How To Get To Grand Case By Bus
I chose to stay in Grand Case while in St. Martin, and being a poor and broke student, I knew there had to be another way to get around besides the (in my opinion) overused taxis.
Here’s how to get to Grand Case (and anywhere else on St Martin/Sint Maarten) by bus.
First of all, don’t make the mistake I did by calling it Grand Case as if it were English. Because it is on the French side, it is a French name, and you would do better to call it Grond Cahz.
Second of all, the buses don’t look like a city bus of North America. They are really more like vans. Once you know how to spot one, you can spot any of them. One way to tell if the vehicle is a bus is from the license plate: it will say BUS ###. The most obvious way to tell that a vehicle is a bus, however, is by the sign on the front dash bearing the name of the bus’ destination.
Now let’s get down to the nitty gritty.
1. Get to the bus stop! This is located out the front doors of the airport (directly across from arrivals) and across the street. If you are not sure, just ask.
2. Get on a bus! Because I was pretty lost at this moment, I don’t know which bus I got on, but I was told it was the right bus by a girl who seemed to know the island well, and someone else told me I had to get off and change buses at a KFC. I told her this, and she knew exactly where I was going. She and the driver and some of the other passengers helped in making sure I got off at the right stop.
3. Get off at the KFC. From here, you will see a fork in the road. Cross the street and take the left hand forking road. Get on a bus there with destination Marigot. All along the way, don’t hesitate to ask the driver and other passengers for help.
4. In Marigot, you will change one last time, this time at a makeshift bus loop. It was on this last leg of my journey that I asked the lady in front of me where I had to change, and she brushed me off. I heard her mumble quietly, “No… díme en español…” Tell me in Spanish. So I responded “En español?” and she smiled, opening the conversation. She and her friend ended up telling me exactly where to get off and they even waited for the bus to get there and confirmed with the driver that it was in fact the bus I wanted. They left patting me on the arm and wishing me luck and a good trip.
5. From Marigot, it’s a matter of knowing where you have to get off the bus once it gets to Grand Case. This required more help from my peers on the bus, and when we stopped, the bus driver ended up getting out of the bus, walking me down the street and pointing me to my guest house.
6. Paying for the bus is simple. You pay the driver when you get off the bus. The girl who helped me at the bus from the airport told me they are very honest, so you can just ask how much the trip cost, and they will tell you. The locals seemed to know what they had to pay from habit, but each leg of my trip cost a different amount. To give you an idea, I think I paid $3.00, $1.50 and $2.00, which was a whole lot cheaper than a $30 cab ride. And if your bus driver personally walks you to your hotel, tipping him a little is still much cheaper than the cab.
While these instructions are for Grand Case, the method applies for getting anywhere on the island by bus. This was not something I had read about anywhere before getting here and figured it out on my own, so hopefully this is helpful for other people who want an alternative method for getting around (and not shelling out tons of money anytime you want to get anywhere). Save that money for something yummy to eat, I’d say!
In conclusion, don’t take a taxi when visiting St Martin. Take a bus. It will give you your first taste of island life, and you will get to ride with locals and find out just how helpful and friendly they can be!