City guides St Maarten and St Martin
St Maarten and St Martin travel info
Electrical current is 220 volts, 50Hz. Standard, flat, two- and three-pronged plugs, as found in the United States, are used.
Dutch and English are the official languages. Locals commonly use a language known as Papiamento, a mixture of Portuguese, African languages, Spanish, Dutch and English.
The official local currency on the Dutch side is the Antillean guilder (ANG), and the currency on the French side is the euro. The US dollar is accepted everywhere on the island; local currency and US dollar ATM machines are situated throughout the island. Major credit cards are accepted in most tourist establishments.
On the Dutch side of the island, hotel bills include a tax of five percent and often a service charge of 15 percent. Waiters and bar staff should be tipped 10 to 15 percent if a gratuity is not included in the bill.
On French Saint Martin, hotels usually add five percent occupancy tax per person, but a small gratuity is appreciated for good service. Restaurants and hotels usually add a service charge of 10 to 15 percent to the bill, and it's always best to check for this before adding a tip. Taxi drivers and porters expect to be tipped, particularly if they have handled luggage.
The Manchineel tree grows all over the island and mainly along the beaches, and is extremely poisonous. Its sap and fruit, which look like small green apples, are caustic and burn the skin. The water is safe to drink and medical care on the island is good, but patients are likely to be transferred to the US for anything serious. Comprehensive travel insurance is strongly advised. Travellers should protect themselves from mosquito bites at all times, as there's a risk of dengue fever and chikungunya. Proof of vaccination is required if visitors are coming from or have transited through an airport of a country where yellow fever occurs.
Most visits to the island are trouble-free, but petty crime is present and visitors shouldn't leave valuables unattended on beaches, in cars or in hotel lobbies. Care should be taken to keep rooms and cars locked, and visitors should refrain from carrying large amounts of cash. Burglaries and break-ins occur sometimes at resorts, beach houses and hotels, and there have been incidents of armed robbery. Precautions should also be taken against car theft, and insurance cover is advisable.
Island culture on Sint Maarten and Saint Martin is very relaxed, and there are few dress codes aside from high-end restaurants and clubs. Though many residents speak English, visitors should not assume this and a little effort to speak French or Dutch is greatly appreciated.
On Sint Maarten and Saint Martin things are fairly informal, but jackets and ties should be worn by men for meetings. English is spoken widely throughout both the French and Dutch regions and is often the language used in meetings. Business hours are generally 9am to 6pm from Monday to Friday, with a break from 12pm to 1.30pm.
Non-residents who are 18 or older don't have to pay duty on any goods in Sint Maarten. Visitors to Saint Martin who are 18 or older must follow the same regulations that apply for travel to France.
The country code for Sint Maarten is +1 721 while the code for French Saint Martin is +590. Phoning from one side of the island to the other is considered an international call. Mobile network coverage extends across both parts of the island, as does internet and WiFi coverage, especially at cafes, bars and restaurants.
Passport & Visa
Travellers should note that for some nationalities visa and passport, requirements might vary between St Maarten and St Martin. Specific requirements should be checked for the desired destination. All tourists, regardless of which side of the island they are visiting, must have return or onward tickets, all documents needed for next destination and proof of sufficient funds. Passports must be valid for at least the length of intended stay, but six months of passport validity is recommended. As part of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), all travellers travelling between the United States and Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, and the Caribbean region are required to present a passport or other valid travel document to enter or re-enter the United States. If departing from the USA a valid passport will be required by immigration authorities. It is highly recommended that travellers' passports have at least six months' validity remaining after the intended date of departure from their travel destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.
United States citizens require a valid passport that is valid for the duration of their stay. No visa is needed for a stay of up to 180 days.
British citizens require a passport that is valid for six after their date of entry, but do not require a visa for a stay of up to 90 days.
Canadians must have a passport that is valid for the duration of their stay. No visa is needed for a stay of up to 90 days.
Australians must have a passport passport that is valid for the duration of their stay. No visa is needed for a stay of up to 90 days.
South Africans must have a passport valid for the period of intended stay, and a visa for entry.
Irish nationals must have a passport that is valid for the duration of their stay. No visa is needed for stays of up to three months.
New Zealand citizens must have a passport that is valid for the duration of their stay. No visa is needed for a stay of up to 90 days.
Office of Tourism for Saint Martin, Marigot, Saint Martin: +05 9087 5721 or St Martin: qww.stmartinisland.orgEmergencies: 911 (Police), 919 (Fire), 912 (Ambulance).
Embassies / consulates in other countries
Royal Netherlands Embassy, Washington DC, United States: +1 202 244 5300.
Royal Netherlands Embassy, London, United Kingdom: +44 (0)20 7590 3200.
Royal Netherlands Embassy, Ottawa, Canada: +1 613 237 5031.
Royal Netherlands Embassy, Canberra, Australia: +61 (0)2 6220 9400.
Royal Netherlands Embassy, Pretoria, South Africa: +27 (0)12 425 4500.
Royal Netherlands Embassy, Dublin, Ireland: +353 (0)1 269 3444
Royal Netherlands Embassy, Wellington, New Zealand: +64 (0)4 471 6390.
Embassies / consulates in St Maarten and St Martin
American Consulate-General, Willemstad, Curacao (also responsible for St Maarten/St Martin): +599 9 461 3066.
British Consulate,Willemstad, Curacao (also responsible for St Maarten/St Martin): +599 9 461 3900.
Canadian Consulate, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago (also responsible for St Maarten): +868 622 6232.