Vacationing on the Island
Most if not all of our Spice Shack's customers are cruise ship passengers that over the years have been visiting St. Maarten and have enjoyed their short stay. Many of these loyal customers say they would like to spend more time on the island, those few hours is never enough. They often ask us about hotels, restaurants, where to go, nightlife and of course our beaches. So we have put together this page just to give you an idea what's it like to vacation on this island.
We have many hotels. One popular hotel is the Sonesta Great Bay Hotel which has a sister hotel at Maho. The Great Bay Hotel is located in town so it is convenient to Front Street (the main shopping area), the 1.5k beach, restaurants and bars. Also it is one of the only hotels that offer an all-inclusive package with three top of the line restaurants. So you can literally carry no cash or credit cards with you. Which is a nice feeling in this day in age.
If you were planning to stay on the island we would recommend that you rent a car. We might be only 36 square mile but we certainly have a lot to see, so renting a car is a good idea. There are some beautiful sights to see both on the French side and Dutch. If you were to take the main route around the island even though it is only approximately 20 miles there is so much to see it could take you a whole day. Best to book your car on line prior to your arrival. There are many reliable car rentals. Even if you do not get to book on line there are about eight car rentals booths directly in the arrival hall all hassling for new customers. You could possibly get a good deal.
Find a map of the island, there are many and free. Drive the coastal road. You will see a place named Coralita. This is a delightful view of the eastern part of the sea, you can even walk across to a small island, the water is no deeper then your ankles. There is also a look out post that points out the different near by islands, you can also have refreshments at the small shack there.
As your driving around follow the road it will give you directions to Orient Bay our famous nudist beach. It's rather commercial with many small restaurants and way down at the end is where the nudists are allowed to feel free. It is clothing optional so you are not obliged to take off your clothes. The sea can be a bit rough there at times, great for many water sports.
A short distance further on you will come to Ilet Pinel better known as Pinel Island. A small island about a five-minute boat trip away, no one lives on this island but over the years it has become a tourist attraction with restaurants, sunbathing and water sports. The sea is clear and back in the days it used to be home for many a barracuda. Excellent for snorkeling. Restaurants are rather over priced compared to the main land but it a great place to spend a day.
If time allows spending a day in Anguilla is a must. St. Maarten/St. Martin have wonderful beaches without a doubt but we must say Anguilla has spectacular white sand beaches. It’s a peaceful island, with a laid back way about it compared to the main land. Unlike St. Maarten there are no traffic jams (the locals will probably not agree)no busy streets and the beaches are hardly ever crowded. One of our favorite beaches is Shoal Bay (but there are many). If you are looking for absolute peace Anguilla is the place to be. Just a short trip of 20 minutes and a fee of $20.00 plus tax you can be in a paradise you will never forget.
Anse Marcel is a pleasant, upscale beach for couples and families. It is nestled in a beautiful tropical quiet bay, protected from the swell. It is a white sandy beach with shade and calm waters. The shallow and calm water is ideal for families with small children. It does get busy on a Sunday so make sure you reserve your chairs/umbrellas. It is a relaxed atmosphere, great service, wonderful food, they have showers right on the beach so there is always a place to wash off the sand. If you like to just cool out, relax, swim and of course eat well this could be the beach for you.
Grand Case has a perfect mix of attractions for a truly Caribbean vacation. It is as much Caribbean as you can get and at the same time has all the flavors of France. The beach is awesome for swimming and has some nice snorkeling spots towards either end of the beach, or around the reef at "Créole Rock".
Grand Case is, indeed, best known for fine dining. The Grand Case main street and the beach are lined with restaurants that has built up the image of "The Gourmet Capital of the Caribbean". There is the finest dinning or there is the relaxed sit back, beer in hand and watch the sunset dinning. Whatever your wish is for dinning you will find it in Grand Case.