The last port of our cruise was Phillispsburg, St. Maarten. We have been here once before, so we decided to just stay locally and enjoy the beach. Since we were here overnight, it was fun to see the town during the evening, when it was basically empty of tourists. And we had the beaches to ourselves both that night AND the next day, as we were the only ship in port.
Be sure to watch our YouTube video of our visit at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c2RRwu1N63E
St. Maarten is an island country in the Caribbean and is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. It shares the island with Saint Martin, an overseas collectivity of France. This is the smallest inhabited island divided between two nations, dating back to 1648.
The capital, Phillipsburg, has cobblestone streets and colorful, colonial-style buildings which line the Front Street shopping area. It is a popular cruise ship stop.
The Dutch side is also where you can find the popular Maho Beach, situated near the main runway at Princess Juliana International Airport. Its position between a large hill and a beach provide some spectacular approaches. Aviation photographers flock to the airport to capture pictures of large jets landing very close to sunbathers.
I didn’t get many pictures of Phillipsburg, as we headed straight to the beach and I did not want to leave my phone unattended and in the hot sun. Great Bay Beach is an easy walk from the cruise ship. There is a nice boardwalk area with restaurants, bars and a few hotels. You can rent a chair, umbrella and get several drinks for between $10 and $25 dollars. Just depends on who you go to!
The French side, Sint Martin, has the popular beaches of Orient Beach and Friar’s Bay. The town of Marigot has some wonderful restaurants serving French style food and local seafood. Be sure to visit the large outdoor market next to the harbor, where you can find lots of souvenirs such as clothing, bags, hats and spices. You can also find locals selling fresh coconuts, which they are happy to open for you.
All too soon, our overnight stay in St. Maarten was over and it was time to head back to Ft. Lauderdale. Thankfully, we had another sea day before disembarkation. 🙂 Now it’s time to begin dreaming of and planning for our next Caribbean cruise!