By the time we got to St. Maarten on our Eastern Caribbean cruise, we were already quite content with all the adventures we’d been on, so luckily I had planned to just go around the island on our own, without a specific shore excursion booked. St.Maarten/St. Martin has two names, for the island’s Dutch and French sides, but I’m going to call it St. Maarten on this post because it’s easier.

Mullet Bay

From the cruise port, we took a cab to Mullet Bay, one of the lesser-known beaches on St. Maarten. Maho and Orient Bay beaches are probably the two most popular ones, and are usually the ones the organized shore excursions will hit, so they are usually completely filled with tourists. We wanted to unwind and stay away from the crazy crowds, so our cabbie suggested going to Mullet Bay, which is a local favorite. It certainly did not disappoint.

Mullet Bay’s beach is probably my favorite out of all the beaches we hit on that trip, which also means it is my favorite beach on the Caribbean so far. It reminded me very much of Boracay’s white beach in the Philippines, back before it became saturated with hotels, restaurants, and other businesses. The beach is pristine, with almost powdery white sand and transluscent, turquoise water.

Mullet Bay St. Maarten

As you can see, it also wasn’t crowded.

Mullet Bay St. Maarten

 

Mullet Bay St. Maarten

 

Mullet Bay St. Maarten

There was plenty of space to hangout without disturbing any of the other beach-goers, perfect for cute families teaching their kids how to swim, or you know, taking endless selfies.

Mullet Bay St. Maarten

cruise-2015-wr-9870

La Sucriere

Welfare Road 130 | Cole Bay

Philipsburg, St. Maarten-St. Martin

We had planned to have lunch at one of the many nice places on the French side of the island that day, but we woefully found out that most restaurants are closed there on Sundays (and apparently this particular one was Mother’s Day in France, so we were doubly doomed).
Or, maybe not so much. We ended up stopping at a bakery called La Sucriere, near where the cab dropped us off at Marigot, because we were both really thirsty. It ended up being a pleasant experience. They had free wifi (Internet on the ship is expensive as hell, so by the end of your trip you are going to learn to love spots with free wifi), and was also by chance rated really well on TripAdvisor (and by us)!
Mike and I also got a croissant and a lemon tart to split, and both were superb.

 

La Sucriere St Maarten

And this is Mike’s “I haven’t had decent wifi in a few days, so I’m concentrating on teh internets” face.

La Sucriere St Maarten

The rest of Marigot was fairly empty, other than a small flea market selling clothes and some souvenirs.

St. Maarten

 

St. Maarten

 

St. Maarten

 

St. Maarten

 

St. Maarten

 

La Croissanterie

Marina Port La Royale

Marigot 97150, St. Maarten-St. Martin

We had asked a lady at Mullet Bay who had apparently been vacationing in St. Maarten for a decade what she thought was the best restaurant on the island was, and she immediately told us of Tropicana. Alas, Tropicana was included in this apparent Sunday/Mother’s Day holiday for businesses, so we ended up at La Croissenterie, one of the very few places that were open. Luckily, it was (again) well-reviewed on TripAdvisor. And even better, served wonderful food, with a nice view of the marina. From the simple but perfectly soft bread served with Anchor butter (I can’t even BEGIN to tell you how much I miss being served this at restaurants), to the very large and delicious crepe, to arguably the best carbonara I’ve ever had in my life (stolen from Michael’s plate), there was really nothing to complain about. They even transferred my pina colada to a to-go cup, as the person serving us was adamant we take it with us if we couldn’t take the leftover food. In fact, I wouldn’t hesitate to come back to this place even if the rest of the businesses were open.
St. Maarten

 

La Croissanterie St Maarten

 

La Croissanterie St Maarten

 

La Croissanterie St Maarten

 

La Croissanterie St Maarten

 

St. Maarten

 

St. Maarten
View from La Croissenterie

 

Shopping in St. Maarten

Completely satiated, we headed out to the shopping area for some souvenirs, which was somewhat near the port. As you can see there was a decent view of our ship, and a few beach-goers who apparently did not want to wander too far off the main shopping area.

St. Maarten

 

St. Maarten

 

St. Maarten

 

St. Maarten

We’d already had quite a bit of beach time, and it had also gotten pretty gloomy and not at all conducive to hanging out at the beach, so we headed back in to the shopping area and got a few things for friends and family.

St. Maarten

We got quite a few things. Some of our purchases were (regrettably) from “The Belgian Chocolate Box” which I will review succinctly by saying┬áthe lady was rude, prices were really high (higher than even Jacques Torres here), and the chocolates looked and tasted like they were made by an amateur messing around in their kitchen. The packaging is not even nice. They use Callebaut chocolate, which I guess is at least actually Belgian, so that’s probably the one good thing about it. I’d like to think most people who buy from here (and review it on TripAdvisor) are on some weird vacation high like we were, otherwise we wouldn’t have spent so much money at a place where we were treated so rudely. Suffice it to say I wouldn’t recommend shopping there.

Our other big purchase was from the Sint Maarten Guavaberry Company, which we were completely happy with. We got a few bottles of their guavaberry rum, some guavaberry honey, and some salsa. It’s the perfect place for getting souvenirs because they have a lot of nice gift sets (rum and honey, salsa and rum, etc.) and they’ll even give you some recipe pamphlets for using your purchases. If you get there early enough, they’ll even deliver to your ship, so shopping early might not be a bad idea.

Guavaberry rum and honey

 

All in all, we had a good time at St. Maarten/St.Martin, and if you wanted to go to the Caribbean and have a comfortable, wonderful time, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this island.

St. Maarten

 

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