The Caribbean island of St Martin/St Maarten is not all what appears in glossy photos. Behind those brilliant images of white beaches fringed with palms and the crystal blue sea lies a piece of paradise that man is slowly destroying. What you find are garbage littered streets, stagnated & polluted lagoons, poor infrastructure, over developed foreshores, huge privacy walls of mansions directly on beaches and a laissez-faire attitude to everything and anything. So for us, it was thank god for Falaise Des Ouiseaux - a delightful sanctuary where we could indulge in solitude oblivious to the rape of the rest of the island.
The villa Falaise Des Ouiseaux is located in the 24 hour secure gated residential precinct of Terres Basses with perfect views across to the island of Anguilla and down the coast to the French capital Marigot. The property is well maintained and perfect for two couples. Furnished with an eclectic mix of island furniture and antiques the villa is unpretentious, comfortable and offers everything you need for a casual and relaxed holiday complete with a daily maid service. Once you stock up on supplies there is really no need to leave. If you feel the need to leave the pool the beach at Plum Bay is a 10 minute walk away but is regrettably lined with the enormous privacy walls of beachfront mansions - such a shame, a once piece of paradise marred by man.
If you need a culture fix the French capital Marigot is a 10 minute car trip away. Here, amidst the ramshackle buildings you'll find the remnants of old Caribbean homes, restaurants, bars, shops and the local markets. A sign of the times are the many closed businesses highlighted by the decrepit state of the buildings, the abundance of local unemployed and stray dogs. Added to that is the unbelievable amount of vehicles on the one road around the island - literally choking the island!
The Dutch side of the island is not much better though there is an attempt with infrastructure and the streets appear cleaner. The notable difference is the high scale development from condominiums to apartments, casinos and bars if that is what you are looking for.
In short the development is strangling this once small island paradise - so visit before whats left disappears forever.
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