How To Navigate Philipsburg, St. Maarten, During the Holiday Frenzy

How To Navigate Philipsburg, St. Maarten, during the Holiday Frenzy

St. Maarten, especially during the Holiday/Christmas season, is like most major metropolis of the world with a few exceptions and these exceptions are based on knowing the ins and outs of St. Maarten shopping.

Although the Dutch side is roughly 16 square miles, your shopping excursions need to be planned out, of course, based on your particular shopping style.

The “browser,” for example, needs to have started at the beginning of December. This is to ensure that he/she is able to experience the wide array of party specials, Christmas and staff parties, sales and not to forget the groceries for the private home parties. All of this is to make sure that the best gifts are bought and the biggest ham and turkey are baked for guests.

The “last minute shopper” has time on his/her hands. However, they will quickly realize that the gift of time is not always given, but carved out careful from a busy schedule. There is also the risk that the gift they had in mind of their sweetheart is no longer in stock. He/she is usually the one enjoying the month’s festivities until the last minute and is then rushing around to get what he/she needs to make the season bright.

No matter the type of shopper you are, there are a few things that will make your life easier:

* Avoid heavy cruise days. (Check cruise ships schedule via this link:

On Wednesday, December 18, 2013, eight large cruise ships (and one small one) will be in Port. More than 30,000 people will be arriving by cruise ship on that day.

* Check for rerouting of traffic & road closure notices.

As is usual with busy ship days and extra traffic on the roadways, there will be some rerouting of traffic and road closures will take place in Philipsburg. Front Street and Back Street will be closed for motor vehicle traffic.

Special additional measures are being taken to ensure that all goes well Wednesday. The alleys in Philipsburg leading from Boardwalk Boulevard to Back Street will be cleared. No vehicles will be allowed to park in those alleys until Front Street and Back Street are reopened for motor vehicle traffic. This measure is to ensure that emergency vehicles can enter and exit the Philipsburg area without any difficulties.

In other words, local shoppers might want to save themselves that hassle of town on that day. It should be noted that most of the days for the rest of this year, St. Maarten will be accommodating cruise ships.

Here are some handy tips for navigation Philipsburg during the busy cruise ships days and holiday frenzy:

  • Parking on the Ring Road or Pond Island and walking into town is advisable. Apart from walking being healthy, a decision to park on the outskirts of town will reduce the traffic congestion and make for a pleasant Philipsburg excursion. Saving gas and saving the environment. Carpooling is also a very good option.
  • Take advantage of extended shopping hours. Most likely, some of the more popular stores will open later, allowing for more browsing time. Like most places in the world remember to pay close attention to your handbag, wallet or pocket, pickpockets might take the opportunity to try their luck.
  • And to get it right, make a list, check it twice and off you go to make the 2013 holiday shopping season the best you can make it.

See you in Philipsburg !!!


Wednesday, Dec. 18th, 2013: “Philipsburg bustles with thousands of cruise visitors”


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Terrance Rey is owner and managing director of Let’s Travel, Travel Anywhere and AirStMaarten. Terrance Rey has 22 years experience in the travel business as a travel agent, tour operator, charter broker and as an internet travel entrepreneur. You can email Terrance Rey directly via with any questions you may have relating to St. Maarten/St. Martin.
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