24 April 2017: Sint Maarten (St Martin)
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We woke up to a beautiful view entering the harbour of Sint Maarten (Philipsburg). As we had a guided tour booked with an early start, we decided to order breakfast to our room, or shall I say balcony? what a gorgeous way to wake up in the morning and sip coffee as we approached this mountainous island.
When I first booked this cruise I had searched for bird guides in all our ports of call. We were not successful for St. Thomas, which was OK as it proved we could do it for the most part on our own at Magens Bay – but I was equally happy to have found Ilja of “Seagrape Tours”. Ilja offers Nature, Birdwatching, and History tours of Sint Maarten – so we were very happy to have booked her for a tour focusing specifically on the birds of the island.
Disembarkation was again a breeze! it truly felt as if we were on vacation, not having to deal with a more complex port (as mentioned previously in our St. Thomas post). We followed the signs to the road and then met Ilja in a parking lot not far from the cruise port. We had a 3 1/2 tour booked with Ilja which would involve birding the Dutch side, as well as the French side (St Martin) of the island. We really had a brilliant day with Ilja, she is very professional, offered us snacks & beverages, and overall had an extensive knowledge of the island. I would highly recommend her for any of her tours. She is truly a delight to spend time with.
After our tour, we returned to the ship and dropped off some of our heavy baggage. We then took the ferry over to Philipsburg. It was $7 pp (return trip) and approximately a 15-20 minute ferry ride from the cruise port to town.
Very easy and a great way to spend the hot afternoon. We found a quaint restaurant overlooking the beach to have a snack and a beer and enjoyed complimentary wi-fi to catch up on activities at home and post a few photos.
We thoroughly enjoyed our stay in Sint Maarten (St Martin) – a beautiful, picturesque island that was very easy to navigate.
Please enjoy our video montage of Sint Maarten: