Stay in an ice hotel, attend a winter festival and wander through an ice castle.
As the name suggests, Guavaberry Emporium showcases this berry that grows high in the island’s mountains. Once picked, the fruit can be used in savoury sauces such as barbecue, but it’s best-known as the main ingredient in the national liqueur, which also contains cane sugar and rum.
The weird and wonderful Yoda Guy Movie Exhibit highlights everything Star Wars, including past storyboards and other items from a galaxy far, far away. The museum is run by Nick Maley, one of the makeup artists who helped bring legendary Jedi master Yoda to life, and also features other famous movie franchises. You may even run into Maley himself, who often hangs around the museum’s gift shop.
Lazy Lizard Beach Bar & Grill has long been a favourite among locals and visitors. Here, you can dine on island specialties such as shrimp in creole sauce or curry chicken paired with rice and peas. Or grab a bucket of beers and sink into one of the beach chairs right out front and take in the views of the bay.
Book yourself a relaxing massage at Indulgence by the Sea, a spa located inside Divi Little Bay, a resort that backs onto a stretch of beach just east of the city. The full menu of treatments uses local products, from citrus to seaweed, and you have the option of enjoying it all in a cabana set up beside the water.
5. Browse Shops on Front Street
A pedestrian zone lined with broad balconies beneath a canopy of palm trees, Front Street is filled with lots of small, specialized stores to satisfy all your shopping needs. The entire island enjoys duty-free status, and among the (very) inexpensive bottles of rum and well-rolled cigars you’ll find small spots offering jewelry crafted from diamonds, gold and emeralds.
Located between the city’s cruise port and the end of the boardwalk, The Amsterdam Cheese & Liquor Store offers a variety of products from The Netherlands, including Jenever (a Dutch gin) and a variety of cheeses (Gouda, Edam and others). Pop in for a cheese tasting, then vacuum-pack some samples to take home with you.
Two More Things to Do Around Philipsburg
Travel to nearby Simpson Bay to check out The Art Box, where you can pick up items (from glassware to jewelry) handcrafted on the island and inspired by the West Indies.
[This story appears in the November 2019 edition of WestJet Magazine.]