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St. Martin is centrally located in the islands of the westward Lesser Antilles bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the east and the Caribbean Sea to the West lying at 18.02 latitude and 63.07 longitude. The island is easy to get to with direct flights from multiple US cities, Europe and Canada. A flight to St Martin (SXM) from New York is slightly less than four hours. Neighboring islands of St Martin include St Barths, Anguilla, Saba, St Kitts and Nevis.
The island is know for it's 37 breathtaking beaches with crystal clear waters that reflect an aqua blue along with pristine white volcanic beaches. The island is a popular destination for the jet set by providing lavish villas and accommodations on Saint Martin along with a bustling night life. Visitors will find St Martin offers it all with it's prisinte beachs, world reknowned restaurants, duty free shopping and an endless list of activities and excursions.
St Martin/St Martin Island Facts
Currency: The US dollar is universally accepted on the island of St Martin/St Martin. The Euro is the official currency and primarily used on the French side. The official currency of the Dutch side are Dutch Guilders but are rarely used. Certain French shops and restaurants offer 1:1 Euro to Dollar exchanges when the dollar is within reasonable range of the dollar.
Location: St. Martin is centrally located in the islands of the westward Lesser Antilles bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the east and the Caribbean Sea to the West lying at 18.02 latitude and 63.07 longitude. The island is easy to get to with direct flights from multiple US cities, Europe and Canada. A flight to St Martin (SXM) from New York is slightly less than four hours. Neighboring islands of St Martin include St Barths, Anguilla, Saba, St Kitts and Nevis.
Capitals: St Martin (Dutch Side)- Phillipsburg. St Martin (French Side)- Marigot.
Electrical: The electrical standard on the Dutch side (St Martin) is the same as the United States with a 110 volt, 50 Hz standard. All US appliances are compatible. The French side (St Martin) has a 220 volt, 60 Hz standard requiring a converter if you are staying on the French side.
Taxes: There are no additional taxes on purchase items. If you are bringing items back home, please refer to the duty policy of your country.
Gratuities: Tipping on the island is a common practice for service oriented performances. Most restaurants have now added 15% service charge to the bill. Make sure to ask if a service charge has been included on the bill as to avoid double tipping. It is customary to leave a tip for good service between 10-20%. Don't forget your maid or housekeeper that earn a living on tips. A typical tip for a maid is about $5/day per room.
Transportation: The public transportation in our opinion is not convenient and not dependable. We highly recommend reserving a rental car while on St Martin. The island has a less than desirable public transportation system that can cause considerable stress. The small size of St Martin allows the island to be easy to circumnavigate with easy access to the islands attractions and stunning beaches. There is one main road that circles the island. Rental car rates are affordable and very worthwhile.
Traffic: When traveling by car we highly suggest knowing the bridge openings of Simpson Bay and Marigot. The bridge opening times on St Martin/ St Martin can be found on our website. Please be advised to avoid the areas of Simpson Bay, Cole Bay, Marigot and Phillipsburg during rush hour. The rush hour is between 8-9AM and 4-6PM on weekdays. Additionally, traffic by the Princess Juliana Airport can be considerable due to a poor traffic pattern. Allot extra time when going to the airport.
Weather: The weather on St Martin is ideal. The Netherlands Antilles enjoys one of the best weather cycles. Typically in the low season the temperatures range between 75-85 buffered by the cool trade winds. The high season is slightly warmer but just as comfortable since the days often have a passing 10-15 minute sprinkle of rain during the mid day. The hurricane season of St Martin is considered to be from late July to early November with peak tropical storm activity from mid August until late October.
Language: The most commonly used languages on the island are English, French, Dutch and Spanish. The local dialects are Creole and Papiamento. All tourist services and most commercial locations are bilingual with English spoken throughout, however a few key phrases in French or Dutch would serve you well and garner general appreciation from the locals.
St Martin Medical/Health: In a medical emergency ask the hotel staff or caretaker for the closest hospital. The Marigot Hospital located in Concordia offers the quickest medical access point for guests staying on the west side of the island (Simpson Bay, Maho, Cupecoy, Terres Basse, Nettle Bay, Marigot and Grand Case). The phone number of the hospital is (590) 590 29 57 55. Pharmacies on the French side are designated with green crosses. The Dutch side or eastern half of the island can seek medical attention at Sint Martin Medical Center on Cay Hill. The phone number of the hospital is (599) 543 1111. There are several clinics conveniently spread out through the island to render non-acute care.
St Martin Shopping Hours: A helpful hint as to not waste time for shopping trips is to learn the commercial hours of each half of the island or hire a personal St Martin shopping guide. The French side offers the European standard for commercial hours from 9AM-1PM with a two hour siesta. The stores reopen from 3PM-7PM. It is highly recommended to account for the 1-3PM midday closings on the French side as not to ruin a shopping trip. The Dutch side has western business hours with most stores open from 9AM-6PM Monday through Saturday. Limited stores are open on Sunday depending on the tourist season and the presence of cruise ships. Please call ahead to determine store hours on Sunday. For the best deals, we recommend shopping when the cruise ships are not out or after 5PM.
Entry Requirements: As of January 2007, US citizens require a valid passport and return ticket to enter St Martin. Canadian citizens require one of the following: a valid passport and return ticket, certified copy of birth certificate and return ticket, landing permit (permanent resident card with valid passport and return ticket. Consult your government or airline agency for further information. There are NO border crossings between the Dutch and French side of the island. Official St Martin Entry and Visa Requirements
Communications: The dual nation status can lead to confusion when attempting an interisland call. Full international codes are required if calling from the Dutch side to the French side and vice versa. Calling from the French to the Dutch side requires dialing (00 599) first and then the seven-digit number. Dialing from the Dutch to French side require the (00 590) prefix plus the nine digit number , dropping the 0. European cell phones with the GSM standard are compatible. Several US cellular companies do have compatibility with the St Martin's cellular network but reception can be difficult. The island does offer cellular rentals at various locations. Please check with your cell phone provider to determine whether your cell phone is compatible. We highly recommend having a cell phone. To use the public pay phones on St Martin, you must purchase phone cards at a post office or select stores.
WiFi/Computers: The island of St Martin provides multiple WiFi hot spots. Certain restaurants and bars such as the Sunset Beach Bar offer complimentary Wi-Fi. Most villas and resorts also offer internet or WiFi internet. If you require a desk top computer and a business center, then we suggest the Post Box office in Simpson Bay. They provide daily internet and business support.
Banking: Several banks are represented on the St Martin/St Martin. The main banks on the Dutch side of St Martin are RBTT Bank and Windwards Island Bank. Chase bank has an office location in Mullet Bay. ATMs can be found throughout the island and in most shopping plazas. Casinos usually have an ATM conveniently located. The use of the ATMs may offer the most convenient use of monetary access and the best exchange rates La Poste (post office) and main banks have cash points that accept most cards. Banking hours are 8:30-3:30 on weekdays and some banks on the Dutch side are open from 8:30 AM to noon on Saturdays.
For any other questions or topics of interest please contact our concierge service at firstname.lastname@example.org