Friday, January 21, 2005

Amazing Choice of Restaurants

This island amazes me everyday from new. The choice, when going out for dinner is overwhelming. It can be awfully expensive (and good), and just a mile further down, you find a really inexpensive place, which is not so sophisticated, but still serves a great dinner at an unbelievably low price.

Two fine examples of the wide range are these great places:
1. Tabba Khady is a new restaurant at Av. du Lagon in the Oyster Pond area. Exotic, deliciously prepared food in a very nice setting. Upper price level, but still what you may be used to from fine dining in the USA. More info
2. Apple Tree is also a new place at an odd location in the French Quarter, right where the locals live. School teachers have their lunch there, craftsmen enjoy their beer before going home. And food, e.g. a hot dog, starts at $ 2, or cutlet, french fries, and salad are around $ 6. More Info!

This island caters for every taste and budget!

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Real Monkeys on the Island

When traveling across the island, tourists take photos of goats, donkeys, cows, pigs, and you see them everywhere, even right on the main roads. The monkeys are a bit more hidden. Some formerly caged animals escaped, and live quite well in the lush island vegetation. Local residents feed them, too, and they keep their closeliness to people. Although, it is not recommended to touch them, they really don't like it as close. They may scratch you.

Here is one in Oyster Pond vicinity. It enjoys a nice fruit and vegetable cocktail.

Other wildlife on the island are the geckos of various sizes, some snake hunting mangoustes, and a variety of birds. Actually, snakes are rare, and non poisonous. Basically, the island is a pretty safe place, when it comes to animals. Some insects can be annoying, but the mosquitoes only pop up after a rainy period. More on the island, find here!

Monday, January 17, 2005

WiFi making its Way on St. Maarten

Lucent and local SMITCOMS implement a wireless network, which will cover the Frontstreet area of Philipsburg at rollout in January 2005. It is even free at its start, and charges will be imposed at a later date. When you are at one of those great bars and people watching places at the Philipsburg boardwalk, take your laptop next time and surf, email, .... Stop by on our website about St. Maarten, too!

Thursday, January 13, 2005

This Island Booms !

It is astounding, how popular St. Maarten became. And it has happened just within a few years. Yesterday, nine (9) cruise ships came and anchored at the Philipsburg pier or offshore, because space is to limited. The jet tourism is also growing in rapid steps. Rooms can be somewhat short in high season. This agency tries it best to accommodate you at reasonable rates.

The airport undergoes major changes. It becomes a real Caribbean hub. This is how it will look like in 1 or 2 years from now.

Princess Juliana Airport Development Plan

I know, the island may loose some of its genuine charm with all these developments. At the same time, it is a great opportunity to develop in an ecologically responsible way. The French side has a well developed awareness to those needs, and they declared areas to protected zones. Let's see how this boom changes island life, and hopefully to the good. Many changes occurred before, and fear of the inherent uncertainties had always been an issue. If you want to read more about, click on history of the island

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Casinos - are they really fun?

Last night, we did a run into the casino world of Sint Maarten. I visited at least a dozen casinos before, in Europe, in Las Vegas, in the Caribbean, and I inheritently compare. Most casinos on this island do not have a great appeal to me. They are not well maintained, or just plain empty, or the staff is inefficient. The first 50 Dollars are gone, when the first waitress asks for ordering drinks, another 50 are gone, when she finally brings a drink after 20 minutes ... The Royal Casino is as good as it can get on the island, and that's how it gets. The Atlantis, see photo, is second choice.

The crowd - if any at all - is mainly US - tourists, who come in their sports gear, which would better be suitable for the fitness room of their hotel. Of course, there are a few exceptions, some nice looking latina girl strolling through the rows, a wealthy outfitted lady playing Roulette as a real pro, and a few typical poker face men with big cuban cigars. Still, the dominant visitor is 60, female, and feeds quarters for hours on slot machines. A bit more can be found here. Otherwise, I think the island's attractions are somewhere else, like beaches, great food, and the Caribbean sun.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

How is the weather like ...

The most common question potential tourists raise before visiting the island of St. Maarten is about the weather. We enjoy a slight advantage, and therefore have a better hit rate when predicting the weather: it is pretty much the same all year long. Nevertheless, there are differences in temperature, in rain fall, and most prominently in wind. Most days still have a lot of sun, and this is why tourists come here. And even during the most lousy days in January, day time temperatures rarely dip below the 80's (26 C).The actual weather is available here.

Now, what do you do, when it rains or the gusty winds drive you off the beach? Go to bars, dine cozily in one of those French places, or go a bit window shopping in Marigot or Philipsburg. This
website has a great section on restaurants, shopping, and other things to do. Or just email me, and I try to help you as much as possible with first hand island information!

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Nightlife on the Island

There is plenty of nightlife, but it's neither at one spot, nor so easily to classify! The range is extremely wide, from hangouts for locals or tourists to somewhat weird sex establishments catering for locals and/or tourists. Now, a favorite for its life, and even more for those, who need the thrill of low flying aircrafts, don't miss the Sunset Beach Bar. This is your view, when your glass starts to vibrate:

If you prefer great bodies at an adult entertainment show, look here, and scroll to the letter "X". The sidewalk places around Marina Royale, a little harbour right in Marigot, are my favorites. See and be seen! More on this at this website !