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HeatherP

Shopping in San Juan and St Maarten

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St. Maarten has the "port village" just off of the dock, but that is your typical collection of overpriced and kind of schlocky merchandise (e.g., Diamonds International). If you want some decent shopping you'll be better off going into Philipsburg proper on the Dutch side of the island, or Marigot on the French side. Going to Marigot in the morning also means you can get some great authentic French breakfast pastries. 😋

In San Juan there is an area close to the port that has a nice collection of shops, dining places / coffee shops, and buskers; along with the pigeon park that is a big attraction. IF I'm remembering right, you'll walk to the end of the dock where it meets the main road, cross the street, then turn left and walk a short distance to your first right, which will go uphill to the pigeon park and shopping area.

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19 hours ago, HeatherP said:

Are there shopping areas at both ports within walking distance from where the HOS docks?

At San Juan expect to walk 10-15 minutes to peruse various shops.  There are actually some local vendors in the park near the fort, but most shops are to the left (walking away from the fort).  At St. Maarten you can take a taxi downtown, and there are water taxis to the beach.  While it is possible to walk back from downtown, it's easier to ride.  The immediate port area, as noted previously, has tourist shops as well as a general store with ATM and many food items.  It's a great place to pick up a snack.  There are excursions that will take you to Marigot and shopping (they have a straw market as well as shops).

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We did walk from St. Maarten downtown along the road (on the sidewalk) back to the cruise ship. It was not a bad walk at all and just followed the many other cruisers walking. If you have any physical limitations or lots of purchases though, I would suggest getting a ride back to ship. It was about a 15-20 minute walk.

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24 minutes ago, thepants said:

We did walk from St. Maarten downtown along the road (on the sidewalk) back to the cruise ship. It was not a bad walk at all and just followed the many other cruisers walking. If you have any physical limitations or lots of purchases though, I would suggest getting a ride back to ship. It was about a 15-20 minute walk.

Is there a paved sidewalk the whole way from port to town?

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10 hours ago, CFL said:

Is there a paved sidewalk the whole way from port to town?

Most of the walk did have a sidewalk. I can't remember if the empty lot that was next to the cruise port had sidewalk or gravel path in front of the lot. If no sidewalk then there was a walking path. You can always take a taxi to downtown and take a look as you drive to see if you would want to do the walk back. Really it was a nice little walk along the boardwalk and then over a small bridge and along the main road near the water. 

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