When you’re on a Caribbean cruise, most likely you will end up stopping in Sint Maarten, the cruise capital of the Caribbean. Hence, the island of St. Maarten is one of the world’s top cruise port destinations.
This cruise port is huge, handling over 20,000 people at a time and up to 6 ships at once. There are so many things to do around the cruise port that you will never be bored but may be pressed for time.
Unfortunately, you may only get a glimpse of this gem of an island, I always recommend a proper vacation for a week or two. In Phillipsburg, one of the best things to do is shopping on Front Street or Back Street or hang out in Wathey Square.
You can also enjoy the day at Great Bay Beach, Divi Little Bay Beach. You can even take a short taxi ride into Maho to watch the planes take-off and land.
There are many beach bars located in Maho such as Sunset Beach Bar, Driftwood Boat Bar, and the new Sandbar Beach Bar. Whether you prefer to be laid back or power shop, St, Maarten is the island for you and your family to enjoy it all.
Check out the list below for the top recommended Attractions near the Cruise Port in St. Maarten/St. Martin
Table of Contents
Little Divi Bay Beach Resort
Visit Little Bay Beach if you’re looking for a beach that’s close to the cruise port, about 7-minute cab ride. This is a very nice beach, with soft sand, and gorgeous turquoise water.
Sit, relax, and work on your tan, sipping on cocktails, or you can enjoy some water sports such as jet-skiing, snorkeling, and much more. They also have showers and restrooms that are all nearby and available for everyone to use.
If tanning or water sports are not your thing, then you can take a walk around and enjoy the many restaurants, bars, and shops located in the area. This area is family-friendly.
Great Bay Beach
Great Bay Beach is a beautiful beach that stretches 2 miles (3.22 km) long that looks like a postcard from every angle. It is very close to the cruise terminal and you can get there either by water taxi for $7 with a return ticket or pay $5 for a one way.
If you would rather walk there, it’s only a 15-minute walk down the boardwalk, and you can enjoy music and some local bars and restaurants along the way. Once you’re there you will be approached by vendors selling chairs and umbrella packages on the beach that include beer and Wi-Fi.
You get 2 Beach Loungers and 1 umbrella and 6 beers all for approximately $25-$30 depending on which restaurant or bar you go to. They also give you free Wi-Fi so don’t forget to ask for the Wi-Fi code, especially for your social media buffs.
You also get the use of their facilities. Having your towels on your beach loungers will reserve them for the day. You can take off and walk the boardwalk and sightsee or just relax and work on your tan.
They also have many water sports that are available. They have Jet-Skis rentals and water sports equipment rentals. Enjoy the Caribbean Sea, and keep an eye on the time, time flies when you’re having fun.
Front Street is famous for its duty-free shopping. Located in Philipsburg this shopping mecca is popular for jewelry shops. If you’re looking for a particular piece of jewelry I’m sure you can find it here no doubt. There are many places to shop around and search for deals.
Authentic name brands like Armani, Versace, Gucci are just some designer brands you will find. Walk around to get the best deals on t-shirts, perfumes, cigarettes/cigars, alcohol, homeware and electronics, all duty-free. Don’t forget to bargain with the vendors.
If you are after a more local atmosphere and better bargains, try Back Street. It actually runs parallel to Front Street just one street over, do not miss out on the experience.
Probably the most crowded beach during the cruise season is Maho Beach watching the planes land and take off, never gets old. I myself have been frequenting the island since 1995 and still love watching the planes from Maho.
The Sunset Beach Bar is a popular destination amongst St.Maarten tourists and locals, other places in Maho are Driftwood Boat bar right on the beach great spot to catch the planes and a new bar called Sand bar.
If you are going to be traveling to Maho beach it’s best to pack up and head back to the port latest 3:30 pm if your ship’s leaving at 5 pm. Always give yourself ample time for traffic, and there’s always traffic in St.Maarten.
Wathey Square is where the boat taxis operate from. You will be dropped off and picked up at the pier here, you will know you have arrived when you see the map of Sint Maarten/Saint Martin mural on the ground.
There are also cabs to take you to different destinations if you prefer to discover the island. Just a short walk away you can enjoy some duty-free shopping, great food, and delicious cocktails. There is also a small souvenir flea market nearby, just keep walking straight in pass Back Street, it’s hard to miss.
Otherwise, walk the boardwalk, and pick a spot on the beach and relax for the day, swim, drink, or tan. There’s so many places to check out you can get dizzy with a choice.
If you’re into water sports, this is a one of a kind attraction in the Caribbean, great fun! Enjoy an exciting experience with this unique water ride. It requires steering with your body
movements, if you have 2 people riding you must lean in unison. The Water UFO is definitely good times, with family and friends. This is something extraordinary to write home about.
Try the famous Guava Berry Liquor
The Guava berry Emporium is the spot to taste and sample this locally made liquor. The Guava berry Emporium is located on Front Street in Phillipsburg in an old townhouse, you can’t miss the big liquor bottle at the entrance. Make sure to take some home with you.
My favorite is the guava berry colada. The centuries-old liquor is a part of St. Maarten’s culture, there are songs and stories dedicated to the Guava Berry. The liquor is a rare combination of aged rum, sugar cane, and wild guava berries found in the central part of the island.
With so many things to do and see in St. Maarten, you may need to come back and spend a week’s holiday to really enjoy the rest of the island. Here’s a list of a few more suggestion in Phillipsburg:
- Yoda Guy Museum (Star Wars Theme)
- Sint Maarten Museum (Island Heritage, with Caribbean Gifts and crafts)
- Swimming, Water Sports
- Restaurants and bars.