What to See and Do in Philipsburg, St. Maarten

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Whether arriving by cruise ship or spending time on the island on St. Maarten/St. Martin,
Philipsburg, the capital of Dutch St. Maarten, offers a ton of fun things to see and do, most within view of the gorgeous blue water of Great Bay.

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Philipsburg is an area of only a few streets sandwiched between the Salt Pond and beautiful Great Bay. There are many shops, bars, restaurants and musicians lining the streets. Do you like to shop? You can find a lot of items in Philipsburg from inexpensive souvenirs to diamonds and watches. Want to find something to eat? There are a variety of options ranging from very casual to elegant and tony. Any good bars? Well, of course! The boardwalk especially is dotted with bars with a wide variety of great tropical concoctions.

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With the ability to dock 6+ large cruise liners and the addition in recent years of a wonderful boardwalk that is about 50 ft. wide and nearly as long as the waterfront of Great Bay, Philipsburg really caters to it’s visitors. From the cruise ships you can either walk down a lovely palm lined path or take a short water taxi ride to town. If staying on island, there are several fairly large parking lots.

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Looking for a few ideas of what to see and do while visiting Philipsburg? These are a few things that we’ve enjoyed during our visits there.

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1. The Beach

Although it can be just as busy as many of the other beautiful beaches in St. Maarten/St.Martin, Great Bay has gorgeous blue water, a calm surf and a variety of places to rent beach chairs and umbrellas. Plus you’re really close to some good bars, restaurants and shops when you need a break from the sun.

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The turquoise blue water of Great Bay.

2. Eat & Drink

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The majority of bars and restaurants line the boardwalk and offer a great view of the beach, surrounding hills and cruise ships. Each have their own tropical specialties.

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Boardwalk Breeze at the Blue Bitch Bar

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Pizza at Taloula Mango’s

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Grab a $.99 beer at the Barefoot Bar to enjoy while walking the Boardwalk. The Barefoot Restaurant also serves up some excellent roti – mmm…roti…

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Enjoy some good food and drink at Big Wood Grill on the Boardwalk, but don’t ask for a BBD if you are easily offended!

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Walk through Big Wood Grill to get to Juggie’s Place, The Smallest Bar in the World!

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Juggie’s Place on Front Street behind Big Wood Grill

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Casual dining right on the beach at Chez Delphine

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Stop, buy a cold drink and chat with some of the local vendors on the Boardwalk.

3. Shop

Front street and the connecting streets between the Boardwalk, Front and Back street have a large variety of shops carrying local crafts, souvenirs, liquor and more expensive items.

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There are several liquor stores that carry a good selection of rums that we can’t find at home, so we usually buy a bottle or two to bring back with us.

And of course, be sure to stop at the Guavaberry Emporium on Front Street to sample different guavaberry rums, liquors and hot sauces. Be sure to try a Guavaberry Colada – so refreshing!

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Direction sign next to the Guavaberry Emporium

So there you have it. Some of the things we’ve experienced and enjoyed during our visits to Philpsburg – so far. What have you enjoyed there?

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Find Philipsburg on our St. Maarten/St. Martin Map


To see more posts on St. Maarten/St. Martin and other islands, check out our Island Blog Directory


Copyright©Rum Therapy Beaches, Bars & More, Tropical Travel Guide, 2014

Pictures and other content may not be re-used without written consent from Rum Therapy, LLC

Top Rum Therapy Island Posts of 2013

Continuing the 2013 Rum Therapy re-cap, here are our top viewed Island Posts of the year!
Ready for a little tropication and haven’t had a chance to read them yet? Check ‘em out!

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1. Rum Therapy In Kauai

2. Bomba Surfside Shack

3. Sandy Point, St. Croix

4. Sunset Bar & Grill, St. Maarten

5. Cruzan Rum Factory Tour

6. Rum Therapy on Tortola

7. White Bay, Jost Van Dyke

8. Sarafina’s Bakery, St. Martin

9. Glass Bottom Kayaking in a Bioluminescent Bay

10. Rum Therapy On Virgin Gorda

11. Le Galion Beach, St. Martin

12. Rum Therapy Sailing in the BVI – Part 1


For more Island Posts, be sure to check out our

Blog Directory by Island

Cupecoy Bay Beach, St. Maarten

The last beach on the Dutch side before crossing over to the French side on the west side of St. Maarten is a beauty. The beach at Cupecoy Bay winds among cliffs and caves and the strikingly blue water is a beautiful contrast to the soft, light tan sand.

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Find Cupecoy Bay on the map above. For an interactive version of this map, click HERE.

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Known as a “clothing optional” beach, Cupecoy has some longer expanses of beach as well as a series of small caves, perfect for those looking for a little solitude, or just to explore.

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From the beach at Cupecoy you can see Saba faintly in the distance.

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We got to Cupecoy early one morning to walk and explore the beach and caves. It was gorgeous and we were treated to a new view around each corner.

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Rock cairn in one of the caves

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At the end of the beach we ran across a small bar which unfortunately was not open yet that morning.

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We took the path on top of the cliffs back to our car and enjoyed the beauty from above Cupecoy almost as much as down by the beach. Breathtaking.

Cupecoy has become known as a haven for naturists and if sunbathing and swimming “au natural” is your thing, you will be in good company. Even if you’d prefer to keep your clothes on, Cupecoy is well worth a visit as it is simply beautiful, has some good snorkeling and it’s one of the best places to watch a sunset on St. Maarten!

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Have you explored the beach and caves of Cupecoy?

St. Maarten/St. Martin Map

To see more posts on St. Maarten/St. Martin and other islands, check out our Island Blog Directory


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Pictures and other content may not be re-used without written consent from Rum Therapy, LLC

Pinel Island, St. Martin

In the northern part of Orient Bay on the French side of St. Martin and just off the town of Cul de Sac, lies a small island called Pinel. Depending on who you talk to or the travel guide you read, Pinel Island can also be called Isle Pinel, Ilet Pinel, or Ile de Pinel.

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We visited Pinel Island last year during a sail around St. Maarten/ St. Martin but if staying on or visiting St. Martin, Pinel Island is very easily accessed by ferry from the town of Cul de Sac.

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The day we visited, Pinel Island was very busy and the beach was much more crowded than we normally like and we hear that is really pretty normal for the small island – and many people obviously don’t mind the crowds! Even though we’d probably rather spend the day at a quieter beach somewhere, we still had fun and recommend a visit for the following reasons:

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Pinel Island main beach has lovely soft sand and the water is clear and very calm.
It’s a great area to bring the family to play in the water. You can also kayak over from St. Martin.

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A short hike from the beach you can find a snorkel trail with decent snorkeling and we were told that  snorkel equipment can be rented there.

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If you continue up the trail from the snorkel trail and you’ll be treated to fantastic views of St. Martin and Orient Beach.

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At the top of the trail you get a good look at the island of Tintamarre and if you look south, you may even catch a glimpse of St. Barths.

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There are also a couple of more deserted beaches on Pinel that you can reach and explore via a short hike.

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Umbrellas and chairs on the beach in front of Up on the Key Beach Bar/Restaurant

After your hike, you might want to head back down to sit under a beach umbrella and enjoy a frosty beverage. At the time of our visit, there were three beach bars/restaurants on Pinel: Karabundi, Up on the Key and Yellow Beach.

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Karabundi Beach Bar/Restaurant. Known for it’s fresh Lobster

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Yellow Beach Bar/Restaurant (located under the thatched roofs)

While writing this article, I found a FB link for Up on the Key that said the beach bar/restaurant was razed this past July amid some controversy (see article in The Daily Herald), so as of this writing, it looks as if Up on the Key is no longer located on Pinel Island. For those of you that have been there, it was the two story structure in between Karabundi and Yellow Beach. Too bad – they served up some good rum drinks and friendly conversation and I’m sure the beach looks quite different now.

Just a few more colorful images from our day of sun, fun and rum at Pinel Island, St. Martin…

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Find Pinel Island on our St. Maarten/St. Martin Map

To find more posts on St. Martin and other islands, check out our Island Blog Directory

 

Copyright©Rum Therapy Beaches, Bars & More, Tropical Travel Guide, 2013
Pictures and other content may not be re-used without written consent from Rum Therapy, LLC

Juggie’s Place, St. Maarten

While walking through Philipsburg, St. Maarten a couple of years ago, we came across a little – and I mean smaaaall bar with a sign above it saying “The Smallest Bar in the World”.

We pulled in to check it out and found that The Smallest Bar in the World is owned by a very nice man by the name of Juggie and that the bar is better known as Juggie’s Place.

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We’d only been in one other bar before claiming that it was the smallest, and that happened to be The Smallest Bar in Key West. Yep, Juggie’s bar is even smaaaaller.

We ordered the special – two beers and a cigar for $2.99, grabbed on of the few seats in front of the bar and chatted with Juggie for a while. We ended up spending more time there than anticipated, sipping our beers and reading Juggie’s words of wisdom printed on brown paper and affixed to the front of the bar.

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Is it truly the smallest bar in the world? No clue. Is it on a beautiful St. Maarten beach? No. It’s actually tucked in an alley behind the Big Wood Grill Beach Bar (on the boardwalk). Is it worth a stop? We sure thought so. Get a rum shot for $1.00, 2 beers & 1 cigar for $2.99 and spend some time chewing-the-fat with Juggie. Well, he words it just a little differently below… Priceless :)

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Find Juggie’s Place(The Smallest Bar in the World) on our St. Maarten/St. Martin Map

 

To see more posts on St. Maarten/St. Martin and other islands, check out our Island Blog Directory

 

Copyright©Rum Therapy Beaches, Bars & More, Tropical Travel Guide, 2013
Pictures and other content may not be re-used without written consent from Rum Therapy, LLC

Mr. Busby’s Beach Bar, St. Maarten

Mr. Busby’s Beach Bar, St. Maarten is a laid back and fun beach bar with good food by day and an award winning Italian Food Restaurant called Daniels by the Sea at night.

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Located on the east side of St. Maarten on beautiful Dawn Beach – close to the Oyster Bay Beach Resort, this bustling place is just barely on the Dutch side of St. Maarten.

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Mr. Busby’s sits on beautiful Dawn Beach and you can rent the beach chairs that sit in front of the bar. Food and drink can be ordered directly from your chair on the beach, making it even easier to relax and enjoy the St. Maarten sunshine…

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From Mr Busby’s you can even see St. Barths in the distance (very faintly in the center of the picture)

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Swimming is good on calm days and there’s plenty of room to walk the long beach.

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We enjoyed spending an afternoon at Mr. Busby’s and think it’s worth a stop if in the area for lunch – or a fine Italian dinner, good rum beverages and some quality St. Maarten beach time.

Find Mr. Busby’s Beach Bar on our St. Maarten/St. Martin Map

To see more posts on St. Maarten/St. Martin and other islands, check out our Island Blog Directory

 

Copyright©Rum Therapy Beaches, Bars & More, Tropical Travel Guide, 2013
Pictures and other content may not be re-used without written consent from Rum Therapy, LLC

Top Things To See & Do in the Caribbean Before You Get Too Old To Travel

WOW!  We thought it would be fun to put together a list entitled “Top Things To See & Do in the Caribbean Before You Get Too Old To Travel” based on our wonderful readers suggestions and you once again came through! Just as you did with the Ultimate Rum Therapy Beach Playlist, you sent in a LOT of excellent submissions and we’ve compiled these in a list by island. If we have already written a blog post on this adventure or location, we included a link for more info and pictures. I’m sure there are many more things worthy of a mention here, so if you see something you think should absolutely be on the list, comment below and we’ll update the list from time to time.

Sandy Island Carriacou by Rum Therapy
So, sit back, prepare yourself for a little Tropication and see how many of these things you’ve already experienced or which ones you want to put on your own tropical “to do” list!


Anegada

Walk, swim and snorkel Loblolly Bay
Enjoy a rum beverage at Cow Wreck Beach Bar
Linger over a lobster dinner while barefoot on the beach

Anguilla
Walk Shoal Bay from one end to the other
Treat yourself to a stay at beautiful Cap Juluca on Maunday’s Bay
Enjoy the food at the restaurants of Sandy Ground, Anguilla – especially the Lobster Creole
Take a catamaran ride out to Prickly Pear Cay for the day

Antigua
Enjoy an amazing sunset from Shirley Heights
Take the Xtreme Circumnav Tour
Check out the parties and fun during Antigua Sailing Week
Spend the winter in Antigua, lying in hammock at Curtain Bluff or the beach at Pigeon Point

Bahamas
Experience the party at the Independence Day Celebration in Freeport, Grand Bahamas

Barbados
Take the Mount Gay Rum Factory Tour

Bequia
Visit the Moonhole – or at least sail by it and take lots of pictures
Visit the Old Hegg Turtle Sanctuary

Belize
Ambergris Caye – Swim with sharks at Hol Chan Marine Reserve. Spend a day line fishing, spear fishing, and snorkeling with manatee. Bring your catch to a private island where it’s cooked on the grill while you relax on hammocks or snorkel the mangroves looking at seahorses. Take a day trip to the mainland jungle to spot wildlife (including monkeys) and check out Mayan ruins.

Bonaire
Go diving – it’s beautiful!

Cayman Islands
Swim with the stingrays at Stingray City
Visit Rum Point, Grand Cayman
Watch the sunset on Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman

Culebra
Walk Flamenco Beach

Diving & Snorkeling
The Wall, St. Croix
Underwater snorkel trail at Buck Island, St. Croix and Trunk Bay, St. John
Dive Speyside Tobago
The Rhone, Salt Island
The Indians, BVI
Snorkel The Caves, Norman Island

Dominica
Hike to some of the spectacular waterfalls in the ultra-lush rainforest
Buy tasty fresh locally grown fruit and spices at some of the roadside stands

Guadeloupe
Snorkel or dive at the Jacques Cousteau Underwater Reserve
Take the rum factory tour on Marie-Galante (just south of Guadeloupe)

Grand Camanoe
Snorkel Diamond Reef

Grenada
Shop at the Spice Market and bring home some fresh spices

Happy Island
Order rum punches and visit with owner Janti

Jamaica
Ziplining
Watch the sunrise from Blue Mountain Peak in Jamaica
Climb Dunn River Falls
Horseback ride & swim at Chukka Cove
Spend a day at Floyd’s Pelican Bar
Jump off the cliffs at Rick’s Cafe, Negril

Jost Van Dyke
Have a Painkiller at the Soggy Dollar Bar
Enjoy some “stress free” time at Ivan’s
Enjoy a BBC at Gertrude’s
Go to the Bubbly Pool on JVD and then hit up Foxy’s Taboo after for a drink or two
Attend a Halloween, New Year’s Eve or Full Moon Party at Foxy’s and party ’till dawn
Bring home a bottle of Foxy’s Firewater Rum
Check out EVERY beach
bar on JVD
Explore Diamond Cay

Mexico
Swim with the Whale Sharks in Cancun
Ride a golf cart and enjoy some authentic Mexican food on the island of Holbox, Mexico
Explore, snorkel or dive some of the cenotes in the Yucatan Penninsula of Mexico
Explore the Tulum and Chichen Itza ruins
Zipline and snorkel (not at the same time!) in Isla Mujeres, Mexico

Monserrat
View the Soufrière Hills Volcano and be awed at the forces of nature

Mustique
See the mansions of the rich and famous
Go to Basil’s Beach Bar for the Mustique Blues Festival

Nevis
Visit Old Bath House Ruins and The Nisbet Plantation
Have lunch at the Montpelier Plantation and Beach
Just GO to Nevis!

Norman Island
Experience the Shot-Ski at Willy T’s
Snorkel The Caves
Take the plunge at the Willy T’s
Snorkel or dive The Indians (close to Norman Island)

Petit Tabac
Explore the island and imagine finding Jack Sparrow’s hidden stash of rum

Puerto Rico
Hike El Yunque
Walk the cobblestone streets of Old Town Puerto Rico
Tour the 400 year old Fort El Morro

Saba
Hike Mt. Scenery

Sailing
Sailing in the British Virgin Islands and The Grenadines

Salt Island
Dive the Rhone

St. Barths
Enjoy a Cheeseburger at Le Select
Find the rhum at R. St. Barths and the infused rhum’s at M’Bolo

St. Croix
Bioluminescent Tour in a Glass Bottomed Kayak
Visit St George Village Botanical Gardens
Lyming by Sandy Point and Rainbow Beach on a Sunday
Take the Cruzan Rum Factory Tour and enjoy a delicious Cruzan Rum cocktail at the end
Spend a day on beautiful Cane Bay Beach
Be the first person in the U.S. to see the sunrise at Point Udall
Watch the sunset from Coconuts on the Beach
MontPellier Domino Club to see the drinking pigs and enjoy some Mamma Wanna and the best bushwacker on island
Snorkel the underwater trail at Buck Island
Dive the Wall by Cane Bay Beach and dive the Frederiksted Pier
Find seahorses at Frederiksted Pier
Check out the grounds at Mount Washington Plantation
Sail to Buck Island and explore for the day

St. John
Take pictures at the picturesque overlook of Trunk Bay
Snorkel the underwater trail at Trunk Bay
Kayak with a friend to a secret pocket beach
Try to see every beautiful beach on St. John
Enjoy some Key Lime Pie

St. Kitts
Explore Brimstone Hill
Explore Plantation Homes
Hit the Shiggidy Shack and Reggae Beach Bar & Grill for sun, fun and rum!

St. Lucia
Eat lunch between the Pitons at Hotel Chocolate
Stay at Jade Mountain Resort and stare at the Pitons in the comfort of your own in room pool
Snorkel/Scuba between the Pitons

St. Maarten/St. Martin
Watch the planes land right over your head while enjoying a rum punch at Sunset Bar & Grill, Maho Bay
Enjoy a drink while watching the bridge go up and the yachts go through at the Sint Maarten Yacht Club
Go shopping in Marigot at the outdoor market and in Philipsburg for watches, diamonds and Guavaberry Rum
Eat fanstastic French pastries at Sarafina’s Bakery
Walk Orient Beach from one end to the other
Drive, then hike to the top of Pic Paradis

St. Thomas
Spend the day at Magens Bay
Take the skyride up and enjoy the view of Charlotte Amalie and a Bushwacker

St. Vincent
Visit Wallilabou and visit the filming site of Pirates of the Caribbean

Tobago Cays
Snorkel with the turtles at the Tobago Cay Turtle Sanctuary

Tortola
Visit with Winston at the Nature Boy Beach Bar on Long Bay Beach
Float in the Limin’ House pool while sipping Sebastian’s Rum and stare at the view
Go to a Full Moon Party at the Bomba Shack AND Trellis Bay
Visit the Callwood Rum Distillery in Cane Garden Bay
Watch the sunset from BananaKeet Cafe

Turks and Caicos
Have a few drinks at Jack’s Shack, Grand Turk
Boogaloo’s Conch Shack, Providenciales
Go Bone Fishing

Vieques
Kayak the Bioluminescent Bay

Virgin Gorda
Spend lots of time exploring The Baths


And as FaceBook friend Dave L. put it –
Drink rum, drink rum drink rum,
and after that drink more rum !!!!!!!!!

Check out our Blog Directory by Island for even more pictures and island adventures!

Orient Bay Beach, St. Martin

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Orient Bay Beach on the French side of St. Martin is undoubtedly the best known and busiest beach on the island.

With two miles of beautiful, powdery, white sand it’s easy to see why so many people flock to Orient to spend time lounging, walking, visiting one of the great beach bars, people watching and playing in the stunning blue water.

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You might know Orient Beach as the “nude” beach and yes, the southernmost part of Orient is clothing optional and part of the naturist resort Club Orient.

The rest of Orient is divided into sections – each with it’s own restaurants, chair and umbrella rentals and shops. Heading north from Club Orient, the sections include Kontiki, Kakao, Bikini Beach, Waikiki, Coco Beach and Palm Beach.

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Each section has a different feel and some sections are busier then others – although there were pockets of activity all the way down the beach. It did seem that in general though, the beach became a little quieter and less crowded as we walked north – away from Club Orient.

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Orient Beach 4 (600)Coco Beach

Orient also offers water sport options and rentals such as kiteboarding, parasailing and jet skiing.

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Orient Bay Beach can get really busy, especially on days when there are numerous cruise ships at port in Philipsburg. But even if you prefer quieter beaches, with two + miles of gorgeous sand and water, you can almost always find a quiet spot to relax and just take in the beauty….

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Orient Beach 8 (600)

Find Orient Bay Beach on our St. Maarten/St. Martin Map
Press the  Orient Bay Beach bar underneath the map

 

To see more posts on St. Martin and other islands, check out our Island Blog Directory

 

copyright©Rum Therapy Beaches, Bars & More, Tropical Travel Guide, 2013
Pictures and other content may not be re-used without written consent from Rum Therapy, LLC

Guy’s Driftwood Boat Bar, St. Maarten

Many of you have already visited, or at least heard of Sunset Bar and Grill on Maho Beach in St. Maarten, but did you know there’s another fun bar at the other end of Maho? It’s called Guy’s Driftwood Boat Bar, and yes, as the name implies, the bar is a boat.

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A little quieter than its neighbor down the beach, Guy’s Driftwood Boat Bar is a great place to relax, enjoy some reasonably priced beverages and stare out at the gorgeous blue water of Maho Bay.

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Order a $2 beer or a rum concoction and sit at the boat bar, or grab a seat at one of the picnic tables.

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Or lounge in a beach chair overlooking the water.

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Wherever you sit, you’ll be treated to a great view of Maho Beach and airplanes landing at the airport just behind the boat bar full of lucky vacationers getting ready to start their next tropical adventure!

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Find Guy’s Driftwood Boat Bar on our St. Maarten/St. Martin Map

 

To see more posts on St. Maarten and other islands, check out our Island Blog Directory

 

Copyright©Rum Therapy Beaches, Bars & More, Tropical Travel Guide, 2013
Pictures and other content may not be re-used without written consent from Rum Therapy, LLC

Sint Maarten Yacht Club Bar & Restaurant

 Several years ago while sailing out of Simpson Bay lagoon through the Simpson Bay Drawbridge, we saw what seemed to be a bar/grill with an excellent deck overlooking the bay and the bridge.

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It looked like a great place to enjoy a beverage while watching the boats and yachts, so we decided on a return trip to St. Maarten/St. Martin, to check it out.

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Located right at the base of the drawbridge, Sint Maarten Yacht Club Bar and Restaurant can be accessed by car (limited parking next to the building), by dinghy (tie up on their dock) or by walking if staying in the area.

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They have indoor/outdoor seating and we ordered a few brews on special for happy hour then grabbed a few chairs on the deck overlooking the bridge and lagoon.

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As it got closer to the time that the drawbridge was set to open, the deck really filled up with patrons. While enjoying the view and the beverages, we made a few new friends from North Carolina (note the Rum Bum Cap!)

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We really enjoyed watching the huge yachts make their way back to the lagoon before sunset.

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Great view, good cold drinks and good conversation with fellow boaters and travelers – not a bad place to spend an evening!

To find out more, check out their Facebook page here:
Sint Maarten Yacht Club Bar & Restaurant


To see more posts on St. Maarten and other islands, check out our Island Blog Directory


copyright©Rum Therapy Beaches, Bars & More, Tropical Travel Guide, 2013
Pictures and other content may not be re-used without written consent from Rum Therapy, LLC