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?.