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www.franceguide.com http://home.carolina.rr.com/stmartin2005/contents.htm http://www.sxm-yellowpages.com/ http://www.thedailyherald.com/ http://sxmfriends.com/groupee http://www.sxmvibes.com/ http://www.visitsxm.com/ http://www.caribseek.com/

For maps of St Maarten and St Martin:

http://www.sint-maarten.net/St-Maarten-Maps/stmaarten_Maps.html A great map plus road maps for sale and other links:

http://www.caribbean-on-line.com/islands/sm/smmap.shtml Detailed maps: http://www.jmbcommunications.com/map.html

http://www.experiencestmaarten.com/islandfacts/stmartinmap.html For cruise ships-in-port schedule and more: http://www.portofstmaarten.com/port3.swf Great weather maps and satellite imagery for the Caribbean: http://www.caribwx.com/sattelite.html

Transportation http://www.stmartin.com/getaround.html When you get off the ship at the new pier, you walk into a nicely kept shopping plaza with info booths. When I asked about getting somewhere they said to take a taxi or to take the $5 water taxi (round trip) from their booth into town. Come to find out it was only 4 or 5 blocks.. and with the long waiting line, our group easily beat those that were in line by simply walking. A taxi into town only is $2 per person each way without the wait.. or you can walk it.From there, avoid the $20 taxis and take the $1 bus... marked "bus" on the license plate or window. Cruise ships berth at Pointe Blanche’s cruise terminal which is 1 mile from the center of Philipsburg. While there are shops and other facilities, you will still want to get transportaion into town. Taxis proliferate but a mini-bus will get you there for around $3. Water taxis are available. Passengers on ships at anchor are better off and take tenders in to Little Pier in the town center. Here are some of the established cab rates from the pier for parties of 3 to 7 people: Philipsburg (Shopping Center) $3.00; Dawn Beach $6.00; Maho Beach $6.00; Cupe Coy Brach $7.00; Orient Bay Beach $6.00; Grand Case Beach $7.00; and Marigot (French Capital) $6.00.

The cab ride from the Dutch side to the French side, past the official border marker monument to Orient Beach, is rather interesting. We saw a large herd of feral goats, a couple of fighting rooster coops, a cockfighting ring, and two bordellos. (We weren't looking for the later. They were pointed out by our driver). Cockfighting is apparently legal on the French side, while the Dutch side has casinos. Inside a very nicely kept pier and shopping area is the line of taxis. To go from the pier to the Rhino Riders I was quoted $25 each way. A few “info booths” will ask you to take the water taxi into town then you can find a taxi. It is $5 round trip, and when we walked by there was quite a line. The water taxi takes you just a short distance. We walked about 5 blocks in way less time than paying and waiting for the water taxi. Kind of a scam I felt. Outside the gates of the dock area, we were offered rides to the rhino riders for 16 for four of us. Or, $2 a piece into town (this seemed tariffed, because several taxis and buses all said it was $2 to the pier). We walked downtown and found out the island has a great transportation system at cheap prices. White mini vans, which look like many of the expensive taxis, were labeled “bus”. They are $1.50 per person from one end of the island to the other, or $1 per person mid-way. So here is the secret: Look on the license plate or from window for the word “Bus” and a number, and flag the driver. See if he is going your way. We paid $8 round trip to Rhino Riders vs. $50 in a cab (25 each way) for 4 of us. And the return was simple, had a bus within 30 seconds of leaving Rhino riders. The traffic is all the same, so no advantage to a cab over the bus except we did stop twice to pick up people which added less than 2 minutes total to the ride. They do drop you off downtown instead of at the ship

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