Don & Linda

Sint Maarten/St Martin
January 14 - 27, 2009




Updated:  2/19/2009
               @ 6:55 P.M.


.  Great extra vacation in January in St. Martin
.  Another honeymoon
.  Wonderful beaches
.  Friendly people
.  Exploring new places
.  Great food (bring $$)
.  Peaceful solitude when you want it.
.  Big News-they started Jan 26 working on the Orient/Butterfly Farm  Road!!



We stayed 12 nights for our first time on the French side at Oyster Pond Blue Beach Studios, Unit 215, @ $58/night (no extra taxes, no utility charge).  It is very well managed by Maryse.  She is a most gracious and accommodating property manager.  There are about 10 units in the complex and she manages about 15 units in the area. 

There is a lot of renovation occurring:  new roofs, landscaping, interior upgrading, etc.  There is a feeling of progress on improving the complex and we were glad to see it happening.  We recommend this studio for an inexpensive, comfortable and peaceful visit.

The Oyster Pond area around the hill above Captain Oliver's is a very peaceful, self contained part of St. Martin we had not seen before.  There is a small mini Mart (open from 7A-1P) at the bottom of the hill on the east side as well as a very good small restaurant La Fregate next to it.  Another restaurant, Le Planteur, is at the very top of the hill.  Don's favorite for pizza was Quai Quest on the the dock by Dinghy Dock bar.

Oyster Bay Resort

Pool deck

220 to 110 rigging - brought
our converter & 110 adapter
bought on Ebay

Parking lot with gate

King size - ask for extra


"Stereo provided" was
a bit of a stretch


TTOL Party, January 19th at Dinghy Dock
Bill&Elaine and Dad Bill, Mike&Dixie, Wendy&Frank, Don&Linda, Patty, Suzanne&Pat, Harry&JoAnn, Guy&Linda, Tracy&??



Shortcut to Orient beach from Oyster Pond around La Galleon Bay


First time road trip around Tamarind Hill !! (Exciting shortcut from Phillipsburg to Westin / Oyster Bay and Oyster Pond)



Anse Marcel


Our Favorite Hangout - Ocean Club
Surrounding construction - Blue Mall and Cupecoy Yacht Club

Cupecoy by Ocean Club


Cupecoy very rough

Cupecoy Yacht Club

Shore Pointe

Blue Mall


Other photos from around the Island

Oyster Pond

Le Galleon

Le Galleon

Oyster Bay Resort

Mr. Busby's at Oyster Bay

Blue Beach Studio from
Big Fish

Baie Rouge - very rough

Baie Rouge kids playing

mega yacht at Orient Bay

Adrian's girlfriend at

Marigot market

Captain Oliver's

The big bunker

New glass from Murano's by
Tropicana in Marigot

Alright! ... so you won the
domino train tournament !!!

Tropicana in Marigot
Our favorite restaurant

watch out for the kids!

on our balcony...

Observations and Hints

Telephone Service Rented a phone from Sharon ($45 for two weeks and $20 of minutes) but only used it to call French side.

As we were leaving for SXM, I added on international service to my Sprint phone for $4/mo + ~ 40 cents/min and was able to receive, send and call the Dutch side and US numbers.  I told the representative that I wanted to use my cell phone in SXM.  He quoted the above rates and I was pleasantly surprised that international roaming charges were not mentioned by the Sprint representative.   I assumed that they finally had a decent plan for me to use my phone.

When I arrived home, I was quite surprised (shocked) to see additional roaming charges of $147.   Sprint did not mention to me there was an additional roaming charge for calling from any foreign country, even to our friends US cell who were on the island.  The international calling rate above applies only to calls originating within the US. 

Needless to say, I am not a happy camper and protested the lack of information to Sprint.  They are considering my protest and I hope I can mitigate these charges.

Update on 2/19:  Sprint dismissed the charges and gave me "a dumb" credit because I did not know better.

Sprint data services did not work, but the Wi-Fi feature on the
Touch Diamond phone was ok.  Spotty wi-fi service all over island. 

Traffic Not really too bad.  Remember that the white line is for the two wheelers.  "Jig and flinch" to enter traffic flow is still the norm.  Lots of yachts and mega-yachts in the lagoon and bays, so the bridges take a while.  There were fewer tourists than we expected for the high season.
Weather Wind was pretty constant.  There were quick showers most days and the evenings were cool.  The swimming pool and the ocean waters were cooler than we have in our June visits. 
Restaurants Marigot: Tropicana was excellent as always: original salads, creative menu, surprise banana liqueur.

The bistro at the harbor had great sandwiches on fantastic bread.

Grand Case: Spiga was good, but we prefer more food for the money and happier service.  Parking and traffic in Grand Case is a problem.

Orient Beach: Baywatch is our definite favorite.  Andy, Cheryl and company continue wonderful seafood dishes and great service.  Newly open for Friday  night with no increase in prices.

Papagayo's was good food with excellent Saturday night entertainment by "David and Kate";  dancing was wonderful!

Maho: Cheri's has not changed--still the place to go for fun entertainment and a good meal.

Sunset Beach Bar is not as much fun as in previous years, but still a good spot for drinks and watching the planes come in.  Free drinking ladies must remain at the bar.

Oyster Pond:  Le Fregate had very good French / Italian food.

Dinghy Dock Bar is definitely the gathering place for drinks, social, and food.

Quai Quest was Don's favorite pizza place with its cracker-thin crust.  They have a full menu, but we tried only the salads and pizza.

Mama's Pizza had thicker crust and stronger tomato flavors.

Oyster Bay: We heard great things about Big Fish on the harbor across from Mr. Busby's.  Although we didn't eat there, we were impressed with the menu and the atmosphere was very nice.  (There is a good little market there that is open from 7:00 A.M. - 11:00 P.M.)

Simpson:  Zee Best is famous for breakfast, and we know why!  Fantastic omlettes, crepes and pastries. 

Baie Rouge: FYI the beef shish-kabobs are 12e; happy hour is now 3-4 PM

$$$ Took cash and only used MC at Marche and for car.  Left with $2300 and came back with $600 (paid cash for room).  Then we paid airport parking fees and the dog sitter....(is there ever an end?).  In general, eating is expensive in St Martin.  We cooked in a few meals and split entrees several times.
Flights and Luggage Used AA mileage miles (30,000 each), booked in Sept.  Plane could not leave DFW on time so we were forced to stay in wonderful MIA at a (dis)Comfort Inn...with no luggage.  We were supposed to stay at the Royal Turtle upon arrival at SXM at 9:15 P.M., but we lost those $$$ with the late cancellation policy. Lesley Bruce (Kenny's Car Rental) had to be notified to pick us up later the next day, but Sprint came through on the call from Miami to Lesley.

MIA has a serious problem with overnight luggage for missed flights.  I sat next to a professional baggage systems designer who had just consulted with MIA airport about the luggage problem.  They have so much overnight luggage and so  many angry customers that they are trying to put out an RFP to create a system for handling the problem.  We were not able to get our luggage until 4:00 P.M. the next day.  PJIA also needs a way for folks to enter the baggage area to pick up luggage which arrives later than they do with out having to go past security.   Return trips were uneventful except for the de-icing delays in DWF. 

Crime We neither witnessed nor were affected by any.  There seems to be more security and police than  last summer.  We were not stopped or checked by police.
Shopping Rima's in Phillipsburg is the best place to shop for island clothing and souvenirs.

Super Marche on the west side traffic circle in Phillipsburg is the best place to buy groceries. 

Local grocery markets that we like are: Maho Express, Mini-Market in Oyster Pond, the market in Orient Village, and the market next to Big Fish restaurant in Oyster Bay.

Mosquitos As they say in French..."Moooose-Keetos".  Yes, they are everywhere, but generally come out at dusk.  We, and the mosquitos, had breakfast at Zee-Best one morning.  Banana skins reduced the itching right away.