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I will be in Sint Maarten (Saint Martin). I am not so interested in the beaches, but I do like sailing. I also like good food (looking forward to the French restaurants...), Cuban cigars and quality alcohol.

I am wondering if anyone has any suggestions from their personal experience at the island, since I sense that if one is not careful about what to do and where to go, they can fall into the tourist trap (although, one can argue ... going there is already falling into the trap). For example, I think I would avoid places where cruise ships are docked, since the shopping will be overpriced, etc.

I hope I am asking a concrete question, as I want to get advice from those who were at the island, or a similar island for that matter (I plan on visiting St. Eustatius and St. Barthlemy as well if I get bored in Sint Maarten).

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Hi r.g., I would suggest you to rephrase your question heading to make this question get more attention. It's very vague/generic right now! –  Ankur Banerjee Jan 17 '12 at 10:20
    
Related: travel.stackexchange.com/questions/203/… –  VMAtm Jan 17 '12 at 12:25
    
the entire island (as you correctly surmised) is a tourist trap, except maybe some small inland villages. It's too small to be anything else, given the number of tourists in place at any moment. –  jwenting Jan 18 '12 at 6:56
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So presumably you're talking about the southern half of the island, given the northern half is Saint-Martin. Confusing place, but handy for country counters ;)

Firstly, one of my travel moments I want to experience happens to be there. The Princess Juliana airport has planes taking off and landing ... unusually close to the beach, and is a sort of holy grail for aviation enthusiasts.

EEK!

If you enjoy hiking, the highest point on the island is Pic du Paradis. The road is steep and isolated and four wheel drive is required. This is also an isolated area and is safest seen as part of an excursion or tour. Because of its isolation and difficulty you won't find too many other tourists up there.

For some different eating, "stop at one the roadside food trucks for some take-away, one of these trucks located in Phillipsburg serves some of the best Suriname food on the island. Try the Chicken Sate with Bami or go light with a Soato Soup. ".

Otherwise as some have commented, it's not that big of an island, on either the French or Dutch sides, so you may struggle to find ... non-touristy areas. You could also consider speaking to locals when you get there and ask them where they dine, or if they know someone who could take you out sailing - you may find some hidden gems that way!

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