November 21, 2021

Philipsburg and the Boardwalk in St. Maarten

Combine the best of several worlds: shopping, jewelry, Caribbean scenery, beautiful beach, landmarks rich in history and culture and island sounds, all in one place: Philipsburg in Sint Maarten!

Busy day at the cruise ship terminal in Philipsburg, St. Maarten

Philipsburg is the capital of the Dutch side of Sint Maarten, and pretty much consists of 3 main roads: Cannegieter street, Back street and Front street, and has been expanded on the beach side with the Boardwalk. Each known for their specific offerings in products.

Cannegieter street is similar to Backstreet in its products, and these 2 roads is where us locals mostly shop: clothes and name brand shoes are found here.

Front street is a favorite for the visitors as it boasts a large selection of jewelry stores. All Indian owned, they offer affordable prices for high end jewelry, and due to the competition there’s plenty of room for negotiation! Pro-tip in buying jewelry: DOUBT as long as you can! Leave the store and browse other places, then return if you’re really interested in a piece. The more you “doubt”, the lower your price will get.

Take advantage of the “gifts” almost every store has, you’ll see the signs placed outside the storefront with the details.

Don’t forget to visit our Guavaberry Emporium at the head of Front street! Sample some delicious Guavaberry rum that’s locally made, and taste our harvested goodness before you bring a bottle home!

Almost opposite of the Guavaberry Emporium you can find a true gem, our local celebrity and pride of Front Street… Any true Star Wars fan will know this: Nick Maley, known as The Yoda Guy, has graced our island with his undeniable presence.

You can find him in his museum: The Yoda Guy Movie Exhibit!

You can expect to find Darth Vader, Pinhead from HELLRAISER and Riddley Scott’s ALIEN, displays that span six decades of movie making, relics from THE TERMINATOR, MEN IN BLACK and even THE MALTISE FALCAN. There’s also an incredible collection of lifecasts, the actual faces of Hollywood stars, From Bogart & Brando, though Sean Connery & Jack Nicholson to Michael Jackson, Johnny Depp & Angelina Jollie, and other historical figures as well!

There’s also Nick’s Caribbean artwork, (exhibited in galleries in 18 countries and toured the world with UNESCO.

Definitely not to be missed!

The Boardwalk lined with Restaurants along the beach

When you get hungry from your adventures, head over to the Boardwalk, which is lined with many incredible beach bars and restaurants. From Caribbean cuisine to all American Burgers, everything is to be found here.

At the beginning of the Boardwalk you can find a Gelato icecream place with a fun playground right on the beach free for kids to use, so let them blow off some steam here while you take a break from your shopping.

Another historic gem is our Courthouse in Front street.

The Courthouse in Philipsburg, St. Maarten

First built in 1793, just 30 years after Philipsburg came into being, the shingled structure was the home of the town’s founder, Captain John Philips, a Scottish captain in the Dutch navy.

In addition to multiple renovations, the former residence has been a fire station, a post office and even a jail.

Make sure to look up at the tip of the roof: you’ll spot an artisan wooden pineapple. This pineapple is the official symbol for hospitality!

In times past, villages would place a pineapple at their entrances to signify a welcome to visitors.

You’ll still see pineapples on different decorations at local homes, and some hotels have embraced the pineapple welcome as well.

This particular pineapple was installed in 1996 as the original one was blown away by hurricane Luis in 95. The new one has survived the catastrophic winds of Hurricane Irma in 2017.

Inside the Courthouse bell tower,  an impressive carillon with 25 bells is housed.

The Walter Plantz square is also a good stopping spot to have a drink, or a delicious lunch while the kids run around in the fountains that spring from the ground.

It makes for beautiful pictures too!

Parking can be a challenge in Philipsburg, unless you come before 9am. Best thing to do is to park on the designated parking lots on the pondfill road, or there’s usually ample parking available behind the Government Building on Pond Island. There’s one parking lot inside town itself that’s paid parking, but if you don’t mind a short walk, you’ll be fine parking on the pondfill for free.

We almost forgot to mention the best part of your shopping experience here! It’s all Duty Free!!

So when in Sint Maarten, be sure to take a day out to explore Philipsburg! Take your time and soak up every detail.


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