CruiseMates Cruise Community and Forums

CruiseMates Cruise Community and Forums (
-   Shore Excursions (
-   -   Advice needed for San Juan and St. Maarten please (

Andrio August 20th, 2007 10:14 AM

Advice needed for San Juan and St. Maarten please

Has anyone been to Maho Beach in St. Maarten? My husbands hobby is aviation photography and the planes come into the airport right above this beach. I'm hoping there will be cabs at the pier to take us there but what about on the way back? Can you arrange for the taxi that dropped you off to pick you back up? (sorry if this is a stupid question)

We dock in San Juan at 3pm and are there until 11pm. There are no organised ship excursions (due to the times?) and I was wondering if anyone had any suggesions. I don't want to go to the beach and my husband has restricted mobility which we need to take into account. We both like animals so if there are any animal parks etc that would be good. I think I may also have read a thread ages ago about a rum tour? All suggestions gratefully received.


Donna August 20th, 2007 07:59 PM

I'd suggest going up to El MOrro if you can get there before they close, awesome views and lots of history. You can walk, take the trolley, or a cab. I also believe the rum factory tours end around 5 or 6, so thats also possible, just not both.

ediemarie August 21st, 2007 10:51 AM

you shouldn't have a problem getting a cab... ask to go to the sunset beach bar... have fun!!

LisaK August 21st, 2007 11:45 AM

yes you can arrange a round-trip cab ride. Do not pay on your outbound trip, pay when you get back to the pier. Great suggestion from Donna to go visit Fort El Morro

chipmeister August 30th, 2007 01:50 AM

Hi Andrio, Maho Beach is one of my favorite places in the world. My wife and i go there on every cruise that stops in SXM. And in fact, I went there in April for 4 days with my brothers. If you are remotely interested in airplanes, it's pretty much a shrine. And don't miss Sunset Beach Bar at one end of the beach. Great cheeseburgers by the way. Go great with an Amstrel Bright (yes Bright, not light). Brewed in Curacao and only available in the Netherlands Antilles. Anyway, we have been taking cabs over there from the port for years. Then when I was down there to actually stay on the island in April, we came to find out theres a bus that runs from in front of the Sonesta Maho Beach Resort (other end of beach from Sunset Bar). It drops you off in town just a few blocks from the town pier in Philipsburg, where you can take the water taxi back over to the ship. And you can do it from the ship to the beach also. I think it's only about 1 or 2 bucks if I remember, way cheaper than the cab and kinda fun. Takes about 30 minutes. And it runs about every 15 minutes. You can ask in town where exactly to get it since the locals also use it to get around. I think, if I remember correctly. If you go straight up the street that runs out from the town pier, go about 3 blocks, you come to a cross street and it picks up there but ask a local to be sure.

The beach is great fun and the airplanes are a hoot. Of course, I'm a little predjudice as I work for an airline. My brothers shot about 600 pictures while we were there, and stood behind an MD-11 that was taking off. They said it wasn't the sand that hurt, it was the bits of sea shell. The beach recently underwent one of it's periodic washouts where most of the sand just washes away in a day or two. It usually fills in again and current photos show it has started to again. And there is still plenty of room to lay out. You can also rent chairs and umbrellas there. Use this link to see a recent picture:

The Sunset Beach Bar is just at the far end of the beach in this photo. Hope you get to see it. If you have any other questions, feel free to post them.


Andrio August 30th, 2007 02:19 AM

Hi Chip,

Thanks very much for the advice. Are you allowed to say which airline you work for?

Can you try posting the link to the beach pictures again? I don't think I'll be one of those people that holds on to the perimeter gate when a plane goes by - but my husband might give it a go. This beach is going to be the highlight of the cruise for him and I guess he'll take 600 photos in 1 day! Do you have any of your photos published on the net anywhere?



chipmeister August 30th, 2007 12:50 PM

Hi, yeah, I actually work for Comair, the Delta regional airline out of Cincinnati. We have not posted any of our photos on the web but I'll tell you what I'll do . Instead of those, I'll give you a website that's amazing. It has tens of thousands of airplane photos with a searchable database. It's pretty amazing. And when you follow the directions, there are literally hundreds of pictures from Maho.

Go to
in the middle of the page, slightly down from the top, click the white key
that is labled 'take me to the photo search page'.

Scroll down the list until you come to 'Netherlands Antilles'. Just below
that, click on 'Philipsburg/St.Maarten'.

And that will take you to the pictures. the most recent ones will generally be the first ones, and the ones dated towards the end of July show pretty much what happened to the beach in this cycle. Actually, it looks a little better in July than when it first occured. I just looked at the Sunset Beach Bar site which has live webcams and there are still a few rocks exposed right next to the bar but down a little it looks pretty good. Here's a link to some airplane/beach photos from that site taken the end of July.

I probably would not try to hang on to the fence behind any departing airplanes myself. Those people look crazy to me. And, they can be very humorous when they get blown into the water. But is is an amazing place to see.

According to my excellent mathematic abilities (hah!), it looks like you are going on the December 2 sailing of Freedom. As it turns out, we will be on the November 4 sailing so if we end up over there, I'll check it out and send you a progress report. Otherwise, if anything drastic happens, which I'm sure it won't, I'll check with my brother. He looks at the beach webcams daily and e-mails with some people down there. I did notice you said your husband had some mobility problems. In that case, i was thinking you may prefer taking a cab to the bus. But even if so, it was not ridiculously expensive. On the return, we asked the brartender to call a cab for us and in fact, the last time, we had our driver on the way there set up the return for a specific time. Not the same cab but he did come on time. I was trying to think of anything else that would be helpful but nothing pops into my head at this time. If I think of anything else, I'll post them. And again, any questions, just ask. You'll have a great time.


Andrio August 30th, 2007 01:11 PM

Hi Chip,

Thanks for all the info. My husband has photos posted on so he knows his way around the site.

We'll check out the web cams you mentioned also.

yes, we're on the 2nd December sailing - can't wait. It would be great if you could post some information following your cruise.

Happy sailing


chipmeister August 30th, 2007 02:04 PM

I kind of figured he might be familiar with the site. The Sunset Beach Bar is a wild place. During the day it's pretty easy going but gets crazy at night. In fact, our first night there, we left about 12:30 a.m. and from our hotel, saw that it didn't get rolling until about 1:30. But as I said, while you are there, they have really great burgers and some other pretty good food also. Be sure to check out all the stuff on the open flaps of the bar (ie: stickers,pictures,uniform stuff,etc.) that people leave as souvenirs.

Have Fun!


chipmeister November 22nd, 2007 12:34 AM

Hi Andrio,

I told you I'd give you an update on Maho Beach when we got back from Freedom. Of course, when we hit St Maarten, we went there. Had a great time as usual and enjoyed some great burgers at beer at Sunset Beach Bar. The beach is still pretty much gone. The biggest patch of sand is right next to the bar but otherwise it's pretty much boulders from the wall that is the edge of the road, down almost to the water. They used to be under sand until it washed out. From looking at it, we kind of thought that if you were there at low tide, you might have a pretty good patch of sand to use but when the tide comes up, the sand line slowly gets flooded. I was talking to my brother who is always checking pictures of the beach from the beach bar's webcam and we were saying how this is the longest we've seen it like this without it filling back in. He's actually going to call the bar and ask them what they know about it and how long the cycle usually takes. I'll let you know what they say when he tells me. But, that being said, we still had a great time. I went in the water and we enjoyed the usual scenery, both fixed and flying by. Unless you had your heart set on sunning on the sand, the place is still the same as always and worth the trip. Hope you get to make it there.


Andrio November 22nd, 2007 02:16 AM

Hi Chip,

Only 10 days to go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thankyou very much for the update. It doesn't really matter that there's not much sand as we'll be spending most of the time looking up and not down. Haha

I'll let you know how it was when we get back.

Thanks again


chipmeister November 23rd, 2007 03:52 PM

Hello again, just when i thought I had given you the hottetst information, it changes again. I'm in Chicago with family for Thanksgiving and when my brother came over, he says that he was on the Beach Bar webcam Tuesday and that all of a sudden, the beach is coming back. We looked at the pictures and sure enough, it was. Now, he just called me today (Friday) and asked me if I'd been on the website. Apparently, the beach has almost totally returned overnight. So, looks like you'll have some beach after all. I have no idea what forces of nature make that happen but it's pretty crazy how it does it in such a small chunk of time. Anyway, that's the most current info. I'm jealous. We were looking at pictures yesterday and ready to get back on the ship right now. Have a great trip.


Andrio December 24th, 2007 03:50 AM

Hi Chip and anyone else who's interested,

Maho beach is back in St. Maarten. Have a look at for some of our pictures. If you can take your eyes off the jumbo (OMG!) you'll see how much sand there was.


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 11:11 AM.

Search Engine Friendly URLs by vBSEO 3.6.1