All the 'tourist' shops on all...
All the 'tourist' shops on all the islands. If there is one that does not try to rip you off from the beginning I did not find it in half a year. They are known to give discounts like 60% off for people on a cruise and they still make a profit on that. Haggle for all you can if you do decide to buy something and keep in mind that the same item is sold in several shops. For example when I bought a necklace in a shop I payed 225 dollars for it, but the price label said 1100 dollars! Their view on it is 'if we price it high we can drop the price with half and still make lots of profit'. Also, we noticed that if you mention you live (and work) on the island, the prices of items and even plane/boat tickets will go down even more.
The shopping streets on the...
The shopping streets on the Dutch side are one big tourist trap, selling tat and trash for the 'today-is-Tuesday-so-it-must-be-St. Maarten' cruise liner crowd. Think T-shirts, souvenir mugs etc. But the Dutch side does admittedly have more facilities and shops, especially for cheap booze.
The French side, especially Marigot [pic shown here], by contrast, offers fine wine and cognac shops, Davidoff, haute couture, good restaurants and bars. There is also a fine shop selling Colombian emeralds. Miles better than the Dutch side and with less obvious poverty (I was always told that most crime on the French side is committed by miscreants, often drug addicts, from the Dutch side).
Do not travel by taxi all the...
Do not travel by taxi all the time.
Buses, often Toyota Hiace vans with a card in the window indicating where they are headed are cheap $1 per journey (eg. Grand Case - Marigot), reliable and can be stoped anywhere in the road (there are no bus stops alond the roads).
Felix the Cat, a bigger and yellow bus, tours the island at different times and you can't miss it.
Picture: Anse Marcel.
Watch out for exploring caves...
Watch out for exploring caves when the tide comes in! On second thought this should be in warnings and dangers...I didn't experience any tourist traps, though I was warned to always be sure of fare BEFORE getting into a cab...but that's true everywhere!!
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