small bug icon  Vacationing in St. Martin


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Contents

  1. Getting there...
  2. Our night at the marina...
  3. Exploring Marigot...
  4. Condo living...
  5. Exploring Philipsburg...
  6. 37 beaches...
  7. The road to Pic Paradis...
  8. Exploring and dining in Grand Case...
  9. All vacations come to an end...
  10. Links to St. Martin web sites

Be sure to check out the companion web page with scuba diving pictures and videos, if you have not done so already.
Also check the link to my detailed Trip Advisor review of Pelican Resort and St. Martin.

 

Getting there...

Getting there is half the fun... or so that saying goes. Sonia and I certainly enjoyed the adventure, particularly from Newark to Miami, since American Airlines gave us a free upgrade to first class so that we could sit together! We were both ready for a vacation and successfully worked our way through the airport mazes, car rental, and St. Martin roads to get ourselves to the Pelican Resort.

 

Our night at the marina...

When booking our flights, we discovered that we could each save ~$200 if we flew a day earlier. Tough choice: spend less for more time on St. Martin, or spend more for less time. We opted for the former, which meant spending one night in the new Marina building and then switching to a regular week condo unit.

 

Exploring Marigot...

Marigot was a very interesting town. We actually went there on two different days and enjoyed ourselves each time. In addition to exploring the market area, we also climbed to the top of Fort Louis. We ate two great lunches near the market while exploring. Marigot is the capital of the French side of the island.

 

Condo living...

We swapped some of our RCI timeshare points for a condo unit in the Beaumontia building at Pelican Resort. One thing I didn't fully realize before getting to the Pelican Resort terrain was that it is definitely not flat. The resort is multi-level, being built on the side of a hill adjacent to the ocean. Everywhere we walked to in the resort involved up or down hill travel. This also afforded us a great view from our 4th floor balcony of both Simpson Bay and the airport. We had several meals 'in', taking advantage of the full kitchen and balcony view. The resort was well equipped with pools and we took advantage of several especially for early morning and late night swims.

 

Exploring Philipsburg...

We devoted one day to touring and shopping in Philipsburg. Originally we planned to do this on a day when there were no cruise ships in port, but had to change our plans. On the day we went in, there were two ships in port, but aside from the beach front area, the cruise passengers seems to disperse themselves pretty well. We took advantage of the free public parking near the 'Salt Pickers' circle, which was only about 5 blocks off of Front street.

 

37 beaches...

According to the tourist office, there are 37 beaches to choose from. We didn't get to them all, but each one we did had its own unique charm.

 

The road to Pic Paradis...

Pic Paradis is the highest point on the island, at about 1,400 feet. The tour books make more out of this attraction than the road sign [and road for that matter] indicate. The road quickly narrowed down to one lane. At least it was paved all the way to the top, but some skill is required to avoid the many potholes. There are a couple of pull outs where you can check the view.

 

Exploring and dining in Grand Case...

While there were great restaurants throughout the island, Grand Case was the culinary Mecca. We had lunch at a great 'lolo' [outdoor barbecue] as well as a fine French meal at Le Pressoir.

 

All vacations come to an end...

Although cruise ships with vacationers kept arriving, it was time for us to head back home and reality!

 

Links to St. Martin web sites

  1. Pelican Resort
  2. AquaMania - scuba and general water sports
  3. zoomable St. Martin island map[s] - Google -- I would also recommend picking up the one from the official tourist office
  4. St. Martin island map[s] - Frommer -- shows general location of hotels, restaurants, etc.
  5. Jeff Berger newsletter - provides many additional links and provides a good local flavor of the island. Subscribe a month or two before you go!
  6. Bucaneer Beach Bar - local beach bar with great island flavor. Right on the beach. Next door to Pelican Resort.
  7. Mr. Busby's Beach Bar - a great place for lunch
  8. Triple A Car Rental -- avoid the 'big' guys and rent from a local business
  9. Simpson Bay west or   Simpson Bay east - geat maps to help you locate business, restaurants, etc.
  10. Groceries stores - be warned... 'grand' and 'super' don't necessary mean what you would think!

Also be sure the check out the underwater pictures from my scuba dive, if you have not done so already.

   

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