We wanted to see the French side, so we took a local bus to Marigot. It was a real disappointment. I expected it to be quaint and very French, but it wasn't. It was still poor and run down. We had a decent lunch at the Marina at La Belle Epoch, but it wasn't special at all. The Dutch side at Phillipsburg had been "redone" since we were there last, and if you like shopping, you could stay busy for several hours. I've heard the beaches are gorgeous, but it was really disappointing to see people swimming right by the water taxi pier--crowded, narrow beach with no amenities. Stay away from that one! Phillipsburg was prettier than many of the other port towns.
St John is well worth visiting..the beaches are empty and the prettiest anywhere. We would have liked more time in town to shop, but other than that, the tour was great.