Two countries on one island for almost 400 years. Wouldn't you love to know how they do it? Come along on this St. Maarten excursion for an Island Drive and Beach Tour with a twist, and you'll visit parts of the island usually not seen by cruise guests.
Departing the cruise terminal, you will drive through part of Philipsburg driving towards Cole Bay and Belle Vue, making a photo stop at the Harold Jack lookout point high on a hill overlooking the sea where (clouds permitting), you will have fantastic views of the neighboring islands of Saba (the home of Kong in the original King Kong movie) and St. Eustatius to the south, and British Anguilla to the north. You will also begin to see Simpson Bay and its lagoon as you crest the hill.
Continue on into Marigot, the French capital, which is a quaint French village with a Caribbean twist. Sidewalk cafes serving cappuccino overlook mega-yachts, framed by palm trees. Gourmet restaurants sit in the shadow of a 200-year-old fort, and bold tropical prints in the open-air markets mix with the latest fashions from French boutiques. You will have some free time to experience this wonderful blend.
Then it's on to Orient Bay. This sweeping two-mile long, white-powdered sand beach is protected from the Atlantic waves by a reef, and the bottom has a very gradual slope. It is the island's most developed, most popular and busiest beach. You will have approximately an hour and a half to swim, beach walk, or relax on the white sand.
The beach is also lined with numerous restaurants for those who would like to purchase lunch or indulge in a tropical drink in paradise.
Returning to Philipsburg through the center of the island, you will have the option of being dropped off downtown for shopping or 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.
Please Note: The clothing-optional beach at Club Orient, the naturist resort, is located at the southern end of the beach, approximately 10 to 15 minutes from Bikini/Kakao Beach, where you will be visiting. Although most guests in the Bikini/Kakao Beach area will be wearing swim attire, be advised that you may encounter topless and possibly nude sunbathers anywhere. This excursion may operate in a different order 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. Guests booking on these days will have the option to window shop or spend more time at the beach.
Reviewer: Anthony Picillo
This tour was exactly what we hoped it would be. Informational, educational, relaxing, breathtaking and fun. Rick did an excellent job keeping us safe and exploring the island. We traveled the French side and the Dutch side and stopped downtown at the market. He also gave us free rum punch, water, soda and beer. We stopped by Orient Beach, swam and ate lunch before we went back to the cruise ship. I would take this tour again and I would ask for Rick. Visited June 2017
Reviewer: Brenda Vollmer
Wonderful excursion. We were in a comfortable air conditioned van and Douce is an absolute gem. He was informative, well versed, timed all stops perfectly and we had enough time for pictures, shopping, and fun at the beach. Highly recommend this tour and our amazing Driver Douce!!!!
Reviewer: Mary LaMoreaux
Our tour guide Rick was very helpful and gave us nice stories as we traveled through the island, but the best part of this tour was the beach. Rick drove us to the middle of the beach, pointing out different places where we could get umbrellas and chairs and left us to our own to swim in the beautiful water or to get lunch, whichever we preferred. Very nich trip.
Reviewer: Nancy Horvath
What a great time we all had. Tour guide extremely knowledgeable and entertaining.
Reviewer: Beverly Eckhardt
We've never been to the Caribbean before and wanted to do shore excursions that would introduce us to each island. We learned about the culture, industry, history and government while touring this beautiful island. Our tour guide was wonderful and very knowledgeable. We booked prior to our cruise were surprised with a private tour, just the two of us. We enjoyed this very much!