During my prior vistis to St. Maarten/St. Martin I have taken tours provied by RCCL to Pinel Island and the St. Martin Rendezvous. This year I have decided not to take any tours and go to either Dawn or Orient Beach on my own. The tours charge too much and with a group of four it can add up. Therfore, can anyone offer any suggestions. I'm interested in the following: Watersports, Chair rentals, Bar and the cost of transportation. Prior post have stated Condos are being developed on or around Dawn Beach. If so, how diffucult is it to get to the Beach. The less hassle the better. After all it is vacation.
cost for a taxi: $18 per taxi OR $5 pp if you share a van. This is one way
Watersports: seadoos, water trampoline and slide and probably other things. Only a little snorkeling near Pedro's restaurant.
Beach loungers: all restaurant/bars along the beach rent them. Just find the location and price you like. Prices vary somewhat from place to place and some include a free drink. Basically I would say expect to pay $15-20 for 2 loungers and an umbrella
Restaurant/bars: many to choose from
Return taxi: always many waiting - no problems
The beach: long, attractive, nice sand, clear water
cost for a taxi: not sure we drove when we went there. Probably about the same as what you pay to Orient
Watersports: good snorkeling. I am not sure if there are any other things available
Beach Loungers: available from 2 places I believe
Restaurants/bars: there are a couple of places
Return taxi: not sure - this beach is not as busy as Orient - so you may have to arrange for a driver to return to pick you up
The beach: very pretty (but I have hear that the construction is detracting from this). Wave action here can sometimes be heavy with an undertow (it depends on the way the wind is blowing). On good days the water is very clear and lovely and the snorkeling is quite good.
Personally I would choose Orient but both are nice beaches.
Dawn Beach is about $15 taxi ride. No problem with access , there is a path from parking lot , past beach bar/restaurant to the beach (all of 100 feet). Chair rentals available, snorkelling is OK. Crowd is a mix of locals, cruise passengers and folks from the surrounding condos and villas. Never seen it crowded.
There is usually a cab or two waiting, but if not, you can get the restaurant/bar to call one for you. The chair rental guy runs a food concession. Beer , soda and rum punches (cheap and good), hot dogs and ribs (both are excellent). When you rent a chair he usually throws in a free rum punch.
Condo development does not encroach on the beach.
I've also been looking into places to go and Orient beach seems to always come up. I also want to go to Maho beach where you can literally be under the planes (not reccommended) taking off and landing at the airport. I've seen pictures of the planes taken from the Sunset Beach Bar near there that looks awesome. I've read where there is no other place in the world that allows you that close to the runway.