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Things to do in St. Maarten/St. Martin

As on most Caribbean islands, much of your time will be spent on the beach. Dawn Beach offers views of nearby St. Bart's, Orient Bay is bustling with activity, while Baie Longue is the longest beach on the island and also home to La Samanna resort. Here are some more suggestions:

  • St. Maarten Museum. This modest but fascinating museum in Phillipsburg recounts the history of the island through artifacts and exhibits covering the Arawak Indians, the salt industry, slavery, and the island's current focus on tourism.
  • Diving and snorkeling. The waters off of St. Maarten are home to coral reefs and wreck sites. You may also have the chance to swim with some of the local hawksbill turtles.
  • Shopping. Both sides of St. Maarten are duty-free and you can find Swiss watches and French perfumes at prices up to 20% cheaper than back home. Don't assume you are getting a good price, however, and if you know in advance you are looking for a certain big-ticket item, research the price you'd pay in the states. Front Street in Phillipsburg is a good place to start your shopping excursion.
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  • Bliss, St. Martin

    Here, Dutch St. Maarten gets the South Beach treatment. Linger by the lagoon-style wading pools under one of the canopied cabanas or get into the g... More
  • Dutch Delft Blue Gallery

    For Delft connoisseurs, the blue-and- white pottery collection available at this outpost, the only licensed dealer of Royal Porceleyne Fles outside... More
  • En Vogue

    This tiny boutique is packed with trinkets and home accessories: Provençal tea towels, Laguiole knives with bone and precious-wood handles. There's... More
  • Guavaberry Emporium

    For centuries, local wild berries called guavaberry (no relation to the guava fruit) have been soaked in rum and sugar, producing the island's lege... More
  • Kaptiva

    Whether you're looking for a form-flattering one-piece by Gottex or a skimpy Brazilian-style bikini by Ondade Mar, this little shop on Marigot's ma... More
  • Le West Indies

    Escape the heat in this light-filled, three level complex just below the hilltop Fort Louis. The 25 stores carry a well-edited selection of clothin... More
  • Marigot Marketplace

    The busy daily market on Marigot's waterfront is one of the island's scenic trademarks. There's a wide array of fresh spices (from mace and turmeri... More
  • Ocean Lounge Restaurant & Bar

    In the center of Philipsburg, the Holland House Beach Hotel's newly built open-air lounge is hands-down the island's most stylish spot for a piña c... More
  • Passions

    Duty-free jewelry stores populate both the French and Dutch sides of the island. This intimate boutique stands out for its designer timepieces and ... More
  • Pharmacie Centrale

    In Marigot, on Rue du Général de Gaulle, where French giants such as Longchamp, Cartier, and Hermès rub shoulders, this shop stocks French creams a... More
  • Plantation Mont Vernon

    Coffee is grown on-site, then dried and roasted to make potent petits cafés, served after the tour. More
  • Supermarché Howell Center

    Stock up on wine and picnic supplies here, where the choices include an impressive selection of charcuterie (chorizo, pancetta, coppa) and cheeses ... More
  • The Bar at the Pasanggrahan

    This colonial guesthouse, also in Philipsburg, is a former Dutch royal residence that retains the elegance of an earlier era: teak antiques, portra... More

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