Hitchhiking in… (5) Sint Maarten

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Mein erster Zeltplatz in der Karibik. Natürlich umsonst.

Introduction

St. Maarten is a weird isle. The only splitted island in the world. One side is french and the other one is independent and formerly dutch. This means that inside of an radius of 10 km you got two different currencies, different electrical systems, different mobile networks and a border between caribbean and european union. Aside that you will find during the season alot of superyacht of Bill Gates, Abramovic, Steve Jobs which come during the pre-christmas time to anchor in front of the island, or stay in the marina. Get a kajak and paddle near those swimming cities.

Statistics

You can find the Log here. Feel invited to download and play with it.

Hitchhiked distance: 43,2 kilometer

Number of lifts: 14

Average waiting time: 10 minutes 12 seconds

Waiting time total: 2 hours 23 minutes

Route

In St. Maarten i did a complete island round course. From Cole Bay in direction Oyster Pond to the coast road in the north till the beautifull marina Ans-Martin in the north end of St.Martin and back South through Gran-Case to Simpson Bay.

Beside that i hitchhiked every day 1-2 times around the lagune of Simpson Bay.

People

It´s not a real carib-feeling in St. Maarten. Alot of Americans, Dutch, French and other former drug dealers and hedonists gather on this island. And of course locals. But in general i had the feeling that most of the people ignore me at the side of the street. This attracted my attention especially in St. Maarten but it might also be a very subjectiv point of view.

It might also be worth a comment, that i saw in the north several times other hitchhikers. Seems to be common on the french side. In general it is a bit more difficult to catch lifts. It takes time. Not comparable to the Canaries.

Streets

There is one mainroad leading around the whole island, which turns into a gigantic traffic jam during the rush hour. But beside that people in the Caribbean take it easy with motoring. It can happen, that u stuck for five minutes cause a few cars in front someone stops in the middle of the street to talk to his neighbour.

There are definitely to less streets and to many cars on this island. The street condition is relatively good but you will find potholes.

Tactics

Honestly i did not found a very good way to catch peoples attention and get faster lifts. The main road in Simpson Bay takes a bit longer sometimes but you will find a lift for sure.

What works nicely in St. Maarten is hitchhing dinghy´s in the lagune. Either wait at the dinghy-docks of the bars or just positioning yourself directly near the bridge where alle boats from outside pass through. If they see you, they stop most of the time. Works also on anchored ships within the lagune.

What would be worth a try is to try to hitchhike sailing boats at the bridge. The bridge is opening during determened times and it is possible to take the whole traffic at once there. With a sign and some patience it should be possible to get a lift after some time. I couldn´t try it, but if you read this, let me know if it is working!

Pictures

Some nice pictures, not only “street-art”. 🙂

Specifics

The highest peak is Pique Paradise and it is a bit more than 400m. It is not much but it is comftable cool up there, no moskitos and two different view points. Categorie: Can be done.

St. Maarten is tax free which means Alcohol, Zigarettes and Electronic is very cheap. Also at the bars you get a beer for 80 cent during the happy hours, which can be boon and bane at the same time.

The main road of Simpson Bay is relatively expensive like everywhere in the Caribbean. But there is hope in a small trailer called „Hilmars Windsor Castle“. Also check out this lovely article. She provides you with excellent „Patties“ for 1,50$. These are little fried dumplings filled with cheese, tuna, meat and so on. Hilma always is happy about visitors and open for a chat. And a cheaper breakfast and with a more friendly landlady is not possible on the island.

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