Banks on the Dutch side are normally open from 8:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. French side banks generally are open from 8:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. on weekdays.
Major credit cards –American Express, Visa and MasterCard- are accepted in most places. Visitors need to check with individual merchants, as some stores and restaurants may not accept credit cards. U.S. Dollar traveler’s checks are accepted everywhere with identification.
U.S. Dollars, Antillean Guilders, Euros and all major credit cards are widely accepted. The exchange rate between the U.S. Dollar and Antillean Guilder is fixed. One American Dollar can be converted in 1.78 Antillean Guilders. The Euro depends on the going rate.
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 prior to the visit.
Calling from U.S.: When dialing from the U.S., dial the international access code 011, the country code 721 and the local number.
Calling from Europe: When dialing from Europe, dial 00, than the country code 721 and finally the local number.
Calling from St. Maarten/ St. Martin: Special codes are required from one side to the other, though only a local number is required when calling the same side.
To call the Dutch side from the French side dial 00599 followed by the 7-digit number.
To call the French side from the Dutch side dial 00 590 590, than the 6-digit local number.
Prepaid calling cards
Prepaid cards are largely available on the island at supermarkets, gas stations and cellular providers.
GSM Roaming Service
To roam on St. Maarten visitors must contact their local carrier for more information. Each carrier has its set procedures that would need to be met before visitors are able to roam. Visitors can also purchase a sim-card at several providers to use the local network.
Sunny and warm year-round, with some cooling from trade winds.
Average temperature during the winter season is 80°F (27°C) and a few degrees warmer in the summer. Average water temperature is 78°F (25°C). Showers can be expected at any time of year but rainstorms pass quickly.
Tap water on the island comes from desalinated seawater and is drinkable.
Bottled water is also readily available.
Foreign and international licenses accepted.
Dutch side: 110 volts, 60 cycles
French side: 220 volts, 60 cycles.
English is spoken everywhere, but Dutch is the official language of St. Maarten, and
French the official language of Saint Martin.
On the Dutch side, you can also hear a variety of other languages including Creole Patois, which is also spoken on the French side.
Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) are available at many locations throughout the island.
Immigration and Entry Requirements
Canadian & U.S. Citizens: Valid passport and a return/continuing ticket.
Caribbean Citizens: Valid passport and a return/ continuing ticket. Sufficient funds for accommodations and meals are also required. The recommended amount is
European Community Citizens: Valid passport and a return/continuing ticket.
Green Cardholders: Valid passport and return/continuing ticket.
South American Citizens: VISA when travelling through Miami.
Nationals of Colombia, Cuba, Haiti, India, Peru and the Dominican Republic need a VISA for the Kingdom of the Netherlands Antilles.
St. Maarten is on Atlantic Standard Time year-round. Neither St. Maarten or Saint martin utilize daylight saving time.
For land lovers, the island has tennis, golf, mountain biking and horseback riding. There are health spas that pamper you with state of the art equipment. If you like the water, then try the myriad of offerings, from deep sea-fishing, sailing challenges, kayaking to para-sailing, water skiing and windsurfing.
For under the sea lovers, there is diving to explore shipwrecks off the coast and snorkeling at Creole Rock.
St. Maarten is the only duty-free destination in the Caribbean.
Best buys are available on jewelry, watches, linens, sunglasses, fragrances and cigars.
Genuine Cuban cigars are sold at more than 20 authorized outlets. Leather bags and accessories are also a fabulous bargain and found at substantially lower prices than in the United States and Europe.
Philipsburg, the Dutch capital, has Front street, which is an international shopping strip by the Caribbean Sea. There is Maho, which stays open late, Simpson Bay and
Marigot, with their designer shops and unique boutique along the marina and harbor.
Dining has been elevated to an art on this island that boasts over 300 restaurants.
There are more boulangeries, patisseries and bistros per square mile than anywhere else in the world. For the seaside lolo’s and roadside grills to the intimate trattorias and famed restaurants dotting the beaches and coves, St. Maarten’s dining is dynamic and original, blending dishes from the Caribbean with traditional recipes from Europe and Asia.
Bread is baked twice daily; lunch is a sacred hour; happy hour is to be lingered over; and dinner is to be savored.
Gambling and Nightlife
If St. Maarten by day is exciting and evocative, then the island by night can keep you up until dawn. There are more than a dozen casinos on the Dutch side to try your luck, many have evening shows, live music and entertainment. Visit dance clubs set under the stars, discos by the sea, Cuban cigar bars and spots with live music, such as jazz, reggae, soca, zouk, salsa, disco and of course, the island’s special blend of music.
Maho, Simpsonbay, Philipsburg and Marigot are hopping under the tropical night sky.