commercial arrivals are always in the afternoon after about 1, so enjoy!
This is the Last Stop.
 
danpio
Posts: 130
Joined: Fri May 21, 2004 3:22 am

RE: 11 Hours In St. Maarten... Help!

Thu Nov 03, 2005 5:21 am

Thursdays:

AA: 12:10 & 2:18.
US: 2:44
France: 1:00 (no longer 2:30- this is a recent change!)
KLM: 3:45

You can stand by the fence, Sunset beach bar, Maho Beach, the road. Anywhere you want. Nobody will say anything because everyone is taking photos with you! Be sure to get some topless hotties in your shots. I was there 3 weeks ago and there were plenty to see! I have one special photo to upload, we'll see it soon!
I'd kill everyone in this room for one drop of sweet, sweet beer.- Homer J. Simpson
 
SFOerik
Posts: 103
Joined: Sat Oct 23, 2004 11:17 pm

RE: 11 Hours In St. Maarten... Help!

Thu Nov 03, 2005 5:40 am

Gustavo:

Just jump in a cab and tell them "Maho Beach". Also, tell the driver when to come back and pick you up so you don't miss your boat. Or, the bartenders at the Sunset Beach Bar and Grill can call a cab for you. It takes a good 45min-1hr cab ride each way.

I have done the same thing for a couple of years and it will be the best stop of your cruise! Maho Beach is great for swimming, eating, drinking and watching the planes!!!!!

els
I will no longer stress about upgrades!
 
pumaknight
Posts: 227
Joined: Fri Jun 11, 2004 3:23 am

RE: 11 Hours In St. Maarten... Help!

Thu Nov 03, 2005 5:42 am

Did I read right. You only just feel confident enough in your English skills to post?? And that is basic English for you? i am humbled and seriously impressed!

I only wish I could write in another language even half as well as you do (have trouble with English sometimes Smile

Enjoy St Maartins and let us know how you get on.

Michael H
NO URLS in signature
 
FLY2LIM
Posts: 1095
Joined: Thu May 06, 2004 6:01 am

RE: 11 Hours In St. Maarten... Help!

Thu Nov 03, 2005 7:22 am

Quoting SFOerik (Reply 16):
Just jump in a cab and tell them "Maho Beach". Also, tell the driver when to come back and pick you up so you don't miss your boat. Or, the bartenders at the Sunset Beach Bar and Grill can call a cab for you. It takes a good 45min-1hr cab ride each way.

Errr, took me about 10 minutes to get from the port to Maho, but the cabs will still charge you too much. Rent the car.
FLY2LIM
Faucett. La primera linea aerea del Peru.
 
goingboeing
Posts: 4727
Joined: Sat Dec 04, 1999 1:58 am

RE: 11 Hours In St. Maarten... Help!

Thu Nov 03, 2005 7:55 am

I'll be there on November 21 - coming in on a cruise ship. So do I understand most of the big jet arrivals are after 1 p.m.?
 
vivavegas
Posts: 422
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2004 11:56 pm

RE: 11 Hours In St. Maarten... Help!

Thu Nov 03, 2005 10:23 am

Quoting Danpio (Reply 15):
France: 1:00 (no longer 2:30 - this is a recent change!)

I can indeed confirm this change as there was a A340 on the ground when I was there around 1:45, unknown departure time.

I would suggest a say a 12:30p arrival and head back around 3:00p, have a little lunch at Sunset Beach. Not a bad life...

(thinking I have the spouses blessing for a return trip in the coming months  Smile )

Craig
MKE
MKE / EYW / LAS - The true trifecta of aviation!
 
ahlfors
Posts: 1281
Joined: Mon Oct 23, 2000 1:44 am

RE: 11 Hours In St. Maarten... Help!

Thu Nov 03, 2005 10:56 am

For the winter schedule in effect from Oct. 30, AF lands at SXM at 2:55. This is due to the shift to winter time in France, whereas there is no time change in SXM.
 
aa61hvy
Posts: 13021
Joined: Fri Nov 05, 1999 9:21 am

RE: 11 Hours In St. Maarten... Help!

Thu Nov 03, 2005 10:58 am

Enjoy SXM, and your English is just fine!
Go big or go home
 
Dalmd88
Posts: 2395
Joined: Fri Jul 28, 2000 3:19 am

RE: 11 Hours In St. Maarten... Help!

Thu Nov 03, 2005 5:22 pm

When I stopped there with a cruise I forgot all about airplanes. I went sailing on one of the 12M racing boats. Sure it was expensive, but how often do you get to sail on an old Americas Cup racing boat. We had a blast and still had time to go shopping in town. Wife bought some jewlery, I bought some cuban cigars and some booze.
 
gusnyc
Posts: 139
Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2005 6:06 am

RE: 11 Hours In St. Maarten... Help!

Fri Nov 04, 2005 12:17 am

Wow! I can't thank you enough for all the information guys!

Pumaknight and AA61Hvy, thank you very much for your words. They are very encouraging. I am still making a lot of mistakes when I write in English. I never had formal education on this language and I feel not very confident about my grammar. But I am learning!

: )

GoingBoing, I hope you enjoy your trip.

Gus