We are leaving on 4/6 on the Pride and was wondering about Pinel island in St. Maarten. After reading this board I see that if you go on your own you take a taxi to a dock and then a water taxi to the Island. What is there when you get there? Are there facilities? Snorkel equipment? Is there an admission? How long is this travel time to get to the island?
Coki Beach looks great. We went to Megans Bay last time and wanted to try a different beach. It looks like the taxi is about 7.00 pp one way, right? Is there an admission price here?
Are you asking about both St. Maarten and St. Thomas? I haven't been to St. Maarten yet, but going next year. I've been to St. Thomas. Coki Beach, in St. Thomas, we paid $5/person to get there, but coming back the cab driver was upset that we didn't want to pay $8. $8 seems to be the standard from talking with other passengers. Coki beach is nice but crowded. Not the best snorkeling, but they do give you bisquits to feed the fish and that was fun. You snorkel right off the beach so it's great for beginners who aren't comfortable with being dropped in the middle of the ocean. There is no admission price for Coki beach, but Coral World is about $16/person. I hear it's nice but I didn't do it.
I just found out there is a Coki Beach on St. Maarten too. I've been trying to do research for our trip to St. Maarten when I noticed this. When you mentioned Coki Beach and Megans Bay, I thought for sure you were talking about St. Thomas. And the cost of the cab ride to Coki Beach in St. Thomas was about the same as what you said. Sorry for the misunderstanding.
I'm finding some information about St. Maarten, but not a lot. Been reading a lot about crime, but pretty much the same stuff you hear about a lot of islands. Still not certain what to do there. If I find anything good, I will post it.
Pinel Island is just into the French side of the island and about a 15 minute cab ride or so. Water taxis are really a couple of guys with big open boats with an outboard. They get a few dollars to take you over (about a three minute ride). There is a beach bar/ shack /restaurant type place on Pinel and I'm pretty sure you can rent snorkel gear.
It's just a little island , not like a park or anything. Snorkeling is ok to good. Don't be shocked if you see a tourist or two topless. They are just being "European".
Last trip I went to Dawn Beach. It is on the Dutch side in an area of upscale condos and homes and next door to a large marina. It is a really pretty stretch of clean white sandy beach with several types of 'Facilities". There is a nice beach bar and sit down (inside and out) restaurant and there is a tent with food and drinks (quite good and real cheap). There are very friendly beach peddlers (emphasis on friendly ,not aggressive) and hair braiders (friendly as well). You can rent beach chairs and umbrellas for the day. They throw in a killer rum punch drink with each rental. Cab from pier is about $15.00. Arrange for same cab to come back , or get his phone # or the bar will call you a cab, or there is usually one there. You will find a few cruise passengers, tourists from the local houses and condos and local families if it is a weekend. Nice beach.
Beaches in St. Thomas will be crowded in proportion to the number of ships in town.
Coki and Maegens are as nice as any.