St. Maarten/St. Martin has been a duty free island since 1939. The duty free status of the island offers many possibilities for the visitors to the island. In addition, luxury items cost up to 50% less than in other countries, which is why many travelers and cruise ship visitors enjoy shopping for jewelry, fashion, cosmetics, leather, perfumes, crystal, electronics, liquors, cigars and more.
The following are the island’s main shopping areas.
Philipsburg, the capital of the Dutch side is the unavoidable shopping paradise, of course at Duty Free prices! Front Street, Back Street, Old Street represent a wonderful shopping world to spend a day for your pleasure. Prestigious jewelers, electronic stores and the latest trends fashion boutique are all located in Philipsburg. The stores are typically open from 9:00 or 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM, Monday through Saturday. Some of the stores also open for a few hours on Sunday morning if there is a cruise ship in port.
Front Street is the main shopping area lined with about a mile of duty free, tax free shopping. It is a treasure chest overflowing with diamonds of every size, emeralds, rubies, sapphires, tanzanites and any other gemstone you can think of; pearls, engagement rings, wedding bands, gold, platinum and all of the world’s largest and most recognized watch brands. Do not forget the variety of electronic goods such as cameras, camcorders, laptops, PDAs and more in addition to designer brands such as Cartier, Liz Claiborne, Coach, Furla and much more!
Old Street, with is Creole style facades, offers some inspiring boutiques and is a pleasant stroll to explore the unique shops or indulge in some French delicacies or Belgian chocolates. You can take some great pictures here. And you can not miss the trip to Sint Rose Arcade and the Boardwalk for both your shopping and dining needs. The Boardwalk is located on Great Bay Beach and is scattered with a selection of restaurants. It is the perfect spot to take a break from your shopping spree and grab a bite to eat or enjoy a cool tropical cocktail while looking out over Great Bay.
Who needs to go to Europe to shop when there is a selection of top European fashion located right in Marigot, the capital of the French side…The entire center of the Creole inspired town, the harbor and the Marina Royal are lovely shopping districts with a charming Caribbean flair, thanks to the old Creole style buildings. Enjoy bistro bars, sidewalk cafes, restaurants, delicatessens, French fashion & designer boutiques, a fine selection of jewelers, perfume stores, cigar stores and more. Stores are generally open from 9:00 or 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM and 3:00 PM – 6:00 or 7:00 PM, Monday through Saturday.
The colorful Marigot Market located at Front de Mer (Port Road) offers a colorful open air local craft market for some authentic souvenirs, gifts and clothing. Located close to the craft market is Le West Indies shopping mall – air conditioned mall with high end items. And of course do not forget to go into the heart of Marigot to visit Rue du General de Gaulle and the exquisite little plaza marina, Marina Royale. This whole area has wonderful ‘haute couture’ boutiques, jewelry, fine wine stores, French ‘epiceries’ and great restaurants located along the waterfront. Marina Royale is always the perfect ending to a day of shopping in Marigot so that you may enjoy a gastronomic treat at one of the waterfront restaurants.
The Maho shopping area located at Sonesta Maho Beach Resort is open late into the evenings, seven days a week. Browse through the shops offering a selection of designer items, fine jewelry, designer sunglasses, beach wear and gift items.
The latest addition in shopping on St. Maarten is the Blue Mall. This is the largest shopping center on the island located in Cupecoy. This air-conditioned multi-level mall, with over 30 stores, offers French & Italian fashion, luxury accessories, amazing sports clothing/accessories and much more. There are also a few restaurants located in the mall for your dining pleasure. The mail is open 7 days a week.
In addition, there are more shops along Simpson Bay on the Dutch side and Orient Bay & Grand Case on the French side.
While on island, your rental specialist will be happy to assist with recommendations and suggestions based on what you are looking to buy.