About St. Maarten
St. Maarten/St. Martin is the smallest island in the world to be shared by two nations, the Kingdom of the Netherlands and France, creating an island with an European-influenced vibe and Caribbean flair.
Circa AD 800: Settled by Arawak Indians who arrived from South America; The Kalinago followed later and gave the island the name Soualiga, or Land of Salt.
November 11, 1493: Claimed for Spain by Christopher Columbus, named Isla de San Martin upon his arrival.
1624: Some French cultivated tobacco in French Quarter.
1631: Dutch small colony on Groot Baai (Great Bay) to collect salt.
March 23, 1648: Preferring to avoid an all-out war, the Treaty of Concordia was signed, which divided the island in two zones: French (north) and Dutch (south) zones.
1651-1665: The Order of Saint John rules the French part of the island.
1679-1689: French occupied entire island.
1689-1792: Dutch zone under Dutch West India Company administration.
1690-1699: English occupied entire island.
1699-1702: French occupied entire island.
1703-1717: Dutch occupied entire island.
February 24, 1779 – February 3, 1781: French occupied entire island.
February 3, 1781 – November 26, 1781: British occupied entire island.
May 18, 1793 – April 5, 1794: Dutch administered entire island.
April 29, 1795 – March 24, 1801: French occupied entire island.
March 24, 1801 – December 1, 1802: British occupied entire island.
July 9, 1810: Annexed along with the Netherlands by France.
1810-1816: British occupied entire island.
1816: French and Dutch zones restored.
1919: Saba, Sint Sustatius, and Saint Martin untied as Netherland Windward Islands.
1936: Dutch side officially adopted the Dutch spelling Saint Martin.
December 15, 1954: Saba, Sint Eustatius and Saint Martin united with Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao as the Netherlands Antilles, a separate country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
January 1, 1986: Aruba attained a status aparte within the Kingdom of the Netherlands Antilles
June 23, 2000: Referendum on Saint Martin resulted in a status aparte within the Kingdom of the Netherlands receives 68.9 percent support.
December 7, 2003: The population of the French part of the island voted in favor of secession from Guadeloupe in order to form a separate overseas collectivity of France.
February 22, 2007: French side became a separate overseas collectivity.
October 10, 2010: The Netherlands Antilles are dissolved. Saint Martin became one of four constituent countries that form the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
By renting a car you can easily explore this wonderful island. With a rental car it is easy to find your own favorite spot in the sun.
To be able to rent a car, you must be at least 18 years old (age can vary by car category) and have held your driver’s license for at least 1 year. Seatbelts and child seats are mandatory. Payment must be done by a major credit card.
Speed Limits: Town and city: 50 km/h
Traffic restrictions: In St. Maarten/St Martin you drive on the right side of the road. No talking on cell phones while driving. No drinking and driving.
Petrol: There are many petrol stations in St. Maarten/ St Martin. Many of them are also open 24 hours.
Tolls: There are no toll roads in St.Maarten/St Martin.
Roundabouts: Traffic on the roundabout has preference.
Alcohol testing: Alcohol testing, especially on the French side, is very strict.
Taxi Dutch side: Airport taxi Association (ATA) +1(721) 542-1680 St. Maarten Taxi Association (STA) +1(721) 543-7815 Taxi French side Taxi’s Yacht Club +1(590) 590-877887
Bus: Group taxis (minibuses) cover most areas of the island. There is no fixed time table however there are dedicated bus stops. Simply wait at of the bus stop and raise your hand to alert the driver when a minibus arrives. Buses generally accept Euros and US dollars.
Ferries to: Departs from both the Dutch and the French side +1(264) 235-6205 /7010
St. Maarten/St. Martin has a tropical monsoon climate with a dry season from January to April and a rainy season from August to December. The precipitation patterns are due to the movement of the Azores high during the year. With the wind direction predominantly from the east or the northeast, temperatures remain stable throughout the year and temperatures rarely exceed 34 °C (93 °F) or fall below 20 °C (68 °F). Temperatures remain steady throughout the year with an average mean temperature of 27.2 °C (81.0 °F). The average sea temperature is 27.2 °C (81.0 °F) ranging from a low of 25.9 °C (78.6 °F) in February to a high of 28.4 °C (83.1 °F) in October. The total average yearly rainfall is 1,047 mm (41.2 in), with 142 days of measurable rainfall. Thunderstorms can occasionally occur, with 18 days with thunder per year.
Details on making phone calls in St. Maarten/St. Martin
On Dutch side
Dutch side requires no area code
From Dutch side to French side
Landline +(590) 590-xxxxxx
Cell +(590) 690-xxxxxx
On French side
From French side to Dutch side 001-721-xxx-xxxx
Business Hours & Gratuities
On the Dutch side, business hours vary with the seasons. In high season the stores are likely to be open all day. The regular business hours on the Dutch side are from 8:30 am until 6 pm. Shops are generally open from Monday through Saturday from 9 am to 6 or 7 pm. Major grocery stores and most minimarkets tend to stay open until around 8 or 9 pm. Some stores in Phillipsburg are also open on Sunday when a cruise ship is in port. On the French side, most stores are open around 9 am and close around 7pm, most shopkeepers close to take an extended lunch break from around 12:30 to 2pm, or later and tend to be closed Saturday afternoon and Sunday.
Banks: Monday-Friday 8:30am - 3/3:30pm
Post Office: Monday-Thursday 7:30am-5pm
Gratuities at restaurants are generally not included in the final bill, but gratuities for good service are welcome. Tipping ranges from 10 to 20 percent depending on the quality of service.
It is possible to bring pets to St. Maarten/St. Martin, but you must consult your host to ensure that your pet is welcome here. 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. In French St. Martin, small dogs on a leash are welcome in most places but are not allowed on the beaches. Very few restaurants on the Dutch side allow pets.