Phillipsburg, Sint Maarten

Sint Maarten Port

St. Maarten was our last port for this world cruise.  It was a return visit for Susan (previously there in 1990) and a new one for Harry.  For those who don't know, St. Maarten is part Dutch and part French (the French part is called St. Martin).  We landed in the Dutch port but the trek took place in the French section of the island.  They apparently don't have the same kind of border issues we do in the U.S.  We just drove down the street and went from Dutch to French territory with no border guards in sight.  Just a couple of flags and a sign to let us know we had changed countries.

We chose an excursion called  "Mountain Top Downhill Trek”, which turned out to be great.  Perhaps mountain is a bit of an overstatement but the hill we were transported up and then walked down was 1400 feet tall.  The 2.5 mile path was through the woods and quite challenging.  Most of our excursions are rated as two walking people (they have an icon at the top of the listing in the catalog which has 1-4 walking people with 4 being the most strenuous).  This was rated 4.  About a dozen of us chose this and all were up to the challenge (including us despite the colds we had been fighting…thank goodness we were at a point where it actually felt good to get the exercise).

Our guide, Claudette, was very complimentary after we were back on the bus.  I don't think she really expected a bunch of gray haired older folk to all be able to do the trek.  In fact we did it faster than expected by about a half hour.  

In addition to just climbing down a "mountain" we were educated about some of the history of the island, especially the slave history.  Part of our trek took us by an old distillery hidden on the hillside.  This was run by the slaves without the masters knowing.  The slaves would congregate there after a hard day's work to relax with some homemade rum.  At our guide's invitation Susan and others tasted some tamarind right off the tree.  We were treated to rum punch when we got to the end of the hike.

We had the bus drop us off downtown in Phillipsburg, where we did a little souvenir shopping.  We realized we were right by a small beach and checked it out.  It turned out to be a great place to collect shells.

St. Maarten is a nice island, and we could certainly enjoy visiting again some time.  As usual, there are more photos in the photo album.

© Susan L. Stone 2015