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Just got back-my trip report sxm. Were we too conservative?

Minneapolis, MN
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Just got back-my trip report sxm. Were we too conservative?

Thanks to all who answered my questions--so helpful. 4th time in sxm & still like weather, beaches, shopping & food variety. We tried to be careful & aware of where to go or not. Lucky as no bad incidents. Natives including French side all friendly. (Of course we'd nod, smile & say please & thank you with patience) My

husband rented mountain bike for daily morning rides & had no

problems. He spoke to lots of people who were friendly.

After arrival drove RENTAL CAR to Sonesta Maho. Not 4 star but reasonable rates for great balcony view, nice pool & even slots off lobby. Just turn corner & there is big casino, street of shops,

restaurants, grocery & sunset bar close to airport where planes fly over. Loved activity of watching all manner of planes come & go

& boats on water. Perhaps too much for those who want all quiet altho its quiet at nite for sleeping.

BEACHES Drove to close by Mullet , could also walk it. (Rosies ribs so good) & got chairs & umbrellas-about $l5.) Also Rouge for

same & BarBQ & vendors, & Plum & Orient the same & also ok. On SAFETY seems so many in parking lots one wouldn't be robbed. But no guarantee I guess. Sad to see Cliffside bar gone at Cupecoy as was most of beach. So manynew condos being

built. Best beach for us was Longue. Seemed to always see security guard by parking area maybe cause its in wealthy residential area. Bought umbrellas/towels at Ace hardware & took food/drink for peaceful Longie beach days. Could also find some rental place. Nothing offered on Longie Beach so sun protection for us anyway was needed. No one broke into car there even when umbrellas left in back. Nothing else left in car even a map where ever we went.

SHOPPING Lots of traffic getting to Phillipsburg & once there couldn't find anywhere to park so gave up & went to Marigot. But forgot stores there close for few hours. Not a waste cause eating anything at bakery there is worth it. Did do Phillipsburg another day walking far from huge parking lot. Ate at a cruiseship pier restaurant, 2nd floor, best view.

DRIVING AROUND ISLAND We drove to Anse Marcel for views, Grand Case, Cole Bay & variety of beaches & areas, saw lots. Sure there was traffic, trash around & messy looking living conditions. But we know its where people live & no reason to judge anything. I kept my small purse across my body & wore inexpensive jewelry. We basically felt we didn't put ourselves in harms way by calling no attention to ourselves & we didn't go into iffy areas espically at night. Its awful others got robbed or had problems. But crime occurs anytime anywhere. & these days I

guess even on tropical islands one has to be cautious even it means not going places after dark.

RESTAURANTS Besides the Simpson Bay area restaurants

(Pineapple Petes, Jimbos, Bakeries, Valentinos,) etc. we didn't go

anywhere else at night. We did Grand Case & Oyster & Dawn Bay daytime.

SkipJacks was horrid. We arrived at 7:15 & finally left along with

3 other tables at 9:00 as we never got any attention or food. Maybe it was off nite but sure was frustrating. Returned to Maho area & ate at Cheris & then Sopanos had lots of action. All other places in Simpson & Maho & Phillipsburg were fine. Menus posted so one can choose price levels or just do salads or appetizers at

expensive places too. Some nites we just had some fresh bread or croisants with meats, cheeses, wine, etc. With coffeemaker & fridge in room we didn't have to go overboard on every meal.

All in all we had wonderful time & did a lot. Great trip & memories

Did we seem too cautious or conservative?.

Denver, Colorado
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1. Re: Just got back-my trip report sxm. Were we too conservative?

"Did we seem too cautious or conservative?."

Did yo uhave a good time?? If so, then I would say you acted just right! Everyone has differnet comfort levels... sounds like you enjoyed yourself.. thanks for the info.

St Martin / St...
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2. Re: Just got back-my trip report sxm. Were we too conservative?

I don't think you were too conservative during your trip...just stating how you handled your vacation in typed words. I'm sure you had a good time, had plenty of laughs, probably enjoyed the beaches immensely and enjoyed the island people as a whole. Glad you had a good time and came back to give us your review of your entire trip. Thank you.

North Carolina
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3. Re: Just got back-my trip report sxm. Were we too conservative?

Like the other posters, I don't see how you could've done much better. We're headed back for our 4th visit since 2004 this summer and only recently have I discovered these forums on TA as well as a few other sites. We really never worried before (too much information is bad in some cases).

My wife speaks French and Haitian Creole so we find it easy to bounce around the French areas and even some of the dining spots in purely residential areas. Never once did I think we were not being cautious enough. Of course these visits were during the day ... it's still a lovely island that's wonderful for getting out and about imo.

Minneapolis, MN
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4. Re: Just got back-my trip report sxm. Were we too conservative?

Yes we had a wonderful fun time. I agree sometimes when reading the various posts it seems there are more complainers than optimists. Plus the crime stuff is unsettling.

How lucky your wife speaks the languages. But it also seems you don't go all over at night either do you?

minnesota
6 posts
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5. Re: Just got back-my trip report sxm. Were we too conservative?

We are from MSP also and going for our first time. I'm a little concerned by the crime info posted, just started reading but it doesn't sound safe to go out at night???

We are used to the Dominican Republic and always stay on property - thank you for all your info!

minnesota
6 posts
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6. Re: Just got back-my trip report sxm. Were we too conservative?

We are from MSP also and going for our first time. I'm a little concerned by the crime info posted, just started reading but it doesn't sound safe to go out at night???

We are used to the Dominican Republic and always stay on property - thank you for all your info!

St Martin / St...
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7. Re: Just got back-my trip report sxm. Were we too conservative?

As a general rule, just keep your wits about you as you travel the island at night. The French side roads are very dark and winding in places and so because we stay on the Dutch side where the roads are generally better lit, we do not venture over to the French side at night except by cab. The Maho and Simpson Bay areas are very active at night and so traveling to a restaurant or club is easy, either by car or in the immediate area, by foot. We know to keep our eyes open, even in these areas, but at the same time we are not hesitant about driving from Cupecoy to Maho or Simpson Bay in the evening and we just make sure to return to Cupecoy no later than 12:30 AM. If you stay in the active areas like Maho and Simpson Bay, you will be surprised on how many people are out and about. For the evening, don't flash money or jewelry, try not to carry a visible purse, and don't ever leave anything in your car or trunk, even a cheap pair of sunglasses.

minnesota
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8. Re: Just got back-my trip report sxm. Were we too conservative?

Thank you for all the helpful tips! We are staying in Terre Basses. Greatly appreciated!!

North Carolina
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9. Re: Just got back-my trip report sxm. Were we too conservative?

FrecklesD2 said "How lucky your wife speaks the languages. But it also seems you don't go all over at night either do you?"

We go out every night while in SXM. We've always stayed at L'Esplanade or Le Petit which are both in Grand Case on the French side. However, we always go to dinner one evening at Temptation in the Atlantic Casino in Cupecoy (I believe). Even though we've always gone to SXM w/o our kids (honeymoon and 2 other trips), we are usually just out eating dinner to 10 pm and then we return to our hotel. We don't hang out at any of the clubs. However, I cannot really express the safety we feel while we've been on SXM.

I don't mean to ignore these villa invasions however, nor do I mean to discount those folks' stories. Oddly enough, we were looking to bring our young toddler age sons and my mother there, and rent a villa in Terra Basses next time. Some other circumstances changed and we are now going to stay somewhere Dawn Beach due to a conference there. Those invasion/robbery stories have probably turned us off to the private home rentals in Dawn Beach, which is unfortunate for the owners of those properties as I guess others are a little hesitant as well. A good solution would be to hire a guard to watch from dusk til dawn which is what we saw at the French hotels. I don't know the expense but business necessity make warrant it.

Edited: 22 February 2010, 14:54
Glencoe, Illinois
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10. Re: Just got back-my trip report sxm. Were we too conservative?

Great post. Interested in your view of Longue and Prune beaches --- were they crowded or fairly deserted? Would nude sunbathing have been OK?

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