Sint Maarten or Saint Martin is a delightful island in the Caribbean. Half dutch/ half French.
We visted the capital, Philipsburg, on the Dutch side, by cruise ship.
While shore excursions pick you up at the port gates, if you want to get into Philipsburg town itself you have three choices, taxi, the $7 water taxi ( run by a duty free jewelry store that drops you at the jewelry store) or walk.
We bought a bottle of mums favorite perfume that is $130 in Australia for $64. So the savings are incredible.
If you buy rum, gin, guavaberry liqueur etc check on your ships rules on bringing it back on board.
A 2 litre bottle of rum was $13.
Downtown Philipsburg consists of two main streets: Front Street and Back Street.
Front Street has more tourist-geared shops whereas Back Street in general has more businesses for locals.
Front Street feels a lot like an outdoor mall, especially with stores like Tommy Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren, Bvlgari, LaCoste, and its plethora of jewelry, electronic, and clothing shops.
By the coast line of Philipsburg is the Boardwalk, also with its row of shops, hotels, and restaurants, and in front of the Boardwalk is the beach.
You can walk from the port to the fort along the main path, skirting the beach.
Off from this is the main boadwalk leading to the old courthouse, crowned by a pineapple.
The average price was $25us for two sun loungers and an umbrella and drinks, either 2 cocktails or 5 beers. The water is warm and a lovely turquoise.
The other fun thing to do here is either catch a taxi or a cheaper but more time consuming jitney bus to Maho beach.
Whats so great about Maho beach?
It is the beach that has become famous for the planes landing just metres over the beach. The planes fly so low that you could shake the pilots hand as he passes. To time it when a jet is landing is such fun.
If you hold on the fence when the plane is taking off you can get blown into the sea by the engine wash.
If you are on St Maarten I would recommend a visit to Maho Beach, even if you are not brave enough to stand in the engine wash, it is fun to watch others get blown away, or their bags and towels blown into the ocean while they are taking pictures and selphies with the planes.