Posts Tagged ‘St. Maarten airport’

What is St. Barth like Post-Hurricane Irma? Should you go? A Client’s Perspective

Monday, January 29th, 2018

Bill and Cathy Fuchs from Scottsdale, Arizona shared their late December to early January 2018 St. Barth experience with us.

What a fantastic trip (our tenth), and though there are some post Hurricane differences, there’s no reason to avoid St Barth. We enjoyed two weeks at the Villa Blue Diamond with little evidence Irma had visited three months earlier. Around the island, where power lines were damaged, now stand temporary poles, and it seems most lines are attached by rope, but there’s reliable power! Occasional roof damage is visible, but is not the norm. Roads are as they’ve always been, in good condition, and Odile with Gumbs Car Rental equipped us with a Jimny with only 24km – we like new! Grocery stores are well stocked. All Seaside restaurants except Shellona are under renovation, and they are open and very busy for a great vibe; reservation required. La Plage and Lil Rock Beach Bar at St Jean offer basic beach services to get your party started. Colombier, Saline, Gouverneur, St. Jean, and Shell beaches are as beautiful as ever.

With many of our regular restaurants under renovation, we sought new dining experiences. We visited Orega twice, so that’s obviously our top pick. Tamarin, L’Esprit, YoSushiMania, 25 Quarter, Bagatelle, and of course Le Select continue to exceed expectations. This was the best weather streak we’ve ever had with some rain at night and sunny days with occasional puffy clouds being blown by the trade winds. We could have done without the Christmas Eve M5.2 earthquake, but still found it interesting. Jimmy Buffett’s wharf-side free concert December 27th adds to the bragging rights of being in St Barth. Travel through SBH is no different; the terminal looks and functions the same.

For those of you connecting via St Maarten, the terminal will likely be closed for a year. All operations are run from tarmac-based tents with many employees anxious to give directions and assist. Arrivals are at the end of the terminal closest to the sea, departures are at the opposite end of the terminal, near the employee parking lot, and you enter a gate with a sign stating only ticketed passengers beyond this point. Inside, we find tents to obtain our tickets, clear immigration and security, and find a basic waiting area with some food. Presently there are three USA flights per day (San Juan, Miami, Atlanta), so it’s very easy to navigate and crowds were negligible as our departure flight of less than 200 passengers isn’t much of a crowd. We overnighted at the Atrium Resort, for a clean room and comfortable bed; they did a nice job. A local we spoke with, estimates they’ve lost 90% of their tourist traffic, I would agree, there’s not too much going on, and unlike St Barth, here the damage is extensive and apparent, but Driftwood, and Sunset Beach Bar are open and must not be missed for a cold bucket of Carib while watching the big jets take off as tourists try to withstand the jet blast.

Thanks Bill and Cathy. Come back soon!

Hurricane Irma Update 3

Friday, September 29th, 2017

Your flight to St. Maarten has been canceled! What can you do?

Not only is the flora rejuvenating, the fauna is returning, too. An Iguana was spotted shortly after the hurricane, while another appeared in Marigot two weeks later. The miracle of the camouflage amazes me. All creatures adapt.

Photo taken shortly after Hurricane Irma

September 20, 2017 – 2 weeks later – so happy to see our friends are ok. Photo courtesy of Le News.

The children went back to school on Monday September 25th and La Poste in Gustavia opened the same day, although it’s not 100% operational. We are thrilled to see that Le Tamarin is reopening in time for Thanksgiving. I love dining there. I am sure that much of the foliage that you see in this photo will be lusher by then. Concierge Julia Hurd will be happy to book reservations for you.

The Tamarin is reopening in time for Thanksgiving! Photo taken September 25, 2017

The St. Barth ancestors knew exactly how to build their homes, called “cases” and did so according to whether their land was windward or leeward.

The original St Barth case survives yet another storm – photo courtesy Hélène Bernier – It belongs to her grandmother

The island is still in recovery mode and doing its best to be ready for you.

September 29, 2017 One of Masterski Pilou’s boats is hauled up after sinking in the harbor. Don’t worry he has more for you.

September 26 2017 Le Bar de L’Oubli is as busy as ever

Our clients want to keep their reservations and come to St. Barth as planned, even if they can’t dance on the tables at Nikki Beach or have lunch at Cheval Blanc. We are facing an unfortunate obstacle: Many people have booked their flights through St. Maarten (SXM) and the airlines are canceling their flights! They want to support the island by coming but now they can’t get to St. Barth by connecting from there. What to do?

We have the answer! Check the airlines that fly from your airport to see which of them fly to San Juan (SJU). If your airline does have flights, we can make arrangements for you to fly directly to St. Barth! I connect through San Juan on Tradewind Aviation all the time. It is so easy. Although hard hit by Hurricane Maria, the airport is open. Our thoughts and prayers are with Puerto Rico and hope they will be on their way to recovery, very soon.

Depending on the time of year and the day of the week you are traveling, you can depart San Juan as early as 6:45 am and return from St. Barth starting at 8:20 am until 5:20 pm or later. Many of you know that the airport in St. Barth closes at dusk, so bear in mind that the last flight to St. Barth this fall departs at 4:00 pm. Once the holidays are over, they depart SJU at 4:30 and that flight gets later and later as the days get longer. Tradewind also offers service from St. Thomas (STT) and Antigua (ANU). Our concierge in the US office, Julia Hurd, can make the connecting flights for you.

Tradewind’s beautiful Pilatus PC-12 is air-conditioned and offers passengers snacks and drinks during the approximately 1 hour flight from San Juan.

If you can’t get a flight to San Juan and you purchased the travel insurance we offered you, and you have proof that your flight to SXM has been canceled, you are covered for reimbursement and can file a claim. For those who did not purchase the insurance, please contact your St. Barth Specialist about rolling over your reservation to a future date. We continue to gather information on the status of our villas and your Specialist can offer you a different villa if yours won’t be ready by the time you travel.

September 26 2017 The iconic clock tower stands above Gustavia harbor – photo courtesy of Le News