May 5, 2010
St Peters,St. John, Saunders, Betty Estate, and Madame Estate
St. Peters ,St. John, Saunders, Betty Estate, and Madame Estate;
St. Peters, a local residential area on St. Peters Hill, in the lush, tropical mountains in central St. Maarten, is a 5-minute drive from Philipsburg, the Dutch side capital. Close to any and every amenity, including St. Dominic high school and Learning Unlimited, St. Peters Hill is also home to the neighborhoods of St. John, Saunders, and Betty Estate as you travel south down the hill into Philipsburg. On the next hillside to the east is the neighborhood of Madame Estate, on the road leading to Oyster Pond. Throughout these neighborhoods, enjoy gorgeous views of the island and surrounding sea, food markets, including the new Fresh Market, shops, family businesses, commercial centers, and eateries, all with a local flavor. Madame Estate is also home to the St. Maarten Zoo, with a botanical garden, aviary, and even a bat cave, a great place for kids and curious animal lovers alike.
At the bottom of the hill, Philipsburg awaits – a vibrant mix of residential, commercial, and resort area. Located in southeastern St. Maarten, between Great Bay and the Salt Pond, Philipsburg is famous for the seaside Boardwalk, Front Street and local market shopping, historic buildings like the Courthouse and many classic Antillean painted cottages, commercial and cruise ship piers, as well as plentiful restaurants. Try Escargot on Front Street for fine dining or one of the many boardwalk restaurants, bars, and ice cream shops. For a real indulgence, go to Old Street to the Belgian Chocolate Bar. Or, if you prefer a shinier indulgence, the infamous, sprawling stretch of duty-free jewelers on Front Street could wow even a princess. As a partially residential community and the capital city, one can find banks, supermarkets, post office, sports and concert stadium (also the location of the annual Carnival Village), and all the government and police buildings.
Philipsburg is also home to Great Bay, great in size, beauty, and things to see and do. A wide and newly refurbished arch of white powdery sand slips into calm turquoise waters. Behind, lies the bustling and quaint Boardwalk, while the ocean view of the horizon is cradled on one side by an also newly refurbished cruise ship pier, where you’ll spot the largest cruise ships in the world, and, on the other side, the Divi Little Bay Resort, nestled under a rocky point and the old Dutch fortress, Fort Amsterdam. Activity is constant, from water sports to boat charters, including the famous 12-meter sailboats of the America’s Cup.
Next to Great Bay is the small but lovely Little Bay, serviced by the Divi Little Bay Resort and the Belair Beach Hotel, it is also open to the public. Sheltered by Fort Amsterdam and an outcropping of rocks, Little Bay is usually very calm and a great location for children, with sandcastle contests and crab races regularly. For dive enthusiasts, Little Bay also offers the rare beach dive experience. There is even a beach restaurant and bar that offers an exciting selection of water sports, including jet skiing.