hour on the beach and then the catamaran gathers everyone up for the ride back. It was another horrible ride back. All in all, the excursion wasn’t cheap at about $75 per person, and I wouldn’t recommend this excursion to anyone I know. French/Marigot: Fort St Louis 15 minute stroll from shopping district to ruins that offer a fantastic view. Go to the top of the Fort. It has a very very picturesque and amazing 360 degree view from up there. But you have to climb up a few flight of steps (about an 8 minute walk). French: La Ferme aux Papillons is a butterfly farm just south of Orient Beach and featuring species from around the world., The specially created "Butterfly Sphere" contains a beautiful landscaped garden, a waterfall, ponds, Japanese fish and beautiful music. As you walk through this tranquil atmosphere some of the most beautiful butterflies from all over the world will be flying around you, laying eggs and performing courting dances. Early every morning it is possible to watch butterflies actually emerging from their chrysali and taking their first flight. Entertaining guided tours are essential and are given at regular intervals. Photographers are very welcome and facilities include a gift shop and refreshments. http://www.thebutterflyfarm.com/ Mount William’s Hill has a good view of the port.
Pic Paradis is the highest spot on the island at 1,390 feet.
While driving up the steep mountain to Pic Paradis, we passed a suspicious-looking elderly man just before reaching the peak. There was no parking lot at the top -- only a dead end to the road. My wife and I parked the car and began heading down a trail to reach the lookout. About 45 seconds into our hike, my wife was nervous and frightened that the man we passed on the road could be dangerous. We turned around only to glance between some trees and see two men in our car stealing our possessions. One of the men was able to see us coming back. We turned around on the trail and ran, only to learn that the trail led to no populated areas. Since sunset was approaching, we decided to head back to the car and face what potential confrontation could occur. Fortunately, the robbers had left the location and just stole our cash and watch. Some village residents later told us we were lucky and that many tourists are robbed at gunpoint or with knives. By all means, avoid this location as it is desolate and dangerous. Caribbean Sky Dream offers a sky dive from 10,000 feet in a tandem jump at 150 MPH which offers an incredible view of Orient Bay, Grand Case and Anse Marcel as you descend. Paragliding is also available from Caribbean Sky Dream at Grand Case Airport. Mount Concordia rises above the center of the island and is the site of the treaty signing in 1648.
Cole Bay Hill west of Philipsburg has an observation platform for views of Anguilla, Saba, St Eustatius, St Kitts and Nevis. A coastal walking trail from Cole Bay to Cay Bay takes one hour. In talking to other persons on the cruise, it seemed that no one was overly impressed with the excursions -
most felt there were over-priced for what they did. A few suggestions we would have for the next time
would be to visit the beach in Philipsburg, St. Maarten (where the boat docks); at this location you can rent a beach chair and have a drink for about $5.00 per person plus you are in the downtown shopping area. This is a very nice beach that allows you to shop in the morning and go to the beach when you are done on your own time plus this will save you $76 for the Orient Bay excursion offered. The French side was disappointing.
A visit to the Sint Maarten Museum will allow you a journey through the island's past and culture from pre-historic times to the present. The museum is located in a 100-year-old building on Front Street and is open Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., but closes at 2 p.m. on Saturdays. Located on the street level is the museum gift shop, which offers a variety of souvenir items. Admission is US$1 for adults, while kids and students enter for free. (599-542-4917) St Maarten Park (Pondhill Road) features animals, birds and plants native to the Caribbean Basin and South America.The park is top of the list of child-friendly activities. Discover over 80 species of exotic mammals, reptiles and birds (including the largest display of exotic parrots in the Caribbean), featured in a tropical garden setting. It is the largest park of its kind in the Caribbean (although it is quite small by American zoo standards), and includes a large playground for kids. Located opposite Philipsburg at the northern edge of the Great Salt Pond. A particularly popular place for children is the St. Maarten