Saturday, November 04, 2006

Ghost Places and Phantoms on the Island

Some places come and go. Just more frequently on an island than somewhere on the continent. Some places are just virtual, they don't even exist, but you are lured to. So, I received an invitation to link to a website for a new bar on Dawn Beach, called 'Barefoot Beach Bar'. This email made me curious as I haven't seen any new beach bar, and I am there every week. Looking on the photos of the website, it turned out that none of the photos had been taken at Dawn Beach at all, may be not even on the island. Here a view, how Dawn Beach looked like a year ago, before construction changed the perspective.
So, I started to doubt my capabilities to recognize the reality. I went to Mr. Busby's Beach Bar, the premier bar and restaurant at Dawn Beach. I asked the manager about the new bar being opened here, and he stared on me like being a fool, and told me, there is no new bar. So, I was glad that my eyes and my brain hadn't misled me, but obviously, some weird folks try to mislead visitors. It reminded me not to believe in everything, you see on the Internet. People tend to play all kind of games. Why? Sometimes difficult to detect, but leave your antennas scanning!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Best Croissants in Town

Croissant and Baguette are synonyms for France! When being on St. Martin, some things are very Caribbean, and some are very French. Don't miss the French favorites, and the best are in Marigot!

'La Sucriere' is located at the main street 'Boulevard de France' along the seaside, and it is worthwhile a trip around the island from time to time (at least for me). The croissants are unsurpassed! The breads, pain au chocolat (chocolate stuffed croissants), cakes, and tarts are equally good!

If you look for another nice breakfast and snack place, just 50 yards further north, same boulevard, look out for this great bakery and self service lunch place. They offer a great variety of food, pizzas, and pastries.

Both bakeries are favorites for sitting there at day time watching the active life at Marigot's waterfront with its colorful markets. New parkings between the market stands and the sea front were recently built, so finding a parking shouldn't be too difficult. Eat French, breathe Caribbean!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

New Airport - Unchanged Excitement for Enthusiasts

Princess Juliana Airport (SXM) just opened its entirely new airport terminal. The new arrival and departure facilities are very modern and in line with international standards. Unfortunately, the airport website doesn't show much of it, yet! This new airport certainly makes flights to and from St. Maarten more pleasant. Those airplane watching freaks, who enjoy to see a B747 or a A340 in 'arm lengths' thundering over Maho Beach at Sunset Beach Bar will not miss anything. The runway remained unchanged. The higher capacity of the airport attracts even more airlines, which means more landings. Good or bad? A matter of perspective! See the present arrival and departure schedule, here! The departure tax for international destinations remains a hefty $30 for the time being! Rental car parkings will remain off the airport. Beside the established car rental companies with offices at the new airport, still a big choice of smaller off airport companies exist. More on rental cars, here!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Oasis at Boardwalk

You left your cruise ship for your non organized island exploration, and walked the short distance to Philipsburg. You are still polite, although two Time-Share property sales people already tried to lure you into a suspicious free ride to xyz resort, a couple of souvenir sales people failed to sell you the same Bob Marley T-shirt, which you objected to purchase one cruise stop before, and you look for a spot to relax. A place, where you are not ripped off, where people are friendly, and care about visitors. I guess, we found it for you!

Chez Delphine is located at the beginning of the boardwalk in Philipsburg, where a wide, paved pedestrian zone divides beach and town. Right at a the edge of Speetjens arcade, a spot filled with little shops and a small museum.

You either sit under the roof of a Caribbean styled cabana, and watch the bypassers, or you sit under the palm trees between board walk, and the unbelievably green and blue waters of Great Bay. Run by Delphine (see photo), a charming French lady, who perfectly speaks English (we love her accent), and her very accommodating local staff makes this place a real gem in bustling Philipsburg. Her great menu at moderate prices features sandwiches, the classics, like hamburgers, the French touch with quiches and croque monsieur (toasted baguette bread with cheese and salami), and salads at anytime of the day. You can get the food at regular size or at large size for the seamen appetite. For lunch and dinner time, the choice gets bigger and even more delicious: A wide choice of fresh salads, pasta, seafood, and various chicken and other meat dinners are offered.

Chez Delphine is the only place in town, which prepares smoothies from a variety of fresh fruits, no concentrate, and all at moderate prices. Let your kids enjoy a snow cone freshly prepared with different flavors just for a Dollar.

Chez Delphine serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner at some weekday nights. A special favorite is the barbecue with fresh lobster, seafood, and meat. If you make it on a Wednesday, even better: Live music from 11:00am with Caribbean tunes, and from 6:30pm, you may want to listen to live music with a touch of soft Latin American favorites.

A good time for a refreshing drink under the palm trees on the bay side of Chez Delphine's place. The shadow of palm trees, the slight ocean breeze, and the feet in the sand create the right 'Bacardi' feeling!

Open every day from 8:00am - 5:00pm, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday also open for dinner, Wednesday with live music from 11:00 am, call, if you are not sure about opening hours: (599)522-2313. More info on

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Great Trips at low Cost

What are the best island trips? Although impossible to answer right for everybody, here a few ideas, which represent a good value, and do not cost you a fortune.

  • Drive to Cul de Sac on the French side at the Northern end of the island and take the ferry boat to Pinel Island. This is genuine 'Caribbean', great beach, best way to relax. There are a few small restaurants and bars. Some serve drinks in the water on floating trays! No credit cards. $6.00/person and trip.

  • Take the passenger ferry Voyager from Oyster Pond on Sunday or Wednesday to St. Barth. It starts at 9:00am and returns at 6:30pm. The return trip is approx. $75.00/person. The comfortable ride is 1 hour each direction. Great views to both islands. You need a passport to go. No departure tax as it is charged on the Dutch side. You go from France to France! You land in Gustavia, the picturesque port town of St. Barth. Contrary to common opinion, St. Barth has not only high priced food and drinks to offer. It all depends, where you go to. Our recommendation: Cocoloba Beach!
  • Go on a half day cruise, a so called shore trip, with Captain Morgan. Great time, and the rate is around $85/person. They offer excellent service, great trip, and include many goodies!
  • Still too expensive? Go local! Wave one of the passenger vans, also called jitneys, to stop, board, and just go to the very end of its route. Locals going or coming from work share the ride with you. Typical rate per trip is $1 or $2. Go from Philipsburg towards French Quarter, change the bus, proceed to Grand Case, and Marigot, you may have to change again, and return from Marigot to Philipsburg, or any other direction and destination. This recommendation is for the more adventurous visitor!

In case, you are searching for great accommodation values, start here!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Why do tourists become careless?

Tourists robbed, burglaries, pocket thieves, yes, we have all of these ugly experiences. But why are some tourists so careless? Visitors drove up to Pic Paradis, the highest peak on the island, parked their car, left everything inside including $10,000 !!! And some thieves burglared the car. Terrible!
Would you park your car with all these valuables at NY's Central Park, or in Paris, or in Amsterdam ...? Most people wouldn't, but why do they forget about all the security basics, when being here? And these people had been here 20 times before! Difficult to believe, how somebody can neglect or disregard all warnings!

We know of people, who leave their credit cards inside the car, we saw suitcases on backseats of cars being parked for hours, saw handbags on beaches with nobody close by, travel bags sitting unattended in front of hotels, and there are people, who have much less, who decided to go the easy way of committing crimes, and they take the opportunity. Dear visitors, don't create opportunities, nowhere, the world is not perfect, and certainly this island is a melting pot with a share of criminals lurking for these opportunities. More about the island,
here, and here!