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10 Best Attractions near the Cruise Port in St. Maarten/St. Martin



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. 


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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.


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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.


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Treasure Seeker
Photo courtesy of 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.


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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.


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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.




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."




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.


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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.




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.


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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.


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Meet Amber Nolan

Originally from upstate New York, this restless traveler has a knack for befriending interesting characters. You can usually find her just about anywhere that has a hammock. Amber's favorite...  More About Amber

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