Walked 20-min. into town (a taxi driver at the pier told us it was 3 miles away, we knew better). The shortest walk is a sidewalk to the left which follows the water's edge and brings you right to the center of town. The complaints of locals harassing you near the port are exaggerated. Though the vendors in the craft market are relentless at trying to get you into their shops, we were not approached by anyone else as we walked about town. Right next to the pier is a beach, but we saw lots of seaweed along the shoreline and the beach did not seem appealing. $2 Red-Stripes directly across the street as you exit the pier parking lot (this is where you proceed to Island Village).
We did not tie up in the bay past the bridge, but on the new dock on the Otrabanda shoreline. Walked over to Punda (old town), always fun. The walk from the ship is very pleasant, through the hotel complex, and Rif Fort, both are beautifully landscaped and filled with shops, restaurants and sidewalk cafes. After exiting the fort, a walk to the floating pedestrian bridge and across to Punda. Once over the bridge the downtown area is on your left. If you take a right and follow around you will come to the Waterfort Arches. They have placed restaurants within the arches of the fort and on the outer side are lovely multi-leveled eating/drinking terraces jutting out over the water...lovely. This was the first time we were here after dark and were impressed with how the Punda shops along the waterfront were colorfully lit up at night...spectacular!
Walked across the street from the pier to the bus terminal and the #10 bus was waiting for the $2.30 pp round trip to Eagle and Palm beaches, you can pay onboard. We opted to get off at the 2nd Eagle Beach stop (15 min) in front of the Amsterdam Hotel as planned. A great beach, $20 for 2 lounge chairs under a palapa. Go early, we arrived at 10:45 and got the last palapa. They were by to take drink orders ($8 pina coladas) and later we had a very nice lunch at their beach bar. Nice menu reasonably priced (entrees $8-15).
The $6 day pass for the water taxi into town is the way to go. They are waiting for you right off the pier, no waiting in either direction. Our first time here since the new pier and the boardwalk along be beach, a nice setup. Just walk one block back to the shops. I noticed many bar/rest's on the beach offered free Wi-Fi. Found this to be the best prices for cigarettes of our 5 ports, Marlboro $18/ctn. (bargained in the Back St. cigar/liquor shop). Also, if straw markets are your thing, the pier has a nice set of stalls with the same mdse. and prices as the market in town. As we were on island on a Sunday, did not go to Marigot as shops were closed (don't know about their great straw market)....restaurants were open however.
Taxi was $4 pp each way into town on jitney buses which let you off at the straw market at the beginning of the Main St. shopping area. The walk into town is a pleasant sidewalk along the water, but we found it too long/far on a hot day. If high-end jewelry is your thing, Main St. is your place. If not, other types of shops are too few and far between. The Havensight shops right at the pier has 'lots' of shops (the discount Port-of-Sales Shops are mostly closed now).