What Are the Best Things to Buy in St. Martin/St. Maarten?

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Many people from all over the world travel to St. Maarten not just for the beautiful scenery but to take advantage of the amazing shopping opportunities that the island has to offer. St. Maarten is one of the most popular shopping destinations in the Caribbean because there is no sales tax charged in St. Martin. St. Maarten’s duty-free status makes it a shopper’s paradise for those who are looking to buy incredible items for a significantly cheaper rate than in the US, Britain, Canada, Europe, and other parts of the world.

There are many items that are unique to the island of St. Martin that many tourists frequently buy during their visits there such as jewelry, Dutch cheeses, wine, perfume, watches, locally made hot sauces, guavaberry rum, and more. Many tourists love to purchase items like these because it helps them remember their amazing trip to St. Maarten or because they would like to give a memento to a friend or family member they were thinking about while on vacation.

There are many amazing places to shop on both the French and Dutch sides of St. Maarten such as the capital cities of Marigot and Phillipsburg. At these locations, tourists will find streets lined with beautiful handmade souvenirs from local artisans as well as designer clothing, delicious wine, electronics, and more. The US Dollar is widely accepted on both sides of St. Maarten and is the most common form of currency along with the Euro. Credit cards and traveler’s checks are also widely accepted and most salespeople speak English. This article is a shopping guide to the island of St. Maarten. The best places to shop as well as the most popular items to buy in St. Maarten will be explained below.

1. Wine

With the northern side of Saint Martin being heavily influenced by the French culture there is no shortage of delicious wines that tourists can buy to take home and enjoy. Wine is known to be one of the most popular drinks of Saint Martin. Since so many love the wine that is available in Saint Martin, they choose to take a bottle home to remember their trip and to give to their friends and family. There is a wide array of wines available in St. Martin that cannot be purchased just anywhere such as Chilean wine, Argentinian wine, and French wine. Many tourists visiting St. Maarten take advantage of the opportunity to buy delicious wines at inexpensive prices during their trips.

The delicious wines available in St. Martin can be purchased for a fraction of the price than can be purchased in other countries such as the United States, and countries in the EU because of the tax-free status of Saint Martin. Many of the local supermarkets, liquor stores, and souvenir shops have special sales on various brands of alcohol throughout Saint Martin. In St. Martin, a glass of wine costs around $9 to $12 (€7 to €10) per glass and an average bottle of wine in Saint Martin costs around $ 16 to $20 (€13 to €17). It is considerably cheaper to buy alcohol on the southern Dutch side of St. Maarten, since the exchange rate of the Netherlands Antillean Guilder is closer to the US Dollar than to the Euro, which is the currency used in northern French Saint Martin.

2. Hot sauces

One of the things the Caribbean is known for is delicious spices that can be found in the local cuisine. One of the most popular items that tourists buy during their trip to St. Maarten is locally made hot sauce that is full of these delicious Caribbean spices. Hot sauce has a long history in the traditions, celebrations, and cuisine of St. Maarten.  Many tourists enjoy taking a bottle of hot sauce home to use in their own food so that they can remember the delicious cuisine of the island. These hot sauces are also a perfect gift to give to friends and family to give them a taste of the flavors of St. Maarten.

The peppers used in these hot sauces are made from peppers grown on the island of St. Maarten such as jalapeno peppers, scotch bonnet peppers, and habanero peppers. These peppers grow bountifully on the island due to the tropical climate and fertile ground on the island. Many of the bottles containing the hot sauce are even hand painted by the locals of the island. Locally made hot sauces usually start at a price of around $8 (€7) per bottle and can be found at restaurants, grocery stores, souvenir shops, and local street markets in towns such as Marigot and Philipsburg.

3. Dutch porcelain

The Dutch culture has a very strong influence on the island of Sint Maarten. This can be seen by the wide array of Dutch porcelain that is available to purchase on the island. Dutch Porcelain is one of the most popular items that tourists like to buy during their trip to Sint Maarten because it is not available anywhere else except the Netherlands. Dutch Porcelain is an item that many visiting the island of Sint Maarten value highly because it represents the island’s rich Dutch heritage and is a remnant of the rich Dutch culture that still is very strong on the island of St. Maarten.

The traditional hand-painted blue and white Dutch porcelain can be found all over the Dutch side of Sint Martin in souvenir shops, local street markets, and the like. These porcelain figures take many shapes such as plates, keychains, mugs, vases, tulips, traditional Dutch windmills, row houses, and more. The tax-free status of Sint Maarten also makes these items cheaper to purchase than even the Netherlands. Prices vary depending on the sizing of the item. Dutch Porcelain can make a great conversation piece for your dinner table and can be a nice reminder of your trip to Sint Maarten.

4. Designer clothing and shoes

The French side of St. Maarten is known for having the latest in fashion, and tourists who travel to Saint Martin love to take advantage of a shopping day while visiting the island. Tourists who are wondering what to wear in St. Maarten can visit the towns of Grand Case and Marigot. There are many high-end European stores for tourists to shop in these towns which feature items such as clothing, bags, sunglasses, shoes, and more.

Even those who don’t have the budget for high-end designer fashions can enjoy the atmosphere of checking out the latest trends. The duty-free status of the island of Saint Martin makes these fashions much more affordable than they would be if purchased in other countries like the US, Canada, and Europe. There are many discount designer stores and boutiques for tourists to enjoy.

5. Perfumes and cosmetics

Perfume and cosmetics are some of the top items that tourists buy on their trip to St. Maarten. The reason for this is that many who visit the Caribbean say that the perfumes in St. Maarten are less expensive than can be found on any other island in the Caribbean. Beauty lovers can find their favorite holy-grail cosmetics for a discounted rate, it is surely a place to shop till you drop. In the cosmetic stores, you can find exclusive European cosmetics at a much cheaper rate.

One of the popular places to buy perfume in French Saint Martin is Tijon Parfumerie, which is located in the town of Grand Case.  At Tijon Parfumerie, tourists can take a class to discover how fragrances are made as well as make their own perfume. There are also many deals available on brand-name perfumes, skincare products, and cosmetics because St. Martin is a duty-free island. Many tourists take advantage of the amazing deals with cosmetics and fragrances during their trip to St. Maarten.

6. Flavored liqueurs

St. Maarten is known for being an island full of festivities and celebrations. Flavored liqueurs have a huge presence in the nightlife of St. Maarten and in its overall culture on both the French and Dutch sides of the island. Most of the celebrations on the island of St. Maarten include drinking their famous liqueurs such as Guavaberry Rum. This is a staple of St. Maarten and is one of the things tourists often buy to remember their trip to St. Maarten. Many of the flavored liqueurs are made locally on the island and the rum bottles have beautiful designs that are hand painted by local artists.

Many of the flavored liqueurs come in an array of flavors such as vanilla, passionfruit, banana, guavaberry, and more.  A typical price for flavored liquor from Sint Maarten is from $16 to $23 (€14 €20) per bottle. Many of these bottles of flavored rum can be bought at local breweries and supermarkets and shops all over St. Maarten. Many of the rum distilleries or makers of the rum sold in St. Maarten are family-owned operations. Flavored liqueurs are definitely a special item to bring home to friends and family so they can experience the culture and flavor of Saint Martin in a bottle.

7. Guavaberry products

The Guavaberry plant holds a large place in the history of St. Maarten. Guavaberry is used in many different dishes and beverages on the island of St. Maarten. The island of St. Maarten has always had an abundance of guavaberries that grow naturally in the warm hills of the island. Guavaberry is a prized symbol of Saint Martin’s history and legacy, there are even old folk songs and stories commonly known in Saint Martin about guavaberry rum. This makes the Guavaberry an integral part of Saint Martin’s local culture, tradition, and heritage.

When visiting St. Maarten, many tourists buy different products made with guavaberry such as rum, desserts, juices, hot sauces, liqueur, and more. Guavaberry products can be found at local supermarkets, street markets, souvenir shops, and restaurants on the island. Guavaberry products are some of the best gifts you can bring to a loved one to expose them to the culture of St. Martin and it is a wonderful way to remember the tastes of the island as well.

8. Linens

Many people don’t expect to buy linens such as tablecloths and napkins while on vacation, but when visiting St. Maarten linens are some of the most popular items you can buy on the island. The reason for this is that St. Maarten has some of the best quality linens that can be purchased outside of Europe. Due to the heavy influence of Dutch culture in Sint Maarten, there are many high-quality linens produced by local artisans in Sint Maarten that compare to the linens that can be purchased in the Netherlands.

The prices for linens in Sint Maarten vary depending on the size and type of item you’re purchasing. However, many tourists love the fact that they can purchase quality linens at a much more affordable rate than other countries due to St. Maarten’s tax-free status. These quality linens can be purchased at the stores located in Phillipsburg which is the capital of Dutch Sint Maarten as well as souvenir shops all over the island. Linens are a wonderful souvenir that you can buy that will constantly remind you of your wonderful stay in Sint Maarten.

9. Jewelry

Most people like to purchase jewelry while they are on vacation. St. Maarten has no shortage of jewelry to offer to tourists who visit the island. St. Maarten has luxurious and high-end jewelry such as gold rings, silver necklaces, and earrings as well as beautiful and unique jewelry that was handmade by local artisans.

Most of these wonderful pieces of jewelry can be purchased on the French side of Saint Martin at luxury stores in Grand Case and the local craft markets in the capital city of Marigot. Jewelry can also be found at many high-end stores, souvenir shops, and jewelry stores on the Dutch side of Sint Maarten, prices for different pieces of jewelry can vary. Purchasing a beautiful piece of jewelry is sure to help you remember your vacation in Saint Martin quite fondly, as well as be a thoughtful gift for a loved one.

10. Cheeses

Dutch culture is one of the most prominent influences in Sint Maarten so it’s no wonder why cheese is one of the most popular items that tourists enjoy buying during their trips to St. Maarten. There are a variety of cheeses available to purchase on the Dutch side of the island such as Gouda, Edam, Maasdam, mozzarella, blue cheese, and more.

Many of these delicious cheeses are available to purchase at the Amsterdam Cheese and Liquor Store, which is a specialty store located in Phillipsburg, St. Maarten. Cheeses can also be purchased at grocery stores and local markets in Phillipsburg. Buying these cheeses as a souvenir is sure to make for a tasty treat for you and your friends that will remind you of your time in St. Maarten when you return home.

11. Stickers

Many people love to purchase stickers to put on their cars, laptops, and other surfaces. Tourists who visit St. Martin often buy stickers representing St. Martin so that they have a daily reminder of their wonderful time on the island. Many of these stickers say “SXM” or have pictures of the scenery of St. Maarten and can be purchased at souvenir shops all over the island for around $2 to $6 (€1 to €5). These stickers are also a nice and inexpensive gift to give to friends and family.

12. Postcards

Postcards are a wonderful way to let your family and friends know that you were thinking about them during vacation. Many tourists love to purchase postcards that feature the beautiful scenery of St. Martin or even the local artwork to either send to friends and family or to keep for themselves for memories of their trip to St. Maarten. Many of these beautiful postcards can be purchased at local souvenir shops all over the island of St. Maarten.

13. Bags

St. Maarten has many high-end stores that feature designer bags that are available for tourists to purchase during their trips to St. Maarten. These bags are some of the most popular items that travelers like to buy during their vacations. The reason for this is that many of the name-brand bags available can be purchased at a significantly lower price than in the US, Canada, and countries in the EU.

Most designer bags can be purchased on the French side of the island where there are many boutiques and stores with the latest fashions. There are also different stores located in Phillipsburg, Dutch Sint Maarten where bags can be purchased. Those on a budget can also purchase bags made by local artisans at the street markets in Marigot, these bags are often very unique and sold at a lower price than designer handbags.

14. Watches

Luxury watches are some of the most popular items that visitors to Saint Martin look to purchase while on the island. Many of the prices for these name-brand watches that are sold in St. Maarten start at around $400 (€363). Tourists like to purchase these watches in Saint Martin because they can purchase them at a rate of 20% less than they normally would be in countries such as the United States, Canada, and countries in the EU. The reason the watches can be purchased much cheaper than other places is that the island of St. Maarten doesn’t charge tax on goods.

Many luxury jewelry stores on both the Dutch and French sides of Saint Martin sell watches. Buying a watch in Saint Martin is a great way to score a great deal quality product that will stand the test of time.

What are the best places in St. Martin for shopping?

There are many wonderful places to shop in Saint Martin. Some of the best places to go shopping in Saint Martin are listed and explained below.

  1. Front & Back Street: Located in Dutch Sint Maarten in the capital of Philipsburg. Both Front and Back streets are some of the most highly populated areas in St. Maarten where there is plenty of shopping available for tourists. There is an abundance of jewelry, and designer brands such as Cartier, Gucci, Chopard, Versace, and more. There are many shops that feature luxurious items such as crystal, and fine china. There are also souvenirs such as T-shirts, cigars, liquor, perfumes, and more sold here.
  2. Marigot: Marigot is the bustling shopping hub on the French side of the island of Saint Martin. There are different designer fashion boutiques that are prominent in the area as well as perfume and jewelry shops. The different stores in Marigot sell things such as luggage, liquor, electronics, cigars, clothing, and more. Marigot also has a great market that is open on Wednesdays and Saturdays, where you can buy souvenirs, t-shirts, fresh fruits and vegetables, and local arts and crafts.
  3. Sint Rose Shopping mall: The Sint Rose Shopping mall is located in Phillipsburg, Sint Maarten near the beachside boardwalk off Front Street. High-end name brands such as Lalique and Cartier can be purchased here. There is also a wide selection of goods to buy such as watches, cameras, electronics, and jewelry.
  4. Les West Indies Mall: Les West Indies Mall is located on the waterfront in Marigot, French Saint Martin. Les West Indies Mall is a beautiful location with arches, skylights, gazebos, and curved staircases. There are 22 high-end boutiques available for tourists to explore. There are many luxury brands available at these stores such as Longchamp, Hermès, Cartier, and more.
  5. Shipwreck Shop: The Shipwreck Shop is a chain of gift shops located in many different areas of Saint Martin on the French and Dutch sides. Different items sold at the Shipwreck shop are local spices and seasonings, guavaberry liqueur, artwork, clothing, books, jewelry, and more.
  6. The Sint Maarten Guavaberry Emporium: The Guavaberry Emporium is located in Phillipsburg, Sint Maarten, and is one of the top spots on the island of St. Maarten where tourists can buy Guavaberry products such as jams, desserts, hot sauces, liqueurs, and more.
  7. Amsterdam Cheese and Liquor Store: One of the top places on the island of St. Maarten to get high-quality cheeses and other specialty goods such as liquor, waffles, ice cream, licorice, fine wines, and more. This store really reflects the marriage of the French and Dutch culture in St. Martin.

The places listed above are some of the best places to shop in Saint Martin. These places promise a stellar experience and a taste of the island that you just can’t miss.

Are there shopping malls in St. Maarten?

Yes, there are several shopping malls in St. Maarten. There are shopping malls located on both the French and Dutch sides of the island of St. Maarten. Most of the malls in St. Maarten are located on the Dutch side of the island.

Many people travel to St. Maarten every year to take advantage of the luxurious items that are available on the island as well as the less expensive items that are available in the shops. Due to this, there are a vast array of malls, some that sell more expensive and luxurious items and others that are geared towards cheaper items and less expensive prices. The shopping malls in Saint Martin are listed below.

  1. Sint Rose Shopping Mall
  2. Paradise Mall
  3. Tamarind Plaza
  4. Plaza 21
  5. Howell-Center Mall
  6. Les West Indies Shopping Mall
  7. Super Plaza

Which side of St. Martin is the best for shopping?

The Dutch side of the island of Sint Maarten can be considered the best side for shopping. This side of the island sees many tourists every day because of the nearby airport and the cruise ship port that is located in Philipsburg, Sint Maarten. Thousands of tourists each day are brought onto the Dutch side of St. Maarten by these means every day. Due to the high volume of tourists, there are many different shops that visitors can enjoy on this side of the island.

Although the Dutch side of the island sees a higher volume of tourists than its French counterpart, the French side of the island also has amazing areas where tourists can enjoy shopping. In many of the shopping areas on the French side of Saint Martin, tourists can find luxurious items such as designer clothing, handbags, and jewelry as well as handmade items made by locals. Many of these types of shops and boutiques can be found in the towns of Marigot and Grand Case.

Where are the most shops located in St. Maarten?

Most of the shops in St. Maarten are located on the Dutch side of St. Maarten in the capital city of Philipsburg. The reason for this is because there are a vast number of tourists that come through this area every day either via cruise ship or from the nearby international airport.

Although the highest volume of stores can be found on the Dutch side of the island of St. Maarten, the French side of the island has a plethora of lovely stores and boutiques, and shops for tourists to enjoy. These stores can be found in the town of Marigot which is the capital city of the French side of the island of Saint Martin and in Grand Case, Saint Martin. Shopping can also be done in other areas of St. Maarten such as Simpson Bay, Grand Case, Maho, Cupecoy, and Hope Estate.

What is St. Maarten famous for?

St. Maarten is famous for many things such as Guavaberry Rum, locally made hot sauce, Dutch Porcelain, French wines, Dutch cheeses, designer clothing, and fine jewelry. St. Maarten is also famous for its duty-free status, meaning there is no tax charged on goods. Tourists love purchasing all types of things at a less expensive rate than can be found in other countries such as the United States, Canada, and other countries in Europe.

How are the prices in St. Martin?

The prices in St. Maarten can be considered relatively low compared to other places in the world such as the United States, England, and other countries in Europe. This is because St. Martin is a duty-free island. So, products will normally be 20% less than items in other areas because the tax is taken off.

Compared to other islands in the Caribbean the cost of living in Saint Martin can be considered relatively high. The reason for this is because St. Maarten has a tourism-based economy, so the prices on the island are geared towards the tourists who come from places like the United States, Canada, Britain, and Europe.

Is Sint Maarten cheap for shopping?

Yes, St. Maarten can be considered a relatively cheap island for shopping. The island of St. Maarten stands out in the Caribbean because of its duty-free status on both the French and Dutch sides of the island. Shoppers will enjoy buying their items at a rate of less than 20% than that of other locations around the world.

Although for shopper’s the prices might be considered low, the cost of living in St. Maarten is relatively high when compared with other islands in the Caribbean. The cost of living on the island of St. Maarten is relatively high. The average expense for one person to live on the island of Saint Martin is $1500 per month, excluding rent. In Saint Martin, $1500 per month would cover costs such as food, shopping costs, utilities, entertainment costs, and other personal care costs. Additionally, the average cost of rent in St. Martin ranges from $900-$2200 per month. St. Maarten is not considered a third-world country.

What is the custom policy of St. Martin?

St. Maarten differs from most other countries in the Caribbean because there are no customs duties in Saint Martin. Travelers buying goods in St. Maarten do not have to pay any extra fees or taxes on the items they purchased. St. Maarten is a duty-free port. Tourists love shopping in St. Maarten because they can get different items on the island for 20 to 40% less than they would in other countries such as the United States, Canada, and countries in the EU.

How much money is needed to spend in St. Martin?

The average amount of money needed to stay in Saint Martin for 7 days is around $1,800 (€ 1,633) per person. The currency used in Dutch St. Maarten is the Netherland Antilles Guilder and the Euro is used as common currency on the French side of the island. The US Dollar is widely accepted and a main form of currency on both sides of the island. Credit cards and traveler’s checks are also widely accepted throughout the island of St. Maarten.

What are the cheap stores in St. Martin?

The island of Saint Martin has a shopping experience for everyone that visits the island. Some tourists are looking for a luxurious shopping experience, while others are looking to buy items that are less expensive. Many of the cheaper stores on the island can be found in Dutch Sint Maarten. Some of the cheaper stores in Saint Martin are listed below.

  1. Landmark Variety Outlet: A clothing store located in Phillipsburg, St. Maarten. There is clothing available for men, women, and children at a discounted rate. The Landmark Variety Outlet has a five-star rating and is open on Monday to Saturday from 9:30 am to 6:30 pm and on Sundays from 10:30 am to 3:30 pm.
  2. Shop-4-Less: A department store located in Cay Hill, Sint Maarten where there are all types of household items and clothing available for all kinds offered at an inexpensive price. Shop-4-Less has a 4.5-star rating and is open on Monday to Saturday from 9 am to 6 pm and is closed on Sundays.
  3. Kwik Bargains: A department store located in Cole Bay, Sint Maarten. There are different items sold here such as clothing, furniture, and other household items for a discounted rate. Kwik Bargains has a 3.5-star rating and is open from Monday to Saturday from 8:30 am to 6 pm and is closed on Sundays.
  4. Kwality-4-Less: A men’s clothing store located in Phillipsburg, Sint Maarten. Men’s clothing is sold here at a discounted rate. Kwality-4-Less is open from Monday to Saturday from 10 am to 6 pm and is closed on Sundays.
  5. Mr. Kool Gift Shop: A souvenir shop located in Phillipsburg, Sint Maarten. Mr. Kool Gift Shop sells inexpensive souvenir items and is open from Monday to Sunday from 9 am to 5 pm.

Is Louis Vuitton cheaper in St. Martin?

No, Louis Vuitton is not cheaper on St. Martin, simply because there are no Louis Vuitton stores located on the island of St. Maarten at all. However, there is a store that is located on the nearby island of St. Barths in the city of Gustavia. Many tourists will often take day trips by ferry to this nearby island and enjoy the shopping that is available on the island, including the Louis Vuitton store.

At the Louis Vuitton store located in Saint Barths tourists can find original Louis Vuitton Bags, suitcases, and other items for about 20% less than can be found in the US or France because of St. Barths’ duty-free status. St. Maarten’s proximity to this shopper’s haven in St. Barths is yet another reason why many tourists visit the island of St. Maarten year after year.

What is the shopping experience like in St. Martin?

Tourists from all over the world come to Saint Martin to experience the amazing shopping that the island has to offer. The island of Saint Martin is known for its duty-free shopping status which allows visitors to buy all types of items at a much cheaper price. St. Maarten stands out among the other islands in the Caribbean for this reason.

Those who travel to St. Maarten will no doubt want to take advantage of the many opportunities to shop on both the French and Dutch sides of the island. They can find things such as designer clothing, delicious and spicy hot sauces, locally made rum, fine jewelry, and more. There are many different locations in St. Martin where visitors can find all of these amazing items such as the towns of Marigot, Phillipsburg, Grand Case, Cupecoy, and Simpson Bay. The shopping experience in St. Maarten is definitely one of the many reasons why the island is so beloved by those who visit year after year.