Discover St Maarten

Airports:

Princess Juliana International Airport (Dutch St. Maarten) services all the international flights. L'Espérance Airport (French St. Martin) services small commuter flights from neighboring islands.

 

Seaports:

Main deep-water port: Dr. A.C. Wathey Cruise & Cargo Facility located in Philipsburg, St. Maarten.

 

  • IMMIGRATION

Entry Requirements for U.S. citizens:
A valid passport and a return/continuing ticket.


Entry Requirements for Canadian citizens:

A valid passport and a return/continuing ticket, or a certified copy of the birth certificate, a photo identification and a return/continuing ticket.


Entry Requirements for EU citizens:

A valid passport and a return/continuing ticket.


Entry Requirements for Nationals not listed above:

Click here for more information.

The island of St. Maarten is ½ Dutch, ½ French and 2/3rds Caribbean. As you can see from the math, the sum of the whole is greater than its parts.

 

Characterizing the 2 sides of the island, we see that the Dutch side has retained more of the Caribbean flavor, and less of the European influence is seen than on the French side. This perhaps is typical of the two countries historical colonization patterns. The Dutch have been historically great traders, and their cultural impacts on the countries they have owned or occupied have been less than that of many other nations. Adapting to their surroundings while making sure of a good flow of Guilders (the Dutch currency prior to the Euro) was more their style. On French St. Martin you will see more of the culture of France as we know that the French have always believed that one of their greatest gifts to a colony was their culture.

Chef Dino Jagtiani and guestLanding on St Maarten (National Geographic - photo of the day)Carnival - a real St Maarten specialty

However, on both sides of the island you will see more of a younger culture, that of the African Caribbean. When the Africans were brought to the Caribbean as slaves by the Europeans, they came from many diverse areas of Africa and lacking a common historical culture, they immediately set out to form a new one. Given their separation by the physical barrier of the Caribbean Sea, each island has evolved its own unique culture with its own flavor.

 

For St. Maarten/St. Martin, from the 1800s to the 1960s there has been a mingling of peoples and families within the closest islands, Anguilla, Saba, Statia, St. Kitts/Nevis, St. Barths and to a lesser extent as the sea miles add up to other nearby islands. There also has been added to this the various migrations as work was available in Guadalupe, Martinique, Aruba, Curacao and even the Dominican Republic. St. Maarten/St. Martin, lacking many resources was a quiet backwater, where people enjoyed a peaceful and relatively comfortable life, earning it the reputation as the “Friendly Island”.

St Maarten Heineken RegattaCruiships anchored in PhilipsburgMegayacht entering Simpson Bay

From 1970 on, as tourism started to develop in earnest, people flocked to the Island from over 100 countries to provide the services and to make a good living. Today’s culture is one that can only be described as metropolitan, where people from all over the world live in a remarkable harmony of diversity with a heart that is still St. Maarten/St. Martin. High-speed internet and one of the highest per capita usage of fast computers, cell phones, satellite television, and the easy movement of both goods and people have changed the island from a sleepy backwater to a vibrant and exciting place to live.

 

  • Climate: Sub-tropical, with trade winds from the Caribbean Sea.
    Temperature: The island has a year-round temperature of approximately 80°F (27°C).
    Time: Atlantic Standard Time, year-around
    Language: English is the predominate language in the island, however the official language on the St. Maarten side is Dutch, and is officially French on the St. Martin side. French Creole, Spanish, Papiamento and other languages are also spoken.
    Population: 41,000 people live on St. Maarten and 36,000 on St. Martin for a combined total of 77,000.
  • Currency: US dollars are accepted everywhere.
    St. Maarten: Netherlands Antilles Florin (NAF); the official exchange rate is NAF 1.77 for each US$1.00 U.S. dollar.
    St. Martin: The official monetary unit is the euro.
  • Electricity:
    St. Maarten: 110-volt AC, 60 cycles (same as U.S. and Canada)
    St. Martin: 220-volt AC, 60 cycles (requires the use of adapters and transformers)
  • Telephone:
    Calls to St. Maarten/St. Martin from the U.S. are international calls and require the following country codes:
    St. Maarten: 00599 followed by the seven-digit local number
    St. Martin: 00590, 590 again followed by the six-digit local number
  • Official Tourist Office information St Maarten:
    Vineyard Office Park, WG Buncamper Rd. #33, St. Maarten

    Tel: +599-542-2337
    Fax: +599-542-2734
    E-mail: info@e-maarten.com

Medical Facilities:

St. Maarten Medical Center in Cay Hill and L'hospital General de Gaulle in Marigot, St. Martin. Airlift is available to Puerto Rico and the continental U.S. in case of extreme medical emergency.

 

Pet Regulations:

Animals are admitted temporarily to the island with the following papers: a health certificate dated no more than 10 days before visit and a record of inoculations, including a rabies shot administered no more than 30 days before visit. Be aware though that most resorts enforce a no pets policy.

To fully enjoy all of the diversity that the island has to offer, a rental car offers the best way to see everything. For the best deal on car rentals you can always shop around, but each of our resorts has a car rental on site. Sometimes that personal service (ever lock your keys in the car?) can be worth a bit extra. You can have the car meet you at the airport even. We drive on the right side of the road; as opposed to the left that is.  While there are not a lot of road signs, with only 36 square miles it won’t take you long to get there even with a few side turns.

 

Driving:

International driver's license

 

Taxis:

Available at airports, towns and resort areas

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