Shopping in Sint Maarten

St. Maarten is the Caribbean's only truly duty-free, tax-free port

Photo credit: © alljengi
 

About 50 years ago, St. Maarten became a duty-free, tax-free port, changing the face of tourism on the island forever. Today, cruise ships dock, and passengers descend upon the island, scooping up top-of-the-line products at bottom-of-the-barrel prices.

Taxes, Duties, and Tips

With one of the only true duty-free and tax-free ports around, and the great deals that abound, you won't want to pass up a chance to stop up on high end goods on this island. Savings are typically between 15 and 50 percent, if not higher, and no paperwork is required of you to avoid paying duties and taxes.

Travelers from the United States should note, however, that in order to take advantage of this, you must be on the island for more than 48 hours and spend less than $600(USD).

As you're shopping in St. Maarten, you'll find that while the Netherland Antilles florin or guilder (NAf ) is the official form of currency, the U.S. Dollar is widely accepted. On the French side of the island, the Euro (€ ) is firm, however, you can use a credit card almost everywhere. This is a great option for those who want to avoid the hassle of exchanging currency, especially if they'll be going back and forth between the two nations frequently. You can learn more about currency in St Maarten by clicking here.

Gifts and Souvenirs

Most islands in the Caribbean are great for shopping when it comes to rustic, hand crafted gifts, but when you're shopping in St. Maarten, you’ll want to stick to the designer duds. You'll be hard pressed to find better deals on items like cashmere, house wares, perfume, crystal, flat ware, and high fashion clothing.

If you do prefer to buy local, there are several art galleries with regional artists on display, and souvenir shops sell wood carvings, guava better liquor, jams, and even hammocks.

If you're hoping to find some gifts or souvenirs you might enjoy a visit to Rima Beach World, which is found in Philipsburg. Rima Beach World brings together all the things that make Sint Maarten a tropical paradise. You'll find all the surfing gear, bathing suits, and beach bags you need, as well as local crafts, jewelry, and light dresses perfect to wear while exploring the island. The property is located at 95 Pond Fill Road.

Check out the table just below for a listing of gift and souvenir shops serving this area.

Gifts and Souvenirs In Sint Maarten
Name Phone Location
African Market -- Philipsburg, Central Sint Maarten
Del Sol (721) 542-8784 Philipsburg
Gift N Things (721) 542-0680 Philipsburg
Gift World (721) 542-0160 Philipsburg
Glo's Dial A Gift Basket (721) 542-9961 Philipsburg
Good Cards (721) 544-5529 0.7 mi. Southeast of Central Simpson Bay
Lord & Hunter (721) 542-5358 Philipsburg
Rima Beach World (721) 542-1424 Philipsburg
Samina (721) 542-3601 Philipsburg
Windmill (721) 542-6680 Philipsburg

Specialty Shops

If you've been putting off the purchase of a particular electronic, now is the time to grab it. Home entertainment and office electronics, plus high value camera equipment are all available on the island as well.

One of the area's interesting specialty retailers is The Scuba Shop at Captain Oliver's Marina. This store is found in Oyster Pond, in eastern Sint Maarten. You can purchase and rent everything you need to your diving adventure at this location, and if you're having a problem with any items, they are capable of fixing the issue. If you're interested in signing up for dive excursions, The Scuba Shop works with Dive Safaris to help make that happen. If you want to call before booking a room, do so at (721) 586-5339.

A second option is The Scuba Shop, which is located 5.4 mi. (8.8 km) to the west of The Scuba Shop at Captain Oliver's Marina. Rental equipment is available for customers, and the Scuba Shop is partnered with Dive Safaris to assist customers in setting up dive excursions. The Scuba Shop also offers free snorkeling guides to 12 sites around the island detailing location information, popular snorkeling spots, places to see, sea conditions, safety tips, and facilities in the area. Visitors can find them at 16 Airport Boulevard.

Art Box Gallery: Caribbean inspired functional artworks can be found at the Art Box Gallery, featuring tableware and jewelry. Not only can you buy her work at the gallery, but many boutiques throughout the Caribbean sell her work as well. Guests will find them at 89 Welfare Road.

The table just below lists some details regarding the specialty shops in Sint Maarten.

Specialty Shops In Sint Maarten
Name Type Phone Location
Art Box Gallery Art Gallery (599) 543-0866 2.6 mi. South of Central Marigot
Beach Bum & Co Surfing Gear Store (721) 545-2905 0.8 mi. South of Central Point Pirouette
DI Watch & Design Watch Store -- 0.8 mi. South-Southeast of Central Philipsburg
DI Watch & Design Watch Store -- 0.1 mi. East-Southeast of Central Philipsburg
Diamonds International Jewelry Store -- 0.2 mi. East-Southeast of Central Philipsburg
Diamonds International Jewelry Store -- 0.3 mi. East-Southeast of Central Philipsburg
Diamonds International Jewelry Store -- 0.8 mi. South-Southeast of Central Philipsburg
La Casa Del Habano Tobacconist and Cigar Shop (721) 542-8294 Philipsburg
Pandora Front Street Jewelry Store (721) 542-1109 0.3 mi. East-Southeast of Central Philipsburg
Tanzanite International Jewelry Store -- 0.2 mi. East-Southeast of Central Philipsburg
The Scuba Shop Dive Shop (721) 545-3213 2.1 mi. Southeast of Central Point Pirouette
The Scuba Shop at Captain Oliver's Marina Dive Shop (721) 586-5339 0.3 mi. East-Northeast of Central Oyster Pond

Clothing and Apparel

St. Maarten specializes in jewelry. There are dozens of shops on the island that sell jewelry alone, with everything from loose diamonds to handcrafts pieces available. You can even order custom pieces or go in and get your own pieces resized or upgraded if you have them on hand.

When they aren't stocking up on jewelry, high end fashion is a top choice. Recognizable names like Lacoste, Hermes, Burberry, Robert Cavalli, Versace, and MaxMara are all available in abundance and for more than half off.

Where to Shop

There is quite an array of high-end boutiques along Front Street in Philipsburg, which is known as one of the top shopping centers in the Caribbean.  Stretching out for a full mile, shops include everything from Ralph Lauren to Cartier, but the majority of them are jewelry emporiums.  Nearby Old Street is a great place to go for art galleries, and Back Street has souvenir shops, clothing stores, and local markets.

Simpson Bay also offers a handful of high end boutiques, and if you need to get in some last minute souvenir shipping, there are plenty of shops housed within the Princess Juliana International Airport.

Enjoy shopping for clothing? You might want to visit Lacoste Philipsburg -- it's found within Philipsburg, Sint Maarten. Bringing together comfortable clothes, stylish accessories, and intriguing perfumes and colognes, Lacoste is the shop for anyone looking for clothes that are both feel and look good. You can call them at (721) 542-2094.

A second option is Endless Summer -- which is located a few hundred yards (a quarter kilometer) from Lacoste Philipsburg. With designs coming from all over the world, Endless Summer is an eclectic swimwear store that focuses on durability, comfort, and style. Visitors will find them at 27 Front Street.

Check the table below if you want more information.

Clothing and Apparel In Sint Maarten
Name Type Phone Location
Angelo Boutique Boutique (721) 543-2171 Philipsburg
Crocs Harbour Shoe Store (721) 642-9364 0.8 mi. South-Southeast of Central Philipsburg
Endless Summer Swimwear, Beachwear and Sportswear Store (721) 542-1510 Philipsburg
Lacoste Philipsburg Boutique (721) 542-2094 Philipsburg, Southern part of Sint Maarten
Levi's Philipsburg General Clothing Store (721) 542-5094 Philipsburg
Longchamp Boutique Philipsburg Boutique (721) 542-1839 Philipsburg
Nautica Boutique (721) 543-1227 Philipsburg
Tracy's Boutique Boutique (721) 545-3394 Simpson Bay

Food and Grocery

Looking for some food? Zee Best Bakeshop is located in western Sint Maarten. With the success of two Zee Best breakfast restaurants in St. Maarten, the owners decided to open a third locale: Zee Best Bakeshop. This eatery offers breakfast and lunch for takeout only, so it is a great spot to stop when you are starting a busy day. They are located at 100 Airport Road.

Be sure to look at this table for more information.

Food and Grocery Stores In Sint Maarten
Name Type Phone Location
Airport Liquor Center Beer, Wine, and Liquor Store (721) 545-2830 1.0 mi. West-Northwest of Central Simpson Bay
Belgian Chocolate Confectionery and Nut Store (721) 542-8863 Philipsburg
Cafe Atlantico Bakery (721) 545-2663 Simpson Bay
Cake House Bakery & Supermarket Bakery (721) 542-0521 Cole Bay
Carl & Sons Cheese & Pastry Shop Bakery (721) 545-2311 Simpson Bay
Carl & Sons Unique Bakery & Mini Market Bakery (721) 544-2462 Cole Bay
Grand Marche Cole Bay Grocery Store (721) 544-3118 1.8 mi. South of Central Marigot
Grand Marche Philipsburg Grocery Store (721) 542-4400 Saunders, Central Sint Maarten
Grand Marche Simpson Bay Grocery Store (721) 545-3055 Simpson Bay
Simpson Bay Fish Market Fish and Seafood Market -- 2.3 mi. South of Central Marigot
The Market Beer, Wine, and Liquor Store (721) 545-4333 2.2 mi. West-Northwest of Central Simpson Bay
Triple D Grocery Grocery Store (721) 545-3674 Simpson Bay
Zee Best Bakeshop Bakery (721) 522-1030 0.8 mi. Southeast of Central Simpson Bay

Whether you're looking for a locally crafted souvenir, or want to stock up on designer goods, the sales and deals in St. Maarten are almost unheard of. You won't be sorry for taking advantage of shopping opportunities during your trip.

 

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