PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten (June 4, 2012) - Three simple words make the island of St. Maarten a shopper's paradise - duty-free shopping. St. Maarten's capital, Philipsburg, is the epicenter for shopping with boutique stores lining Front Street, which stretches over a mile. Shoppers will find that most prices are up to 50% less than other countries and are quoted in U.S. dollars saving the confusion of sorting out the exchange rate.
Along Front Street, stores range from Tiffany to Tommy Hilfiger. The Sint Rose Shopping Mall on the boardwalk by Front Street features Cartier, Lalique, and Faconnable.
Old Street, situated off Front Street, is highlighted by 19th century houses which contain specialty shops. Maho Plaza (located by the Sonesta Maho Beach Resort) is another area for name-brand stores.
"Whether travelers come for our beaches and spas or our cuisine and nightlife, one thing is certain - they never return home empty handed," said May-Ling Chun, interim Director of Tourism for the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau.
St. Maarten offers great buys on jewelry, a perennial favorite among shoppers, with jewelers offering everything from loose stones to original designs.
International fashion items such as Gucci and Ralph Lauren can be found at reasonable rates as well as fine leather goods, top-of-the line cosmetics and state-of-the-art electronics.
Art enthusiasts will delight in native prints and local craft pieces as well as works from artists all over the Caribbean.
Every country has its own customs requirements on goods brought back from duty-free vacations. Following are guidelines for the United States and Canada:
Citizens of the United States who have been out of the country for a minimum of 48 hours and have not used their respective duty-free allowance within 30 days are entitled to a US$800 duty-free tax exemption. Families traveling together can pool their exemptions. The duty-free allowance on alcohol for U.S. citizens age 21 and over is one liter, the value of which must be included within the US$800 exemption.
Canadian citizens who have been out of the country for a minimum of seven (7) days are entitled to a duty-free exemption of $750 CAD. They are also permitted a duty-free exemption of $400 CAD each time they are out of the country for more than 48 hours. This $400 CAD exemption may not be claimed during the same period as the $750 CAD exemption, nor can an individual's exemption be pooled with a spouse and/or children. The duty-free alcohol allowance for Canadian citizens who meet the legal age of the province they re-enter is 40 ounces of liquor, 53 ounces of wine or two dozen 12 ounce cans of beer, the value of which must be included within the yearly or quarterly exemption.
For more information on St. Maarten visit the official site of the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau at www.VacationStMaarten.com.
St. Maarten is the smallest island in the world to be shared by two nations, Kingdom of the Netherlands and France, creating a European-influenced vibe with a Caribbean flair. As "the culinary capital of the Caribbean," St. Maarten offers an eclectic array of cuisine fusion for food lovers with more than 365 restaurants, one for each day of the year to satisfy the tastes of every palate and pocketbook.
Located at the northern end of the Lesser Antilles, the island's 37 square miles has 37 breathtaking beaches and is home to many historical and family-oriented attractions. During the day, watersport enthusiasts can take full advantage of the island's scuba diving and snorkeling facilities. The capital of Philipsburg offers duty-free shopping with a bustling city atmosphere, while 14 casinos and numerous nightclubs provide endless entertainment.
Accommodations are varied and include elegant private villas, family oriented resorts, quaint cottages and luxury spa resorts. Air service is available to Princess Juliana International Airport from numerous U.S. and Canadian cities as well as from Europe, South America and the Caribbean.
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