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Exploring our world through gay eyes

St Maarten in Three Days

The beautiful beaches and bright blue waters surrounding St. Maarten beckon visitors to play in the sun. // © 2012 GTH & Nathan DePetris

Day 0
Arrival & transfer to La Samanna by Orient Express.  As flights arrive throughout the day, the afternoon and evening are on your own.

Day 1
9:30am – Depart for your island tour

Begin in Simpson Bay, formerly a fishing Village that developed into a busy tourist district with a variety of businesses, hotels, restaurants and excursions. Head over to Philipsburg for a walking tour of the Capital of the Dutch Side and visit the Guavaberry Emporium to sample the traditional Guavaberry, a national favorite used to make jams and drinks including the popular Guavaberry liqueur.

Stop by the Guavaberry Emporium and try a sample of St. Maarten’s local brew. // © 2012 GTH & Nathan DePetris

Stroll along Front Street, Back Street and the Boardwalk, St Maarten’s main shopping district on the Dutch side. See the area’s wide range of duty-free shopping options including electronics, jewelry, fashion, art galleries and more.  Pop in to the Belgium Chocolate Box where the proprietor is constantly perfecting her master chocolatier techniques and constantly blending new flavors.

Depart Philipsburg and head over to Oyster Pond and Dawn Beach, driving through the mostly residential French Quarter. Make a stop at the Butterfly Farm to learn about the life of a butterfly.

Stop for a peek at Orient Bay’s beach, the only official “clothing optional” beach on the island.  This beach has a number of restaurants each with brightly colored umbrellas. While photography is strictly prohibited on the nude section of the beach, you’re still allowed to use your eyes for mental pictures.

Driving past Grand Case, the dining Capital of the French side and home of L’Esperance Regional Airport.   Grand Case was a small fishing village that has developed into a tourism district with many evening and dining options.

/St. Maarten’s 12 Metre Challenge lets visitors experience the thrill of sailing in America’s Cup racing yachts./ © 2012 GTH & Nathan DePetris

Visit the picturesque Marigot waterfront area, Capital of the French side.  A brief stop & stroll around the marché allows just enough time to check out the souvenirs, fresh produce and visit the local food stalls where you can find traditional dishes from St. Maarten.

1:00 PM – Lunch at Lee’s Roadside Grill

Your afternoon is at your leisure; consider a walk on one of St Maartin’s many world renowned beaches for sunset.

7:00pm – Dinner at Le Moulin Fou

Day 2
9:00am  – Depart for 12 Meter Challenge, your opportunity to race multi-million dollar America’s Cup Race boats in the warm waters and brisk winds of the Caribbean. Boats such as Stars & Stripes, True North and Canada II are the zenith of the legendary “12’s” built for the last America’s Cup to use 12 Metre Yachts. Maintained in pristine condition and very authentic, the only modifications have been to improve guest safety.

Afternoon at leisure to nurse those aches and sprains from your 12 Meter competition… consider a spa treatment or massage

Ship wrecks and warm clear waters create a divers paradise in St. Maarten. // © 2012 GTH & Nathan DePetris

8:00pm – Dinner at Antoine’s Restaurant on the beach.The evening starts right with low lights, soft breezes, and wonderful views of Great Bay. It becomes spectacular as Jean-Pierre brings out the finest dishes from chef Pierre-Louis and pairs them with his extensive wine collection. Lobster thermidor, veal scalopine, and frog’s legs are just a few of the delicacies this french restaurant offers.

Day 3
A quiet morning to enjoy the many amenities that La Samanna has to offer: exquisite pool, fine dining, and a casual elegance that delivers unpretentious luxury, seamlessly.

11:30 am – Lunch at The Grill , La Samanna. Located adjacent to the main pool, this casual and beautifully decorated terrace is open for drinks daily and serves tapas nightly, with lounge music adding to the ambiance. The Grill has a canopy and misters to keep you cool while you enjoy gorgeous ocean views and one of their special cocktails

The mountains of St. Maarten are a wonderful backdrop to the Simpson Bay Lagoon. // © 2012 GTH & Nathan DePetris

1:00 pm – Drive through Maho, an area known for its great nightlife and offering a variety of restaurants, shops, including an ice cream store.  It’s also home to notable clubs and bars such as Cheri’s Café, Tantra, and Sky Beach.

Drive through Mullet Bay, home of the popular Mullet Bay Beach, where both locals and visitors enjoy the white sandy beach and blue water. Your tour returns through Porto Cupecoy, part of the Orient Express family, back to La Samanna.

Afternoon – Bid a farewell to St Maarten and depart for your flight back home.

But, before your board your plane, drop by the popular Sunset Beach Bar for a drink. Visitors and locals alike hang out here to watch arriving and departing planes up close on a short runway unique to the island.

If You Go:
La Samanna by Orient Express
Lee’s Roadside Grill
St. Maarten Tourism Bureau
Belgian Chocolate Box by Beatrix
The Butterfly Farm
Le Moulin Fou
12 Metre Challenge
Antoine’s Restaurant

A portion of this article’s activities were hosted by the St. Maarten tourism board. My opinions, however, are my own, and I was not paid to express any bias for or against a place or product.


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