St Maarten Shore Excursion: Island Sightseeing Tour from Philipsburg

Philipsburg, St Maarten

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4 hours 30 minutes (Approx.)
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Explore the quaint towns, sunny beaches and local food of St Martin on this 4.5-hour shore excursion from Philipsburg. Get to know the French side (St-Martin) and the Dutch side (St Maarten) of the island with your local guide. Learn about the European cultural flavor and the divided colonial past of this small tropical island. This outing is covered by the Viator worry-free shore excursion policy.
  • 4.5-hour St Maarten shore excursion exploring both Dutch and French sides
  • Sunbathe or swim in the gorgeous sea at Grand Case Beach and enjoy a visit to Maho Beach
  • Try a local guavaberry rum punch drink in the island's gourmet capital, Grand Case
  • Explore the open-air craft and clothing market in Marigot, a quaint French village
  • Round-trip transport from cruise port included
  • Covered by Viator’s worry-free policy: guaranteed on-time return to your ship
Meet your local guide after your cruise ship docks at Philipsburg's port for this St Maarten shore excursion. This divided tropical island, only 37 square miles (60 square km) is shared by the French and the Dutch and has a fascinating colonial history.
Head for the island's north end, to Grand Case Beach. Take a walk down the sugar-white sand shore and wade into the calm, warm water. After some time relaxing on one of the French side's most famous beaches, walk into the town of Grand Case, known as the Caribbean's gastronomic capital. Sample a Johnny Cake, a fried cornmeal pancake that's a local specialty (own expense,) or sip some guavaberry punch made from the island's berries (one drink is included in the tour.)
Travel to the capital of St-Martin, Marigot, and stroll the colonial streets to the bazaar. Fevel in the Gallic atmosphere before heading for the Maho Beach on the Dutch side of the island. This beach is famous for its proximity to Princess Juliana International Airport. Hit the beach to watch as jumbo jets go roaring over your head.
Drive past the white sand, blue water and bustling marina of Simpson Bay on your return trip to the cruise port. Request to be dropped off in Philipsburg town if you'd like to spend some more time shopping and exploring. If so, please note that Viator's worry-free shore excursion policy no longer applies. Please see Additional Information for details.

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Viator Traveler's Reviews

273 Reviews
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1 Star
, Mar 2019

We had a nice time with Wellington as our tour guide. We had a group of 13 from two different cruise ships. Wellington was very funny, engaging and knowledgeable. He got me good at one point with his pranks! We proceeded to head out through Philipsburg to the French side of the island. He pointed out historical structures and statues etc. while telling us about the history of the island being fought over many times by different countries and how they all governed there for periods of time. He detailed how France and the Netherlands currently rule and pointed out the vast differences between the two which was interesting to see the contrast so starkly laid out right next to each other and within a minute's drive.

We enjoyed the Carib beers and Rum punch that Wellington provided. The shots of punch were potent and become more frequent and plentiful as the day went on. The cooler was getting pretty light by the end of the day I'm sure! My wanna-be ecologist daughter enjoyed feeding the iguana's at one of the first stops. We proceeded on to Orient beach which was beautifully redone and construction was ongoing to repair the building damage from the recent hurricanes the past couple of years. From there we proceeded on to Grande Case, but didn't get to stop there as the roads were all under construction into the town, so were disappointed with that. However, we then stopped for lunch and shopping in Marigot. We also went to Maho beach/Princess Julianna airport area and got to see the Jets arriving and departing, just yards from where you stand. The bar there had a wicked 2 foot long "yard" style "take your shirt off" rum punch drink. Wow! While watching the jets, hang on to your sunglasses and hats or the jet blast will have them find a watery grave somewhere 50 yards out into the bay!

Wellington was quite punctual at each stop and we got back after 5 1/2 hours with plenty of time to do some shopping at the pier shops. Not all tour operators show much concern about getting you back to your ship on time. We did have some trouble finding the meeting spot for the tour. The instructions said to meet at the north end of the pier area. The meeting spot is beyond the taxi cab area, and beyond the round-a-bout and berond the end of the shopping area. Look for several large white shade tents and the amigo tours rep will be holding up a sign to indicate that is the right place. Overall, well worth the money and I'll definitely book with Viator again!

, Mar 2019

We left late and had to change buses 3 time, 1 broke down, one had no air conditioning we were just on time to get back to the ship, the guide had no idea that the cruise ship would leave us behind if we did not get there on time it was her first day. We were rushed in all out stops and it was not enjoyable or relaxing. I would not do this tour again with this company. The other guides on the tour were not friendly at all and we were left alone to figure out where we were going and how to find bathrooms. At one bathroom we have to pay $1.00 to use and we would get the $1.00 back if we bought food at their restaurant.

Susan W
, Dec 2018

This excursion was supposed to be 4.5 hours and was actually over 6 hours. The problem was that I needed to get on a cruise ship and we cut it too close. The driver kept saying the cruise ship had to wait for me and wouldn't leave. This was not a tour from the cruise ship, so that isn't true. I really wanted a 4.5 hour tour, not 6 hours. I couldn't do shopping because we were late. But, having said that, really good tour if you are good with 6 hours!

, Jun 2018

A very fun time. We had a smallish group by no means full and it was just great except that we had set times to meet back at the minivan at each stop and one family kept getting back late. This made us miss the big plane landing at Maho Beach. Our driver/guide Wellington was terrific and lots of fun but there should be some kind of enforcement of the rules. We learned a lot of interesting facts from Wellington and he was very polite and answered all of our questions. The only thing of note is that we arrived on a Sunday cruise and all the stores are pretty much closed so not much to do shopping wise.

Flora Y
, May 2018

Our tour guide was Wellington. He was a fun, very knowledgeable and more important very funny. He showed us all the sites and was very honest about the destruction of some locations we were visiting due to hurricane Irma. It was sad the destruction. He was very friendly and continuously shared with us info while on the car. Took us to French side and its beach then back to Dutch side. Stopped for shopping/eating and another famous beach that we could watch airlines going over us. Thanks Wellington. You were amazing.

Isabelle C
, May 2018

One of the best tours we've been on! Our tour guide Wellington, was OUTSTANDING from start to finish!! We saw all the sights on the French and the Dutch side and learned SO much, while having the best time! Not only was Wellington informative, but he was entertaining as well! He tailored the tour to what we ALL wanted to see and do, not just what was stated as what we would do/see in the initial tour description. Would highly recommend this tour and see if you can request Wellington - he is the bEST!

, Apr 2018

Need to adapt schedule to account for reconstruction of port and roads after Irma. Much anxiety among group as our trip grew from 4.5 hrs to 6.5 hrs. Arrived back just in time to catch ship. Otherwise, beach breaks and tour were good. St. Martin is working hard to recover. Be prepared!

Katherine B
, Apr 2018

The excursion went on 3 hours longer than expected! The tour was way too long and boring. The guide was pretty terrible. I did not like being dumped for an hour at a run-down little road side restaurant with the worst service, questionable cleanliness, no restrooms and very expensive prices in euros in the village of Marigot. Right after our lunch break we were driven to another bar and grill for another 45 minute break at Maho Beach to watch the airplanes. We could have combined the two lunch breaks and just lunched at the bar at Maho beach which was a much better restaurant. I'm sure the guide received kick backs from the first restaurant. Mainly, the island is not very fun, it is rundown and devastated by the hurricane. Skip the sight seeing and just book a beach excursion. The island is a huge disappointment. The charming village of Marigot is a dump with overpriced restaurants, run down buildings and the shopping consists of tired looking tourist souvenirs on tables and carts. Not at all French, except for the prices in euros. The downtown area of St. Maarten is also rundown and I would never buy diamonds there. Safety is even questionable. The locals I met were rude and did not understand anything about customer service even though the entire economy of the island is based on tourism.

Amelia M
, Apr 2018

My husband and son 22 yrs loved the tour. St Maarten still has a long way to recover...

Margaret Q
, Apr 2018

Our guide, Wellington, was fantastic!!!! I would take any tour with him. He gave honest information about the hurricane damage, the history of the island, the current state of it. We learned a lot! Unfortunately, we didn't have time to get to our second beach stop which I was looking forward to. Coming back into town to the cruise terminal, there was a lot of traffic and that cut into our time on the tour. This was not Wellington's fault, of course. There is plenty to drink in the cooler on the van, it's comfortable and cool. Seeing the large and small planes fly right over our heads was very interesting. I highly recommend this tour if you are wanting to see a lot of the island.

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