Philipsburg A Paradise for Pleasure Seekers
In 1631, the first Dutch colonists arrived and settled on the strip of sand between Great Bay and Great Salt Pond. They built the village in the western part near Fort Amsterdam, gradually extending eastwards. The town’s location by the sheltered bay allowed for exporting agricultural commodities and salt to Europe. Today, the city occupies the entire sandy strip, has a population of 7,000, and serves as a port of call for over a million cruise passengers yearly.
One cannot help but be captivated by the stunning views of Philipsburg as they drive along the seafront road. The sight of the turquoise waters of Great Bay is genuinely mesmerizing. As you turn the corner, you’ll find yourself on the small shopping streets parallel to the seafront. Ample parking is available, so there is no need to worry about that. You can stroll down Front Street, the main street in Philipsburg, and enjoy a memorable shopping experience.
The window displays are filled with the biggest names in fashion, all vying for your attention. Many boutiques offer top international brands in fine jewellery and watches, along with top-notch service. You’ll also find plenty of audiovisual retailers and phone shops. The perfume shops have various cosmetics and scents from famous brands. You’ll find everything in Philipsburg, from typical souvenir shops to big chains. You can easily find unique gifts to take home to remember your trip. These shops also offer cartons of cigarettes and bottled spirits at unbeatable prices. In Sint Maarten, all purchases made in Philipsburg are duty-free. The absence of customs duty and VAT leads to desirable prices.
The town has a promenade along the seafront featuring several bars and restaurants. You can stroll, enjoy a drink outside a bar on the boardwalk, or wander around in your swimwear on the beach in the town centre. Beach attendants can provide you with beach chairs to sit and gaze out at the sea or watch as the enormous liners moor in the deepwater port. From this unique viewpoint, you can contemplate these floating villages, as tall as buildings, which are always four or five of these giants of the sea berthed at Philipsburg. This adds to the boardwalk’s appeal. Sint Maarten is a popular port of call for the most iconic cruise liners, and you can enjoy spotting some of the famous ones like Harmony of the Seas, Symphony of the Seas, MSC Meraviglia, Royal Princess, and Queen Mary 2.
There are always surprises and amazement in the store when you visit Philipsburg!
In Sint Maarten, Philipsburg boasts a lively casino scene that adds to the city’s charm. The casinos are open from morning to evening, allowing you to gamble in casual dress, even during the day. You can try your luck with the slot machines or enjoy games like blackjack, poker, roulette, and bingo. It would be a shame to visit Philipsburg and not experience the thrill of a casino. A variety of concerts and shows further enhance the atmosphere. However, knowing your limits and being responsible while enjoying these festive places is essential.
If you’re a movie buff or a Star Wars fan, there’s a fantastic place on Front Street that you absolutely must visit. The Yoda Guy Movie Exhibit is a museum created by Nick Maley, the special effects expert who created Yoda. This unique exhibition features every movie character he ever made, including casts, costumes, and objects that belonged to the greatest intergalactic heroes, such as Darth Vader, Chewbacca, Alien, Terminator, Superman, and Highlander. All of these pieces were used in the movies and are one of a kind. The Yoda Guy Movie Exhibit is considered one of the top three museums in the Caribbean and is open daily, except for Sundays. Don’t miss this chance to see some fantastic art!
If you’re interested in history, visiting Philipsburg is a must. Although there are few remnants of the past in Sint Maarten, the town still has some buildings that date back to the 18th century and are considered national treasures.
One of the most famous sights in Philipsburg is the Courthouse, located on Front Street. It has an elegant architecture dates back to 1793 and reflects the colonial times. Despite being devastated by hurricanes and restored several times, the Courthouse still stands tall and is used today. It is listed as a significant historical monument by the government of St. Maarten and is open for visitors from Monday to Friday.
Another place to learn about the island’s history is the Sint Maarten National Heritage Foundation & Museum, located at the eastern end of Front Street. The museum showcases the significant periods of the island’s history, from the time of the Arawaks to the present day. It is open daily, except on Sundays.