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

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#1
OH
25,041 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
We have been here several times. We are "beach" people. I'm looking for some place new to go that we haven't been to before. A lot of you on here know my "taste". But...if not...I love beaches that have natural shade if possible (trees fairly close to the beach)...snorkeling is a plus, not a must, time and accessible taxi service is a must of course.

We have been to:
Orient
Maho x2
Mullet
Divi
Pinel Island

Tell me what you suggest.

karysa- Where are you...I need your suggestions.
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#3
11,694 Posts
Joined Mar 2007
How about Grand Case Beach? I'm going to vacation there in the summer and wanted to try Rainbow for lunch and the beach. I have walked by it and it looked nice. Really nice part of the beach and they have free loungers for customers I believe. Water sports are also available. Seemed like a very family friendly place. I have read good reviews of it on here and on trip advisor.

The beach is no Pinel but I love this old fishing village.

The only concern I have is that once in January the beach was hit by northern swells and it was so rough it was unswimmable and we went over to LeGalion which is always calm.

What month are you visiting in Kim? If I go before you I will stop by and let you know how it is.
#4
massachusetts
837 Posts
Joined Jul 2008
Originally posted by Karysa
How about Grand Case Beach? I'm going to vacation there in the summer and wanted to try Rainbow for lunch and the beach. I have walked by it and it looked nice. Really nice part of the beach and they have free loungers for customers I believe. Water sports are also available. Seemed like a very family friendly place. I have read good reviews of it on here and on trip advisor.

The beach is no Pinel but I love this old fishing village.

The only concern I have is that once in January the beach was hit by northern swells and it was so rough it was unswimmable and we went over to LeGalion which is always calm.

What month are you visiting in Kim? If I go before you I will stop by and let you know how it is.
we went to grand case a couple of years ago and went to rainbow cafe...ended up staying for the entire day...loved it...we went in April and beach was wonderful.We are headed there again in October.
#5
Connecticut
13,330 Posts
Joined Sep 2005
Le Galion has a lot of trees, and I recall that Friars Bay had a fair sized shaded area.
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#6
OH
25,041 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
Originally posted by gtaylor
Le Galion.


(click)

gary
Thanks Gary. I remember Le Galion being an area that they say is very calm for small children and a lot of families go there. I'll check it out again and see if it fits our needs.


Originally posted by Karysa
How about Grand Case Beach? I'm going to vacation there in the summer and wanted to try Rainbow for lunch and the beach. I have walked by it and it looked nice. Really nice part of the beach and they have free loungers for customers I believe. Water sports are also available. Seemed like a very family friendly place. I have read good reviews of it on here and on trip advisor.

The beach is no Pinel but I love this old fishing village.

The only concern I have is that once in January the beach was hit by northern swells and it was so rough it was unswimmable and we went over to LeGalion which is always calm.

What month are you visiting in Kim? If I go before you I will stop by and let you know how it is.
Hmm, I don't think I have heard of this mentioned before. I just looked it up on the map and it looks like it's way up there (like Pinel was, but other side). I wonder how the waves are (you know how you'll get huge waves on one side and calm on the other side of the islands?). Most of the recommended places from before are on the opposite side of the island. I'll definitely have to check it out some more. When you say "old fishing village" does kind of concern me though...I'll be honest. We've been to several places that were described as that and didn't think they were anything special...although laid back, but the beaches just weren't what we were looking for. But still worth a shot. You have never steered me wrong before in suggestions.


We will be there in August. When are you going?
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#7
OH
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Originally posted by dancersp119
we went to grand case a couple of years ago and went to rainbow cafe...ended up staying for the entire day...loved it...we went in April and beach was wonderful.We are headed there again in October.
Good to know you enjoyed it so much that you'll be returning. Thanks for your input.


Originally posted by navybankerteacher
Le Galion has a lot of trees, and I recall that Friars Bay had a fair sized shaded area.
Thanks for the info. Although me and the munchkin could care less about the shade (we stay in the water almost the entire time), the hubby would prefer shade because he spends most of his time on the beach. Thanks for the info.
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#8
749 Posts
Joined Jan 2006
I suggest Dawn, although it does not have shade available from trees and you will need to rent umbrellas. Also, Dawn will not be worth visiting if the seas are rough there. If sea conditions are good, I think it is the next beach for you to check out. No problem getting taxi either way.
#9
11,694 Posts
Joined Mar 2007
We will be there on Vacation in August as well. 😊

You have read about Grand Case on here no doubt. It's the place with all of the gourmet restaurants. I have always found the beach there nice in the summer BUT we do find that side of the island has more rain.
There are boutiques, restaurants, small hotels and a bakery, beach bars, a bar a perfumery and a dive shop plus down at the end is Grand Case Beach resort.
For natural shade Le Galion is my favourite but it can be busy with kids camps and families in the summer and it's always busy in the summer.
Are you certain that you don't want to rent a car?
#10
11,694 Posts
Joined Mar 2007
Originally posted by Karysa
We will be there on Vacation in August as well. 😊

You have read about Grand Case on here no doubt. It's the place with all of the gourmet restaurants. I have always found the beach there nice in the summer BUT we do find that side of the island has more rain.
There are boutiques, restaurants, small hotels and a bakery, beach bars, a bar a perfumery and a dive shop plus down at the end is Grand Case Beach resort.
For natural shade Le Galion is my favourite but it can be busy with kids camps and families in the summer and it's always busy in the summer.
Are you certain that you don't want to rent a car?
Sorry that was suppose to be "and it's always busy on the weekends" I added that because I'm not sure what day of the week you will be there. The Islanders love Le Galion. We love it to. It's a lovely beach to have a picnic under a tree.

If I wouldn't trust a taxi to pick me up from somewhere while on a cruise then I just can't recommend it to others. For me that includes Baie Prunes, Friars and Happy and Baie Rouge. That would include Le Galion on a Monday during low season which would include August.

I have read that there are seaweed issues again this year. Keep an eye on reports closer to August so you know which beaches to avoid.
#11
OH
25,041 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
Originally posted by Karysa
Sorry that was suppose to be "and it's always busy on the weekends" I added that because I'm not sure what day of the week you will be there. The Islanders love Le Galion. We love it to. It's a lovely beach to have a picnic under a tree.

If I wouldn't trust a taxi to pick me up from somewhere while on a cruise then I just can't recommend it to others. For me that includes Baie Prunes, Friars and Happy and Baie Rouge. That would include Le Galion on a Monday during low season which would include August.

I have read that there are seaweed issues again this year. Keep an eye on reports closer to August so you know which beaches to avoid.
Karysa, how is Le Galion post hurricane now? I think we will be coming back in early April. Any info/reports? I seen a youtube video that showed it post hurricane in October and it looked demolished. I think (not sure since I have never been there before) that the very end of the video might have been the beach area. It looks like there's no trees left there.
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#12
11,694 Posts
Joined Mar 2007
Originally posted by mitsugirly
Karysa, how is Le Galion post hurricane now? I think we will be coming back in early April. Any info/reports? I seen a youtube video that showed it post hurricane in October and it looked demolished. I think (not sure since I have never been there before) that the very end of the video might have been the beach area. It looks like there's no trees left there.
I heard that there is no plan to rebuild Chez Pat. This is one secluded beach that I would be hesitant to visit. There have always been reports of car break ins here so personally I will not visit until there are facilities and more people.
#13
OH
25,041 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
Originally posted by Karysa
I heard that there is no plan to rebuild Chez Pat. This is one secluded beach that I would be hesitant to visit. There have always been reports of car break ins here so personally I will not visit until there are facilities and more people.
Is Chez Pat the same thing as Le Galion? I haven't heard that name before that I can remember.


Ok, I'll keep that off my radar for awhile.


Any suggestions for me? Cruising in April.
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#14
11,694 Posts
Joined Mar 2007
Originally posted by mitsugirly
Is Chez Pat the same thing as Le Galion? I haven't heard that name before that I can remember.


Ok, I'll keep that off my radar for awhile.


Any suggestions for me? Cruising in April.
That was the name of the restaurant at Le Galion beach.

How about the new zip line. It says it's the worlds or maybe caribbeans steepest zip line. I would keep an eye on reviews of excursions. St. Maarten is on many itineraries so save I would save visiting a new beach until they have more facilities up and running.

If you are set on a beach Karakter on Simpson Bay would be my suggestion. Avoid Kim Sha beach as I think that you would be disappointed.
#15
Annapolis, USA
808 Posts
Joined Apr 2016
Grand Case is one of my favorite beaches in the world. I am not sure how it will be when you go in terms of storm recovery efforts, but it is still gorgeous. It's considered to be the culinary capital of the Caribbean, so the beach is lined with delicious restaurants. Again, I know many have been closed since the hurricane hit, but if you are willing to get out the Grand Case, I know you will not be disappointed. It's a stunning beach strip!


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#16
OH
25,041 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
Originally posted by Karysa
That was the name of the restaurant at Le Galion beach.

How about the new zip line. It says it's the worlds or maybe caribbeans steepest zip line. I would keep an eye on reviews of excursions. St. Maarten is on many itineraries so save I would save visiting a new beach until they have more facilities up and running.

If you are set on a beach Karakter on Simpson Bay would be my suggestion. Avoid Kim Sha beach as I think that you would be disappointed.
Thanks Karysa. I'm looking into it. Can you tell me why Karakter would be better over Kim Sha? I see they are both there on Simpson Bay. What's the difference?

Is this the only beach that is doing ok after the hurricane?
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#17
OH
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Originally posted by OceansOfTravels
Grand Case is one of my favorite beaches in the world. I am not sure how it will be when you go in terms of storm recovery efforts, but it is still gorgeous. It's considered to be the culinary capital of the Caribbean, so the beach is lined with delicious restaurants. Again, I know many have been closed since the hurricane hit, but if you are willing to get out the Grand Case, I know you will not be disappointed. It's a stunning beach strip!


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I don't know what it looks like at the moment, but I do remember seeing pictures of this place post hurricane and it was completely destroyed in those pictures.
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#18
OH
25,041 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
Also, does anyone know if the TikiHut off Divi is ok? Did it withstand the storm or not? That's always something I thought would be neat to do and no beach required.
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#19
11,694 Posts
Joined Mar 2007
Originally posted by mitsugirly
Thanks Karysa. I'm looking into it. Can you tell me why Karakter would be better over Kim Sha? I see they are both there on Simpson Bay. What's the difference?

Is this the only beach that is doing ok after the hurricane?
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.
#20
Chicago suburbs, IL USA
1,238 Posts
Joined May 2002
Originally posted by Karysa
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.

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.
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
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