My huband and I rented a jeep from Unity Car Rental on St. Martin last August.....It was a highlight of our cruise....The only places where we had to look for parking were in Marigot and Philipsburg....but even that wasn't hard....The jeep was waiting for us as we got off the boat with a full tank of gas and we were on our way...We tooled around the island all day stopping at Dawn beach at Orient Beach (we parked for free at Club Orientale and paid for chairs and umbrella on Orient Beach) We were able to use the restrooms and changing facilities at Club Orientale for no charge... We had lunch in Grand Case (there was public parking there) Great Day!!!!!!! When we were done we dropped the jeep back at the boat and walked back on board...All for about $60.
Thanks for bringing back great memories.
Did you have any problems driving on the "other" (left rather than right) side of the road? How were the roads, and the signs for directions? I have read the roads are not in very good shape, lots of potholes, and hardly no direction signs, and is easy to get lost. I assume it must have been ok if this was the highlight of your cruise. We love to rent a car and explore the islands on our own, and we will be in ST. Maarten in Jan. 05.
Thanks for your help!
NCL Dawn (Repo 14 nite) 11-1-09
RCCL Mariner of the Sea (Mexican Riviera) 4-18-10
it all depends upon the type of driver you are. The roads in town are very narrow, very bumpy, very curvy and very congested, lots people walk in the roads and the locals don't use turn signals. You can't be a timid driver.
I was under the impression that the driving is done on the right side of the road,like in the United States.That's the only reason Trevor rented a car.
We went through Best Deal Car Rental-which is an American-based company.Lynne
Trevor just checked a St. Maarten site and driving is on the right side of the road.He got concerned there for a minute! The main roads aren't too bad, the side roads haven't been as maintained.The Island is only 11 miles around. Some areas have paid parking. Something to look out for is that there is double parking allowed, so if you're on the inside, you might be hemmed in. There is horn honking and bright lights used to greet other vehicles. I can remember everything, but those are some points of interest. Lynne
The only place where it was "crowded" was in Philipsburg and we saved that til the end of the day. Then we just parked and walked. The island was pretty easy to get around, just one main road that goes around the outside. We did the island in a counterclockwise direction avoided lots of traffic that way....
Grand Case is a historical fishing village on the northeast side of the island. with tons of great waterfront places to eat...some of the best restaurants in the Carib., supposedly.... One main road lined with restaurants...very quaint and pretty...worth a stop for a bite to eat...
That's a very idea-to go counter clockwise. Trevor said that he was going to do something like that and end up in Phillipsburg and shop around there for awhile.Do you have any information on the road leading up to the Observation Station in the middle of the Island. Presumably, you can see to all over from up there. I wouldn't want to go up an umarked road and get stuck somewhere up there.(Cluck,Cluck, Cluck! -). Lynne
Almost all your shopping is right there in Phillipsburg. I would suggest that you do your touring by car, then turn the car in so you are close to the ship while you do some shopping if you have time left over. With a car on SXM, traffic can be bad. Go toward Grand case first than make your way all around the Island back to Orient Beach, and then if time allows stop at Dawn Beach at Oyster Bay. Nice outdoor restaurant there.
Watch your time.
Ask your car rental agency for advice. Be sure you have their telephone number in case of trouble.
I rented a car there twice and put a dent in the fender both times. Watch those low walls whereever you park and tight places. Hard to see and judge distance when parking next to low walls.
Thanks for all your advice, Joe. I'll certainly keep it in mind, since I'll probably be the Navigator! But, I will show your post to Trevor so he will be able to assimilate it, too.
Have you been up the road to the highest point observation site? He has an idea that he wants to go up there, but I don't see a marked road and don't want to get lost or stuck. I have a hunch that it isn't a paved road. Upon review of my previous post I believe I asked about this last time--must be really anxious about it.
I'll be checking back into this thread several more times before we go. Hope to hear from you again. Lynne
u guys seem to be to st. maarten and st. thomas - how are those 2 islands comparable to nassau bahamas and castaway cay? i'm deciding whether to go to the RCI cruise to san juan, st. maarten and st. thomas or follow the disney cruise to the bahamas?
Lynn & Trever,
I don't remember that observation area you are talking about. Is it suppose to be some sort of tower?
One person asked a about Grand Case. It is a town in St. Martin.
About the clockwise and counter clockwise. I thought it should be clockwise. Ask your car rental agency.
Sunset Beach is near the airport where the planes come in low. From there back to the cruise port can have a lot of traffic congestion. Marigold (spel?) shopping for locals, and Grand Case (good restaurants) would be next going clockwise. I think I am right, but as I said check with the rental agency, since it has been a couple of years since Ihave beent there.
It would be nice if the car agency would let you pick up the car and drop it off at the cruise terminal. I think most of the car agencies are near the airport. Some of them just pick you up at the airport and take you to the car agency to make the arrrangements.
I did the insurance both ways and had a dented fender both times.
The first time I rejected all their insurance and let my credit card handle it. (check before you go about this with your credit card)
Ths second time I took the insurance since I had a dented fender the first time.
Turns out there was a kind of high deductable.
I think the best way once you check with your creidt card company to see if they cover you, is to reject all the rental company insurance. If something happens they will post it to your credit card and you have to get re-coouped from your credit card company which mine did pay me back. Check on theft. Something tells me that the credit card may not cover that.
Most U.S automobile collission and liability comapnies do not cover you outside the U.S .
Just watch the rental cars deductable insurance rate. Your credit card will not cover this deductable if you buy the rental car insurance.
We'll check with the rental agency when the car is picked up, take a vote among the four of us, and probably do what Trevor thinks he wants to do--for now, it's counterclockwise. I will follow Joe's advice about getting back early-makes me very nervous thinking that we'll be too late for the Ship.
One of the sites to see listed on the webpage Trevor got for St. Maarten is Paradise Peak. It rises from the center of St. Martin at a height of 1400 feet, which is the highest point on the whole island. Climbing to the top there are two observation decks that provide a spectacular view of the scenery and the tropical forest below. It is more on the French side according to the map, up between Columbier and Grand Case. It doesn't appear to be on a publically travelled road, like the one around the Island, but, rather a blue line. (Pic Paradis). www.gobeach.com/sxmmap
By going through this car dealer we have, I believe that getting the insurance through them ahead of time saves the huge deductible. From what I understand, it is when the car is rented right off the pier that the high cost applies. The company we are dealing with is American, with headquarters in southern Ohio.