Best of USVI Survey Results

 Thanks to all who took our survey on the “Best-Of St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix”. We hope the results of our Readers Choice survey will give people planning to visit one of these beautiful islands in the near future some ideas of what to do during that well deserved vacation. The results below are simply a compilation of the answers given by our readers based on what they’ve enjoyed while vacationing in the USVI and we do not endorse, nor discount any of the properties, restaurants, shops or attractions listed or not listed. We encourage you to continue to do your own research prior to your trip.

Some of the answers were eye-opening to us and after reading this, we’ve added a few things to our list to see and do during our next visit! Enjoy!

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St. Thomas

Best Beach on St. Thomas:
1. Magens Bay
2. Sapphire Beach
3. Coki Point
4. Bolongo Bay

Best Beach Bar/Island Bar on St. John:
1. Duffy’s Love Shack
2. Iggies
3. Big Kahuna Rum Shack
4. Island Time Pub

Best Rum Drink on St. Thomas:
1. Painkiller
2. Bushwacker
3. Banana Daiquiri
4. VooDoo Juice

Best Restaurant on St. Thomas:
1. Sunset Grille
2. Fish Tails
3. Banana Tree Grille
4. Mafolie

Best Hotel/Resort on St. Thomas:
1. Bolongo Bay Beach Resort
2. Marriot’s Frenchman’s Reef & Morning Star Beach Resort
3. The Ritz-Carlton
4. Dreams Sugar Bay
Write ins with multiple votes: Mafolie Hotel, Bluebeards Castle

Best Villa/Condo Rental in St. Thomas:
1. Slice of Heaven, Magens Bay
2. Sapphire Beach Condos – write ins
3. Point Pleasant – write ins
4. Brigadoon – Red Hook

Best Shop or Boutique on St. Thomas:
1. Pirates in Paradise
2. Bones Rum
3. Native Arts & Crafts Cooperative
Write ins with multiple votes: Fish Face, Caribbean Surf Co.

Best Souvenir to bring home from St. Thomas:
1. Bones Rum
2. Larimar Jewelry
Write ins with multiple votes: Hook Bracelet, Cruzan Rum

Best attraction to experience in St. Thomas:
1. Coral World Ocean Park & Undersea Observatory
2. Skyride to Paradise Point
3. Mountain Top
4. Tree Limin’ Extreme
Write ins with multiple votes: Great House Botanical Gardens, Drake’s Seat, Magens Bay


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St. John

Best Beach on St. John:
1. Trunk Bay
2. Cinnamon Bay
3. Maho Bay
4. Salomon and Honeymoon
Write in with multiple votes: Gibney

Best Beach  Bar/Island Bar on St. John:
1. The Beach Bar
2. Skinny Legs
3. Woody’s
4. Joe’s Rum Hut

Best Rum Drink  on St. John:
1. Painkiller
2. Bushwhacker
3. Rum Punch
Write ins with multiple votes: Mojito and Island Girl from Joe’s Rum Hut, Lime in de Coconut

Best Restaurant on St. John:
1. The Lime Inn
2. Cruz Bay Landing
3. The Banana Deck
4. The Terrace Restaurant
Write in with multiple votes: The Fish Trap

Best Place to Stay on St. John:
1. Private Villa: There were more write ins on this one than votes on the entries posted. Most of the write ins were for private villas with no specific name mentioned with the exception of Villa Mar de Amores and Villa St. John.
2. Westin St. John Resort & Villas
3. Caneel Bay Resort
4. Gallow’s Point Resort

Best Shop or Boutique on St. John:
1. St. John Spice
2. Bougainvillea
3. Coconut Coast Studios
Write ins with multiple votes: Sloop Jones, Caravan, Freebird, Bamboo Studio

Best Souvenir to bring home from St. John:
1. St. John Hook Bracelet
2. Cruz Bay Grill Rub from St. John Spice
3. A Hand Painted Shirt from Sloop Jones
Write ins with multiple votes: T-shirt from The Beach Bar, Larimar Jewelry, rum, a good suntan

Best Attraction to Experience on St. John:
1. Snorkeling the trail at Trunk Bay
2. Snorkeling at Waterlemon Cay
3. Hiking anywhere in the VI National Park
Write ins with  multiple votes: Drunk Bay, Exploring the town of Cruz Bay

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St Croix

Best Beach on St. Croix:
1. Sandy Point Beach
2. Rainbow Beach
3. Cane Bay Beach
4. Sandcastle Beach
Write ins with multiple votes: Buck Island Beach

Best Beach Bar/Island Bar on St. Croix:
1. Rhythms at Rainbow Beach
2. Rum Runners
3. eat @ cane bay
4. Off the Wall
Write ins with multiple votes: Beachside Café

Best Rum Drink  on St. Croix
1. Painkiller
2. Cruzan Confusion
3. Green Flash
Write ins with multiple votes: Lime in de Coconut

Best restaurant on St Croix:
1. Polly’s On the Pier
2. Rowdy Joes
3. The Waves at Cane Bay
4. Galangal
Write ins with multiple votes: Duggans Reef, Rum Runners, LeReine Chicken Shack, eat @ cane bay

Best place to stay on St. Croix:
1. TIE: Renaissance St. Croix Carambola Beach Resort & Spa and Sand Castle on the Beach
2. The Buccaneer
3. Divi Carina Bay Beach Resort
Write ins with multiple votes: Cottages by the Sea, Condo Rental

Best shop or boutique on St. Croix:
1. Sonya Ltd
2. Purple Papaya
3. ib designs
4. From the Gecko Boutique
Write ins with multiple votes: Franklins on the Waterfront

Best Souvenir to bring home from St. Croix:
1. St. Croix Hook Bracelet
2. Cruzan Rum
3. Chaney Jewelry

Best attraction to experience on St. Croix:
1. Catamaran Sail to Buck Island
2. Kayaking at night in a bioluminescent bay
3. Point Udall
4. Beer drinking pigs at Montpellier Domino Club
5. Cruzan Rum Factory Tour
Write ins with multiple votes: dive the wall, dive or snorkel the pier, Jump Up Festival, St. George Village Botanical Gardens

To read more about these and other islands, be sure to check our Blog Directory by Island

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What to See and Do in Cruz Bay, St. John

Cruz Bay is the active, yet laid back main town and port of St. John, US Virgin Islands. Here you will find most of the islands stores and restaurants and visitor services such as taxis and car rentals.

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Ferry Dock in Cruz Bay, St. John

Passenger ferries from either Charlotte Amalie or Red Hook on St. Thomas arrive and depart from the dock in Cruz Bay, bringing many people to the island throughout the day.  See ferry schedules here. Many people head directly for one of St. John’s gorgeous beaches and spend very little time in Cruz Bay, but if you have the time, there are many great things to experience right here.

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View of beautiful Cruz Bay

We’ve had the pleasure of visiting Cruz Bay quite a few times, and although we’ve yet to experience all that this fun & funky town has to offer, we’ve listed a few of our favorite attractions to date. Feel free to leave a comment below with some of your favorite things to see and do while visiting Cruz Bay, St. John.

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Map of Cruz Bay, St. John, USVI

We’ve highlighted a few of our favorite stops (so far) on the map above.

Upon arrival at the ferry dock, we usually head straight for the wonderful smelling St. John Spice, which can be found on the second floor of the building just to the right as you leave the dock.

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St. John Spice, Cruz Bay

Here you can find all sorts of spices, Cruz Bay Grill Rub, coffee, local cookbooks, island gifts, and island wear. St. John Spice also has a webcam that gives a real time view of the ferry dock and beautiful Cruz Bay. Tell your family and friends to watch for you as you enjoy yourself in paradise!

If you’ve worked up a thirst (or appetite) already, there are three great beach bar/restaurants right at the waters edge. High Tide, Joe’s Rum Hut and The Beach Bar all offer slightly different menus and drinks and all are great places to hang out, chat with locals and visitors, listen to some live music and admire the scenery.

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High Tide, Bar and Seafood Grill

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Joe’s Rum Hut

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The Beach Bar

From there we always try to make a stop at the Pink Papaya, a Caribbean Style Gallery that specializes in unique and unusual Caribbean style gifts including fine painting and jewelry from local artists.

A little more walking and we’re usually ready for a Love City Smoothie from Our Market Smoothies.
Cognac, Passionfruit, Strawberry and Rum – cold and delicious!

Want information on St. John National Parks? After all, much of this beautiful island has been designated as a National Park. Find out how to explore it at the National Park Service Visitor Center.

More shopping? No problem! Mongoose Junction on north side of Cruz Bay is a beautiful complex of intimate shops, restaurants and services. A few of our favorites here are:

Bajo el SolArt Gallery – featuring the works of several local artists.

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The Tap Room

The Tap Room – have you heard of St. John Brewers? Check out some of the tasty local beer crafted by Kevin and Cheech at this Island Microbrewery & Brew Pub.

Sun Dog Cafe – casual dining and a really good Sunday Brunch

Arawak Expeditions – looking for adventure? Check out their kayak, paddleboard, fly fish and snorkel expeditions!

Still have more time to explore? Here are a few more places that are on our Cruz Bay to-do list:

The Elaine Ione Sprauve Library & Museum – Find a great deal of information on St. John, the other American and British Virgin Islands and the Caribbean in general.

Quiet Mon’ Pub –  the best Island Irish Pub around!

Woody’s Seafood Saloon – good food and a great place to hang out!

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Cruz Bay, St. John

Whew. There you have it. Just a few ideas of what to see and do in Cruz Bay, St. John to help you plan for your next visit.

Tell us – What are some of your favorite Cruz Bay attractions?


Find Cruz Bay on our St. John Map

To see more posts on St. John and other islands, check out our Island Blog Directory

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Pictures and other content may not be re-used without written consent from Rum Therapy, LLC

What to See and Do in Marigot, St. Martin

The capital of the French side of St. Martin is the beautiful little town of Marigot. Lying between Simpson Bay and Grand Case, Marigot offers a multitude of things to explore, to see and to do.

(see our St. Maarten/St. Martin Map to find Marigot)

Marigot fringes Baie de Marigot, a popular harbor offering a calm anchorage to the many boaters that stay here. We’ve visited Marigot a couple of times now; once by boat and once while staying on island. The following are a few of the things we enjoyed during our visits.

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Marigot Market
In a square in the middle of Marigot, local vendors set up in an open air shop every day except Sunday. The best mornings to visit are Wednesday’s and Saturday’s when you’ll find the widest variety of items and shops. Find local art, many infused rhums, spices, fresh fruits, vegetables and fish and souvenirs.

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Infused rhums

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Spices at Kalina

Go early if you need to find parking and to walk through the booths before busloads of cruise ship passengers arrive.

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Restaurants, Bakeries and Drinks
After working up a thirst or hunger shopping at the Market, be sure to stop by one of the lovely outdoor cafe’s or restaurants some fresh local fare and to people watch
.

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Just off of Boulevard de France, behind the market, we found two places that we must mention. The Coconut Juice House is a great place to get fresh juice in a coconut, pina coladas or daiquiris and to talk to the owner “Coconut Man”. There you can watch him open the coconut with a machete and squeeze the sugar cane used in the drinks he makes.

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We enjoyed a very cold pina colada which was so refreshing in the warm afternoon sun.

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Down the road from The Coconut House is a delectable French Bakery called Sarafina’s. If you like French pastries and cappuccino, you should plan to make a stop (or two) here. Read more about Sarafina’s in a previous post: Sarafina’s Bakery, Marigot, St. Martin

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Fort Louis
Once you’ve quenched your hunger and thirst, take a walk to Fort Louis, the largest historical monument in St. Martin. Fort Louis was built in 1767 to protect Marigot from invaders and now offers phenomenal views of Marigot and the surrounding areas as well as some very interesting local history.

Access a walking path in Marigot from Rue de la Republique (see map above) or drive to a parking lot just below the monument.

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A Few Other Things
The shopping is excellent in Marigot and you can find everything from souvenirs at the market to fine clothing, shoes and jewelry at the tony West Indies Mall. There are individual shops and art galleries scattered throughout the mid-town area as well.

A Ferry Terminal is located in Marigot with frequent departures to Anguilla and St. Barts. Parking is limited, so give yourself a little extra time if you need to leave your car in Marigot.

What are your favorite things to see and do in Marigot?

 

Find Marigot on our St. Maarten/St Martin Map

To see more posts on St. Maarten/St. Martin and other islands, check out our Island Blog Directory

 

Copyright©Rum Therapy Beaches, Bars & More, Tropical Travel Guide, 2014
Pictures and other content may not be re-used without written consent from Rum Therapy, LLC

What to See and Do in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas

Ah, Charlotte Amalie. The capital and largest city of the US Virgin Islands receives millions of visitors every year, many from the cruise ships that dock in the deep water bay that Charlotte Amalie surrounds.

With all of those visitors, Charlotte Amalie was bound to grow and develop with services of interest to tourists. So, what are some of the fun things to see and do if you have time to explore this bustling island city?

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Aerial view of Charlotte Amalie

The following are a few of the things that we’ve experienced and enjoyed while visiting Charlotte Amalie. Feel free to add highlights from your visits in a comment at the end of the post.

Duty Free Shopping

Duty free shops line many of the streets in the Waterfront area of Charlotte Amalie as well as Yacht Haven Grande and Havensight (right next to the cruise ship dock). St. Thomas offers one of the largest duty free quotas to US citizens in the Caribbean, so if you’re in the market for great bargains on items such as china, perfume, watches, cameras, fine jewelry, liquors and other spirits, island goods, and arts and crafts, this may be the place to get them.

You can walk from Havensight to Yacht Haven Grande easily. There is also a pathway from Yacht Haven Grande all the way around to the Waterfront shops, but it is a pretty good walk. If it’s very hot or you are short on time, you might consider getting a taxi.

Havensight
Havensight is a large area just off of the cruise ship dock that consists of shops, bars and restaurants. Many of the shops here contain souvenir type items, although there are also some high-end jewelry shops.

Yacht Haven Grande
Yacht Haven Grande is an area just north of Havensight that houses some luxury shops such as Gucci and Louis Vitton. There are also a couple of nicer restaurants and yacht services. It’s areat place to grab a cold drink and check out the large yachts that dock here.

Charlotte Amalie Waterfront
North and west of Yacht Haven Grande is the Waterfront area of Charlotte Amalie. This area consists of several streets, Waterfront (Veterans), Front Street and Back Street and are all lined with a variety of shops, restaurants and bars. Check out the Vendor’s Plaza (west of  Ft. Christian) Monday – Saturday for a variety of souvenirs, hair braiding and local food.

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Food and Drink

You can find everything from fast food to fine dining and everything in-between in Charlotte Amalie. Although we have yet to sample some of the higher end restaurants, here are a few places we’ve stopped at and enjoyed. Be sure to check our interactive St. Thomas Map to find the locations of the places listed here.

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Big Kahuna Rum Shack on the Waterfront.
Great place to grab a sandwich, salad, wrap or flatbread and a cold drink and sit on the patio which overlooks the harbor.

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Bones Rum, also on the Waterfront.
Order one of their tasty offerings, such as a Bones on the Beach, Kiss of Passion or Twist of Luck and add as much – or as little Bones Rum as  you’d like! Be sure to purchase a bottle and bring it home. Right now the only place to purchase Bones Rum is at the shop in Charlotte Amalie.

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Fat Turtle in Yacht Haven Grande.
We enjoyed a tasty salad and beverages while sitting on the deck overlooking the yachts.

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da Lime in da Coconut
Great “smoothie” place in Yacht Haven Grande. Leave the rum out for the little ones, or add the rum for a really tasty frozen concoction. We ordered their signature smoothie da Lime in da Coconut, which consisted of pineapple and coconut with a hint of lime…and a shot of Cruzan rum. Very tasty and cold on a hot day.

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Mojo’s in Havensight
A fun little bar that manages to feel a bit tropical, despite the fact it’s in the parking lot at Havensight. Swings for chairs and some tasty Cruzan rum drinks. We enjoyed a Mojo Wacker.


Other Things To Do

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Hot and tired after a day of shopping in the Waterfront area? Magic Ice on the Waterfront will give you a temporary “body freeze” after entering an ice palace with sculptures, lighting, an ice slide for the little ones and an ice cold shot of Cruzan for the big kids.

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Paradise Point Skyride
Want to see a spectacular view of Charlotte Amalie while enjoying the best Bushwacker’s around? Head to Havensight to board the skyride to the top of Paradise Point. You’ll be treated to a spectacular view, some shopping and really great Bushwacker’s. Just be careful. They’re potent!

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The Closest Beaches

There aren’t any good sandy beaches in Charlotte Amalie but if you just have to get your toes in the sand and only have a short amount of time, there are several options. A 5 minute water ferry from Crown Bay (just north of Water Island) can get you over to Water Island where you can spend time on beautiful Honeymoon Beach.

Lindbergh Bay or Bolongo Bay on St. Thomas are two other options, but are farther away (see our interactive map). Both have beach bars and would be a nice place to hang out for several hours.

What else have you experienced and enjoyed in Charlotte Amalie?

 

Find these attractions on our St. Thomas Map

 

To see more posts on St. Thomas and other islands, check out our Island Blog Directory

 

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Pictures and other content may not be re-used without written consent from Rum Therapy, LLC

What to See and Do in Philipsburg, St. Maarten

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Whether arriving by cruise ship or spending time on the island on St. Maarten/St. Martin,
Philipsburg, the capital of Dutch St. Maarten, offers a ton of fun things to see and do, most within view of the gorgeous blue water of Great Bay.

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Philipsburg is an area of only a few streets sandwiched between the Salt Pond and beautiful Great Bay. There are many shops, bars, restaurants and musicians lining the streets. Do you like to shop? You can find a lot of items in Philipsburg from inexpensive souvenirs to diamonds and watches. Want to find something to eat? There are a variety of options ranging from very casual to elegant and tony. Any good bars? Well, of course! The boardwalk especially is dotted with bars with a wide variety of great tropical concoctions.

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With the ability to dock 6+ large cruise liners and the addition in recent years of a wonderful boardwalk that is about 50 ft. wide and nearly as long as the waterfront of Great Bay, Philipsburg really caters to it’s visitors. From the cruise ships you can either walk down a lovely palm lined path or take a short water taxi ride to town. If staying on island, there are several fairly large parking lots.

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Looking for a few ideas of what to see and do while visiting Philipsburg? These are a few things that we’ve enjoyed during our visits there.

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1. The Beach

Although it can be just as busy as many of the other beautiful beaches in St. Maarten/St.Martin, Great Bay has gorgeous blue water, a calm surf and a variety of places to rent beach chairs and umbrellas. Plus you’re really close to some good bars, restaurants and shops when you need a break from the sun.

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The turquoise blue water of Great Bay.

2. Eat & Drink

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The majority of bars and restaurants line the boardwalk and offer a great view of the beach, surrounding hills and cruise ships. Each have their own tropical specialties.

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Boardwalk Breeze at the Blue Bitch Bar

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Pizza at Taloula Mango’s

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Grab a $.99 beer at the Barefoot Bar to enjoy while walking the Boardwalk. The Barefoot Restaurant also serves up some excellent roti – mmm…roti…

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Enjoy some good food and drink at Big Wood Grill on the Boardwalk, but don’t ask for a BBD if you are easily offended!

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Walk through Big Wood Grill to get to Juggie’s Place, The Smallest Bar in the World!

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Juggie’s Place on Front Street behind Big Wood Grill

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Casual dining right on the beach at Chez Delphine

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Stop, buy a cold drink and chat with some of the local vendors on the Boardwalk.

3. Shop

Front street and the connecting streets between the Boardwalk, Front and Back street have a large variety of shops carrying local crafts, souvenirs, liquor and more expensive items.

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There are several liquor stores that carry a good selection of rums that we can’t find at home, so we usually buy a bottle or two to bring back with us.

And of course, be sure to stop at the Guavaberry Emporium on Front Street to sample different guavaberry rums, liquors and hot sauces. Be sure to try a Guavaberry Colada – so refreshing!

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Direction sign next to the Guavaberry Emporium

So there you have it. Some of the things we’ve experienced and enjoyed during our visits to Philpsburg – so far. What have you enjoyed there?

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Find Philipsburg on our St. Maarten/St. Martin Map


To see more posts on St. Maarten/St. Martin and other islands, check out our Island Blog Directory


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Pictures and other content may not be re-used without written consent from Rum Therapy, LLC