By GERRY BARKER
North Palm Beach Life
Published May 26, 2019
ST. MAARTEN_Half-French, half-Dutch, and All-Fun, this is one of our favorite Caribbean destinations. No, we don't rush to Maho Beach to watch the planes 100 feet above our heads so the jet blast can propel us into the ocean; no, we don't head for the famous nude beaches, either. To each his own.
What we enjoy is taking the Water Taxi over to the Philipsburg, the capital on the Dutch side. The taxi is just a short walk from where the cruise ships dock, through upscale shops and bars. The fare is $7 roundtrip, and if you are only here for a short time, as we were, it's our go-to option.
In Philipsburg, you can stroll the streets or walk the waterfront, where you can find lots of places to relax, order a drink, rent a beach chair and umbrella or get your water sports groove on beside white sand beaches and stunning aquamarine waters.
We usually pick a place with free WiFi, order a cocktail (hey -- it's 5 o'clock somewhere) and people watch. On the way back, Pam hits the shops. On previous trips, he has scored some great jewelry, especially on the French side.
Like other islands, St. Maarten was devastated by Hurricane Irma in 2017, but thankfully much restoration has taken place, and you'll hardly notice it around the terminal area, which welcomes over a million cruise visitors annually. Here's a few snaps from our visit in April. Enjoy!
Pam points the way to the Water Taxi. That's our ship, MSC Seaside, behind her.
Photos by North Palm Beach Life
The Water Taxis take you from the cruise terminal to Philipsburg in just a few minutes, and run all day
There were three large cruise ships in port that day
Easy to see why so many beach chairs and umbrellas ... not a bad place to spend the day!
Before we knew it, time to get back to the Water Taxi dock