The island's charming local scenes and resplendent light have inspired such renowned artists as Romare Bearden over the years. I generally find the galleries more sophisticated on the French side; curious shoppers can also visit various ateliers.
Front Street can seem like one jeweler after another (not unlike New York's West 47th St. Diamond Exchange). All sell loose stones as well as designer items. Many stores operate branches on both sides of the island. Note: Beware of unscrupulous hucksters selling loose "gems" like emeralds and diamonds on the street.
Edible, Potables & Cigars
In addition to the usual upmarket single malt and stogie culprits (remember that Cubanos are illegal in the U.S.), the island produces its own concoctions. Though the base rums are imported from Guadeloupe, local distillers blend or infuse them creatively. Look for Rum Jumbie, whose flavored varieties include coconut, mango, vanilla, and pineapple. But the trademark libation is Guavaberry liqueur (incorporating citrus, spices, and passion fruit), the traditional Christmas drink of St. Maarten.
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