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Review of Island, Resturants, Pelican Resort: Very Detailed

NC
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Review of Island, Resturants, Pelican Resort: Very Detailed

Wow!!! What a great week in St. Maarten. First and foremost, I would like to thank all of you who have posted info. on this website. Without you guys and girls, I don’t think I would have been able to plan our vacation. Okay enough of the acceptance speech.

My wife and I arrived on the island on around 1pm Sat. May 19th. We flew in from Charlotte, NC via US Airways. Great flight! The “new” airport (SXM) was nice. The airstrip is small. There is only one runway so when the planes land they have to “taxi” back down the runway to the terminals. When we got off the plane we went through immigration. It didn’t take as long as expected. Three lines stamped our passports and then off to get our checked luggage. Found the luggage then off to locate our rental car.

There was a lady waiting outside with a sign with my name on and she directed me to another guy who escorted me across the street to my car. He then introduced me to Mohamed Hussein, from Panoramic Car Rental. We looked over the car, no damage , clean with 1/2-3/4 tank of gas (return with same amount: if not charged for it). I then signed the contract. I got a good rate- $180 for the week, including insurance and taxes for a 2005 Toyota Corolla.

Left the parking lot then enroute to Pelican Resorts. Okay resort, I give it an 8. The hilly terrain and the distance to walk from our room to the beach was a hassle. We stayed in the Croton building; room C4A. The staff was nice, the room was clean, lots of activities going on, clean pools, well landscaped, and nice view. Our room was located behind the new construction. It wasn’t that bad. With the way the resort “stair steps” we still had a good view of Simpson Bay. Dropped of luggage and left to explore. We were looking a grocery store to buy bottled water, snacks, supper to cook for the night, sandwich stuff, and breakfast food. If you decide to buy groceries DO NOT waste your time at Sang’s Super Center in Philipsburg, near the Greenhouse Restaurant. Expensive! On the way back to Pelican we found Le Grande Mache’ grocery store near Philipsburg in the roundabout. Clean and good prices!! A lot cheaper. Got to our room and cooked our pizza and planned the rest of the week.

Sunday, we rented kayaks from Aquamarina (you can also book dinner cruises aboard the Tango and Lambada and trips to Prickly Pear, Anguilla, St. Barts from here also). located at the dock of the Pelican. $15/hr/person. Paddled under the draw bridge to the lagoon. Located some restaurants that overlooked the water that we would like to try later in the week. Nice trip. **Later found out that Pelican Resort has kayaks of there own that were free to use. They are located at the beach section of the resort. Then soaked up some rays on the beach (free chairs and umbrella) and ate at Pelican’s beach bar. Good cheeseburgers and tasty frozen Quavaberry (native liquor mixed like a daiquiri). Later that night we took the Sunset Cruise (“booze cruise”). We booked it through Pelican. We went aboard the Tango (catamaran) 5:30 -7:00 $10/person. All the run punch, rum and coke, rum and whatever, & champagne you can drink plus enjoy the scenery. Great crew and a lot of fun. My wife got sick. Not due to drinking (she didn’t drink), but because she is pregnant and got very nauseous. So we didn’t take any ferry trips or cruise over the any other islands because we are afraid she you get sea sick again. Went to Topper’s Resturant for supper. Nice open air rest. With live music. Mahi sandwich $11, Chicken marsal $16. We didn’t eat the brisket (cooked like roast beef, very tender) with carrots & mashed potatoes $17. We heard it was very good.

Monday, Meet & Greet at Pelican. Very informative. Pancake breakfast $2. Shopping in Philipsburg. Good shopping at reasonable prices. Ate at The Blue B*tch Bar- Great portabella mushroom wrap $8, Philipsburger $9. If you are looking jewelry make sure you check out the Caribbean Gems stores- look for Barry or Mad Max. Very nice and the best prices in Philipsburg. Supper: Lee’s Roadside Grill. Great food. Grilled mahi $15 Grilled wahoo $15 Ribs $12 all served with steamed veggies & fries or potatoes

Tuesday, Mullet Bay. Very quite and beautiful scenery. Also good snorkeling. They also have a catering service set up under the mangrove trees serving lunch and also locals grilling serving burgers or ribs on charcoal grills. Smelled great. Supper: Buccaneer Beach Bar. Very disappointed. Dark nothing really going on. Maybe 10 customers and no music. Very bad lighting. Good steak sandwiches $9 and $1 kamikaze shooters. They have a different $1 shooter everyday.

Wednesday, Breakfast La Veranda on Pelican Resort. Excellent thick French toast $5 Ham & cheese omelet $5. Traveled to Marigot. Open markets on Wednesday & Saturday. This was the highlight of the city. The rest of the shops & mall stores were very expensive. Lunch: Plongeoir Restaurant. Located across from the marina. Good food. Tasted almost like home cooking. Seasoned ground hamburger topped with mashed potatoes & cheese then baked served with salad w/ water $24. Ventured up to Fort St. Louis. Steep steps. I guess it use to be a nice tourist attraction, but now vandalized with trash and broken spot lights that would shine up on French flag and fort itself. But very good viewpoint overlooking Marigot. Supper: The Boathouse. Have a lot of fried foods but very good. Coconut shrimp $17 Item on menu called “Can’t Decide” sampler of conch fritters, sautéed shrimp, grilled mahi, salad, & baked potato $20

Thursday, Loteire Farm. Located near Marigot. Zip lines and tightropes from tree to tree. $40/person takes about an hour. Harnessed with safety ropes and pulley. VERY FUN. I felt bad though since my wife couldn't do it being pregnant. Lunch: Tree Topper Lounge. Located on Loterie Farm property. Very nice & well decorated. Crab & chicken taco salad w/ mango margarita $24. Very good food. **BEWARE: The road that travels past the entrance to Loterie Farms is very steep and reduces down to a one lane road when at the top of the mountain. Many blind corners. When you reach the top of the mountain there is a place to park next to a French Telecom tower. There is a small path that leads you out to a view point. This the most spectacular view of the whole island. Pic Paradise. Highest point on the island. We later found out from the wait staff at Tree Toppers that many people’s cars were broken into while walking out to the view point. So DO NOT leave any thing in your car. Traveled to Grand Case. Was not impressed at all. If you would like to sample the French Restaurants this in the place to go. We didn’t even stop. Maybe a mile stretch of nothing but restaurants and a few shops. Circled through and went to Orient Beach. Well off the beaten path but VERY BEAUTIFUL!! Lots of water sports (jet ski rental, parasailing, kite surfing, etc.) and beach bars. Chair & umbrella rentals with drinks. NUDE BEACH on the opposite side of the rock jetty. Supper: Lady C Floating Bar. All you can eat ribs $10.95. very good. Pizza place beside Lady C had good pizza as well. $14

Friday, Shopping back in Philipsburg for souvenirs. If you are looking good deals go to Rima’s. Located across the street from the Salt Pond. Yellow building with lots of flags hanging from it. Went back to Caribbean Gems to buy mothers some jewelry for CHRISTMAS. Mother of Pearl pendants. Starting price at $145, ended up buying for $95. GREAT DEALS!! Back to Mullet Bay for some rest and relaxation. Supper: Pineapple Pete’s. GREAT FOOD but little expensive!!!! Spinach stuffed grouper $21 Lobster Thermador $33. This is their specialty. Steamed 2-3lb lobster. Meat removed mixed with cheese sauce & mushrooms then baked. EXCELLENT!! Crème Brule $9. Homemade everyday, very good. Also ate Escargot for the first time. Back at resort for early check out. 6pm-9:30pm. Very quick and easy. Pay timeshare tax of $50. Walked over to Hollywood Casino (located next to office). Small casino. Lots of slots. Workers didn’t not seem knowledgeable of the rules of the game especially roulette.

Saturday, Ate breakfast. Circled through shops near Maho beach. Then checked in luggage at SXM. They allow you to check in your bags early that morning for any flights that are leaving that day so you can turn in rental cars or explore the island more. We ate at Sunset Beach Bar (located at the end of the runway, Maho Beach) to watch the planes land and take off. Great experience and great place to take pictures. They also have a great triple cheese black angus burger. $9 and they also had a great strawberry daiquiri (best we had all week). Turned in rental car. Representative from Panoramic Car Rental was in parking lot.

Conclusion: St. Maarten was a nice island. Very beautiful beaches, but they are hard to get to. You have to take side roads that are poorly marked in order to reach the beach. Away from the beach, the scenery is almost like a 3rd world country. Very dirty and poor living conditions. When we stopped at this island on our honeymoon cruise back in 2005, we didn’t wonder far off Front Street so we were not aware of the true island. We only witnessed the “dressed up” areas that the cruise ship passengers would see without the use of a car or taxi. The roads are winding, narrow, and filled with pot holes. The traffic pace is very stop and go, due to other driver darting out in front of you. You will feel like a Nascar driver when you leave. The restaurants were great and if you research you can find some that are very good and reasonably priced. There are many restaurants that are expensive. The locals are very nice. The shopping is great and the prices are wonderful, especially with it being duty free. ***Note: upon returning to the US, the customs officer asked how many bottles of alcohol I was bring in. I told him 4 and he said that was 3 too many. He waived it this time. But the charge is $5/bottle for any over the 1 per person limit. Still can buy it cheaper. Ex. 1 liter of Crown Royal in US - $25, if purchased in St. Maarteen, $12.50 + $5= $17.50. Can’t beat that!! I rate this vacation at a 7 out of 10. Mainly due to cleanliness and trouble of locating places b/c to lack of road signs.

I hope this review has helped you in planning your trip to St. Maarten, like the ones that I used to plan my vacation. If you have any questions please feel free to ask and I will try to do my best to answer them. Sorry it was so long, but I wanted to be as detailed as possible to help others, give them an honest review, and offer many suggestions.

Cupecoy Bay, St...
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1. Re: Review of Island, Resturants, Pelican Resort: Very Detailed

Great job! Sounds like you got around quite a bit this trip.

I'm hoping to hit Pineapple Petes next week. Crab stuffed shirmp and that incredible dark rum creme brule! OMG!!!!! It's the only dessert we eat down there. It is at the high end of our price range, but so well worth it for a little splurge.

So sorry to hear about my favorite Buccaneer Beach Bar. Can't imagine there's no music! Rumor has it it's being sold. Hope it's not going downhill. But glad to hear the food is still good. Love that sliced steak sandwich!

Thanks so much for taking the time to write such a detailed review!

pbz
Chicago
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2. Re: Review of Island, Resturants, Pelican Resort: Very Detailed

Thanks for the tip on car rental agency.

Cannot agree with the comment on Orient being off the beaten path however. Hardly anything on St. Martin is off the beaten path anymore, least of all Orient Beach.

Grand Case can look a little dodgy if you just pass through at driving speed and don't walk it during dinner hour. I remember, I had the same initial impression the first time we were there. It's totally different when you actually get to spend some time there. If you don't go in the right way you'll miss half of the main boulevard and have to drive through the less brightly lit residential area which looks unsafe but is actually fine. Everyone there is nice and it's OK despite the suspicious amount of "loitering"--think of it as "visiting" or "relaxing" instead. If spending $100 on dinner for 2 is out of the question then you'll miss a lot of spectacular opportunities.

I might recommend that people take the airport road in to GC their first time visiting town.

I do not understand schlepping a bunch of liquor bottles two thousand miles and risking having them smashed just to save 5 bucks...

/pbz

NC
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3. Re: Review of Island, Resturants, Pelican Resort: Very Detailed

Sorry PBZ I still have to disagree about Orient Beach. I don't consider driving down a dirt road for about 2 miles and turning near the trash dump on the beaten bath.

About the alcohol: that was just a little heads up for everyone. You don't have to be so negative. Cheer up! Life's short!

London, United...
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4. Re: Review of Island, Resturants, Pelican Resort: Very Detailed

Actually, if you go over the hill heading north past the dirt road that leads to Club Orient, there are a couple of turns on the right that lead you straight to the beaches (Waikiki, La Playa, etc.) and are well-signed. You just took the back way!

Sounds like you found some great dining bargains. Thanks for sharing the details. I am heading back down on Tuesday and will definitely give Pinapple Pete's a try.

Michael

pbz
Chicago
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5. Re: Review of Island, Resturants, Pelican Resort: Very Detailed

dbass: You went in the "back way" which is why it seemed off the beaten path. We did the same thing our first time driving there. If you came from the Dutch side you have to head north more before turning off, otherwise you wind up driving down (and up and down...) a veritable mule path. You probably found yourself way at the south end of the beach by the clothing optional resort. A lot of people don't go in that way. :)

If you still don't believe me pull up Google Maps, flip to Satellite view, and check out the major (half-mile square) subdivision right off the center of orient beach. I promise you, it's not in the middle of nowhere. The village there, while small, can get just as busy as parts of pburg, marigot, etc.

Cupecoy Bay, St...
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6. Re: Review of Island, Resturants, Pelican Resort: Very Detailed

Michael -

We're headed back down on Tuesday also! Perhaps we'll see you out and about!

London, United...
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7. Re: Review of Island, Resturants, Pelican Resort: Very Detailed

SXMLover:

Cool! Shoot me an email at mjmsup (at) yahoo (dot) com!

M

St Martin / St...
Destination Expert
for St Martin / St Maarten, Philipsburg
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8. Re: Review of Island, Resturants, Pelican Resort: Very Detailed

great trip report!

thanks.

I always love reading detailed trip reports.

I learn about new things on my island all the time LOL

Cupecoy Bay, St...
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9. Re: Review of Island, Resturants, Pelican Resort: Very Detailed

Michael - Done!

Massachusetts
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10. Re: Review of Island, Resturants, Pelican Resort: Very Detailed

Great detailed report, thank you. I can't wait to go back and I have 134 days to go.