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jetta8300

Pinel Island... on our own or through RCCL?

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Having a dilema here!  So looking at excursions and beaches in general in St. Martin, Pinel Island seems like an amazing place to visit.  Our ship is in port that day from 8-6pm. so quite a while.  There is an excursion through the ship, however it's $99 per person and you only get TWO HOURS at the beach???  What is that???  

 

It says there is a 30 minute bus ride to the pier, 10 minute ferry ride to the island.  Then only two hours at the island/beach before taking the 40+ minute return.  Seems very disappointing for only 2 hours, and we wouldn't pay $400 for our family for a 2 hour beach trip.  

 

Is it that complicated getting there ourselves?  I've heard it's hard to get a taxi back.  If this doesn't work out, are there any other beaches on the island that aren't too crowded, but have facilities?  And may be good for kids?  We will have two 7 year olds and a 9 year old in our group.  Thanks!!!

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I spent a week there in 2016 in a timeshare on the Dutch side and we went to Pinel Island for the day. We took a taxi and the driver was actually worried about how we would get back at the end of the day, because the area where the boats dock is a little remote.  He gave us his card and told us to call him when we got back to the parking lot and he would come and get us. And he did. We found the cab drivers to be very friendly and proud to show us their island. Pinel Island was a wonderful time. We had a nice lunch at the outdoor restaurant and next door to it was an area where a lot of iguanas hung out. We had a couple of apples I brought with me from a market and we fed them by hand. They were very used to being fed.  My friend said it reminded her of a scene out of Jurassic Park with them all running toward me, but I found them all very gentle. Oh, and the beach was beautiful. 😁

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We booked a taxi ride and kayak through Caribbean Paddling.  Or you can take the ferry.  It was a fun option to kayak over to the island.  Plus we had a kayak to tool around the bay when we got tired of sunbathing 🙂.  Our driver was great!  The ferry runs once an hour on the dot.  So just make sure you factor that in so you get back to the ship on time if you take the ferry.  Our ship was in port from 8-5, so we went early and spent like 5 hours on the island.  Lots of iguanas and hermit crabs.  We had a bit of granola bar to feed the iguanas and one even crawled on my daughter's lap.  

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I second the Caribbean Kayaking option. Definitely the best way to maximize your time there, plus having the kayak adds for extra fun when you start to get bored of tanning. In Cul-de-Sac, where you pick up your kayak, you can just call a taxi, or make an agreement with the one that picks you up from the ship that you'll pay him or her for both ways if they pick you up at whatever time you like. Many of the taxi drivers are open to doing this, and if they miss you, they miss their money from the first ride, so you definitely will not get stranded. Best of luck, it's a beautiful island!

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We were at Pinel last week. Pinel is gorgeous, a must seer in my opinion. Drive time is accurate - about 30 minutes in the morning. The ferry runs every 1/2 hour. Cost is $12 pp r/t. I believe the 1st ferry is @ 9:30, last ferry back is 4pm.

Kayaking is a good option. 

It is in a pretty remote area. At the ferry dock,  there is no one to ask to call a taxi. I'd want some assurance that my taxi would be there to get me to the ship.

Another option would be to rent a car for the day. Very easy to do, and not that much money. That way you'd have your own wheels.

You really don't want to miss Pinel. You will never forget it.

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I’ll be in town on Symphony OTS (6500 passengers) and Carnival Fascination is also in port that day (2600 passengers) I wonder how crowded it gets there with so many people on the ships?

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I think that Caribbean Paddling generally gets very good reviews - the only complaints I have heard about the kayaking is when the area near the cul-de-sac shore has a lot of sargassum seaweed and is kind of smelly and gross.  You could ask them in an email how it is now.

 

 

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We did this with Caribbean Paddling and had a great time (although kinda hilarious with my oldest daughter...but that's just our family). I have a complete review with tons of pictures if you are interested. Click my signature line and go to that page and down to St Maarten and find the link. It's a beautiful place!

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Highly recommend. We booked our own excursion through Caribbean Paddling twice! Once in 2016 and then again in 2017.

They provided the taxi round trip including stopping at Maho Beach.

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