My husband and I had an excellent vacation in St. Martin. This was our first visit and we definitely want to visit again. The only other island I have been to in the Carribean has been Grenada (beautiful) but St. Martin is far more developed and there is lots to do. I have included prices so hopefully that helps some of you with the planning/budgiting. We made over 50% of our meals in our huge, well equipped kitchen.
Arrived from Miami around 4pm (had a window seat on the flight over so I could see the beautiful ocean and islands!). Immirgration and retrieving baggage was a breeze. We had booked a car in advance through Budget and after asking some kind folks where the van would pick us up we were soon on our way to the Budget headquarters in an unmarked white van. We arrived at Budget which is definitely different then their counterparts in the US :-) Filling out the paperwork was speedy and we loaded up the car and were on our way. NOTE: The cars are pretty busted ...its seems like all the cars were prevsiously in accidents and then put back together or were made of scrap. In our first car the mirrors wouldn't adjust wo we had to switch - so make sure you throughly check the car).
Budget provided us with directions to Princess Heights. Traffic was a killer (i was forwarned by all the reviews) and was a problem throughout our trip. There are only a few roads after all! We arrived an Princess Heights which is on a very steep hill but we got used to the crazy driving, steep hills and blind turns. The person at reception drove with us to our room which was in a seperate building and has a private security guard for the area. The room was gorgeous. Huge living room, full kitchen, bathroom and bedroom. We had a large terrace and a view of st. barths.
We drove down to Big Fish and had a fantastic dinner. The Oprah dish is great!
Visited Dawn Beach in the morning and attemped to swim/snorkel a little. The water was quite rough I didn't see much while snorkeling. Also the reef is really far out so you have to swim quite a distance to get there. The beach was pretty deserted...not many guests at all at the Westin property. The Westin pool did look rather nice though!
After a few hours we went to the grocery store to stock up on some goods. Our goal was La Super Marche but someone how we missed it and ended up at another one with a large parking lot and it sold duty free liquor. We bought some snacks, liquor (which is really cheap!) and stuff for dinner (total was $80usd - Includes food, soft drinks, 3 bottles of wine/champage and a bottle of rum).
After stocking the fridge and having a quick lunch we made out way to the famous Orient Beach which we quickly abandoned as we wanted something a bit more chill...so we headed over to Le Galleon which is amazing!. Calm waters and really beautiful, quiet surrounds. We hightly recommend this beach!
We made dinner at Princess Heights and had a few drinks on our private terrace.
We were debating between doing a day trip to St. Barths or Anguilla and ended up choosing Anguilla. It sure was an expensive day trip! We drove to Marigot on the French side (lots of traffic) and miracuously found a parking sport. We went to several different windows at the ferry dock to get our passport stamples, buy the ticket and pay the departure tax/ All in all it was aroun $40USD for two people one way (yikes!). The boat ride was uneventfle and very quick. Quickly went through immigration (they let the day trippers fly by and you don't have to fill out any forms or get our luggage check - come to think of it no one checked our bags at any point in time). We went to the taxi dipatcher and took at taxi to Shoal Bay East ($26.50 USD one way!). Anguilla was pretty flat and at first glance didn't look like it had as much "stuff" and things to do as St Martin. The capital (The Valley) was really small and didn't have much going on compared to St. Martine (these are my quick observations from a 4 mile car ride so take them with a grain of salt).
Shoal Bay East was beautiful...really beautiful and almost made the pricey day trip worth it! Definitely one the best and most stunning beaches I have ever been to. I tool long walks, went swimming and snorkeling and had a decent mahi mahi sandwich at Elodias ($10usd sandwich).
We hightailed it back for the second to last ferry (the last ferry at 6pm cost more and the sun sets at 5:30pm so no point sticking around). The sunset from the boat ride back was beautiful and we arrived back in marigot and the clouds opened so we ran in the pouring rain back to the car. Driving back to our hotel we encountered more traffic! We cooked a yummy pasta and pesto dish for dinner.
Visitied Maho Beach which is awesome. We could have spend the entire day looking at the planes and watching people get sand blasted. The water is really clear and the snorkeling was decent. Be wary of a few sketchy time share sellers who want your to scratch thouse lottery like quick pick tickets and then try to harass your into taking a tour of the property next door. They are really agressive and rude! We his from them on the beach and at the sunset bar as they were waiting for us to return to our car (craxy i know!). the sunset bar was really chill and had nice drinks and food. Oh and the sandblasting hurts, really hurts so consider yourself warned.
We then went on to mullet bay which is another beautiful beach and went snorkeling and swimming (it was around dusk and while snorkeling i though i saw a baracuda so i quickly got out of the water - but might of been my over active imagination. The bugs that come out at dusk are killer - we got eaten alive and literally ran back to the car.
For dinner we went to caprain olivers ($120usd) - not the bets food i have had but certainly above average and the scenery was beatutiful. we were sitting from next to the shark/turtle tank. mu hubby bought a bottle of housemade banana vanilla rum which was delicious!
After Captain Olivers we ventured to the Westin Casino where I won a little bit at slots and then we went back into PBurg to search for a TV with the Jets game. There is a sports bar next to Cinema and it also has a Casino attached.
On our last day we returned to Orient Beach which is fun for people watching and enjoed a day lounging and watching the kite surfers! We had great drinks at a bar which red/white chairds (Kontiki i think)
We retutned to Le Galleon one last time and then headed to Big Fish for our last mea ($60USD)l! We then had crepes at BZH which is awesome.
packed up and went back to BZH for galletes and crepese (really inexpensive yummy food! and cool french people)
All is all and relatively inexpensive fabulous trip.
Note: I booked my flight on points, hotel and car through orbitz (1 bedroom suite was around $150 a night - far cheaper than booking through the hotel). Car was $137 for 5 days. If you stay at princess heights don't use their phone it was ridiculously expensive. We had both Euros and USD and used them as we saw fit depending on the rate/conversion people were giving us. Some places doa 1;1 ratio and others do not.