Sint Maarten / Saint Martin - A day in "France"

Cruise ships usually stop in the south of the island, in the Netherlands Philipsburg on. So it happened to us when Mein Schiff headed for the island. Next to or in front of us were those Disney magic and the MS Ventura from P&O Cruises, a 290 meter ship with 113.000 tons.

Sint Maarten - Disney Magic in Philipsburg

Sint Maarten - Disney Magic in Philipsburg

Sint Maarten is one of the most visited Cruise destinations in the Caribbean. We think this is less due to the island's attractions. There aren't that many of them here. Rather, it is the free port status that makes shopping in Sint Maarten quite interesting. This especially attracts the American visitors.

Since our suitcases were well filled and the closets at home are full, we had decided before we started to go to the beach in Frankreich to insert. Before that we made a visit to Marigot, the French island capital in the west St Martinsas it is called in French.

With one of the abundantly available taxis, we quickly got to Marigot, which has 6.000 inhabitants, for little money. So small and already a capital! The place, clear and clean, is reminiscent of southern, European holiday destinations. The delicate scent of duty-free also wafts here in the center of the village. The suppliers of high-quality jewelry and designer clothing try to outdo each other. We cannot comment on the prices as luxury was not the focus of our visit. We were more interested in the place.

In the bank area we were surprised by a market with fixed market stalls, the large, circular marina and beautiful yachts. The imposing 5-masted sailor anchored far out Club Med 2 added glamor to the place that day. The one built in 1789 watches over an elevation Fort-Louis about Marigot. Today it is a popular place for tourists. Its original task was to protect the warehouses of Marigot, which are well stocked with salt, coffee, sugar cane and rum, from predatory attacks. From up there you can enjoy breathtaking views over Marigot, its bay and the lagoon.

Sint Maarten - waterfront Sint Maarten-Marina

Northeast of Marigot is the highest point on the island. It is the conical one at 424 meters Peak Paradisethat can be done by car or on foot. The view from up there is described as even better than that from the fort. We weren't drawn to the mountain, but to them by taxi Baie Orientale, Auch East Bay called, in the northeast of the island.

The approx. 3 km long beach is divided into 5 sections. We chose the one with Bikini Beach designated section. There is a reef in front of the entire beach, which guarantees calm water and pleasant swimming, snorkeling, etc. The beach slopes gently. Children are safe here. Several friendly beach bars provide food, sun loungers and parasols. We tested everything. If you want, you can rent a catamaran sailor or a jet ski, or just go for a walk on the beach and swim. We decided on the last two activities mentioned.

Sint Maarten - Bikini Beach Sint Maarten - Loungers on Bikini Beach sint maarten 214 bikini beach

Sint Maarten - A large capacity taxiWe went back in a minibus. These buses stop regularly at the entrance to Bikini Beach. We don't remember the fare for the 15-minute drive back to Philipsburg. In any case, it was in the single-digit dollar range per person. On the way, the journey had to be briefly interrupted because a mother hen decided to guide her chicks along the busy road. No problem for our driver. He was obviously happy to present this idyll to us holidaymakers.

We circled the duty-free shops in the center. Instead, we looked around the shops in the pier zone. Everything your heart desires can be found there. It was especially fun to watch a cigar maker making cigars. Our conclusion is that we don't consider St. Maarten or St. Martin to be an absolute must on a cruise. We have seen more attractive places in the Caribbean region. But the island is always good for a carefree day at the beach with a stroll through Marigot. Such a lazy day can be realized without too much financial effort. The prices that are called on board a ship for such a break, however, are hair-raising.

Sint Maarten - Shops in the Pierzone Sint Maarten - cigar maker Sint Maarten - We hope so