FAQ’S

(Header photo courtesy of Christine Garner)

 

Do you have any questions about St. Maarten/St. Martin? Here you will find the frequently asked questions pertaining to the island!

 

IS ST. MAARTEN A COUNTRY?
St. Maarten (Dutch side) is an autonomous country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. It shares defense forces and embassies with the Netherlands, Aruba and Curacao; on other policy terrains St. Maarten is a sovereign country. Its legal system is jointly operated with other Dutch Caribbean countries as well as the Netherlands. Its capital is Philipsburg, and its currency is the Netherlands Antillean Guilder NAF.
The northern, French side of the island is an overseas collectivity with a semi-autonomous status of France. Its capital is Marigot and its currency is Euro

 

WHAT TIME IS IT IN ST. MAARTEN?
St. Maarten is in the Atlantic time zone. This means it has the same time zone of Large cities in the US and 6 hours difference with Paris and Amsterdam. 

 

WHAT TO DO IN ST. MAARTEN?
St. Maarten is reknowned for its large palette of opportunities to experience a great holiday for anyone’s liking. We have tried to categorize them here for our visitors, in order to plan a fantastic holiday. 

 

IS ST. MAARTEN SAFE?
St. Maarten is one of the safest countries in the Caribbean. That does not mean precautions you would normally take in other countries should not be abided to like venturing out at night to unknown and unlit areas.

 

WHERE TO STAY IN ST. MAARTEN?
Amongst its frequent visitors, St. Maarten is known for its excellent level of hospitality standards. On this website we have listed resorts, boutique hotels and how to book your own villas.

 

DO YOU NEED A PASSPORT FOR ST. MAARTEN?
Like to any foreign country, a passport is needed to enter St. Maarten. Please click here for more information on this topic.  

 

WHAT AIRLINES FLY TO ST. MAARTEN?
For a full oversight of current connections and airliners, please click here.

 

HOW IS ST. MAARTEN AFTER HURRICANE IRMA?
On September 6th 2017, St. Maarten was hit by the rarely forceful hurricane Irma, whose “eye” hit the island.
Three quarters of its room count has since been rebuilt, as has most of its well known shops and activities. Many entrepreneurs have taken the opportunity to rebuild along our national adage “build back better”; with improved properties and services. 

It is important to note that whereas May through November is “hurricane season”, it is unlikely that one occurs – let alone with the force of Irma.
Storms are directly spotted and monitor when they gather in the Atlantic Ocean, and their course tracked for weeks. As was the case during Irma, protocols are in place to evacuate and safeguard visitors in case St. Maarten would be in a possible route.

 

HOW LONG IS THE FERRY FROM ST. MAARTEN TO ANGUILLA?
The ferry to Anguilla, departing from Marigot harbor, takes approximately 25 minutes. 

 

IS ST. MARTIN THE SAME AS ST. MAARTEN?
St. Maarten and St. Martin are the same when referring to the island as a whole; more officially the names refer to the two sides of the binational island. St. (Sint) Maarten and St. (Saint) Martin are respectively the Dutch and French names for the same saint St. Martin of Tours whose name Columbus gave to the island as he discovered it on November 11th, the patron’s namesake day. As a predominantly English speaking island, “Saint Martin” is the most common way to describe the island. Amongst local residents on the Dutch side you would find “S’Maatin” as well as a name to call their beloved country. 

Another very common way on island to address the island locally is SXM, referring to the flight code of Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA). Both sides celebrate St. Martin / St. Maarten Day on the 11th of November as one of the most important holidays. 

 

IS UBER ACTIVE ON ST. MAARTEN?
No Uber services are active at this point on St. Maarten. Should you require a taxi, please click here for practical information. 

 

WHAT AIRPORT CONNECTS ST. MAARTEN TO THE CARIBBEAN AND THE WORLD?
St. Maarten has two airports. Its main airport Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA) (flight code SXM) in between of  Simpson Bay and Maho on the Dutch side connects St. Maarten to all intercontinental flights and most regional ones. Princess Juliana International Airport connects to Amsterdam, all current destinations. For a current flight schedule see Princess Juliana International Airport. Grand Case airport (SFG) in Grand Case on the French side connects to French islands Guadeloupe and Martinique and St. Barth’s as well as some other islands in the region.

 

WHAT IS OPEN ON ST. MAARTEN?
St. Maarten has a large array of shops, restaurants and activities to your availability. Please see our listings which ones are open to serve you!

 

WHAT MONEY IS USED IN ST. MAARTEN?
The official currencies of St. Maarten (Dutch side) is the NAF or Dutch Antillean Guilder, whereas the French side uses the Euro. However, US Dollar is the most used currency and is accepted on both sides of the island. Click here for more information about currencies, banks and money transfers.. 

 

WHAT TO DO IN PHILIPSBURG, ST. MAARTEN?
Philipsburg, the capital of St. Maarten, offers a wide array of activities. Please click here for a selection!

 

WHAT TO PACK FOR A TRIP TO ST. MAARTEN?
St. Maarten is a compact country with a large array of shops, electronic stores, pharmacies and supermarkets.  That means that much of your needs are readily available on island. 

However, some general suggestions:
St. Maarten (Dutch side) has a 110 volt net, St. Martin (French side) a 220 volt one. So that means that you might want to bring an adapter depending on what side of the island you stay. Low priced adapters however are readily available in Electricity stores.
St. Maarten has an agreeable, tropical climate with many beaches, so it is suggested to bring clothes that befit our weather.
Mosquitos can occur. You can either bring your own repellant, buy it in supermarkets or visit the shops and factory of our home brew SXM Nectar

 

ARE CRUISE SHIPS GOING TO ST. MAARTEN?
St. Maarten is one of the largest cruise ports in the world, and ranks number 3 in the Caribbean in volume. The island has been ranked no#1 cruise port by visitors many years in a row over the past decade. Cruise traffic was suspended during the 2020-2021 pandemic, but is expected to pick up halfway 2021. 

 

ARE THERE ALL-INCLUSIVE RESORTS IN ST. MAARTEN?
Sonesta Maho Beach Resort & Casino and Divi Little Bay provide All-inclusive arrangements. 

 

CAN YOU USE US DOLLARS IN ST. MAARTEN?
Yes, US Dollars are widely accepted.

 

DOES ST. MAARTEN GET HURRICANES?
Hurricane season (May through November) incidentally sees the occurrence of hurricanes throughout the Caribbean. It is however unlikely you will experience one. Gathering storms are monitored weeks in advance and protocols are in place for evacuation and safeguarding visitors. 

 

HOW TO GET TO SABA FROM ST. MAARTEN?
As a regional hub, St. Maarten has many ferries leaving to the surrounding islands Saba, St. Barth’s and Anguilla.
Aquamania does frequent departures by fast ferry to Saba. Flights are available as well. 

 

IS ST. MAARTEN PART OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA (USA), LIKE PUERTO RICO?
Though very popular by United States visitors, St Maarten (Dutch side) is part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, whereas the French Side is an overseas collectivity of France.

 

WHAT IS GOING ON IN ST. MAARTEN?
St. Maarten has been praised as a lively place, with activities to anyone’s liking. For upcoming events, please see our annual Event Calendar; for weekly offers see our specials category.
For updates on St. Maarten’s foremost hospitality and activity providers and shops, see our blog.

 

WHAT LANGUAGE IS SPOKEN IN ST. MAARTEN?
Though partially of Dutch and French nationality, English is by far the most common language on island.

 

How to spell St Maarten / St Martin?
As per our binational history, many ways of spelling on the internet describing the island can be found: Saint Marteen, St Marteen or Saint Marten being the most popular.
When referring to the Dutch side of the island, the official spelling is Sint Maarten (abbreviated St Maarten) as the Dutch would call the Saint giving its name to the island, and the French side Saint Martin (abbreviated St Martin), which coincides with how the English would write the name of the that gave its name to St Maarten / St Martin.

 

WHAT TO DO ON ST. MAARTEN ON A CRUISE SHIP VISIT?
St. Maarten is a compact island; meaning that for cruise ship visitors almost all activities on this website are available within your visit. A day visit for shopping and lunching in the Philipsburg area is popular as well, as cruise ships dock on a 5 minute walking distance from the city center.  

 

WHEN WAS ST. MAARTEN DISCOVERED?
Though he never made landfall, St. Maarten was discovered by Cristopher Columbus on November 11th. Columbus called the island after the day’s patron saint St. Martin of Tours. This is why Philipsburg‘s largest catholic church bears the name of the same patron. 

 

CAN YOU DRINK THE WATER IN ST. MAARTEN?
As in many countries not far from the equator, it is recommended to use bottled water for drinking. Hotels mostly cater to your needs, additional water can be obtained in the main supermarkets.

 

DO YOU NEED VISA FOR ST. MAARTEN?
For visitors coming from the United States or Europe no visa are required. When you are of a different nationality and in doubt, contact Princess Juliana International Airport for clarity

 

DOES ST. MAARTEN HAVE CASINOS?
St. Maarten has many casinos, spread over the Dutch side of the island and form an exciting part of the island’s nightlife.

 

HOW DO I CALL ST. MAARTEN FROM THE USA?
St. Maarten’s country code is +1721 to be followed by a 7 digit local number ; for reaching French side phone numbers +590 is the regional entry code, mostly followed with (another) 590 or 690. 

 

HOW FAR IS ST. MAARTEN FROM MIAMI?
St. Maarten is 1,962.94 kilometres or 1,219.71 miles to  Miami, via airplane.

 

IS ST. MAARTEN GAY FRIENDLY?
St Maarten is one of the most LGBTQ+ friendly destinations in the Caribbean.

 

IS ST. MAARTEN PART OF THE BRITSH VIRGIN ISLANDS OR THE BAHAMAS?
Sint Maarten (Dutch side) is part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and of France (French side). The British Virgin Islands are our neighbors to the west (159.44 KM / 99.07 miles). The Bahamas are 1,670.55 kilometres / 1,038.03 miles northwest.

 

IS WESTERN UNION ON ST. MAARTEN OPEN?
Please see our article on money transfers on St. Maarten.

 

WHAT TO BUY IN PHILIPSBURG ST. MAARTEN?
A very good question! Philipsburg has been informally known as the shopping mecca of the Caribbean. Please see our article on Philipsburg for an extensive listing of shopping options.  

 

WHAT TO DO IN THE SIMPSON BAY AREA ON ST. MAARTEN?
Simpson Bay is one of the liveliest areas on island with a vast array of hotels, restaurants, bars, casinos and activities. Please see a summary of what can be found nearby in our Simpson Bay article.

 

WHERE TO BUY BEER ON ST. MAARTEN?
St. Maarten is a duty free port. That means you will find your favorite liquors and beers at a reduced price. In addition, due to its hub location in the Caribbean, you will find that the offer is larger than in many other places. 
For those interested in visiting breweries, we recommend Toppers Rhum as a day trip, or Caribbean Brewing Company for beer lovers!

 

WHAT TO DO ON ST. MAARTEN WHEN IT RAINS?
St. Maarten offers many indoors activities. All restaurants are covered, so a taste of the culinary capital of the Caribbean remains guaranteed! 
In addition, consider visiting a rum or beer brewery, a museum or go shopping!

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