St. Maarten surfaces in top-ten island in the world, with stinging side-notes

POSTED: 05/14/12 12:35 PM

St. Maarten – Outgoing Minister of Tourism and Economic Affairs Franklin Meyers said in a press release issued this weekend that he is “very pleased that the country has been ranked ninth among the best islands in the world, according to US News & World Report.”

The ranking gives readers the option to voice their opinion about the ranking. So far, there are 73 votes of readers saying that the island does not belong on the list. Only the US Virgin Islands (77), Nantucket (84) and St. Kitts and Nevis (101) got more votes against them. The website ranked St. Kitts and Nevis third after the Maldives and Bora Bora.

US News and world report also published some tips and comments that put St. Maarten’s ranking in perspective. For instance, the top-ten list of things to do mentions four items on the French side. Orient Bay even claims the first position, incorrectly described as a “clothing-be-damned beach” (nudity is only allowed at the beach in front ofClub Orient, not on the rest of the beach). The Loterie farm (3), Friar’s Bay (5), and Pic Paradis (9) also feature as attractions. On the Dutch side, the web site recommends mainly beaches: Cupecoy, Mullet Bay, Dawn Beach and Maho Bay, followed by Front Street for shopping and sightseeing. At number 10, the site mentions one of our island’s casinos: not Atlantis in Cupecoy, but Casino Royale in Maho.

The US News and world Report site also issues a warning: “Like most Caribbean destinations, St. Martin and St. Maarten is wonderful for relaxing in the sand or playing in the waves, but families take note: St. Martin’s beautiful beaches are clothing-optional (especially the tourist favorite, Orient Bay). Visitors will find bathing suit-clad sunbathers along Simpson Bay and Maho Bay on the Dutch side.”

There is also a note from the rough guides travel guide: “The island does boast some of the finest beaches in the Eastern Caribbean, particularly at Orient Beach on the French side, as well as some stunning scenery, most notably in the interior around Pic Paradis, and many excellent restaurants and hotels on both sides of the border.”

The New York times has this to say about our island: “If secluded coves are more your thing, then head to Baie aux Prunes (Plum Bay) on the French side. The beach is perfect for what it lacks: no tiki bars with blaring music, no raucous water sports, and no importuning vendors; in fact, no one selling anything.”

The casino industry does not make much of an impression: “You’ll find a smattering of casinos in St. Maarten where gambling is legal, but experts say the gaming is minor league at best,” US News and World Report notes, adding for good measure a stinging remark from Frommer’s travel guide: “For all its self-promotion about a Caribbean Vegas, the scene is closer to Laughlin or Biloxi.”

 

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