Day 9 – St. Martin
We had been there before many times and usually ended up going to a beach because that’s all Victor wanted to do. So this time we had plannned something different. Based on recommendations from the Cruise Critic boards I had pre-reserved 2 ATVs from Mr Ate (a charming Hong Kong transplant that has a fleet of clean and safe ATVs and bikes) and when we got there they had them ready and in great shape including helmets. Mt Ate is a bit hard to reach over email but once you get off the ship you can walk over the rental car counters and ask for him and they will drive you to his location about 10 min from the port).
His partner gave us a map and directions where to go and they even gave Victor a little kite to fly on the beach. They drew a route for us to circle the island, starting at Marigot (the French part) and then ending at a secluded little beach. However, we decided to go a beach first so Victor can run around a bit and finish the rest of the tour afterwards. Well, we rode for about 30 minutes through local neighborhoods and ended up in La Galion beach and what an awesome beach that was.
It is part of a nature reserve so you can see many fish coming pretty much to the edge of the water. There is also a small wooden platform in the middle of the water that you can swim to. Nice beach bar, super calm shallow water for miles. You can rent kayaks and paddle boards and the water was crystal clear. Le Galion is highly recommended for everyone with kids and those who want to avoid the crowds on some of the larger beaches.
We loved the beach so much that we decided to stay there longer than planned and have lunch there and then we did a short version of the island tour skipping Marigot (a bit far from the port) and just driving around along the beach and through some of the local neighborhoods. ATVs are a great way to discover St Martin, even though it is a relatively large island compared to some of the other Caribbean ports and there are some large high-traffic roads (not in a New York traffic sense but for an island). Still, we felt comfortable riding and ATVs are easy to park wherever you see something that you want to explore.
The whole island tour takes about 2.5 hours but if you just want to circle around some local areas, you can probably do it in an hour or so. Victor loved riding in front of my husband and seeing all the sights up close vs from the window of a car. Yes, they are not suitable for very small children for I'd say the roads are nice enough that kids 5+ should be OK to ride with a parent.
This was our last port and then we had 3 sea days ahead of s before getting back to reality. But we were actually looking forward to the sea days and exploring more of the amazing Silhouette.