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Saint Martin (French: Saint-Martin; Dutch: Sint Maarten) is an island in the northeast Caribbean, approximately 300 km (190 mi) east of Puerto Rico. The 87-square-kilometre (34 sq mi) island is divided roughly 61/39 between France (53 square kilometres (20 sq mi))[1] and the Kingdom of the Netherlands (34 square kilometres (13 sq mi));[2] the two parts are roughly equal in population. It is the smallest sea island divided between two nations with inhabitants. The division dates to 1648. The southern Dutch part comprises Sint Maarten and is one of four constituent countries that form the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The northern French part comprises the Collectivité de Saint-Martin (Collectivity of St. Martin) and is an overseas collectivity of France.
 
St. Maarten & St. Martin two countries that have occupied a single island. In the 17th century, the Caribbean nation got divided into two factions, with the Dutch occupying the southern portion and the French taking over the north. Today, the two governments co-exist peacefully, which makes this a charming vacation retreat. There are plenty of beaches, abundant duty-free shopping, a buzzing nightlife, bustling casinos, classy dining facilities and much more here.
 
This is a tourism haven, and certainly not the place to go to for those looking for a peaceful spot free of the touristy crowds. Off late, the island has witnessed frenzied tourist activity.  The locals are amiable, and there are several attractions, water-sports and sport angling facilities here.
 
The Dutch side and French side each have a capital city of their own. Phillipsburg, St. Maarten is the largest and most populated city on the island and the hotspot for cruise passengers. This 18th century founded port of call is the meeca of dining, shopping and sightseeing. Front Street, is where you can lay your hands on some of the best bargains in the entire Caribbean region. The city epitomizes the development the island has witnessed in the last few years. To the north of the French region, visitors will find Marigot, St. Martin. This is a quiet and unruffled place this is reminiscent of a tiny French seaside hamlet.
 
Take a drive up to the Grand-Case. There’s an old-fashioned fishing community that has that has been free from the rapid infrastructural development throughout the island, and radiates a quaint char. Soak in the natural beauty of the Caribbean here, while tucking into some of the most delectable local preparations.
 
St. Maarten
The French and the Dutch signed a treaty in 1648 that divided the island between them. The two sides have distinct cultural characteristics and they spell the island's name differently, but it's their differences that add to the charm of this Caribbean hideaway -- not to mention some of the most amazing cuisine in the world.
 
Marigot - French Side
Spelled St. Martin on the French side, their capital is Marigot, located on the western shore and largest town on the island known for its beautiful beaches.

Where You're Docked
The Port of Marigot is right in the heart of Marigot, so the terminal contains few services. This is also where ferries to Anguilla depart, so there is a place to stash your luggage, if you are on one of the few cruises that embark/debark in Marigot. Most larger cruise ships call in Philipsburg, on the Dutch side.
 
Grand Case
Known as the gastronomic capital, this small fishing village on the northwest coast of French St. Martin features quaint pastel-colored houses and over 30 sidewalk cafes, brasseries and bistros for the finest fare in the Caribbean.
 
Where You're Docked
Cruise ships moor at the port of Philipsburg. You can walk directly to the town, or hire a taxi to drive you to the French St. Martin side or any other destination.
 
Philipsburg
The Dutch capital of Philipsburg fills a small stretch of land. Its two main roads Front Street and Back Street bisect the city. Front Street's West Indian architecture offers duty-free shopping of imported goods and native crafts.

Taxis are the most preferred options for tourists to move around in the island. The taxis at Maarten and St. Martin are not run on the meter, so it’s best to fix up a rate in advance to avoid any conflict later. The island also offers a reasonably priced bus service that is convenient in ferrying visitors around the island, the only drawback being that it can be a tad too crowded sometimes.
 
Things To see and Do
The tourists arriving in St. Maarten/St. Martin have nearly forty beaches to choose from when it comes time to having some fun in the sun.
 
The beach closest to the Dutch capital of Philipsburg is the Great Bay Beach. As you head west of the great Bay Beach, you will hit Little Bay Beach. This stretch of coastline is very popular with the tourists, but a main and worthwhile draw here is the hike up to Fort Amsterdam. This is a nearly four-hundred-year old fort that features breathtaking views of the Caribbean. A great beach for a swim is Dawn Beach, also famous for its spectacular sunrises and as a snorkeling haven.
 
On the French side of the island, be sure to visit Baie Longue, never crowded and always beautiful and inviting. If you would like to visit the islands only official nudist beach, head to Orient Beach. Here you will find live Caribbean music, water sports galore, and terrific restaurants.
 
One of the best ways to explore this scenic island is by horseback. Whether it's a quick gallop on the beach or a longer guided tour through the inland hillsides, there are several outfitters that can assist you in this adventure, including Bayside Riding Club (590/87-36-64).
 
One of the most unique attractions on the island is the Butterfly Farm (590/87-31-21) Located next to Orient Bay, you and your family can enter a lavish garden where butterflies of all shape and sizes surround you. For you insect lovers, this is a destination that surely can't be missed!
 
While in St. Maarten, be sure to sample some of their local Guava Berry treats. Guavas, grown locally on the island, are whipped up into some truly fabulous deserts and rum drinks that you will surely partake of with delight.
 
Nestled in the foothills and grazing pastures of French St. Martin is the town of Grand Case. Known as the "Restaurant Capital of the Caribbean" it is a lovely little town that features cuisine from all over the world. In addition, directly adjacent to the town is the Grand Case Beach Club and its two beautiful beaches; a perfect spot to take an afternoon swim and work off your delicious lunch!
 
The Caribbean island of St. Maarten/St. Martin is no stranger to tourism: it is a common stop on most major cruise lines and its port can accommodate up to six ships at any time - that's around 15,000 people visiting for the day. With such a constant flow of visitors, there are plenty of things to do in and around the cruise port.
 
For starters, there's Wathey Square, a shopping and dining hub that is an easy way to pass time upon arrival in port, and Front Street offers a wealth of shops and boutiques. Beach goers can head to Little Bay Beach for a day of playing on the shoreline or the Sunset Bar and Grill where they can watch sun dwellers get blasted by the gust from jet engines as the planes take off at the neighboring airport.
 
For truly unique experiences, visitors can play pirate and walk the plank with Treasure Seekers, or drive a Water UFO - some thing that only exists in St. Maarten. Culinary tours offer an opportunity to learn about the history and culture of the area while sampling its delicious food.
 
All of this can be found without having to wander to the other side of the island, so visitors can pack in numerous activities (or simply relax) without having to worry about rushing back to the ship and dealing with the consistent traffic jams of the island. Here are 10 attractions near the cruise port to make planning easier for passengers.
 
Indulgence by the Sea
The Indulgence by the Sea Spa can be found at the Divi Little Bay Beach Resort (as well as Oyster Bay Beach Resort). Hand-selected, organic products are used in a number of treatments which the owner personally tests before selecting. Massages range from aromatherapy, hot stone, prenatal, deep tissue, and even a treatment in a private beach cabana. The spa also offers a range of facials, manicures, and pedicures with unique ingredients and methods incorporated into each, such as the use of local citrus, green tea, seaweed, or pebbles to sooth aching feet. The spa is a great option after active shore excursions or long days exploring the area on foot. ((599) 542-9024)
 
Little Bay Beach
For those seeking a stretch of sand near the cruise port, look no further than Little Bay Beach, a short walk from the ships. The beach isn't overly crowded, and there are plenty of restaurants, snack bars and shops in the area if sunbathers need reprieve. The sand quality is soft and clean, and the water is shallow without any steep drops. Local entrepreneurs may wander around selling cold beer and refreshments (feel free to negotiate the prices). Snorkeling can be done right from the shoreline, and other watersports are available for rent. Restrooms and shower facilities are also available.
 
Treasure Seeker
Discover your inner pirate (without all the looting and lawlessness) aboard the 85-foot Treasure Seeker ship, a new attraction in St. Maarten's Great Bay Harbor - right near the cruise ships. The ship is perfect for all ages with fun activities such as limbo, hula hoops, water guns, treasure hunts, and a chance to walk - and jump off - the plank! There's also a gift shop for t-shirts and souvenirs and a galley that offers a full bar, soft drinks, smoothies, and food. They also offer private cruises, weddings, birthday parties,sunset cruises, DJ parties, booze cruises and bachelor/bachelorette parties. (721-522-YOHO)
 
Wathey Square
Wathey Square is the tourism center where much of the action takes place. Towering palm trees line the streets as well as colorful shops and restaurants (such as the much-loved Barefoot Terrace). A its center is the courthouse, one of the oldest buildings in Phillispburg that stands out among the more modern shops. Water taxis from the cruise ship docks are available to this part of town (or simply walk), which is a good home base for booking tours of the island, taxis to beaches or other points of interest. If passengers return to the port with time to spare, this is a great place to hang out until the ships depart.
 
Saint Maarten Culinary Tours
This newly-introduced company debuted in 2014 and has already become a big hit with foodie cruise passengers and other travelers, and gives an opportunity to learn about the culture of the island. This walking tour brings at the cruise terminal and gives passengers a taste of St. Maarten's incredible culinary scene with influences from French, Dutch, Caribbean, and international cooking styles. The tour explores some of the areas historic neighborhoods, with five different restaurants and eateries, with varying samples of hefty portions that might include Dutch beef bitter balls, Caribbean barbecued ribs, homemade island hamburgers, and sweet chocolate treats for dessert. (NA)
 
Casino Royale
One of the island's largest casinos, Royale offers craps, baccarat, blackjack, Caribbean stud poker, "Let it Ride," and roulette. It boasts more than 400 slot machines, 21,000 square feet of space, and 21 gaming tables including a "high-roller" section. As part of the sprawling, Maho Village resort complex, "a destination within a destination," visitors will find more than 15 restaurants with all types of cuisine ranging from Mexican and Chinese to Italian gelato and pizza. Some 16 duty-free shops are also available, as well as a spa, beauty salon, and piano that features Caribbean rhythms along with other catchy tunes. (599-545-2115)
 
Yoda Guy Movie Exhibit
One expected attraction in the Caribbean is the Yoda Guy Movie Exhibit, created by Nick Maley, a movie make-up and special effects artist who help create Yoda in the Star Wars movies. The exhibit is not limited to Star Wars, it spans six decades of movie making with displays that include relics from the Terminator and Men in Black as well as a collection of lifecasts. The collection is extended to include famous historical figures as well such as Abraham Lincoln, Benjamin Franklin and George Washington, and death masks of both Oliver Cromwell, and Vladimir Lenin. Nick is usually on hand to sign autographs or take photos with fans. (721-542-4009)
 
Front Street
Philipsburg's main thoroughfare is known for its abundance of jewelry shops scattered along the cobblestone street. You can find emeralds, diamonds, gold, platinum and more at over 20 stores. Pieces from internationally known designers such as Cartier, Gucci, Chopard and Versace, along with custom items, are readily available. Front Street also has a good selection of shops offering china and crystal. While some larger stores accept credit cards, smaller vendors may require cash. Other items include t-shirts, duty-free cigars, liquor, perfumes, and more. A beautiful beach boardwalk stretches along the street with beach chairs available to rent and plenty of places for a cold drin
 
Water UFO
Located a five-minute walk from the main cruise ship docks, this one-of-a-kind attraction will be the highlight of a trip to St. Maarten. A five-foot round, flying-saucer shaped disk zips along the water with up to two passengers who control the direction by simply leaning to one side or another. This exciting new watersport is the only one in the world, so the experience does not compare to other water activities like jet skis or tubing. The staff is extremely accommodating and anyone ages eight or older can participate (although the driver must be 18 years or older). Advanced reservations are highly recommended. ((721) 58 403 58)
 
Beaches
Most Popular: Almost every island tour includes a stop at Orient Bay, one of the Caribbean's more famous beaches. The curious can visit Club Orient, the naturist side of the beach. The rest of the beach is more conventional, and you'll find it packed with beach bars, watersports providers and souvenir shops.
 
Best for Seclusion: With its nearly two miles of extra-wide sand beaches, Baie Lounge is gorgeous, never crowded and well-suited for the sun-worshipper who prefers privacy and quiet. Visitors can also take in million-dollar views of stunning villas or check out the ultra-chic La Samanna hotel.
 
Best for Naturists: Laid-back Baie Rouge offers up a deserted pink-sand beach with calm waters perfect for swimming. The eastern end, near the entrance, is more popular, and bathing suits are the norm. The farther west you go, the fewer people (and suits) you'll see.
 
Most Unique: French Cul de Sac is a little gem on the east (Atlantic) coast of St. Martin, perfect for a couple looking for a romantic getaway or a family looking for a kid-friendly beach experience. But the real draw there is Ilet Pinel, an uninhabited tiny island. (Some cruise lines offer shore excursions there.) Shuttle boats regularly make the five-minute crossing throughout the day. You can kick back on the beach, enjoy snorkeling on the near-shore reefs on either end of the island, and enjoy lunch in one of the island's two restaurants. Better yet, get your food to go and take it out on the beach for an impromptu picnic.
 
Shore Excursions
Best for First-Timers: An island tour will give you the opportunity to experience the charm and romance of both the French and Dutch sides of the island. From the picturesque countryside and clothing-optional Orient Beach to the duty-free shops of Philipsburg and the historic salt ponds, the three-hour tour will give you the highlights of this unique two-flags island and still give you plenty of time to explore Marigot on your own.
 
Best for Adventurers: Take a bus ride up to St. Martin's highest point, Pic Paradis, around 1,400 feet above sea level, and hike your way down through the lush rain forest and mountainous terrain of this Mountain Top Hike Adventure. During your two-hour hike, enjoy the views of St. Martin and the flora and fauna of the unique landscape. Also, keep your eyes open for wildlife. End up at Loterie Farm's 135-acre nature reserve, and enjoy a rum or fruit punch before your return to the ship.
 
Best for Eco-Lovers: Experience a scenic horseback safari that crosses a deserted beach, giving you an opportunity to ride and swim along with your horse. View the plant life along the winding trails that lead to a deserted lagoon. Take a refreshing swim, and then enjoy a drink back at the stables at the end of this three-hour tour.
 
Fishing & Scuba Diving
An incredible array of sportfish can be found in the surrounding waters of St. Martin! Catch anything from yellowtail and red snapper to a giant grouper or a mammoth marlin on one of several deep-sea fishing trips offered on the island. Rudy's Fishing (14 Airport Rd., 599/545-2177) or Sailfish Caraibes (590/87-31-94) can outfit you for this adventure.
 
With year-round warm waters and great visibility, St. Martin is a premier scuba diving location. Visit the wrecks of the tugboat Annie, marvel at the marine life in abundance at Creole Rock, or visit the famed Proselyte Reef. Leeward Island Divers (599/544-3320) in St. Maarten's Simpson Bay can assist you in your scuba diving plans. St Martin's Octoplus (590/87-20-62) in Grand Case offers certification course as well as one and two hour dives
 
Random Wind Charters
Random Wind is a 54-foot sailing clipper, the perfect vehicle on which to relax in the Caribbean sunshine. The regularly scheduled "Paradise Day Sail" gets you out on the water for the entire day — breakfast, lunch and open bar are included. The company also has two additional boats, a 26-foot navy tender (At Random) and a speedy, island run-about (Random-ly). Full- and half-day private charters are available, and you can schedule bottom fishing, snorkeling and sunset tours, and even dedicated water taxi services. (599-587-5742)
 
Lee's Deep Sea Fishing
Caribbean waters are full of fish: wahoo, mahi mahi, marlin, yellow fin tuna, blue marlin and more! Lee knows the sweet spots, so you have a great chance at catching a big one. Upon your return to shore, your catch can be cooked up for free at Lee's Roadside Grill. (599-544-4233, 599-544-4234)
 
 Bayside Riding Club
Horse rescue is the driving force behind Bayside. These are former race horses and animals that have been neglected or abused — the owners take amazingly great care of the horses, rehabilitating and slowly training them to be gentle tour horses. For novices, leisurely-paced rides along the beach are perfect. For more experienced riders, Bayside offers private guided rides where you can get up to a canter and take a dip in the ocean. (590 590 87 36 64, 599-557-6822)
 
Aqua Mania Adventures
Do a little island-hopping, snorkeling or scuba diving, sightseeing, fishing — Aqua Mania has it all. They offer all sorts of boating trips, from high-speed ferries to leisurely narrated cruises. They also offer kitesurfing, waterskiing, kayaking, mountain biking and a many other adventurous activities for the whole family. (599-544-2640, 599-544-2631)
 
Bluebeard Charters
Take a day-long excursion aboard a wonderfully comfortable and fully equipped 60-foot catamaran, to Anguilla or Prickly Pear. Trips include open bar, lunch, and snorkel sets, but bring your own towels and sunscreen! (599-587-5935, 888-587-7245)
 
Atlantis Adventures
Atlantis Adventures offers two excursions here. The Seaworld Explorer Coral Reef Tour is great for those who don't relish the idea of snorkeling or scuba diving. You sit in a semi-sub, about five feet beneath the water surface, and look out through glass windows to see the beauty and activity of the underwater world. Rhino Rider tours are just a wee bit more exhilarating! The speedy and highly-maneuverable 10-foot inflatable motorboats seat two — you control your boat as you follow a guide through the lagoon and along the coastline. (599-542-4078)
 
TriSport
The gang at TriSport is an athletic bunch, regularly participating in marathons, triathlons and all manner of other contests of strength and endurance. When they aren't racing, though, they lead fantastic hiking, biking and kayaking tours, designed for your skill level. They know all the best routes and can lead you to the gorgeous, secluded spots you might not get to on your own. At their shop in Simpson Bay, you'll find bicycles, kayaks and all the associated gear you need to enjoy your chosen activity safely and comfortably. (599-545-4384)
 
Eating Out
Marigot offers many fine choices, but Grand Case, a scant five miles or so north, features 27 fine restaurants packed in a one-mile stretch, earning it the nickname "restaurant capital of the Caribbean." Traditional French cuisine, local seafood and Caribbean favorites are the calling cards.
Casual, In-Town joints: With lovely views of Marigot harbor, L'Oizeau Rare serves excellent French bistro cuisine in an open verandah setting surrounding a fountain. (Marigot Waterfront; open for lunch 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday to Friday and dinner from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. daily) For a casual meal right in town, you can't miss the blue-and-white striped awnings of Enoch's Place . It serves Caribbean classics like saltfish and fried johnnycakes for breakfast and garlic shrimp, fresh lobster, and rice and beans for lunch. (Marigot Waterfront Market; open early to late afternoon Monday to Saturday) And pastry lovers won't want to miss a croissant or napoleon from Sarafina's Patisserie, although there can be lines when several cruise ships are in port. (Boulevard de France; open for breakfast, lunch and dinner)
 
In Marina Royale: At the marina, you've got several great options, from the Mediterranean-leaning La Belle Epoch and the Creole and Caribbean flavors of La Petite Auberge des Iles , to the fine French creations of uber-chef Cecile Briaud-Richard at Le Chanteclair .
 
Gourmet Lunching: Try Le Tastevin in Grand Case for a creative blend of traditional French cuisine with the flavors of the Caribbean, all with attentive service. (86 Boulevard de Grand Case; open noon to 2 p.m. daily for lunch and 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. for dinner)
 
For an affordable, American-style meal, search no further than Ric's Place (599/545-3630, www.ricsplace-sxm.com) located on Front St. in downtown Philipsburg. Here you will be treated to mouth-watering hamburgers and Tex-Mex cuisine. For a great place to sit down and enjoy the glorious views of Simpson Bay, head to Saratoga (599/544-2421). A mix of Asian, Southwestern, and other cultures, the menu is constantly revolving, but the food is always great. Saratoga is closed August through September, and on Sundays as well.
 
Bistrot Nu, at Allee de l'Ancienne Geole (590/87-97-09) in downtown Marigot, is a simple, no frills restaurant featuring traditional French cuisine. Popular among tourists and locals alike, it is open until 2am nightly, except for Sunday. For a taste of local Creole cuisine, head to the Claude Mini-Club (590/87-50-69) in Marigot. A colorful and vibrant restaurant, it features a terrific dinner buffet on Wednesday and Saturday nights.
 
Sunset Bar and Grill
This famous bar is located in front of the Princess Juliana International Airport - right in the sand of Maho Beach. Patrons of this bar have front row seats of the massive jets landing and taking off right over sunbathers. The blast from the jets taking off sends people flying or fighting to regain footage and makes some awesome photo opportunities. The bar itself serves up ome made pizza, hamburgers, fish burgers, mozzarella sticks, ribs, Dutch snacks and Caribbean cuisine - as well as plenty of cocktails and cold beverages such as "Pain Killers," "Runway Rum Punch," and "Caribbean Bay Breezes." (545-2084)
 
Shopping
One of the main reasons that Philipsburg, in Dutch St. Maarten, is such an attractive cruise port-of-call is because of its fabulous duty-free shopping. Here you can find terrific bargains on all sorts of items, including liquor, clothing, jewelry, Irish linen, leather goods, etc. 
Front Street, in downtown Philipsburg, is the center of this duty-free trade. Yet there are other shopping hot spots in the area as well. Old Street and Plaza del Lago feature many fine boutiques and shops as well. If you are on the lookout for local hand crafted goods, pay a visit to the Gingerbread Galerie (590/87-73-21) in the St. Martin capital of Marigot. Greenwith Galleries, at 33 Front St. (599/542-3842) has a great collection of local Caribbean artwork. Greenwith Galleries is located in downtown Philipsburg.
 
Shopping Near Cruise Port
The island of St. Maarten/St. Martin has the distinction of being entirely duty-free, so it has evolved into a shopping mecca for travelers. Downtown Phillipsburg is lined with cobblestone streets and quaint little shops within walking  distance (or water taxi ride) from where the shops dock. Jewelry shoppers will have no problem finding a store that sells fine diamonds, gems, and watches - they are everywhere. However, when digging deeper, shoppers will find a wealth of other stores, artisan crafts, exclusive island spirits, and gourmet foods that make excellent gifts for friends and family.
 
The island is known for its unique guavaberries, so a bottle of this rum is a popular choice for visitors, many of whom head to bustling Front Street, the main shopping hub. Exquisite Dutch cheese can be found at Amsterdam Cheese and Liquor Store, while the Belgian Chocolate Shop offers sweet treats. For handmade local jewelry and tableware, the Art Box sells an array of colorful - and functional - products.
 
Cruise passengers can easily enjoy a day of shopping and dining in town, or squeeze in a couple stops on the way back to the vessel after a shore excursion. The team at 10Best have carefully selected their favorite shops in the area, and present this list of 10 that are conveniently located near the cruise port.
 
Front Street
Philipsburg's main thoroughfare is known for its abundance of jewelry shops scattered along the cobblestone street. You can find emeralds, diamonds, gold, platinum and more at over 20 stores. Pieces from internationally known designers such as Cartier, Gucci, Chopard and Versace, along with custom items, are readily available. Front Street also has a good selection of shops offering china and crystal. While some larger stores accept credit cards, smaller vendors may require cash. Other items include t-shirts, duty-free cigars, liquor, perfumes, and more. A beautiful beach boardwalk stretches along the street with beach chairs available to rent and plenty of places for a cold drink.
 
Sint Maarten Guavaberry
For authentic island flavor, look no further than this shop, which sells St. Maarten's national liqueur. Crafted of cane sugar, oak-aged rum, and the elusive guavaberries that grow in the island's central hills, this signature spirit boasts an addictive flavor that visitors come to love. Not at all like the guava plant, the guavaberry rum has a woody, fruity, spicy, bitter-sweet flavour all of its own. Previously made only in individual homes, the liqueur is now produced in larger quantities for the growing market following a recent revival. Several formulations are available here, along with hot sauces, clothing and colognes. (599-542-2965)
 
Amsterdam Cheese
The Dutch (as well as the French) are well-known for their high-quality cheese, so it's no surprise that the island is home to this little store with an outstanding selection. Just a short walk from the cruise ships in downtown Phillipsburg, the Amsterdam Cheese and Liquor Store make an excellent final stop before boarding the vessel, which also sells ice cream, Dutch shoes, cheese knives, stroopwafels (think waffle wafers), licorice, and a selection of fine wines and local rum. Wheels of gouda are the popular item but the friendly staff lets visitors try numerous samples of cheese so they can pick their favorite, with wine pairings as well. (1 721-581-5408)
 
Del Sol
Del Sol is a U.S.-based chain that has expanded to 100 stores worldwide in 25 countries. Using technology that was originally designed by NASA, color-changing crystals are harvested from the sunniest places on the planet and then incorporated into nearly 10,000 color-changing retail items. Browse shirts, pants, accessories, nail polish, headbands, beach cover ups, sunglasses,sandals board shorts, and kids clothing with their favorite characters from Disney or Marvel comics. Watch as logos, images, and lettering magically change color in the sunlight. Located right on Front Street withing walking distance of the cruise port, visitors can easily browse the interesting store. (1-721-54-28013)
 
The Art Box
Unlike many of the designer jewelery shops on the island, The Art Box consists of handcrafted, artisan tableware, jewelery, and accessories. Using designs from her native Croatia and colors and patterns from the Caribbean, artist Zdenka Kiric has created a line of functional artwork with coil wire. The studio showcases silverware, napkin rings, a pearl collection, paintings, salt and pepper shakers, baby jewelery and adult bracelets and earrings. Her products can be purchased at a number of stores around the island and throughout the Caribbean. Visitors to the island tend to return to this store more than once to see what new works Zdenka has created. (599-543-0866)
 
Belgian Chocolate Shop
Chocolate aficionados will moan with delight after tasting the gourmet morsels at this small establishment. Crafted right in the shop by skilled confectioners, the sweet treats frequently give rise to lines of tourists, who can't wait to nibble a free sample or pick up a selection of delicacies for a post-prandial nip. Some 75 different flavors are made fresh by factory owner Beatrix right on Old Street. Truffles come in flavors like Grand Marnier, guavaberry, cognac, Caramel, whiskey-praline, honey-almond, and even champagne. The list of bon bon varieties is even more extensive, with favorites like orange pineapple and coconut passionfruit. (599-542-8863)
 
Shipwreck Shop
Were a ship to wreck, this treasure trove of gifts is just what you could expect to salvage. Goods are characteristically Caribbean and include guavaberry liqueur, local spices and seasonings, and crafts of all sorts. Other great discoveries include artwork, clothing, jewelry, books, an array of delightful domestic goods, and reminders of your time in the Caribbean. In business for more than 40 years, Shipwreck Shops continues to deliver excellent products. Each of the 16 shops around the island make an ideal, duty-free stop for souvenir-seekers. In case you were wondering, the shop was invented out of the ashes of a bad storm that washed the owners to the island - as the legend goes. (599-542-2962, 599-542-6710)
 
Little Switzerland
Elegant gifts and accessories are made affordable at Little Switzerland, thanks to the island's exemption from import and export taxes. Jewelry, china, crystal, leather, perfume and other classy goods invite you to browse and to pick up a few trinkets for friends back home or -- better yet -- for yourself. This shop has several locations in Phllispburg (Front Street and Wathey Square) as well as a branch in Marigot that has a great selection and slightly different merchandise from the world-renown group that's based in the Caribbean. You can pick up brands like Tiffany & Co, Breitling, Cartier,Ippolita, and many other luxury designers. (599-542-2523)
 
Toppers Restaurant & Rhum Shops
What began in 1995 as an incentive for customers of Toppers Restaurant and Bar developed into a popular product for locals and tourists alike. Over the years, the recipe was perfected and now the delicious rum is served in colorful glass bottles with swing tops that make excellent vases, decorative glass, table lamps, oil and vinegar bottles, and more. Handmade from local flavors like banana vanilla cinnamon, white raspberry, apple pie, coconut, mocha, and mojito, the one-liter bottles make excellent gifts and souvenirs. The popular local business continues to expand, and in January of 2013, the first bottles of Topper's award-winning Rhum made their debut on shelves in South Carolina. (+599 544 3500)
 
Gingerbread Galerie
Although high-quality arts and crafts aren't as easy to find on the island as some would hope, this terrific gallery is an exception. Specializing in Haitian art, it offers large- and small-scale pieces in a wide range of prices. The owner took in interest in Haitian art in the early 70s, and the little gallery is still around today. From impressive paintings to souvenir-style items, the gallery carries something for everyone. All schools and subjects represented from country life to voodoo. Look for it at the marina in Marigot - for passengers docking on the French side of the island. Shipping is available. (590-590-519-495)

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