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Old 06-09-2016, 09:14   #1
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Question Hey Island Hoppers! St. Marten, or St. Barts?

We're looking to plan an all inclusive, 7 day trip to either one of these places. We'd like to be somewhere not heavily populated in early May, with typical Caribbean beaches and blue water, snorkeling and water activities, and a nice little town to enjoy. We've not traveled outside of the country very much, so we'd really like to enjoy non-touristy things.

Which one of these places is the nicer of the two? And if its St. Marten, would you recommend the French side or the Dutch side?

Any information, experiences, photos, or recommendations are greatly appreciated!

Thanks.
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Old 06-09-2016, 09:25   #2
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pirate Re: Hey Island Hoppers! St. Marten, or St. Barts?

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Originally Posted by TooCoys View Post
We're looking to plan an all inclusive, 7 day trip to either one of these places. We'd like to be somewhere not heavily populated in early May, with typical Caribbean beaches and blue water, snorkeling and water activities, and a nice little town to enjoy. We've not traveled outside of the country very much, so we'd really like to enjoy non-touristy things.

Which one of these places is the nicer of the two? And if its St. Marten, would you recommend the French side or the Dutch side?

Any information, experiences, photos, or recommendations are greatly appreciated!

Thanks.
If your into Burgers n fries and other US Speciality Foods and beer.. not forgetting pole dancers.. trinket shopping.. go Dutch side.
For good cuisine and wines and a slower pace of life.. go French side.. Marigot, Grande Case, Friars Bay..
For me its no contest.. Vive la France..
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Old 06-09-2016, 09:55   #3
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Re: Hey Island Hoppers! St. Marten, or St. Barts?

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If your into Burgers n fries and other US Speciality Foods and beer.. not forgetting pole dancers.. trinket shopping.. go Dutch side.
For good cuisine and wines and a slower pace of life.. go French side.. Marigot, Grande Case, Friars Bay..
For me its no contest.. Vive la France..

Definitely going French side then!
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Old 06-09-2016, 10:05   #4
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pirate Re: Hey Island Hoppers! St. Marten, or St. Barts?

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Definitely going French side then!
St Barts is really lovely as well tho' more expensive as you'll be hanging out where the uber riche like to play..
The 'Whitest Island' in the Caribe..
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Old 06-09-2016, 10:11   #5
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Re: Hey Island Hoppers! St. Marten, or St. Barts?

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St Barts is really lovely as well tho' more expensive as you'll be hanging out where the uber riche like to play..
The 'Whitest Island' in the Caribe..
St. Barts is our first choice, although we know nothing of either place.

I just dont want to be in an Americanized place doing touristy things. I want to be able to see and do things that I would never be able to otherwise.

And I definitely want to experience a nude beach, at least once.
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Old 06-09-2016, 10:27   #6
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Re: Hey Island Hoppers! St. Marten, or St. Barts?

If your going to St. Marten why not explore both the dutch and the french sides. We were able to rent a car for ~$30us a day when we were there a few months ago. Driving is easy and the place is small so you can make it around the whole island in a couple of hours. You can also hop on a 30 min ferry and take a day trip over to St Barts for around ~$80us if I remember correctly.
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Old 06-09-2016, 10:35   #7
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pirate Re: Hey Island Hoppers! St. Marten, or St. Barts?

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St. Barts is our first choice, although we know nothing of either place.

I just dont want to be in an Americanized place doing touristy things. I want to be able to see and do things that I would never be able to otherwise.

And I definitely want to experience a nude beach, at least once.
St Barts is that all right.. some parts are like stepping back half a century or more.. its completely French.
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Old 06-09-2016, 10:36   #8
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Re: Hey Island Hoppers! St. Marten, or St. Barts?

FYI eventhough nudity is tolerated on the the European (French) islands, the local Caribbean population frowns on it and find it disrespectful. I know it doesn't match up with the antics of carnival and the ribald conversation, but I have found this to be the truth. Local girls in the Grenadines have only just started wearing Bikinis on the family beaches in the last few years.
If you want an authentic experience look for what the locals do.
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Old 06-09-2016, 10:38   #9
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Re: Hey Island Hoppers! St. Marten, or St. Barts?

Our biggest desire is to visit a gay friendly island. We do not want to end up in a place like Jamaica where its still.... whats the word.... not accepted maybe?

We aren't trying to have an orgy on the beach, but we'd like to feel comfortable. And St. Barts is highly recommended as being very welcoming.
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Old 06-09-2016, 11:03   #10
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Re: Hey Island Hoppers! St. Marten, or St. Barts?

St Martin to St Barts is like Vegas is to Martha's vineyard. I don't think you'll be St Martin to St Barts is like Vegas is to Martha's vineyard. I don't think you'll be disappointed or harassed in either place.
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Old 06-09-2016, 13:27   #11
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Re: Hey Island Hoppers! St. Marten, or St. Barts?

In your original post you say an "all inclusive" 7 days.

The "all inclusive" resorts are not recommended on either side of the island and are not on St Barts at all.

Some restaurants in St B can hit you with a bill of many thousands of dollars. No joke. Wine can be more that $20,000 per bottle. There are no cheap places to eat except 1 hamburger stand. Taxis can be $60 from town to your resort 15 minutes away. X2 for a night out its beginning to hurt some people. There is no public transport. Rent a car is expensive.
However, if the wallet fits St Barts is terrific.
The island closes down in summer so you want to make your trip early May than late or u will have to eat in the supermarket.
Best time is Christmas thru Feb.

St Martin, both sides is good. And you can buzz around it to restaurants, beaches etc easily by mini bus, moped, rentacar or taxi.
As someone said nudity is not really the go in St Martin, either side, except one end of Orient Beach which is the preserve of the world's oldest nudists.

Maybe charter a sailboat from Oyster Pond and do both islands?
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Old 06-09-2016, 13:49   #12
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Re: Hey Island Hoppers! St. Marten, or St. Barts?

uhhh... yeah. St. Barts is lightyears away from my wallet then.
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Old 06-09-2016, 17:38   #13
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Re: Hey Island Hoppers! St. Marten, or St. Barts?

st. barts had the most expensive lunch we encountered in the Caribe. two sandwiches and two sodas for $85. Smoking hot waitress who made clear how lucky we were to be served by her. Nice island but there are plenty of nice islands without the jet set prices. We found the French islands to be almost uniformly less clothed than the English ones where locals are generally more prudish.

Even closer to St. Martin than St. Barts is Anguilla - just a few miles away via the ferry that runs from near the airport. No big hotels but beautiful beaches and some of the best restaurants you can find. We rented a car pretty cheaply there, as we also did in St. Maarten.
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Old 06-09-2016, 18:09   #14
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Re: Hey Island Hoppers! St. Marten, or St. Barts?

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Our biggest desire is to visit a gay friendly island. We do not want to end up in a place like Jamaica where its still.... whats the word.... not accepted maybe?

We aren't trying to have an orgy on the beach, but we'd like to feel comfortable. And St. Barts is highly recommended as being very welcoming.
As I was scrolling through the thread, I was going to suggest the French side of SXM too. Very quaint, welcoming place with a very laid back attitude. Dutch side is to touristy for me or as one would possibly label it "Americanized" although Dutch.

After I read this post, I would suggest that you check out St. John USVI. Cruz bay is excellent, beautiful beaches, great snorkeling with any water sport you wish available. It is not as cheap as SXM, but much cheaper than St. Barts. Also, they don't refer to St . John as Love City for nothing. It is a destination of many same sex orientated people. In fact, take a look and check the villas in Chocolate Hole. If you're interested, I have some very good friends there "Grace and Anna" who own and operate SOS cafe on St. Thomas (check facebook) who can give you the low down and would be loads of help with information. Wonderful people on Both Islands, but St. John is simply amazing.
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Old 06-09-2016, 18:27   #15
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Re: Hey Island Hoppers! St. Marten, or St. Barts?

I haven't been to either of those locations. But I've been to a few all inclusive resorts. Cuba, Jamaica, Bahamas, and Mexico. I dont remember ever seeing anyone being disrespected for lifestyle. There were gay couples at some of the resorts( can't recall which locations) and I didn't notice any problems.
The whole point of all inclusive is they are safe. The down side is they aren't really indicative of the local culture.
Wherever you go, make sure they have Hobie cats included. We are going to Jamaica in March, I plan to be flying a hull every day:-)
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