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Part of a successful vacation is finding a reliable, safe and knowledge driver. When we go to new destination I seek out the best of the best in drivers. Reliably, knowledge and someone who just fits right into the Vento Crew.
After years of travel experience, island hopping, and visiting countries, we learned never to just find a taxi or private driver service, research them first and then schedule your time. From airport pickup, to arriving at attractions, destinations, shopping and restaurants, you will want a reliable driver. To help you, I am taking the legwork out of it. Get off the cruise ship and learn the area!
I always speak to all the locals, resort staff, and then I find my way. St. Maarten has a lot of taxi’s, and I am sure you will find one of preference. In case you want to know who we used, and why, here’s my list. Trust me, when I go back, I am hiring them ALL again. Here are the Best Tour Driver Services for St. Maarten Dutch and French Side.
No matter how you get to St. Maarten, cruise ship or plane, let me share the drivers you want to schedule long before you go! Preparedness travel is key to a fun and fabulous time.
Best Tour Driver Services for St. Maarten Dutch and French Side
St Maarten has 2 sides, the Dutch Side which has been rebuilt at such a rapid rate and is ready for all of you and the French Side which is currently rebuilding. Hurricane Irma was a beast, and they are battling back, brick by brick, but it takes time.
The devastation as you can imagine was intense, but finds strength from its people and they are really moving along. After seeing some remnants of the destruction, we just were in Awe of the rebuilding that has already occurred on both sides.
Rest assured, there are hotels, eateries, resorts, and plenty of attractions open. I personally share all that with you, article by article, but first you have to know who to hire to get to ALL of the places.
St. Maarten has so many hidden gems, from restaurants to adventures, that you need more than a day in port to cover it. Trust me, we cruised here before, and never scratched the surface and I am so regretful it took me this long to go back and see the bigger St. Maarten.
Tip For Cruise Passengers
When you get to the St. Maarten, set your watch properly. Advise YOUR driver of choice when you need to be back and pad it by an hour. Traffic on the island can hamper your day, even with the best of drivers. There’s a lot of traffic. Enough said.
We were on a sight seeing tour, and there were a few people asking everyone how they got there. Which driver service to use, and the one they had used. The ladies were discussing price and not really certain if they found a great driver. Additionally they were concerned with getting back to their ship.
These are all things that I can help you with. Only drivers that we worked with and exceeded our expectations will be mentioned. Each is above and beyond and very GOOD at what they do. Ladies, hire them in a New York Minute, they will take you wherever you need to be and be there when YOU need them. *Disclaimer, they are the best, so they are busy, BOOK before you go!
Often you are left with so few options from a cruise ship as to what things to do. You might want more experiential tours and to get out of port, but the cruise ships have just certain destinations on the islands they work with.
I’d rather focus on LOOKING out a window than looking through a window, driving a rental car. Moreover, rather than wasting time navigating, we prefer to be taken to. It’s about experiencing as much as we can.
Michael and I, learned from my DAD, never to take part on the cruise ship excursions if you want to dig deep, get to the real shopping, see the island and find the good eats. It takes a driver, passionate about their homeland, to really share the story.
You have read my articles and you know we go off the grid and follow ISLAND time every time. So, here’ my list of private drivers. They all have vans, so they can take your whole group. Each driver is beyond knowledgeable.
Insider’s Tip —
If you dine, take them with you, treat them to lunch or dinner. Why? Your driver’s work hard and they become part of your day. Further, they can help you with menu choices and language barriers. Why else? You can discuss where else to go if time permits, since they have spent some time with you already. We had our drivers with us!
As you get to know your driver these specific drivers get to know you quickly and might have additional options to help you see more!
Sammy is just a cool cat – that’s the way to sum him up. As we toured he always had an eye on my teens, brought up the back and advised us of our area etc. We visited Sunset Beach to watch the planes take off and land ( a must do for you too!).
During our time watching the planes take off at sunset beach we all kind of split up- but to my kids amazement as we were all over not together Sammy came out of nowhere and said, “hey guys!’
You see Sammy knows the chaos and how many people watch the planes. So, in order for me to capture my photos and yet not worry about the kids he automatically shadowed- he’s incredible that way.
He told the boys ‘ I’m always behind you keeping my eyes on you ‘ truthfully my boys were so impressed they still are talking about him and how he just ‘ghosted ‘ them.
It was great to know this and to build in this. He knows the area inside and out. Sammy is the President of the Airport Taxi Association. Finally, if Sammy can’t personally take you, he has other drivers as well as himself to accommodate.
Email Sammy using the card above it has all the information on it. WhatsApp him. HE answers.
TRUE STORY About Sammy and His Team
We were midday, and he got a call. One of his drivers got a call that someone forgot something and were already at the airport. He got us to our Rum tasting destination, set a time to be back (the owner was aware) and he ran cross town to make sure that the guest had their belonging before they took off. His team met him halfway. They work hard for all of us.
After about 1 hour he was back. He’s that awesome!
Sammy’s knowledge of the area, and the way he sets expectations is perfect. Again, Sammy is in high demand from those that visit the island year after year so book him ahead and you won’t have to worry about anything.
A Little Perspective on This Book A Driver Advice.
We went to Front Street one day and while we were welcome to return with our escort we decided to stay. I had not thought about how we were getting back and my cell was not working, so I was not getting messages about did we want picked up.
My family and I walked to the taxi center in Philipsburg and there were people asking if we wanted at taxi. I am just gonna say this as no reflection on anything but they told us with ‘that many people you can’t get into one taxi’
One driver, stepped up and said, ‘Family, we 2 drivers will take you back’. We split our group into 2 cars a group of 3 and a group of 2. Personally I hated this but to get back we had to.
Being honest here, Michael and I got the most obnoxious taxi driver ever. He was downing all other drivers and telling us since we could not answer his questions our drivers (tour guides) did not do a good job.
I was happy when he dropped us back at Divi Resort. He would not break a $50 and our ride was only $25. So we had to go get change. Trust me, pricing had been negotiated at $5 per person already on Front Street, so I was not going to even debate this. We were happy to never see him again!
While this is the exception to the rule, knowing who to use stops any possibility of an occasion like this! However, he did step up to get the job done, that the girl in town would not. And, he got us there all at the same time, so there’s always a good side to this as well.
Moral of the story ….. before you get off that cruise ship, before you are lured into a nonsensical taxi ride, use my drivers I’ve already tried their serviced and they are number one on the island for a reason.
No Nonsense Touring, or Rides is what I am about.
Robert Richardson Taxi 160
We had the pleasure of meeting Robert at the airport when we landed in St. Maarten. He’s fun too. Being on time, means making it to your adventure, and he got us to and from our sunset cruise as well as to Rainforest Adventures. He’s pro!
The Robert Factor – No Nonsense
Robert is ‘there for you’ when you need him. He helped us at Divi Resort, when we returned one day. Use the info on his card to contact him, use the WhatsApp to communicate too!
He asked me, ‘what was wrong?’ as I believe I looked perplexed. From there, he handled it, and told me what to do as well until Mike came back out of a line! For this, Robert is my hero. No nonsense approach to how things should be, makes him great at what he does. He wants anyone visiting to be comfortable and treated well! Truly, Robert delivers big.
It’s About Being There
Why we love Robert! When he says he is going to be somewhere, he’s there. You don’t worry if you have a ride, because the ride is there. Never worry if he remembers you, he KNOWS you. Robert picks up the phone when you call and he keeps a very clean vehicle fleet. When we got off of a nighttime sailing he was where he said, when he said.
Want to know which beach to go to? Or perhaps the best shopping? Perhaps you just need Robert for transfer service to and from the airport? Here’s what I am going to tell you, straight up: hire him.
For those that have larger groups, again, he has the room to take you. Need to find a restaurant? Robert can help you find a place to eat. In case you are not sure how long it is going to take to get place to place, he’s not going to sugar coat it (LOVE THIS!) If you are running behind, he’s gonna tell you too.
Robert is punctual, fun, very knowledgeable, and most importantly portly on time and where he is when he says he’s going to be there. Robert needs to be booked in advance because he is very in demand and we know why.
To sight-see on the French side we had a different private taxi tour. Calling all cruise passengers book Tony ahead of time. Any of the people I have mentioned on this page will be perfect, as will anyone they recommend.
Since we worked with Tony uncovering the French side, I will speak from what we learned of him as a Pro French side driver. Tony’s been in Sint Martin his whole life and lives on the French side. He speaks 8 languages.
Again, as the others Tony believes on being on time and is so courteous to his patrons. Use the info on the card to get in touch with Tony. The WhatsApp will work too. Book him ahead of time, he’s busy.
My Favorite Tony Moments
When you want to stop for a photo tell him- we stopped In the middle of the damn road – he’s that cool! I wanted a picture of Lady Liberty and I had my picture. He stopped in the middle of the roundabout and just told me whenever I want to stop, tell him! He’s cool!
He will place a step stool out for you and help you out of the taxi and…… he can take multiple people not just a few. Just as the others I mentioned he too has a van.
Where all did Tony transport us to that day? Tony took us to Paradise Peak to see the view. Then we visited Tijon, Orient Bay Beach, Marigot, and Kontiki restaurant on the beach. He had other great places to show us, but always was watching the time since we were 1/2 hour away from the Dutch side. He wanted us to be on time for our night sail experience.
When we ate he ordered something he did not feel was as it was described on the menu. He definitely spoke his mind to the manager without grimacing. If you want a real driver, who will get you where you need to go, I highly suggest Tony. His number is in the card. Also, since he lives on the French side, he really can show you this area he knows it inside and out.
Cruise Ship Passengers, Hotel and Resort Patrons in St. Maarten
All the drivers know the area well both the Dutch and French side. All three have vans, and will look after you. I loved seeing our one driver on the French side st lunch with his tourists as he had dined with us.
Take these guys with you when you est and tour- when there are questions it language barriers they handle it. All know what to order, where to shop and when. If adventure is what you need tell them.
Get their cards, tell your friends, book them. If They are booked as them for a referral and don’t let it stop you from touring – these men are amazing st what they all do. I can’t wait to go back and visit more since we have new friends.
I highly suggest ALL cruise passengers and resort goers please try these guys out. I’ve saved you time so you can get right to your vacation. Let paradise be in front of your through a window, without having to use a steering wheel! ~ DANA XO.
Our trip was hosted, however all opinions are my own based on service, experience etc.