About St. Maarten/St. Martin
Location/Size St. Maarten/St. Martin is in the Caribbean Sea, 18.02 latitude and 63.07 longitude, 150 miles southeast of Puerto Rico. It covers 37 square miles with Dutch St. Maarten, on the south occupying 16 square miles. French St.Martin, on the North, covers 21 square miles. Being the smallest island in the world that is happily shared by two nations, French and Dutch, you are able to understand the unbelievable journey through time that has helped shape the modern-day St. Maarten/St. Martin. Our island will give you the unique feeling of being in two places at the time. The French side is a part of the Republic of France while the Dutch side is part of the kingdom of the Netherlands.
Caribbean Hospitality and friendliness complements our European sophistication.
Capitals The main capital of the Dutch side is Philipsburg. The Noveau Caribbean town tree lined street bustle with activity as people from all over the world flock to envelope themselves in our warmth and hospitality. Marigot is the French side’s
capital. This mini Carib-Franco town serves up tantalizing cuisine that will
leave no doubt about why the island is aptly called “The Culinary Capital of
Population Consisting of 104 different nationalities,Dutch St. Maarten has an approximate population of 30,235 (July 2010 est.) people.
St. Maarten is country within the kingdom of the Netherlands.
Climate: Year-round the island experiences sunny and warm weather with occasional showers in the late summer and early fall. The average rainfall is approximately 45 inches. The average temperature during the winter season is 80°F (27°C).
Language Dutch is the official language of St. Maarten although English is most commonly used. Walking through the streets its capital, Philipsburg, you may also hear French, Spanish, Papiamentu, Hindi, Italian and Chinese… just to mention a few.
Religion St. Maarten has become a melting pot of nationalities and religions. The majority of the population is Christian but there is a strong presence of other denominations. Adventist, Anglican, Baptist, Jehovah’s Witness, Jewish, Lutheran, Methodist, Roman Catholic, and Seventh Day Adventist services are offered on the island.
Banking Official bank rate as set at time of printing:
Euro (variable exchange rate): 1.00
EUR = 1.35805 USD (2/4/11)
Florins: 1.62161 NLG = 1.00 USD
Banking hours are from Monday to
Friday 8:00am until 3:30pm.
Holidays schedules vary by banks and
by holiday. ATM’s are located all over the Dutch and French sides, and all
three currencies are available at certain ATM outlets.
Airport The island’s main airport, Princess Juliana International Airport, is located
between Simpson Bay and Simpson Bay Lagoon. Landing on the island is an
experience in itself as the plane files in low over azure water of the Caribbean
Sea before passing over Maho beach to land on the runway. The new airport,
opened in November 2006 by Queen Beatrix of The Netherlands, is a state of the
art facility the features some of the finest amenities offered in international
airports the world over. The airport code is SXM.
Customs Customs does not allow prohibited imports, narcotics, arms and Convention of Washington protected animal and plant species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Authorized animals must have a certificate of good health dated less than 10 days previous to arrival and all vaccination certificates.
Documents Visitors coming to St. Maarten/St. Martin require the following to enter: U.S. Citizens / Canadian Citizens / European Community Citizens: A valid passport and a round-trip ticket or onward ticket is officially required of all visitors.
Driving International and foreign permits are accepted
by car rentals companies. Some roads are eroded due to weather, so drive
attentively. Parking on Front Street in Philipsburg, is prohibited but there
are few signs stating this. Paid parking is available at Clem Labega Square,
two short blocks behind the courthouse in the center of town. Avoid parking on
side streets as well. Cars parked even in unsigned no-parking areas are often towed.
- Drive on the right.
- No right turns at red lights.
- On the French side, give way to the right on unmarked intersections.
- Speed limits: 70KM on open roads, 50KM in town, unless otherwise is indicated.
- Legal blood-alcohol limit 50MG per liter =a proximally 2/3 beers.
- Wearing of seats belts is compulsory.
- Usage of mobile phones is
prohibited while driving.
- Alcohol breathalyzers are common
practice on the French side with the Gendarmeries.
Electricity Dutch Side: 110 Volts / 60 cycles, US outlets. French Side: 220 Volts / 60 cycles, French outlets.
Emergencies There are hospitals on both side of the island where casualties and emergencies can be treated. Air ambulance evacuation is available. Dutch Side: 542-2222 or 911 French Side: Police: 17 and Ambulance/Fire: 18
Health Healthy climate, non-malarial (always useful to have insect repellant). Tap water is drinkable (desalinated sea water). Beware of the tropical sun (sunglasses, cap and sunscreen are recommended)
Tourist Safety Usual tourist destination precaution advised
Service It’s a Caribbean Island so expect the service to be a little bit more relaxed than back home.
Duty Free Shopping: St. Maarten /St. Martin is the only completely duty free island in the Caribbean. It is one of the islands greatest attractions luxury items from all over the
world , French and Italian clothing fashions , Dutch and Japanese electronics,
Indonesian batiks and Chinese embroidery, jewelry, leather, crystal, liquors,
and fine porcelain ,free of all taxes and custom, are regularly offered at
bargain prices. The French side also provides a more
leisurely shopping experience as the crowds from the cruise ships visiting our
top ten rated Dr. A.C Wathey Cruise and Cargo Facilities daily tend to be
attracted more to the Dutch side. Most shops are open daily, Monday to
Saturday. A few are closed for a siesta between 12:00pm and 3:00pm. In
Philipsburg, some stores are open on Sunday if a cruise ship is in port.
Taxis Fixed rates are posted at taxi stations, Princess Juliana International Airport and Marigot Marketplace. Confirm the price with the driver before boarding as there are no meter and no receipts. Many taxis are available, though it can be difficult to find one late at night.
Call St. Maarten:
Dial: International access code
1-721 + 7 digits subscribers’ number.
Call St. Martin:
Dial International access code + 590
590 + 6 Digit subscribers’ number.
Call St. Martin Mobile Phones:
Dial: International access code + 590
690 + 6 digit subscribers’ number.
Call from the Dutch Side to the French Side:
Dial: 00 for access + 590 590 +
Call from the French Side to Dutch Side:
Dial: 00 for access 1 721 +
Tipping Tipping percentage is indicated on menu and bill. Keep in mind some restaurants / bar include service charge, others not, then tipping is at the client’s discretion.