Two countries on one island for almost 400 years. Wouldn't you love to know how they do it?
Begin your private St. Maarten tour of two countries on one island by departing from the cruise pier and travelling in your air-conditioned vehicle through the Dutch capital of Philipsburg, founded in 1763 by John Phillips, a Scottish captain in the Dutch Navy. Along the way, you'll see the restored courthouse, originally built in 1793, and the shopping district that you may want to visit later. Drive past the Great Salt Pond and through the rolling country to the French side of the island.
Along the way, a stop will be made at Cole Bay Lookout for a photo opportunity of the beautiful Simpson Bay, where you'll see the incredible development that has made this sleepy island a major destination. You will continue on through several quaint towns and fishing villages along the north side of the island.
Arriving in Marigot, the French capital which originated as a fishing village, you will observe a truly European ambiance with a touch of Creole. Browse the open-air markets, quaint shops, boutiques and sidewalk cafes during a brief stop for free time. Continue on with a drive through Grand Case, a seaside town known as the "gourmet capital of the Caribbean," with its gingerbread houses and sidewalk bistros.
A photo stop will be made to look out over the ever-popular Orient Beach area. Returning to Philipsburg via a different route, you will have the option of being dropped off downtown for shopping or being taken back to the pier.
Guests departing downtown will need to arrange their own transportation back to the cruise pier at their own expense via taxi, water taxi or walking. Dress in comfortable clothing and sensible walking shoes. Sunscreen and sunglasses are suggested.
Please Note: This St. Maarten cruise tour does not visit the beach at Orient. This excursion may operate in reverse due to traffic conditions or crowds at the venues. On Sundays, most shops and restaurants on the French side are closed. All stores are closed on the following national holidays: Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Easter Monday, Kings Day, Carnival Day, Labor Day, Ascension Day, Whit Sunday, Emancipation Day, Constitution Day, St. Maarten's Day, Christmas Day, and Boxing Day.
Reviewer: John Rebolj
Our guide gave us a complete tour of the island. He stopped in various areas to allow us to get out and take photos. We went to places on the island where large tours couldn't go.
Reviewer: Carol Quan
It was a wonderful tour, and our tour guide Nel was great...knowledgeable, personable and fun to talk with about his island. He made sure we, including our 91 yr. old mother, were well taken care of and had a good time. Would recommend taking a private tour.
We booked this tour for our group of five because my mother is wheelchair bound and we wanted the flexibility of a private guide/car. This was a great arrangement for us as we were able to do things without rushing. Our guide was very knowledgeable and answered all our questions about the island and its two nation status. This was the best excursion after trying several on different Caribbean Islands.
Reviewer: Mountain Girl
My husband was ill, so Mark took me on the private tour of the island. He was very knowledgeable of the history of the island, buildings, people, beaches, and plants. He made several stops to see the views and to shop. He would have stopped more if I had wanted. I liked the way he explained the history with the art work in the numerous roundabouts. He drove a Cadillac which was easy to enter and exit with my back problem. I would highly recommend his tour to everyone.
Reviewer: TINY DANCER
OUR GUIDE WAS WELL VERSED IN ALL AREAS OF THE ISLAND. HE GAVE US INTERESTING TIDBITS, TOO. HE WENT OUT OF HIS WAY TO SATISFY OUR EVERY WISH OF THINGS TO DO AND SEE.