May 24, 2011

St. Martin, Caribbean Isands

If you head south out of New York City and go about 1,460 miles, you'll end up on the beautiful island of St. Martin in the Caribbean Virgin Islands.

Saint Martin/Sint Maarten says serenity to me. Peace, beauty, nature, warm breezes, crazy-good views, solitude, family, friends, people, relationships..... mountain biking. If I ever go back, I will rent a bike.  Read my story about our trip here.

On my visit, we rented Jeeps, which was better than a bike on that particular trip......
because I had my 70-year old parents with me. They rocked the heck out of those Jeeps, too, let me tell you.

Wouldn't you love to be mountain biking along this trail?

St. Martin's is one of the first places to offer something new – snorkeling with sound.  Not sure if I'd like this or not.  With Amphicom technology, you can snorkel with underwater narration and music.  Try it out with Wakawa Eco-Klub's snorkeling tours at The Marine Reserve, where, they claim, you'll see sea turtles and spotted eagle rays.  That's one bonus of snorkeling on a reserve – you're guaranteed to see something special. 

You can snorkel anywhere, I wouldn't waste the beauty of St. Martin's on snorkeling.  To maximize the beauty of St. Martin's, you should do some mountain biking. 

You can rent bikes and accessories at shops on both the French and Dutch sides of the island.  Many of the shops have mapped trails with the cooperation of landowners and several trails are really goat tracks.  We stopped along one such route and hiked a little. 

You don't have to have an itinerary, but here are some of the highest recommended rides:

  • The ride up to Pic Paradis, the highest point on the island.
  • The coast road from the French Quarter to Oyster Pond.
  • Any trails in the hills on the French side: Friar's Bay, Grand Case, Bellevue, Colombier, and Anse Marcel.
  • Dutch side trails: Guana Bay (pictured above), Pointe Blanche, and Belair.
  • Large rocks in the grass
  • Thorn bushes at ground level (carry spare tubes)
  • Obviously, take plenty of water and sunscreen
Other great activities at St. Martin's include kayaking, windsurfing, kitesurfing, horseback riding, fishing and boat tours.

If you're looking for an adventure with a little less physical action, try the Seaworld Explorer where you can “explore the underwater world and stay dry.” It's some type of cruising underwater observatory that seats 34 passengers and cruises 5 feet below the surface. I believe it leaves out of Grand Case (French side).

If it's just beach you're looking for, I'd go to Friar's Bay Beach off the road from Marigot to Colombier. If you want popular beaches on the Dutch side, try Great Bay or Mullet Bay. If you want a rocky more private beach, try Baie aux Prunes, but bring your own chair, umbrella and water, there's no public concessions. If you want a barren beach on the Dutch side, try Simpson Bay. Again, bring your own stuff.

Check out this starfish I saw on one of our stops:

St. Martin's is famous for it's shopping, especially jewelry shopping. But I absolutely cannot recommend you go to a beautiful Caribbean island and spend your time shopping. In fact, the thought of that makes me ill.
My experience & more on St. Martin's.

The Dutch side uses US dollars. The French side uses US Dollars or Euros.
The Durch side uses 110 volts; the French side, 220 volts.
English is widely spoken on both sides.
The Dutch side is 16 sq. miles; the French side, 21.


Mom said...

I wanna go back NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I thoroughly enjoyed that day in the jeep what breathtaking sights on that island, yep gotta go back and SOON! AND I am NOT 70 YET!!!

Anonymous said...

Makes me wish we were still there!!
Good pic of my 69 yr.old Mom.She looks good behind the wheel of this jeep.
Nice post Poof!!