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St. Martin or St. Barts

New Hope, PA
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64 posts
2 reviews
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St. Martin or St. Barts

Hello. We are trying to decide between St. Martin or St. Barts. What are the the big differences between the two? What would you all recommend? Many thanks!

columbus
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979 posts
14 reviews
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1. Re: St. Martin or St. Barts

Wow, Henry, that's a mighty tall request, but here goes (in a nutshell)...

SBH is small and compact, SXM large and spralling

SXM has all-inclusives, Marriott, Holiday Inns, spring breakers, and casinos, SBH has none.

SBH has over 85 locally owned restaurants, French inspired groceries and rotisseries, pastry shops and bakeries, SXM has BK and Micky-D's.

SBH has a bohemian, artesian inspired free and romantic atmosphere, SXM has chugging contests and Club Hedonism.

OK, I've taken some literary freedoms here, and I've stayed in SXM and had a great time with friendly, hospitable and warm people. It's a difference in the pace, the atmosphere, the simplicity and elegance that is SBH.

Check out both. You be the judge!

Happy travels, Binti

Ontario
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1,012 posts
2 reviews
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2. Re: St. Martin or St. Barts

Hi lucky!

I have been to both several times and would recommend St. Barth. The dutch side of St. Martin is very built up and fast while the French side is more quaint and European. We stay on the French side by preference.

St. Barth is small, quaint, very chic, very private and GORGEOUS! It will cost you double to stay on SB so that is probably the most notable "difference" between the two. It is well worth it and it gets my vote all round. You may day trip from either island to the other.

Nakkie

St Barthelemy
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41 posts
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3. Re: St. Martin or St. Barts

They say if you like St Maarten you will hate St Barts...

If you like crowds of cruise ship passengers in wifebeaters drinking beer out of plastic cups, being offered crack cocaine, muggings, traffic jams, fast food, pollution, racial tension, strip-clubs and casinos go to St Maarten

USA
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65 posts
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4. Re: St. Martin or St. Barts

Easy English! I have never eaten fast food on SXM, never been mugged, couldn't tell you where a strip club is, and have been more than able to find peaceful, beautiful spots on the island....although I agree with your cruise ship comment :)

It does break my heart to see the crap on the Dutch side that passes for entertainment, food, and shopping. But to each his own, some people spend thousands to go far from home and eat Mc Donalds. I'll never understand why, but it is what it is.

New Hope, PA
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64 posts
2 reviews
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5. Re: St. Martin or St. Barts

It was the French side, not the Dutch side that we were wondering about vs St. Barts.

USA
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65 posts
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6. Re: St. Martin or St. Barts

Honestly, I can't offer any comparison myself...I've always gone to SXM, and was curious about a side trip to St. Bart's, and that's how I ended up putting in my 2 cents on this. :)Good luck.

Cleveland, Ohio
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205 posts
10 reviews
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7. Re: St. Martin or St. Barts

Hi Luckylucyhenry:

My favorite island was Grand Cayman, but I must say St. Barts may be a very close second. I arrived on Holland America's Zuiderdam (this was a full ship charter)1/25/06. We were informed that this was a island where the rich and famous play (didn't see anyone rich or famous). Everything is very, very expensive. There are plenty of electric cars to rent. We arrived on a Wednesday, so the post office had closed at noon. We took one of those small minibus tours for $20. The island (though small) was beautiful and bustling with energy. Our tour guide took us to many historic and beautiful landmarks. She allowed us to take many pictures. Most stores on the strip there where we were tendered in are very expensive. T-Shirts and Polo shirts around 50 euros. Further down the strip are stores like Cartier and Luis Vuitton. However, there is a shop that has a variety of imported bottled drinks, wines, canned meats, soups, etc. Further down is a store called Aziza, they have the most beautiful beachwear, jewlery, etc. I purchased a beautiful two-piece swimsuit coverup for $324. They also have shoes there, none in my size though. Further down is gift shop that also sells children's clothing (can't remember the name but I believe it was a woman's first name Lola, Lula), they also have free fold up maps. However down further (approximately blocks), past "The Restaurant," there is a store called the "Buchionette" (not sure of the spelling). This store has a variety and much less expensive souveniers. There are plenty yachts parked there on the pier. We unloaded all of our purchases back at the ship and headed out to St. Jean Beach. This was $15 per person. We did not want to the beach located at the resort as we knew (and heard) that it was extremely crowded. Several passengers also told us that they were told they could not go to St. Jean as it is a private beach. No one told us that and we enjoyed the rest of our day there. There are a few topless locals there. The beach was nice and clean. You can also watch the planes take off overhead as the airport is near.

BOSTON
7 posts
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8. Re: St. Martin or St. Barts

I just returned from st martin and st barts. We stayed a week in st martin and a week in st barts. St. martin was a little dissapointing this year, too many time share sellers, sarong sellers on the beach, and the traffic was horrible. There is a good amount of great things to do, other than beach lounging, but we yearned for the quiet of st barts. St. Barts is just so different, small gourmet grocery stores, gourmt dining everywhere, not a KFC in site, no traffic, topless beach lounging, the most clear blue water, Mr. Toaads wild ride driving, utterly romantic if you really enjoy spending alone time with your sinificant other( which i do after 23 years- still in our early 40's)

Minneapolis, MN
5 posts
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9. Re: St. Martin or St. Barts

My wife and I have been to both this past April, and found St. Barth's nice but very expensive. There was expensive shopping, as in Paris, and great but expensive restaurants. Getting around the island definitely required a car, and car rental was about $50 a day.

St. Martin, the French side, has a nice feel too, good French restaurants and access to good entertainment throughout the island. Traffic is certainly denser, but the island is still navigable and car rental is very reasonable (less than $30 a day.) People are friendly, but there are 70,000 or more people, so it is much more crowded than St. Barth's, though larger too (36 square miles vs. 8.) Lots more options on St. Martin/St. Maarten for entertainment. There are 37 beaches and even with all the people you can still find beaches where you can be alone (try Plum Baie, or walk along Baie Rouge.) Other times you can be on very popular beaches like Orient, where you will see thousands of people and all the requisite beach attractions and diversions.

Both islands are great, they just present different options. I think we'll go to St. Martin again, but not sure about St. Barth's (though we loved a couple of days on Saline Beach and the natural acceptance of no clothing on humans [as God made us] was very comfortable, whereas there is more gawking from cruise ship passengers on Orient Beach.) Enjoy.

10. Re: St. Martin or St. Barts

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