by Female Abroad

This tiny little island is a must if you are wanting to do some serious duty free shopping! If you don't already know why this is a must stop for any shopper then let me give you three good reasons

  1. Philipsburg, St. Maarten is the only Caribbean island with 100% duty free shopping
  2. Philipsburg also has the second best deals in the area (Charlotte Amalie in US Virgin Island has better ones)
  3. Marigot, St. Martin has French merchandise with prices lower than in North America

Hopefully that has peaked your interests. If it has then continue reading and if not, why not look at the articles on beaches and activities?

The Basics

If you are planning on going shopping then you will need to know when to go. On the Dutch side (Philipsburg) the shops are open Monday to Saturdays, 9am to 6pm. With the French side (Marigot) it's a little different with the shops open Monday to Saturday, 8:30am to 12:30pm & 2pm to 7pm. The one thing both sides of the island have in common is that if the cruise ships are docked, the stores will stay open longer.

Which side of the island will you shop on? If you have to pick then what you are wanting to buy will help you decide. The Dutch side (Philipsburg) is known for leather goods, electronics, camera, designer clothes, watches, and jewelry where as the French side (Marigot) is known for perfume, china crystal, jewelry, and clothes. Another thing to note is that French side is a mixture of locally made items as well as French imports.

No matter what side of the island, the best deals to be found here are loose gemstones, local art & crafts, porcelain figurines, china, crystal, watches, and island made liqueurs as well as rum.

Where to Shop

Now that you know what you are going to shop for, it is just as important to know where you are going to shop for it. The main places that you are wanting to go to are:


Front Street: full of duty free shops - recommended as the best location to shop on the island

Philipsburg Market Place: daily open air market


Tijon: boutique that handcrafts perfume

Old Street: boutiques and open air French cafes

Marina Royale: small shops and boutiques West Indies Mall: expensive luxury

Plaza Caraibes: designer shops

rue de la Republique & rue de la Liberte: lined with shops

With our cruise ship, it docked near Philipsburg (about a 20 minute walk out or lots of cabs) at A.C. Wathey cruise Pier and the cruise line recommended a few shops:

Jewelry & Watches

Diamonds International: free pendant

Crown of Light Specialty Shop: #1 diamond brand in the Caribbean

Safi Kilima Tanzanite Gallery

Tanzanite International

Effy Jewelry: free coloured necklace & earrings

Milano Diamond Gallery

Kay's Fine Jewelry

Goldfinger Jewelry

Tag Heuer Boutique: watches

Majesty Jewelers

Majesty at the Point: diamonds

Diamonds Forever

Little Europe: cheap bracelets that bring you in for high end brands

Hublot Boutique

Zenith Boutique

Ocean Jewelers

Jewelry Avenue

Pandora Boutique

Other Shops

Del Sol: colour changing clothes

Cariloha: clothing made of bamboo

Penha Duty Free: make up, tobacco, perfume, and booze

Guavaberry Emporium: tastes really good and gives out free samples

"That Yoda Guy" Movie Exhibit & Shop: explore the shop, museum is over priced

Linen Galore

Is there any place that we missed? Anywhere you would recommend? Just let us know!