Tag Archives: Simpson Bay

Sint Maarten – Simpson Bay Lagoon

When moored or docked in Simpson Bay Lagoon, the dinghy is your car– most of the services were across the bay from our dock.  We went to dinner, made daily visits to the ATM, ran errands, dropped off laundry, provisioned lightly, had lunch at the St. Maarten Y.C.  – all in the dink. But at a certain point, we needed to head further afield, so we rented a car for a couple of days to pick up the new main in Oyster Pond, see a little more of SXM – mainly the bigger stores looking for household items, a multifunction printer, tools, and to do the major provisioning for the trip. Rentals are reasonable and they pick up and deliver (but don’t expect 2013 cars). They also seem to come with the floors covered in newspaper, we assume to keep them clean. We also discovered that the wrong main had been delivered from Tortola so, after much discussion, the right one would be sent overnight and was to be delivered to us on Saturday.

PROVISIONING

Sint Maarten is, without doubt, the place to provision in the Lesser Antilles.  A half mile walk from the dinghy dock at Yacht Club Port de Plaisance marina in Simpson Bay Lagoon, there is a big, bright wonderful Le Grande Marche near the entrance to the Princess Casino driveway. We were planning to dinghy and have them deliver, but we had the car and that seemed just easier.  I spent almost three hours and about $800 (with just a week’s worth of wine and beer). The prices are very reasonable (not necessarily stateside reasonable but certainly for the Caribbean) and the variety is not matched anywhere. It’s an unbeatable combination But be sure to go to either this Le Grande Marche or the one in Philipsburg; the others are small and disappointing. The produce was fresh and reasonable so we bought more than enough for six of us for the first week (it lasted at least another week), and the basics for most of the two-month trip – with a lot left over (the boat looked like the Island Trader with baskets of fresh fruit and unripe vegetables scattered about). Just don’t freak out at the prices on the shelves – they are in Gilders, with dollars below and Euros above (the last two in mice type). We eat a whole-foods, plant-based diet so we can’t speak to meat, fish, etc.  But we were amazed at the assortment of vegan and vegetarian products that were available. (We did stock some meat, poultry and dairy for our son and son-in-law which they declared quite good.)

For you other vegs out there, we discovered Carrot top across the lagoon with delicious, interesting plant-based wraps, salads, burgers, sandwiches, heartier entrees a swell as lots of juices and smoothies. A bit pricey but we were happy to find it.  And we had a wonderful dinner at elegant, water-side Paanland Thai restaurant that was very veg friendly – with a dinghy dock. More coverage of living plant-based in the Caribbean coming soon in my travegans.com blog.