Our last, and most favorite stop, was in St. Maarten.
St. Maarten is an island divided by two nations: a French side (Saint Martin) and a Dutch side (Sint Maarten). They are so split in two, they don’t even want to spell it the same. We visited the capitol, Phillipsburg, which is on the Dutch side.
Our visit to St. Maarten didn’t really go as planned. We tried really hard to book a snuba tour but there were only two spots left and we needed four. We even tried the wait list with no luck, so we decided to cancel our original tour (to a butterfly farm) and wing it since I really wanted to watch planes land at Maho Beach after hearing about it from my friend, Kate.
Maho Beach is a 30 minute cab ride from the port and right in front of an airport runway. Because the runway is so short, planes have to fly really low over the beach to ensure the wheels hit the runway as soon as possible. That makes plane watching extra interesting, especially when signs like this are posted.
We hung out at the café on the beach all morning sipping Pina Coladas. I was starting to get a cold so I rationalized that those were the only things that felt good on my throat. Vacation logic. Hubs, Jimmy, and Linda ate lunch but I wasn’t hungry so I had more Pina Coladas to help my cold.
A lot of smaller planes land at the airport but the big ones are the most fun to watch, so the bar has a daily flight schedule posted so you know when they are coming in.
After watching planes all morning from the beach café, we decided to get a little closer.
See the plane approaching in the background?
This should be where I explain to you what Jimmy is doing. He decided at the beginning of the trip that he was going to pose like this for as many pictures as possible. He calls this pose “the erection.” So it was a delight when Linda would ask before someone took our picture, “are we going to do “the erection?” Always a crowd-pleaser.
Anyway, standing under those planes as they are passing over is a way different experience than watching from the café. It is freaky and cool. I took video of one of them but the video does nothing to capture the sound level and jet blast of a plane flying that close over you.
If you can’t see that video, you can click here too.
After watching planes all morning, we found a guy selling coconuts (illegally, because he ran when the cops drove by) and bought some.
Well, everyone did but me because I hate coconut water. But it was still cool to watch this guy machete a coconut like no one’s business.
After that we caught a cab downtown for some shopping.
St. Maarten is known for its shopping. There were a ton of cute shops selling all sorts of touristy stuff. It was fun checking them all out. Plus, fun fact about St. Maarten – you can walk around outside with alcohol like in Vegas and New Orleans. Basically my dream.
Downtown was about two miles away from the ship, so we just slowly made our way back stopping in just about every store on the way. I was hungry since I didn’t eat lunch, so I made everyone eat lunch #2 with me. We stopped at this awesome little beach restaurant.
I wanted a cheeseburger in a bad way. So I ordered one because I’m an uncultured American. But I’m telling you, the burger was freakin’ amazing. (Hubs agreed.) I was a little worried the waitress didn’t ask how I wanted it cooked, but apparently they only cook it one way: delicious.
Hubs, Jimmy, and Linda got this awesome beef plate so I ate that too because I like to eat off of other people’s plates.
After lunch, we did some more shopping. I bought a bathing suit top and hubs bought some coconut rum with actual coconut pieces floating in it. Also, cigarettes were really cheap. (No, I didn’t buy them.) They were $17.99 a carton and $3.00 for a single pack. I think if I lived in the St. Maarten, I’d take up full-time smoking since it’s so cheap.
Oh, another interesting thing is that cigarettes had these giant warning labels all over them that we do not have in America.
I was explaining to the lady at the store that our warnings are very small and she was like, “so that’s why everyone points out those warnings out to each other.”
Anyway, we all loved St. Maarten. Jimmy was already planning his trip back while we were there. We commented on how nice all the locals were when we noticed on the license plates that St. Maarten is called The Friendly Island. They definitely live up to that. I would really recommend visiting if you have the chance.
I can’t get over hub’s face in that picture. He INSISTED on being the goat.