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. From impressive paintings to souvenir-style items, the gallery carries something for everyone. Look for it at the marina.
Run by three contemporary artists (Paul Elliott Thuleau, Nathalie Lepine and Patrick Poivre de La Freta), this is the perfect gallery to scope out local artwork. Along with works by the aforementioned artists, you can find original pieces and prints from several additional Caribbean artists.
The guy who was in part responsible for creating Yoda, the lovable little Jedi master in the Star Wars series, Nick Maley has earned an international following for his paintings. Although Maley's artwork today is significantly different from the creatures he created for the films, it's nonetheless accomplished and appealing. The gallery has a collection of his own Star Wars memorabilia too, making it a must see for any Star Wars fan.
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.
Recommended for Best Shopping because: Friendly, helpful vendors line this bustling street, making it a shopper's dream.
Local Expert tip: Be aware of the timeshare sales people.
A native of St. Martin, Richardson captures the most vibrant and individual aspects of Caribbean life in his work. A prolific artist, he works in charcoal, watercolor and oil, and also tests his skills in woodcuts and etchings. Subject matter abounds, and includes botanicals, portraits and landscapes, to name but a few. Worldwide exhibits provide further validation of his talent and its appeal to visitors and locals alike.
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.
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. Previously made only in individual homes, the liqueur is now produced in larger quantities for the growing market. Several formulations are available here, along with hot sauces, clothing and colognes.
Marigot is the bustling shopping hub on the French side of the island. Designer fashion boutiques are prominent, but perfume and jewelry shops are numerous as well. Manek's, a two-story duty-free emporium on Rue de la République, is a treasure trove of luggage, cigars, liquor, electronics, perfume and apparel. Marigot also has a great market, open on Wednesdays and Saturdays, where you can get fresh fruits and vegetables, souvenirs, local arts and crafts, and t-shirts.
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. An ideal, duty-free stop for souvenir-seekers.