Island Information

ENTRY:
Please take note that as of January 1, 2007 all US Citizens will need a passport to enter St. Maarten/St. Martin. Up until then a certified copy of your birth certificate with photo id is accepted.


HISTORY:
St. Maarten/St. Martin was discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1493 on the feast day of St. Martin of Tours. Since then, this 37 square mile island, has been in the possession of the Spanish, Dutch, French and English. However, on March 23, 1648, a treaty was concluded atop Mount Concordia delineating the boundaries of the island whereby the Dutch received 16 square miles and the French 21 square miles. It is now the smallest island in the world to be divided between two sovereign powers. Dutch St. Maarten is part of the Dutch Caribbean, a self-governing Dutch nation, comprising of five islands, Bonaire and Curaçao to the North of Venezuela, and Saba, St. Eustatius, and St. Maarten in the northeastern Caribbean.


TIME ZONE:
4 hrs from Universal time: + 1 hr from Eastern Time in the Winter, same time in the Summer, or 5 hrs from Paris time (- 6 hrs in the Summer).


LANGUAGES:
Official languages are Dutch and French, but English is widely spoken. Spanish, Italian, German and many more languages can be heard as well as two dialects, Papiamento on the Dutch Side and French Creole on the French Side. Over 100 nationalities reside on the island.


CURRENCIES:
Official currencies are the Antillean Guilder on the Dutch Side and the Euro on the French Side. The Antillean Guilder floats with the US dollar. $1 = 1.78 Antillean Guilders. Prices are commonly posted in U.S. Dollars which are accepted everywhere. Non-resident personal checks are generally not accepted, however travelers checks and most major credit cards are .


AIRPORTS:
Princess Juliana Airport, on the Dutch side, is the international airport that is linked to  most Caribbean islands, as well as Europe and North and South America.
Infos: 011-599-545-4211 and 011-599-545-4224.
L’Esperance-Grand Case Airport, on the French side, is a regional airport for inter-island transfers to the surrounding French speaking islands.


DRIVING:

Vehicles are left hand drives and traffic is on the right with international signs. Local buses run until midnight between different locations. Taxis can be acquired anytime at the airport, in the capitals, and at the hotels. There are fixed taxi fares which increase after 10:30 p.m.  All major car rentals are on the island, and there is unlimited mileage. It is advisable to take car insurance. Roads are winding and narrow.


MARRIAGE LICENSE:
Foreign persons who are not registered as residents, but wish to get married in St. Maarten, may request permission to do so from the Lt. Governor of the Island Territory of St. Maarten by faxing a letter to Lt. Governor Franklin Richards, Government Administration Building, Philipsburg at 011-599-542-4884. Registration with the Office of Civil Registry is to take place at least 10 days prior to the planned wedding date. Tel: 011-599-542-2457  Fax: 011-599-542-4267.


ELECTRICITY: 110 Volt, 50 Hz


COURIER SERVICES: Main Post offices, DHL, FEDERAL EXPRESS, UPS, LIAT Quickpak


THINGS TO DO:

  • Beaches: We have 36 beaches, each one magnificent!

  • Casinos: There are 12 Casinos on the Dutch side of the island offering all sorts of games of chance.

  • Dining: St. Maarten is known as the Gourmet capital of the Caribbean and has over 300 restaurants ranging from Burger King to 4 star cuisine.

  • Duty Free Shopping: Duty free shopping on both sides of the island offer goods from all  over the world. You’ll want to bring home some French perfume, liquor, tobacco, and some of the wonderful clothing and jewelry.

  • Excursions: St. Maarten is situated in the middle of many other islands. Take a day trip to approximately 20 different islands or visit the Butterfly Farm. There is so much to do, you will want to come back time and time again.

  • Golf: There is an 18 hole Golf Club at Mullet Bay.

  • Water Sports: There are a number of water sports, from rafts to parasailing  and diving all over the island.