Welcome! Sunshine greetings or as you might hear on the island: Welkom, Bienvenue, Bienvenido, Huānyíng, Bonbini, Ahlaan Bik Paligayang Pagdating. These are some of the many languages spoken on the island. 


Yes, Welcome to our beautiful island St. Maarten/St. Martin, thirty-seven square miles of lush tropical paradise surrounded by the beautiful waters of the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. 


An island for romance, unequaled anywhere. Feel free to relax on our white sandy beaches, enjoy an array of tropical plants, experience exotic wild life and luxuriate yourself as the gentle aqua waters caress your feet as you witness the heavens display of its glorious sunsets to warm your hearts a lifetime. St. Maarten/St. Martin, the only location where heaven and earth connected and everything was uniquely created twice. The perfect place to host and celebrate your dream wedding-moon.

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Airports

The main airport is called Princess Juliana International Airport-PJIA (code SXM), located on the Dutch side of the island. After many years of servicing large and small aircrafts, the airport needed a makeover and in 2006 the terminal was completely rebuilt. It is open to direct flights to and from Europe, USA and Canada, as well as most Caribbean Islands. 


SXM airport is best known for its landing and taking off because of its touristy beach location in regards to the low-flying planes. Jet blasts from planes continually knocks beach-goers into the water as the runway starts just off the beach near “Sunset Beach Bar" The airport position is at Longitude 63.1W and Latitude 18.3 N.
 

The design of this airport makes Sint Maarten a favorite locale for plane spotters, as it is one of the few places left in the world where people can be in such close proximity to planes landing or taking off. Tourists purposefully cling to the fences to be blown into the water. SXM airport remains a major hub in the Caribbean.


SFG Esperance airport is smaller and located in the fishing village of Grand Case on the French side (code SFG). It is primarily use for inter-island connections with Air Caraïbes, Air Antilles and others, serving mainly Martinique, Guadeloupe, St. Barth's and Santo Domingo (DR). 

Airlines

International and Domestic airlines serving Sint Maarten (SXM) / Saint Martin (SFG)

From USA: American Airlines, Continental, US Airways, United, Delta, JetBlue, and Spirit
From Canada: Air Canada, WestJet, Air Transat (charter)
From France: Air France (daily), TUIFly (Corsair), Air Caraibes
From Holland: KLM (now in conjunction with Air France)

From Caribbean: Liat, Caribbean Airlines, WinAir 

Accommodations

The Island offers many luxurious resorts, boutique hotels and motels as well as  elegantly designed private homes/villas and yachts to accommodate you, your family and friends. Although we have a few favorites, we encourage you to visit the various websites offering special discounts and incentives for staying at their property.  

Banks

On St. Maarten and St. Martin as with most of the Caribbean Islands, banks are open Monday through Friday from 8:30am to 3:30pm, some up to 4:00pm. On both, the French and Dutch side, you will find Automatic Teller Machines (ATM's) at most locations and elsewhere. ATM’s usually accept Visa, MasterCard, and Cirrus. The Dutch side ATM's usually dispense US-$, the French ATM's dispenses Euros-€.

Beaches

There are over 30 beautiful white sandy beaches on St. Maarten/St. Martin. The French beaches reflect a more liberal attitude with some being topless or nude beaches. The Dutch side has more family friendly beaches some are topless options, with Cupe-coy being the only nude beach on the Dutch side.

Border

The Border between the French side and the Dutch side has no restrictions, tolls or immigration stops. They are clearly marked by signs along the road saying "Bienvenue dans la partie Francaise" (Welcome to the French Side). Otherwise, the border is invisible, and only marked on maps, the dividing line between Dutch St. Maarten and French St. Martin is open, free, and breezy. “one happy island”!

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Capital

The Capital of Dutch Sint Maarten is Philipsburg, and the Capital of French Saint Martin is Marigot.

Climate

St. Maarten/St. Martin benefits from a typical tropical climate, predominantly dry with average temperatures of 80F or 27C. 

Clothing

Generally informal, casual sports clothes in cotton, linen and other light fabrics rule the day. One can choose to wear the latest fashions but remember, this is the tropics. Jeans, shorts, polos, tees, sandals, sneakers and boat shoes are de rigueur. While swimwear is perfect for the beach, it is not considered proper in town. In the evenings, women tend to "dress up" a bit but, as for the men, ties and jackets are rarely seen.

Currencies

Although the official currency of Dutch St. Maarten is the Netherlands Antilles Florin (NAF, or Guilder), most shops are set up to charge in US-$. The Euro € is the official currency for French St. Martin. One US dollar equals approx. $1.80 NAF. The exchange rate Euro to US-$ fluctuates, according to the daily official exchange rate. USD are accepted EVERYWHERE including the French side. Exchange booths are available, dealing in the major currencies. US traveler’s checks as well as most major credit cards are widely accepted. 

Driving

Traffic is on the right with international signs on St. Martin and St. Maarten. Foreign and international driver licenses are accepted when renting a vehicle. Patience and a sense of humor are helpful while driving: natives often take time to stop and greet a friend, or two and drop off or pick up passengers or deliveries in the middle of the road. So, be aware of frequent stopping. It is common to use the horn or high beams to greet or thank another driver for the right of way. Like anywhere else, please buckle up and stay off the phone. while driving. Although the Dutch side does not have speed limits. Be aware of radar speed controls on the French side!

Departure Tax

When travelling from PJIA (SXM) airport there is a US-$ 30.00 departure tax is included in most airline ticket prices. Same is true for the airport facility tax. If not included in your ticket price, you'll have to pay at your airline counter at the airport and the departure tax at an airport office. If you travel from St. Maarten to another island in the Netherlands Antilles, there is also a departure tax to pay in cash, unless already included in your local airline ticket. There is NO departure tax from the French airport of Esperance (SFG) in Grand Case!

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Duty Free

Yes, it´s true! The island enjoys Duty Free and Tax Free status. However, some merchants will charge you a credit card bank fee. There are especially low prices for liquor and cigarettes. Electronics and Jewelry require some bargaining capabilities for truly lower prices. Best choice in Philipsburg are Front and Backstreet. Additionally, Marigot on the French side offers attractive street market stores and boutiques.

Formalities

When entering the country you will need a valid passport. NOTE: US citizens need a passport to re-enter the USA! Some nationals who are not part of North America or the European Union will need a visa. For those traveling with animals, health certificates are required.

Gas Stations

Gas or petrol stations are found all over the island. Prices depend on island side (Dutch or French). 

Geography

The island is 37 square miles, of which the French side is 21 square miles with about 40,000 inhabitants. The Dutch side is 16 square miles, populated about 45,000 people. To the East of St. Maarten/St. Martin lies the Atlantic Ocean, to the West the Caribbean Sea. The island lies at the crossroads of the Greater and Lesser Antilles, the island is mostly volcanic. There are several mountains with the tallest being Pic Paradis (424 m/1400 ft) located on the French side.  

Government

Both the Dutch and French side are self-governed by democratic institutions. French St. Martin as being a "Collectivité Territoriale", is a member of the European Union (EU). The Dutch part is NOT a member of the EU! It has a strong relation to the other Dutch Antilles islands (ABC-Isles) and is a country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Hospitals

The hospital on Dutch St. Maarten, SMMC, (Sint Maarten Medical Center) can be contacted at +1 (721) 522-300 or +1 (721) 543-1111.

On French St. Martin, is the Marigot Hospital located in Concordia,  + (590) 590 295-757. 

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Hotspots

Wireless Internet access, i.e. Hotspots, are available throughout the island. These hotspots are mainly in the Simpson Bay area, in the marinas and at SXM airport.

Hurricane Season

Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1st to November 30th.

Holidays

Dutch Side

New Year's Day Jan. 1st  
Carnival Day Apr. 30th
Kings Day Apr. 27th
Good Friday Mar. 30th
Easter Sunday Apr. 1st
Easter Monday Apr. 2nd
Labor Day May 1st
Ascension Day May 10th
Whit Sunday May 20th
All Saints Day Nov. 1st
St Maarten Day Nov. 11th
Kingdom Day Dec. 15th  
Christmas Day Dec. 25th
Boxing Day Dec. 26th

French Side
New Year's Day Jan. 1st
Epiphany Jan. 6th  
Carnival Feb. 22nd
Good Friday Mar. 30th
Easter Sunday Apr. 1st
Easter Monday Apr. 2nd
Labor Day May 1st
Ascension Day May 10th
Emancipation Day Jul. 1st
Bastille Day Jul. 14th
All Saints Day Nov. 1st
St Martin Day Nov. 11th
Christmas Day Dec. 25th
Boxing Day Dec 26th

Island Tour

Booking one is a good way to learn more about the friendly island and to get an understanding of the unique situation with two countries 'tied' together. 

Languages

The official language of St. Maarten is Dutch, while the language of St. Martin is French, English is widely spoken, especially on the Dutch side. Spanish is often spoken as well as Papiamento which is the language of the Dutch ABC-islands and Creole which is widely spoken by the large Haitian community.

Location

The island is located at 18N, 63W or 144 miles/300km Southeast of Puerto Rico. It is located in the Leeward Islands of the West Indies, or right in the center of the Northern Caribbean islands.

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Nationalities

There are over 100 nationalities represented on the island, primarily French, Dutch, Haitian, Dominican, St. Lucian, Spanish, Jamaican, African, American and Canadian. There is also a strong Indian, Chinese and Arab community.

Nightlife

There are over a dozen Casinos for gambling. Black Jack, Roulette, Poker, Craps, Baccarat and Hot Slots. The casinos are all located on the Dutch side of the island, mainly in Philipsburg, Maho Village, Cupecoy and Simpson Bay also host a few. Casinos (gambling) are NOT permitted on the French side by law. The island also provides a large variety of bars, night clubs, discotheques and adult entertainment.

Nudity

The island has a liberal lifestyle, and nudity is accepted at some beaches. Naturists represent a small minority on beaches. It is NOT accepted in the general public. 

Open Bridges

While getting around, try to avoid the following bridges during opening hours, as they usually cause long waiting times and traffic jams. (Opening times are indicated by signs near the bridges or available from your residence information desk)  

Simpson Bay Bridge (Dutch side) 

Sandy Ground Bridge (French side).

Police and Emergencies

On the Dutch side, call 111 for Police, 130 for an Ambulance, and 911 for an Emergency. The French police can be reached for emergencies by calling 17 from the French side. 

Population

The estimated population of Dutch St. Maarten is 45,000, and 40,000 for French St. Martin. The "Friendly Island" is recognized as the smallest piece of land shared by two countries.

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Public Transportation

The island has a well-developed network of mini-buses, primarily used by the local workforce as an inexpensive way to get around. Keep in mind that these buses frequent the main business and commercial areas of the island such as Philipsburg, Cole Bay, Marigot and Grand Case. The fares are regulated by the island government.

Radio Stations

Several island radio stations can be listened to by copying their web address for their streaming server into your favorite MP3 player. Most popular radio stations SOS 95.9 fm, PJD2 102.7 fm and Laser 101.1 fm”

Rental Cars

Car rentals are available through-out the island, from many major international agencies, as well as local agents at reasonable rates. Some even have a desk in your hotel lobby. For more information contact your front desk.

Tourist Office

St. Martin (French side) on route de Sandy Ground in Marigot 0590-590-87-57-21

St. Maarten (Dutch side) #6 Juancho Yrausquin Boulevard 001-721-549-0200

Taxi Service

Hiring a taxi is a comfortable way to tour the island, most of them are air-conditioned. Taxis are not metered, but are required to display a list of fares. Rates are set by the government office. Charges are based upon one or two passengers minimum as well as on the destination. Additional passengers cost extra. Both, Dutch and French Taxi pick up and drop off anywhere on the island, regardless which side you travel, make sure to ask the driver the fare in advance. Taxi booths are located at the airports of Princess Juliana and Grand Case, at the port in Marigot (at the waterfront), and in Philipsburg on Cyrus Wathey Square and the Cruise Ship Harbor/Pier.


Taxi Hotline: 9247 or (721) 543-7814

Time Zone

St. Martin and St. Maarten are in the Atlantic Time zone, which is -4 hours from Universal Time UTC (GST). During the winter +1 hour from Eastern Standard Time, in summer on same as EST. -5 hours from Paris or Frankfurt in winter, and -6 hours in the summer.

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Telecommunications

A pretty challenging procedure due to the fact that two countries share the island! Calling within "your side" whichever one that is, is easy:


On the Dutch side, dial the 7 digits starting with 5.

On the French side, dial the 10 digits starting with 0590 (land) or 0690 (cell phones).


If you want to call from one side to the other, you have to dial the full international code, which requires the following:
    

To call from the Dutch to the French side:

Land: dial 0590 + 590 + six digits local number

Cell: dial 0590 + 690 + six digits local number 


To call from the French to the Dutch side :

Land or Cell: dial 001-721 + seven digits local number  


To call the US from the Dutch  side: dial 1 + area code + phone number

To call the US from the French side:  dial 001 + area code + phone number  

Telecommunications Reversed

To call from the US to Dutch St. Maarten:
dial 1 + 721 + local number (7 digits)


To call from the US to French St. Martin:
Land: dial 011 + 590 + 590 + six digit local number
Cell: dial    011 + 590 + 690 + six digit local number

For many people, the French phone numbers are very confusing, which is basically due to the fact that the country code 590 is the same as the first part of land phone numbers. You end up with dialing twice 590-590. 

Water

Tap Water on St. Maarten is processed by a desalination plant on the island, or from individual water tank systems. Bottled water is widely available from international brands. 

Save water, it is very precious on the island!

Water-Taxi

Several boat operators offer water taxi services, to Anguilla and St. Barth. The cost is significantly higher than the regular ferry services to the neighboring islands.

Wi-Fi- (Wireless Internet Access)

Some areas of Dutch St. Maarten have wireless coverage for Internet access. There are several WiFi Hotspots at bars and cafés at the boardwalk of Philipsburg, at Oyster Pond, at Orient Beach, and in the Maho village. The PJIAE airport facilities have charged WiFi (in the departure area). 

What to pack

Always start with the most important items. These include valid passports, airline tickets, vouchers, reservation numbers, itineraries, ATM cards, cash, credit cards, driver's licenses, prescription drugs, glasses, contact lenses, sunglasses, tanning lotion, swimwear, shorts & sundresses, a clear mind and fun in your heart, a few important phone numbers for calling back home to say “what a wonderful time we’re having”