Heading back to St Maarten...what's next for us? Suggestions needed.

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#21
11,773 Posts
Joined Mar 2007
Originally posted by johnbob7
First of all, thanks for all the great info you have provided consistently. It has always been very helpful.

Second, I know of the concerns over Great Bay pollution issues. Do you have any update as to how the storm issues have impacted that? i.e. made it worse or better? Is the canal from the lagoon open all or part time now? Or is it pretty much just back to the same issues of beware after heavy rains?

Finally, very sorry to hear that the French side is still not bouncing back as well. Is it safe to say we should probably stick to the Dutch side for a January visit?

Thanks again, and enjoy your current visit!

BobJ
You are welcome for the update and thanks for the nice words.

I’m sorry but to be honest I have yet to speak to anyone that I know that would have info on Great Bay Beach and I would simply not trust even the people that I have dealt with for years who work in the town stores and restaurants to give me a truly honest answer.

Regarding the French side. It’s so weird to me that we have not been over there yet this trip since arriving on Friday. Unlike many of the islanders, the two sides are pretty interchangeable to us. We love Grand Case and we saw pictures of the devestation and it’s truly heartbreaking to me. I think that my husband wants to drive to Grand Case but I’m not sure that I can. The restaurant that we visit for lunch is on the water and was wiped out from what I have heard. We normally would not think twice to drive over their for dinner (other than avoiding Sandy Ground at night) but we have been a little reluctant to venture their just yet. I will be honest and tell you that I have not eaten nearly as well on this trip and that is because of not visiting the French side. It’s true when people say “you eat on the Dutch side but you dine on the French side”.
#22
Chicago suburbs, IL USA
1,256 Posts
Joined May 2002
Karysa,

Thanks for the response and the information. As I said, hope you enjoy your visit, even as you adjust to the current realities.

By way of comparison, I woke up to -10 F temperatures this morning here in Chicago area, so you certainly can enjoy at least one thing that hasn't changed on the island...the beautiful weather!

Take care,

BobJ
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#23
11,773 Posts
Joined Mar 2007
Originally posted by johnbob7
Karysa,

Thanks for the response and the information. As I said, hope you enjoy your visit, even as you adjust to the current realities.

By way of comparison, I woke up to -10 F temperatures this morning here in Chicago area, so you certainly can enjoy at least one thing that hasn't changed on the island...the beautiful weather!

Take care,

BobJ
You do speak the truth. The weather is great and the welcome warm and friendly.😊
#24
11,773 Posts
Joined Mar 2007
Originally posted by johnbob7
First of all, thanks for all the great info you have provided consistently. It has always been very helpful.

Second, I know of the concerns over Great Bay pollution issues. Do you have any update as to how the storm issues have impacted that? i.e. made it worse or better? Is the canal from the lagoon open all or part time now? Or is it pretty much just back to the same issues of beware after heavy rains?

Finally, very sorry to hear that the French side is still not bouncing back as well. Is it safe to say we should probably stick to the Dutch side for a January visit?

Thanks again, and enjoy your current visit!

BobJ
I got an update for you. I spoke to someone who I have known for several years now about Great Bay. She lives within walking distance to Great Bay beach. She is not a huge beach goer but does go swimming sometimes and she chooses Kim Sha beach. She doesn’t go in Great Bay because of the pollution issues and actually grabbed her arms and shivered when just talking about people swimming in there. She has not heard that the hurricane(s) worsened the conditions though.

She has been to Grand Case and said “it’s gone”. I was too sad to speak more about it as I loved Grand Case prior to Irma. There are a few restaurants open but I have only heard of ones on the non beach side being open and only for dinner.
I will try and find out if any beachside places are opening soon.

The lady has not been back to Marigot as of yet.
#25
OH
25,386 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
Originally posted by Karysa
They are two completely separate beaches. They are separated by the bridge in the Simpson Bay Area. The sand feels completely different on these two beaches. Kim Sha is a small beach and Simpson Bay beach is one of the longest on the island. It would take about 40 minutes to walk along Simpson Bay beach and 3 or 4 to walk Kim Sha beach. These beaches are night and day different if you know what I mean. We stayed at a resort on two occasions for 10 and 14 days and Kim Sha was a five minute walk away and we may have gone in the water there twice.

We were at Mullet and Simpson Bay beaches yesterday. Both are doing well. We were at Maho this trip as well and it was quiet with very little beach and only the rare largeer plane. You could not walk from the bar at sunset directly to the sand as that area was covered by rocks. We had lunch on the boardwalk on Great Bay beach in the town of Philipsburg and it looked fine as well but I didn't get too close to the water. This is the beach with ongoing pollution concerns though.

The entertainment strip through Maho was hit really hard. There are only a few places open. We did drive and walk through it. It's clear of debris but it is broken beyond comprehension. People were golfing on the golf course and life is getting back to order but it's soooooo quiet here. This is high season and the traffic has been very light. There are 3 ships due in today so I am thinking today may be a heavier day for traffic. The palm trees and flowers are growing. The islanders are really happy that tourists are back.

We have not driven over to the French side yet. It's weird but we have spoken to many people who have been back on the island for a long time that have not ventured over there.

Something important to keep in mind is that some shops and restaurants have moved due to hurricane damage at their previous location.

Thanks so much for the update and explaining the difference at Simpson Bay. So Karakter should be where we go versus any other places there on the beach?

So more info on Karakter please (do you say this like Character?)

Chair/umbrella rental there? Price?

Any food prices and what they serve?

How long does it take to get there from the cruise port?


Price for cab to get there?


Also, have you heard anything about the TikiHut off Divi? Is it still there? Did they manage to get it out of the water and save it prior to the hurricane? I have thought about doing it in the past. Maybe now would be the right time to do this since a lot of the island is destroyed?

Thanks for your help Karysa.
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BAHAMAS:Great Stirrup Cay Half Moon Cay Blue Lagoon Melia Junkanoo Paradise
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#26
College Station, Tx
4 Posts
Joined Jan 2003
So Karysa can you recommend a decent spot to enjoy a beach with some decent snorkeling post Irma? It has been more than a dozen years since we have visited the island.
#27
11,773 Posts
Joined Mar 2007
Originally posted by mitsugirly
Thanks so much for the update and explaining the difference at Simpson Bay. So Karakter should be where we go versus any other places there on the beach?

So more info on Karakter please (do you say this like Character?)

Chair/umbrella rental there? Price?

Any food prices and what they serve?

How long does it take to get there from the cruise port?


Price for cab to get there?


Also, have you heard anything about the TikiHut off Divi? Is it still there? Did they manage to get it out of the water and save it prior to the hurricane? I have thought about doing it in the past. Maybe now would be the right time to do this since a lot of the island is destroyed?

Thanks for your help Karysa.

This Simpson Bay /Simpson Bay beach thing gets even more complicated. There are 2 beach bars that we visit on this beach. Karakter and L’Zafiro and you can not access one to the other unless you walk the beach.

Karakter is accessed before the runway fence starts as you are leaving Simpson Bay and heading to Maho.

L’Zafiro (something like that) is accessed by going past Maho Beach and following the signs to it or Beachside villas.

You see the road that Karakter is on finished there.

Cost wise I am guessing it’s between the cost of Kim Sha beach and Maho for Karakter and the cost of Mullet (due to distance not direction) for the other.

It has been wavier at the L’Zafiro end on this visit and i have seen really severe seaweed issues at this end of the beach in the past.

No snorkeling at either really. Chairs are free with beverage/food purchase as of now.

Regarding the Tiki hut. No word on that. I have snorkeled that area 10 years ago and I think the same wrecks were there. The snorkeling was meh!
#28
11,773 Posts
Joined Mar 2007
Originally posted by jzhinton
So Karysa can you recommend a decent spot to enjoy a beach with some decent snorkeling post Irma? It has been more than a dozen years since we have visited the island.
Sorry I have no idea how the snorkeling is post Irma and Maria.

Of the beaches that people are visiting from cruises now my best guess would be Mullet and I would try down at the farthest end of the beach, nearest the condos.
#29
47 Posts
Joined Jul 2017
St. Maarten is coming back from Hurricane Irma. You can find a lot of information on a Facebook site- ‘Everything St. Maarten” as well as corresponding web site.
Karakter is the beach cruisers are being directed to instead of Orient.
Hope you enjoy the beautiful island.


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#30
11,773 Posts
Joined Mar 2007
Originally posted by stpiloui
St. Maarten is coming back from Hurricane Irma. You can find a lot of information on a Facebook site- ‘Everything St. Maarten” as well as corresponding web site.
Karakter is the beach cruisers are being directed to instead of Orient.
Hope you enjoy the beautiful island.


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Karakter is a beach bar/restaurant on Simpson Bay Beach.

Who is directing cruisers to Karakter? Is Karakter sponsor of that website?

The cruise lines seem to be replacing Orient with Kim Sha beach for now.
#32
Eastern Tennessee/formally Marietta, GA
78 Posts
Joined Jan 2005
Has anyone been to Divi beach post hurricane? Do we know how it made out?
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#33
11,773 Posts
Joined Mar 2007
Originally posted by lthomas927
Has anyone been to Divi beach post hurricane? Do we know how it made out?
The resort is still closed. I did here that the resort next door called Belair is set to open some rooms in March.

I don’t know how the beach faired or if the water sports company is still operational.
#34
OH
25,386 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
Originally posted by Karysa

Cost wise I am guessing it’s between the cost of Kim Sha beach and Maho for Karakter and the cost of Mullet (due to distance not direction) for the other.
Can you explain this a little more...I'm not following...as in a price $$. Are you saying it will cost whatever it cost to get to Maho PLUS the cost from Maho to Kim Sha? Or?? I don't get it (or know what the current cost to any of those are).
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NCL:
EPIC SPIRIT PEARL STAR JEWEL GETAWAY SUN SKY DAWN BREAKAWAY JADE EPIC
CARNIVAL:
Dream Pride Breeze Fascination Conquest Magic
ARUBA: Arashi Beaches Animals Sites
BAHAMAS:Great Stirrup Cay Half Moon Cay Blue Lagoon Melia Junkanoo Paradise
BARBADOS:Boatyard
BELIZE:Cavetubing Cavetubing Bannister Shark Ray Alley Goffs Rendezvous
BERMUDA: Horseshoe Snorkel Park Tobacco St Catherines Achilles Jet Ski/boat rental Warwick-Horseshoe Long Bay-Clearwater Tobacco Snorkel Park
COSTA MAYA:Almaplena Maya Chan Nohoch Blue KayBlueKay
COZUMEL:Chankanaab Dolphin Swim Chankanaab Nachi Playa Mia Sanchos Passion Island Palancar Money Bar Paradise
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DOMINICAN REPUBLIC:Saona
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ROATAN: LFKey LFK Maya Key West Bay ZiplineLFK scuba
SAN JUAN:Pamelas
ST KITTS:Reggae Carambola
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ST MAARTEN:Orient & Maho Mullet Maho Divi Pinel
ST THOMAS:Saphhire Coki Linquist Coki
TORTOLA: Baths
#35
809 Posts
Joined Jan 2006
The Tiki Hut in Little Bay was destroyed. They hope to have the Sea Trek platform and operation running in January (not sure of status as of right now). I think they still are in planning process for new Tiki Hut platform and operation. They have a Facebook page - just google Tiki Hut Snorkel Park and it should come up.
#36
OH
25,386 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
Originally posted by SnorkelAway
The Tiki Hut in Little Bay was destroyed. They hope to have the Sea Trek platform and operation running in January (not sure of status as of right now). I think they still are in planning process for new Tiki Hut platform and operation. They have a Facebook page - just google Tiki Hut Snorkel Park and it should come up.

Oh really? I would "think" that it didn't survive, unless they were somehow able to get it up and out of the water and to safety, but when I look on the cruise website, it has excursions going to the tiki hut so made me wonder if it's still there. I wonder how they are offering it if it don't exist anymore?
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NCL:
EPIC SPIRIT PEARL STAR JEWEL GETAWAY SUN SKY DAWN BREAKAWAY JADE EPIC
CARNIVAL:
Dream Pride Breeze Fascination Conquest Magic
ARUBA: Arashi Beaches Animals Sites
BAHAMAS:Great Stirrup Cay Half Moon Cay Blue Lagoon Melia Junkanoo Paradise
BARBADOS:Boatyard
BELIZE:Cavetubing Cavetubing Bannister Shark Ray Alley Goffs Rendezvous
BERMUDA: Horseshoe Snorkel Park Tobacco St Catherines Achilles Jet Ski/boat rental Warwick-Horseshoe Long Bay-Clearwater Tobacco Snorkel Park
COSTA MAYA:Almaplena Maya Chan Nohoch Blue KayBlueKay
COZUMEL:Chankanaab Dolphin Swim Chankanaab Nachi Playa Mia Sanchos Passion Island Palancar Money Bar Paradise
CURACAO Diving
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC:Saona
GRAND CAYMAN:Stingray Sandbar Stingrays, Rum Point
GRAND TURK:BohioGovernorsGibbs
ROATAN: LFKey LFK Maya Key West Bay ZiplineLFK scuba
SAN JUAN:Pamelas
ST KITTS:Reggae Carambola
ST LUCIA: Jalousie
ST MAARTEN:Orient & Maho Mullet Maho Divi Pinel
ST THOMAS:Saphhire Coki Linquist Coki
TORTOLA: Baths
#37
809 Posts
Joined Jan 2006
Posted on December 27, 2017 at 10:18pm ·
Helloooo all our loyal and wonderful customers!!! Just a quick update- sorry for the delay. A little crazy here. Irma destroyed both tours, but left sea trek platform floating. Took everything off it but at least we had something to build on. We are almost finished with sea trek and next we will rebuild Tiki Hut. We will be back!! Thank you for all the kind messages and support. Prayers are much needed. Seems a long road that doesn't turn, but we will get there!!!



Sea Trek will be operating by February if not already, as I understand it. I do not think the Tiki Hut would be operating as soon, but don't know. When is your cruise? Maybe they are promising cruise line to be operational at Tiki Hut by time of your cruise.
#38
OH
25,386 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
Originally posted by SnorkelAway
Posted on December 27, 2017 at 10:18pm ·
Helloooo all our loyal and wonderful customers!!! Just a quick update- sorry for the delay. A little crazy here. Irma destroyed both tours, but left sea trek platform floating. Took everything off it but at least we had something to build on. We are almost finished with sea trek and next we will rebuild Tiki Hut. We will be back!! Thank you for all the kind messages and support. Prayers are much needed. Seems a long road that doesn't turn, but we will get there!!!



Sea Trek will be operating by February if not already, as I understand it. I do not think the Tiki Hut would be operating as soon, but don't know. When is your cruise? Maybe they are promising cruise line to be operational at Tiki Hut by time of your cruise.

Hmm, that's weird that RC would be offering the Tiki Hut when it's destroyed. I did look at the fb page and then pictures of the Tiki Hut destroyed.



Maybe they are just leaving it on there for future...This will be my first RC cruise since the 90s (usually cruise with NCL and Carnival), and I'm unfamiliar how to work their page. Maybe it's just showing excursions, but not necessarily for my cruise (although I am logged in). I'll have to play with it a little more. Maybe I'm doing something wrong because obviously it's not ready yet. We will be there the first week of April.

RC's excursion page:


Tiki Hut Relax and Snorkel - SMQ9

Activity Type: Active Adventures | Verified Sustainable Experiences

Approximate Duration: 3 hour(s)

Prices starting from:
*74.00 USD (Adult)
*54.00 USD (Child)
*0.00 USD (Infant)

Ready to reserve this excursion?
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NCL:
EPIC SPIRIT PEARL STAR JEWEL GETAWAY SUN SKY DAWN BREAKAWAY JADE EPIC
CARNIVAL:
Dream Pride Breeze Fascination Conquest Magic
ARUBA: Arashi Beaches Animals Sites
BAHAMAS:Great Stirrup Cay Half Moon Cay Blue Lagoon Melia Junkanoo Paradise
BARBADOS:Boatyard
BELIZE:Cavetubing Cavetubing Bannister Shark Ray Alley Goffs Rendezvous
BERMUDA: Horseshoe Snorkel Park Tobacco St Catherines Achilles Jet Ski/boat rental Warwick-Horseshoe Long Bay-Clearwater Tobacco Snorkel Park
COSTA MAYA:Almaplena Maya Chan Nohoch Blue KayBlueKay
COZUMEL:Chankanaab Dolphin Swim Chankanaab Nachi Playa Mia Sanchos Passion Island Palancar Money Bar Paradise
CURACAO Diving
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC:Saona
GRAND CAYMAN:Stingray Sandbar Stingrays, Rum Point
GRAND TURK:BohioGovernorsGibbs
ROATAN: LFKey LFK Maya Key West Bay ZiplineLFK scuba
SAN JUAN:Pamelas
ST KITTS:Reggae Carambola
ST LUCIA: Jalousie
ST MAARTEN:Orient & Maho Mullet Maho Divi Pinel
ST THOMAS:Saphhire Coki Linquist Coki
TORTOLA: Baths
#40
11,773 Posts
Joined Mar 2007
Originally posted by mitsugirly
Can you explain this a little more...I'm not following...as in a price $$. Are you saying it will cost whatever it cost to get to Maho PLUS the cost from Maho to Kim Sha? Or?? I don't get it (or know what the current cost to any of those are).
I don’t take taxis. We rent a car.

Maho is farthest.
Kim Sha closest and Simpson Bay in the middle.

If it cost 11 for Maho
Then 10 seems reasonable for Karakter at Simpson Bay and 9 for Kim Sha

That would be pp per way and I may be off a dollar or two each way but really what’s a buck or two.