I was very much looking forward to St. Maarten as we had not yet been there. I had prebooked with Amigos Tours for the 10 people in our party. Since there were that many of us, we were able to book a private tour and had a bus with plenty of room and lots of drinks for us to share (including two bottles of rum punch, beer, and various sodas and water).
I had been told to meet at 9:30. Oscar was waiting for us and said that we were supposed to have been there at 9 a.m. but I had specifically asked via email and was told 9:30 would be better/good. Though it was a private tour and therefore any "wasted" time was my time, he seemed a little irked when we had to wait a few minutes.
The "allure" of this tour is that you can plan to do whatever you want. There was no pre planning which I figured was my fault as I waited till about a week before we left to make the reservation. In any case, I felt as though there's really not much to see/do on the island other that "which beach should I visit?" I was hoping the driver would have some places to suggest. But, nope. It pretty much boiled down to "which beach do you want to go to?"
Enjoyed the beach - I believe it was Orient Beach (but, no, not the nude part). The boys went parasailing right near where he dropped us off - another group arrived after us and they were taken care of first which was strange. Didn't matter to me, though, as I enjoyed a walk on the beach while waiting for them.
There wasn't much "tour" to this day for us. I had been expecting something like the Godfrey Tour on St. Thomas and thought Oscar would tell us some historical information about the island and the people. I tried to get him started by asking about schooling as we passed by a school but all I got in return was, "Yes, they go to school for 12 years." I think he should take a little trip over to St. Thomas to take Godfrey's tour to see how it's done. :)
For lunch, he dropped us off in front of a row of restaurants and we went into Lola's; I suspect he gets a kickback since he suggested the place. The food was pretty good but it took a LONG time to be served and that killed any shot of us getting to the airplanes on time. If you're traveling with a child who wants the "side order" of mac and cheese ($6) - one order is enough (my son ordered a double order thinking it was "just a side") but you should know that it is Kraft Mac 'n Cheese! My Mahi Mahi was tasty and the husband had spare ribs which he enjoyed...though he kept complaining that the rice wasn't like the rice and beans he gets in Puerto Rico (was it perhaps from a box too?)
We did eventually get to Maho Beach. It was very crowded. The beach is small and rocky. We did get to see a few small planes coming in and saw the big KLM plane take off. I think I might have had more fun with all of that if we'd had a seat in the Sunset (?) Bar and could hang for awhile.
This tour cost $405 for 10 people.
My husband and I had been there in 2012 so, when we were returning with more people, we knew immediately that we wanted to take the Godfrey Tour with them. I made the reservation for all ten of us and we waited for him where told to. All the other guides know him so when they asked if we were looking for a ride and we said we were looking for Godfrey, they told us to stand to the side and he'd be by in a bit.
This tour starts with time shopping. I could do without that part but many people like to shop. We headed to Side Street Pub down one of the alleys and enjoyed morning cocktails instead. :-)
The meet up back at his open-air vehicle was at 11:30 and as he'd picked up a few more people, a couple were relegated to his second vehicle. They still got the benefit of Godfrey's talking at each of the main stops but, during the ride etc., his helper was their guide. Not sure if that's as good or not. He is very informative providing information about the island and its people.
There was a stop at a beautiful lookout point as well as at Mountain Top (I believe it is called) where people were invited to try out ($$$) the banana daiquiris. Before long the tour part was over and it was time to hit the beach. Half of our group opted to head back to the ship but the rest of us enjoyed an hour at Coki Beach (our ship was leaving early so we didn't get the two hours we'd had the last time we were on the island). The kids rented some snorkeling equipment and my husband had to swim out to them to bring them back in - they were having a great time. Such calm water here and just so beautiful.
This tour cost $30 per person though the ones who chose not to go to Coki Beach paid $25 per person.