Sint Maarten

Philipsburg Travel Blog

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Welcome to Sint Maarten!

Carnival Glory slipped quietly into Sint Maarten. Before I realized it, we were docked. As I looked across Great Bay, the water was the deepest azure blue I've ever seen! Beautiful place!

We booked a tour to begin at 12:30 so had the entire morning to explore on our own. A taxi from the Wathey port complex to Philipsburg was US$5 round trip. The taxi companies give you a plastic wrist band, so you'll be identified for the return.  (A taxi to Marigot on the French side of the island was US$15. We'd go there later in the day.)

The taxi dropped us off right in the center of Philipsburg. What a charming town! A little of Europe, spiced with the Caribbean.

Great Bay
 Palm-lined Front Street is the main street. In the center of things is the wooden Dutch court house, dating from 1798 and still housing administrative offices. Jewelry and clothing shops were similar to St. Thomas (and better bargains are found there, I thought). But, the real shopping in Sint Maarten reflected the Dutch influence. A Belgian chocolatier was off Old Street. The chocolates are made on the premises. Across from it was the Yoda shop. (The artsit/designer who creaed Yoda and other animated charaters lives on the island. The shop sells samples of his work.)  Further along Front Street was a Delft shop. My wife and selected a few pieces here. 

Great Bay Beach runs along the front of Philipsburg. What a beautiful beach this is, and not crowded at all! We walked along the beach for a ways and considered how ideal this is for both shopping and beach activities.

Great Bay Beach at Philipsburg
 When you tire of one, you can walk over just one block and enjoy the other! It was too soon time to return to the ship. We found a taxi by the Court House.

At 12:30 p.m. we were back off the ship and met our tour that would take us around the island and to the French territory. The tour began with a drive along the back side of Philipsburg. This was more down to business, with casinos, housing, stores for the locals and government offices. Burger King, KFC, and Subway lurk here, too. There are several roundabouts on the back street, each with a statue in the center. I'd like to have found out more about what the statues represent. The bus wended its way to the opposite side of Great Bay, affording  view back towards Point Blanche and the port and Carnival Glory.

A bit inland, Koolbai village is home to the regional hospital. There is also a mosque and Islamic Centre here. That was interesting I thought. With the island's Dutch connection, I wondered if the congregants were Dutch Moslems or possibly Indonesian.

The road continued on to Simpson Bay. The international airport is located here, built, we were told, by the United States during World War II. That may explain why electricity on the Dutch side is 110v and on the French side is 220v. Then, it was time to cross the border.

Andy99 says:
Philipsburg fronts on Great Bay Beach. You can walk from the main shopping street to the beach in two minutes.
Posted on: Aug 01, 2007
PhinsAndGills says:
Unfortunately, our cruise doesn't pull into Phillipsburg until 2:30 in the afternoon, so we're going to miss a lot. We have to choose between a sunset ocean kyack and the shops (that close at 6:00). Is there a great deal to do after 6:00?
Posted on: Aug 01, 2007
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Welcome to Sint Maarten!
Welcome to Sint Maarten!
Great Bay
Great Bay
Great Bay Beach at Philipsburg
Great Bay Beach at Philipsburg
Azure Waters of Great Bay
Azure Waters of Great Bay
Carnival Glory at Sint Maarten
Carnival Glory at Sint Maarten
Container Terminal
Container Terminal
With my son and daughter
With my son and daughter
Front Street
Front Street
Philipsburg Court House
Philipsburg Court House
Philipsburg Court House
Philipsburg Court House
Cyrus Wathey Square
Cyrus Wathey Square
Old Street (Thats its name)
Old Street (That's its name)
Belgian Chocolate Shop
Belgian Chocolate Shop
Great Bay Beach
Great Bay Beach
Beachfront Tiki Bar
Beachfront Tiki Bar
Casino
Casino
Wrapped Statue
Wrapped Statue
Cinema, Subway, and Caribbean Deli…
Cinema, Subway, and Caribbean Del…
Carival Glory and Point Blanche
Carival Glory and Point Blanche
Divi Little Bay Resort
Divi Little Bay Resort
Koolbaai village
Koolbaai village
Simpson Bay
Simpson Bay
Philipsburg
photo by: Andy99