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St. Martin Island Tour Excursion Reviews

Home > Member Reviews > St. Martin Shore Excursions > Island Tour

Covering both the Dutch and French sides of this beautiful island, a guided tour is a great way to see everything St. Martin has to offer.

BstnCruiser

7 reviews

Found on TripAdvisor Bernard Tours and booked a day sight-seeing tour of the island via email. 22 people on the van included a great tour and history of the island by “mailman.” He was very informative and lead a great 5 hour tour of the entire island (Dutch and French). Beer, rum, soda and water were included in the $45 price. 1 1/2 hours stop at Orient Bay Beach. (bring sun screen and water with you for the beach stop) 45 minute “timed” stop at St. Juliana International Airport viewing planes landing and taking off.


Provider: Independent Operator

rburkart

1 review

It was a national holiday on St. Martin, so, nearly all the stores were closed, and the "major" highway from the Dutch side to the French side was closed for a formal ceremony, so we got to see a little more of the countryside bypassed on other cruises. The "Butterfly Farm" was small, but educational. Definitely not built for wheelchairs with the "cheap" solid rubber tires. The path was compacted sand and the viewing area was outdoors. There's a small souvenir shop/bathrooms at the entrance, and a small covered area with a few tables. From there, we went to one of the highest points on the island where there is a large souvenir shop and home to the "original" banana daquari(sp). Nice view from the back deck, which we were told, had been recently reopened. An enjoyable excursion if you don't have a wheelchair with cheap rubber wheels.


Provider: Carnival Cruise Lines

vonniebythebay

1 review

We did a sight seeing tour with a beach stop at Airport beach. My advice is to skip any tour of the island. Why? The island has had a lot of hurricane damage and it not visually pleasing to look at, its dry, lots of traffic, dingy and run down. Some of the most beautiful beaches were next to where the cruise ship docks and only a 10 min. walk away. Airport beach is the “go-to” spot for 90% of the tourists and it is ALWAYS crowded. The beach here is thin and you’re literally towel-to-towel with everyone else. Its not handicapped friendly, due to the retainer wall, rocks and Narrow Street. Seeing the planes come in is a neat treat, getting sand blasted when they take off is less than appealing for this tourist. There is a casino/bar/and three restraunts very close by which is a plus for our wheelchair bound relative. NO snorkeling to be found on this beach.


Provider: Independent Operator

Capt Mano

2 reviews

Our tour was a combination of an island tour with long beach visits.


Provider: Independent Operator

wgheath

1 review

We took the island tour which included both the French and Dutch side of the island and included Maho Beach also known as Airport Beach.

We saw several planes land and take off which was quite amazing to see while being so close to the end of the runway.

Our tour driver was very knowledgeable and made the tour interesting.

Unfortunately like most things on this cruise, there were inconsiderate passengers who arrived back at the bus late each time causing us to not be able to stop at some of the designated stops because we ran out of time.


Provider: MSC Cruises

nc77kitkat

1 review

We chose to hire a taxi for a tour around the island. It was much cheaper than booking through the cruise line and according to what we've been told, a much better value since you get to see a lot more of the island in a van versus a big bus. Our tour guide was very friendly, knowledgeable and funny. He took us to all the points of interest on both the Dutch and French sides. He initially bypassed the 'fun beach' which is clothing optional, since a child was on this tour, but after we stopped at Bikini Beach, he took only the grown-ups over to the 'fun beach' and we later rejoined the child and his parents and resumed our tour. This is truly an amazingly beautiful place and the native people are extremely friendly.


Provider: Independent Operator

mKatie

1 review

This was the one disappointing event of the whole trip. The local "tour guide" was not professional. Also there is almost nothing to see in St Martin.


Provider: MSC Cruises

Jenn_K

3 reviews

We booked an independent excursion through Bernard’s Tours after doing our research on the Cruise Critic boards. Our tour included stops at Oyster Pond, Orient Beach, Marigot, Maho Beach and also small stops along the way for photo opportunities. It was a good way to learn about the island and to see a good deal of it in a short time. The bus was air conditioned, clean, and the driver provided both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.

Oyster Pond was fun, there was a man there who had different sea creatures for the kids to hold and learn about.

We stayed at Orient Beach for almost 2 hours. We were taken to La Playa – you could rent chairs for $5 each and it came with a free rum punch or fruit punch. If you wanted chairs in the first row they were $10 each with the same free drink per chair. They have food there as well, a pretty good sized menu, but we were not ready for food. The beach was beautiful – not too many vendors – and the water pristine. The restrooms were clean. They have free wifi but you need to be close to the bar for it to work. We enjoyed our short stay here.

Marigot was a short stop – enough time to get a quick glance at the shops and something to eat if you were hungry. At the suggestion of many on the boards we went to Sarafina’s to get French pastries. The prices were reasonable and the food was good.

Maho Beach is the reason we booked this tour. My kids wanted to go so badly, while I did not want to spend all day on a tiny crowded beach. We got to Maho around 1:30pm and the beach was jam packed, the beach bar/restaurant was jam packed and it was HOT! The street runs right up against the beach so you need to be careful with your kids. We were there long enough to see a few small and one large plane land – and then began our journey back to Philipsburg. I was not particularly a fan of Maho but it was neat to see. I wouldn't spend a full day here, but would suggest to see it if you can as part of a tour.


Provider: Independent Operator

golfingfool

6 reviews

I had arranged a tour through the internet with Jo Junie Tours, http://www.jojunietours.com/ . He came highly recommended and I was not disappointed. The tour went around the entire island with a 2 hour stop at Orient Beach, lunch at Marigot(on your own), and a final stop at Simpson’s Beach to watch the planes come in. Had a great driver and great view of the island.


Provider: Independent Operator

jennyprovo

4 reviews

This was our second tour with Bernard's. It was just as good as the first time. DJ was our tour guide. He was a very good guide. We did tour 2 this time. A little more beach time at Orient Beach. There wasn’t anyone at the iguana farm so we didn’t get to feed them. It was sad to see all the work they put into it only to have to move it across the fence to the Dutch side because the French side said it wasn’t permitted. The beach club at Orient Beach was good, chairs very comfortable. For $10 we got two chairs and two drinks. Serafinas in Marigot was closed on Monday but we did get some pastries at the place next door. Don't miss the Soursop juice in Marigot. It was another wonderful tour.

St. Martin is my favorite Caribbean island. The people are super friendly. Their cruise port is very nice and well maintained. And at their shops I never felt pressure by the shopkeepers like I do on other islands. I would definitely plan a full vacation on this island.


Provider: Independent Operator

andre4259

4 reviews

We had been there before and we wanted to go to the French side this time. That being said I did not see a detectable difference from the Dutch side. I will always wonder why Island nations like these did not do more to develop infrastructure and mandate beautification to promote tourism. The island does have some beautiful natural settings and let's hope that they remain so. They may not be third world countries, but still fall into a "second world" ranking to me


Provider: Independent Operator

firstbadger

2 reviews

I arranged a private tour and got 3 other couple to join from these message boards and it worked out very well. We arranged a great guide that was recommended in here and she was wonderful. We toured the island at our own pace. We were never stopped at tourist traps and high pressure sales areas. We enjoyed the beach, the city for a quick lunch, and other sites. We odd stop at maho to see the planes, too. I enjoyed it, but read up on it first...were some issues on other tours.


Provider: Independent Operator

Pink35

2 reviews

We signed up for an excursion that would have us stop at a beach on the Dutch side, and a beach on the French side of the Island--St Martin Sensational SM125. We also got 1 hour of shopping in Marigot, and had a BBQ lunch provided. Total excursion was 6.5 hours. They ended up stopping at only 1 beach--Orient Beach. There were several Locals at the beach trying to sell things to us. We could not even relax or see the beach itself because we constantly had people standing in front us trying to sell us things. Whether you told them kindly or more forcefully to leave us alone--they never went away!!! I am submitting feedback to RCL. Hopefully, they can send a cruise line shore excursion employee in disguise as a cruise passenger to investigate this excursion. I felt like we were ripped off!


Provider: Royal Caribbean International

sabres431

1 review

We used Bernard's Tours and did the beach intensive tour #2. We spent an hour and a half at Orient beach after visiting an iguana farm and a couple other scenic stops on the way. After Orient Beach we went to our meeting spot and found out our van had broken down. Bummer! But Bernard's quickly hired a taxi cab and had us transported to our next location, which was Marigold, while they repaired the van. We got about 20 minutes extra shopping time but that caused us to lose some time at Maho Beach. We arrived just in time to see a Jet Blue flight land. What an experience. It is their slow season so I'm not sure whether we missed any other flights coming or going. Overall I thought Bernard's handled the situation very well. Our guide was Sexy(his name :-P )and he was very knowledgeable. We were back to the ship in plenty of time to do a little shopping near the ship.


Provider: Independent Operator

SYcruisers

1 review

A pretty little port and the tour gives you an insight into what the island have to offer.


Provider: Cruise & Maritime Voyages

aurorastorm

1 review

St. Martin is one of my favorite ports. This time was not my best time in St. Martin, but only because it was raining and we could not do everything we wanted, still a great visit. One thing we did that I think is really fun was Airplane Beach, you can lay on the beach or be in the ocean, and see planes go directly over your head. You have to check it out what a great experience.


Provider: Independent Operator

pick aname

1 review

hands down the best tour ever, best opperator, I wanted to visit Maho beach and watch the planes take off, we found a tour that did this as well as a lot of other venues. we spend a little extra time watching the planes and even was able to hang on the fence while one took off. we visited the banana daquirti tour and ended up at Orient Beach (the nude beach) 5 hours for $25 was the best money spent on the whole trip


Provider: Independent Operator

stevepat

1 review

avoid unless you want to see burger kings and backroads closest beach was 10-15 miles away


Provider: Royal Caribbean International

Shipahoy12

1 review

Best tour ever! Great driver/guide nicknamed "Mailman". He was so funny, generous (with his home brewed rum-punch and beers) and knowledgable. We went to an Iguana Park, fabulous Orient Beach (pity too short a time), then to Maho Beach and watched planes landing a few feet over our heads!! We ate super gateau in Sarafina's in Marigot Town. Bus was mainly Americans apart from us and we all had a great time. Thanks again Mailman.

Provider: Independent Operator

Barrel99

1 review

Found a local driver to take us to watch the airplanes landing and taking off from the beach. A great experience to say the least. Was on my bucket list. You get blown across the beach as the jets take off in front of you and land over your head. It was mobbed, but fun. One f the most dangerousness airports. Good island tour, but driver was not a guide, but a fill in, so he had little to say.

Provider: Independent Operator

JAN2355

2 reviews

Should have been a tour with a visit to semi submersible submarine to view coral and fish but this part was cancelled due to high winds. The tour was ok - you see the Dutch side and the French with an hour in the French capital Marigot.

Provider: Celebrity Cruises

Buffett123

1 review

We thought we liked St. Kitts the best and the tour was very good, but St. Marten was the best of the islands we have visited in the Caribbean. Our guide David Taylor who turned out was a cousin of the Rosevelt from yesterday. There was only our group of four on the tour another couple cancelled made our day. It was a private tour for only $40 pp. 3.5 hrs turned into 5. Visited lots of locations he was always there when we wanted him. Allowed us to visit things we wanted couldn't have been better. Water and Beer included

Provider: Independent Operator

DeepBlueSeeeeee

2 reviews

This tour only stopped at the beach, but the tour guide was very informative and entertaining, telling us all about the monuments we passed along the way, as well as any other interesting tidbits of information on sites we passed. Once at the beach, we could rent chairs and umbrellas, little one-person boats, etc. There was a bar and beach restaurant. It was very nice and not overly crowded. There were a few topless sunbathing women, but we saw no total nudity here. It was family-friendly.

Provider: Norwegian Cruise Line

ancastertraveler

1 review

We booked our last our with Bernard's Tours and our tour guide was David Taylor another informative and personable guide. We drove from the Dutch side to the French side. On the way, we stopped at an iguana farm. On the French side we stopped for shopping and some lunch and continued on to Orient Beach one of the prettiest beaches that I have visited for 1.5 hours of beach time. We then drove back to the Dutch side and saw the airplanes landing at Maho Beach. This was another adventure seeing the aircraft flying so close to the highway.

Provider: Carnival Cruise Lines

Time2SetSail

1 review

St. Maarten- We're not in America anymore! After waiting thirty minutes for our tour of the island, we were on a packed van ready to tour the French & Dutch sides. We booked a tour with Jo Junie Tours (web site is not available now). The site promised a tour personally by Jo in his Jo Junie Tour bus. This was not the case. After asking the information booth where Jo was, we were pointed to a big guy standing on the steps...I asked if he was Jo and he said yes...asked my name and then asked for the $40 each. It all felt so shady...he was not at all the nice, outgoing man in the video. He said we were his only tour so he'd put us on another bus; his site said no matter how many people make a reservation, he'd personally tour them around. We had to follow a man that speed walked away from us. He was escorting others on busses like cattle, forgetting us. I spoke up "What about Jo Juni Tours?" He literally said "WHO?" Please. Jo came over and I said "hey Jo...what about us." They talked in Dutch or French and then Jo said "get on this bus." The driver, Sexy (who was awesome) had room for one...I said I wanted my money back, I wasn't going on a separate bus from my girlfriend. It must of appeared to be a scene when a Security Guard came over...the tour folks quickly made it right (maybe the guards enforce a standard). We were at the back of the bus and had to rub up against other passengers (sorry again)...I soon made a joke of it "Do you want the wedding tackle or the exit?" The group was great, we all had fun...Sexy, our driver, knew the island like no other...and the rum punch did that...punch you in the face! The island has seen better days, that's for sure. We toured an iguana "farm," or someone's property with an overload of them, caged chickens and chained up dogs (I felt so bad for the dogs). We headed to a few other spots, after touring the run down island. We landed at Orient Beach; once you walk on the sand, you will be "welcomed" by men and women selling towels, chairs, jewelry and anything else they have. Beach chairs are $20 each...unless you say no thanks...then it becomes $5 each. We played in the water; you can rent jet ski's or parasail -- we did neither. The beach bar was fun, the food was overpriced microwavable chicken or fish; pass on it. After about an hour and a half, we headed to "Airport Beach" to see the big jets land. There is no beach under the airplane path; don't believe the pictures...its all giant rocks. There is a beach near, but its to the left of the flight path. You CAN stand close by or at the bar and take pictures & video. I stood behind the jet as it took off...great experience...take your hat off; mine flew off and some man caught it! We saw an American Airlines jet land, but missed the giant jets. We stopped in Marigot for a quick snack at Sarafina's...and a few minutes later had to be back on the bus. We sat in traffic for about 45 minutes passing up an opportunity to shop for souvenirs; we didn't want to miss the ship and everyone was hot and tired. All in all, St. Maarten is beautiful at times, other times it's a typical third world banana republic. Be cautious of time as traffic can get bad in the afternoon. (Booking excursions on your own is available and much cheaper; the cruise companies say availability is limited, but there is ALWAYS room and more than one excursion operator.)

Provider: Independent Operator

redsox1668

1 review

Super tour of both sides of the island, and some time to shop and have lunch on french side. The bus driver and tour guide Jose was awesome!!!!!!!

Provider: Royal Caribbean International

TexCruiser00

1 review

We boarded an air conditioned bus near the pier and had a great tour guide teaching us about the dutch and french sides of the island. We spent most of the day on the french side and our first stop was the Doudou Rum Factory which was really enjoyable. They make artisan rums with local ingredients. They were pretty liberal with their samples which was nice! The next stop was a perfumerie, Le Tijon and then a cooking demonstration at a restaurant on the main strip. We had some great samples during the demonstration of Colombo Chicken, conch and bananas flambe. We had an extra hour or so to eat lunch afterward but we balked at the $27 price per plate for lunch! So, we headed down the street to try to find where the locals ate. We found a wonderful place where they had big BBQ pits with meat grilling and fresh fish cooking. We had the stuffed crab, cooked plantains and red beans and rice. It was a delicious meal and much less expensive than the tourist places up the street!! Overall, we really enjoyed this tour. It gave us a feel for the culture and we hope to go back again!

Provider: Royal Caribbean International

brino99

6 reviews

This tour is highly rated on Cruise Critic and Tripadvisor so we signed up. Our driver was nicknamed "Mailman." We had an amazing day. We did some shopping at a flea market as well as on a mountain top (amazing store with all kinds of reasonably priced souvenirs and their world famous daquiris). We hit Orient Beach (half nude). There were a few old guys showing it off and one big heavy set gal. Nothing much to see. We also hit the beach where the planes fly right over your head. There is a great bar right there on the beach. Mailman had plenty of water, coke, diet coke, sprite, local beer and of course, his killer rum punch. We had a blast. Cost was $40.00 per person.

Provider: Independent Operator

Nadey

1 review

Very nice tour. Only cost $24. Booked this once we were on the ship. You travel in a van and stop at some great photo areas and you get the see the most expensive to the poor areas. Shopped a little in the french side and did more in Phillipsburg when the trip was over. You constantly are hounded for hair braiding , tours, or just to browse into their shops. Ate at the Hard Rock and a heads up that the tip is already included , even for just 4 people and there are no free refills on any soda or ice tea, and we weren 't told about this. We all bought something here also. It's a great value for the cost.

Provider: Royal Caribbean International

dcinns

1 review

Took Bernards Tour. The tour was ok and the driver was great. Can't say we were impressed with the Island. It was beyond crowded (7 ships in port) the traffic was a mess. The Island is filthy and congested. We went to Orient beach and you could hardly move, Mahoe to see the planes come in, kind of neat but too crowded to enjoy. Marigot market was crowded as well, you get the picture.. St Maartin... we will not be back.

Provider: Independent Operator

vulcan97

1 review

Was thoroughly unimpressed with the Island of St. Maarten. We took a bus tour of the island and about 90% of it was mired in poverty and squalor. The roads were narrow and unkempt, the scenery was overgrown and filled with trash. The island used to have flourishing industry and agriculture but now derives all of its income from tourism. As such, they should make a better effort to clean it up.

Provider: Royal Caribbean International

humperdink

1 review


Provider: Independent Operator

marymorn513

2 reviews

After reading numerous positive CC reviews, we selected Bernard to show us around St. Martin. His associate "Sugar" picked us up in a very large tour bus and we drove off into the hills. First stop was a local farm where we were given lettuce to feed to the many iguanas. Sugar had many interesting stories and pointed out a home owned by Harry Belafonte. Driving to the French side of the island, we stopped at the clothing-optional Orient Beach. Sugar explained to the right of the parking lot was the totally nude bathing area while to the left was just topless. Most of us opted for the left side renting beach chairs and umbrellas for $5 each. Sugar had plenty of beer, water and rum punch on board which was helpful after a seaside stop to see the sea urchins. A local gathered them up for us to hold and he even opened one up to serve raw to the braver, or foolhardy, of us to try citing the enhancement properties they have. A stop at Maho (?) Beach to eat, drink and enjoy watching airliners landing just over the beach to the nearby airport. Lots of fun.

Provider: Independent Operator

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