How to visit St. Maarten/St. Martin on a budget
By Kerry Biddle on 20th June, 2023
Budgeting for a vacation is a necessity for most people. So where do you find the best buys in St. Maarten/St. Martin?
Catching a bus will cost between $1 and $3, depending on how far you want to travel. All you have to do is stand on the side of the road, wave them down, and then tell the driver when you want to get off. Renting a car from companies like Empress Car Rental is the best option if you intend to drive around a lot. Or if you want to stay out late listening to a band and dancing the night away. Listening to a reggae band is free, but the beer will cost around $3 in a local place. In a swanky hotel, that same beer will cost you quite a bit more. Another thing that’s on the up and up is island-made beer. If you see a green bottle with SXM Beer on it, give it a try.
If souvenirs are what you are looking for, a bottle of The Everything Sauce from Fat Tony’s Smokehouse in Jordan Village will cost around $13 for the hot stuff. A T-shirt with a funny slogan will cost about $10 at the lower end of Front Street or anywhere on Back Street, and a mug will cost between $10 and $15. For something different, consider the flavored rums from Topper’s Distillery. At between $17 and $24 a bottle, you will want to put some island flavors into your baggage to take home.
Keeping it in the shopping capital of Philipsburg, watches can range from just under a hundred dollars to amounts equivalent to buying a small house. Jewelry stores line Front Street from one end to the other, and you can find the most fantastic jewelry, watches, and gems to fit every budget. St. Maarten/ St. Martin is duty-free, so prices are usually better.
You could also hop onto a ferry to Anguilla for the day and walk into a rainbow of color at Irie Life for high-quality casual wear.
Besides the airline tickets, accommodation takes the largest chunk out of the budget. A room can cost anywhere between $70 per night in high season to $55,000 per week for a whole villa. There are many other options between the two ends to choose from though. The best is to make a list of what you really want in the way of accommodation. For example, a pool, proximity to the beach, close to restaurants, close to clubs or casinos, peace and quiet, nature, and so on. Then do an online search and find your best matches. But first, check out Simpson Bay Resort, Marina & Spa and La Vista Beach Resort.
Of course, you could also consider buying your own place and becoming the landlord. The TEPUI 104 Project in Pelican Key could be the place and Island Life Realty would be the contact. Or there’s beautiful, secluded Indigo Bay. Contact Vie L’Ven for more information on the Indigo Bay project.