A little piece of paradise where music, art, gourmet food, tax-free shopping, fabulous beaches, a vibrant nightlife, and all sorts of activities are geared towards making a visit to the island memorable and fun.


The total size of the island is 37 square miles. Just over half of the island is French and tends to be greener and more forested than the drier St Maarten side. The Simpson Bay Lagoon is the largest in the Caribbean and has two lifting bridges, one on each side, to allow maritime traffic to pass.

Spread out around the island are 37 white-sand beaches, from busy stretches lined with pumping bars to tranquil hidden bays and coves. Water sports from snorkeling and diving to Jet Skiing abound, along with land-based adventures like hiking and zip-lining.

Sint Maarten’s capital is Philipsburg, a bustling town full of excellent shopping and sights to see. There are all sorts of treasures to discover from the old Museum to alleyways shaded by beautiful trees, to the historic Pasanggrahan guesthouse that once hosted the Queen of the Netherlands. Another very interesting place is what used to be the old Jewish synagogue which has been transformed into the beautifully restored Guavaberry Emporium for a plethora of flavored rums and hot sauces. Across the road from that is That Yoda Guy Movie Exhibit where the creator of Yoda, Nick Maley, has movie memorabilia and movie exhibits, as well as his beautifully executed artwork.

Both sides of the island are duty-free, with amazing things to buy in the open-air market in Marigot and the stores along Front Street in Philipsburg. While upmarket retailers like Little Europe offer top quality brands of watches, jewelry, and lifestyle products, and fine jewelers like Caribbean Gems and Alpha Jewels provide precious gemstones, there is also a very broad array of economic stores, services and unique activities that might surprise you.

St Maarten / St Martin is known for its great cuisine with not only traditional dishes featured from all over the world, but also fusions of those long established recipes with a whole lot of Caribbean thrown in! The island’s dining scene offers something for everyone, from family-friendly establishments to beach-front bars and fine dining restaurants.

Calamity struck in September 2017 when monster-hurricane Irma unleashed eight hours of fury over St-Martin/St Maarten. The devastation was thorough and wide-spread with some 90% of all buildings damaged or destroyed. Although recovery is still ongoing, the island is well on its way back. A reliable indicator was the return of the cruise-ship industry with up to seven vessels docking at Philipsburg port at once.

Things To Do

Where to stay

Where To Eat

Restaurants in St Martin/ St Marteen

St. Maarten/St. Martin has such a diverse cosmopolitan population that the choice of where or what to eat can be quite overwhelming. We’ve taken the stress out of choosing a restaurant, read on for our favourite estabilishments on the island.

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Best time to visit

The trade winds cool the island to a pleasant 66–83 degrees Fahrenheit in winter. In summer, the days can be sizzlers, with frequent tropical showers and little wind. The showers are often brief but can come down in a torrent so be prepared. On the whole, the island is warm and sunny all year round with the best times being from November to June. 


Getting to St Martin / St Maarten

The Friendly Island is served by more than twenty US, Canadian, European, South American, and Caribbean-based carriers, including the following:

American Airlines: 1 800 433 7300

United Airlines: 1 800 864 8331

Immigration Matters

Some nationals require a visa before entering St Maarten/St Martin and all nationalities require a valid passport and onward/return airline ticket. Canadian, US and EU citizens require a passport and onward/return ticket when arriving on the Dutch side. Many nationals are exempt from obtaining a visa for St Maarten if they are in possession of the following: a Dutch Caribbean visa; a multiple entry visa for the US or Canada; a multiple entry visa for the European Schengen region; or a residence permit for the UK, French St Martin, Bonaire, St Eustatius, or Saba. For any changes, check the websites for the tourism offices on both sides.


Buses are inexpensive and run unscheduled routes around the island. They are clearly marked with their destination and each bears an identifiable license plate. Taxis are available at all key entry points (airports, ferry docks, cruise ship pier and dock), and at designated points in Philipsburg and Marigot. Car rentals are a good way to get around on an island tour.

Phone Calls

Calls between the French and Dutch side are considered international calls and require the following dialling codes: 001 721 for the Dutch side and 011 590 for the French side. For local calls in St Maarten, only the number needs to be dialed, but on the French side, you must first dial 0 before the 9-digit number. Top-ups and phone cards are available at corner grocery stores and gas stations.

Free Wi-Fi Zones

Wi-Fi is widely available in many restaurants and cafes, either free or at a low cost, and some will charge a fee for a plug-in. 

Religious Services

The main religious influences on St. Martin come from European cultures. The majority of the people on both sides of the island follow Roman Catholicism. The Methodist church is the second most popular denomination on both sides of St. Martin.

Tax and Tipping

A service charge, sometimes masquerading as a ‘tax,’ is often included on the bill in St Maarten. Servers appreciate tips of between 10 and 15%. On the French side quite often the service charge is not included, but some of the restaurants are following the trend of St Maarten by adding the service charge separately.

St Maarten/St Martin is a duty-free island. A Departure Tax is charged at the Princess Juliana International Airport. 


The official currency of Dutch St Maarten is the Netherlands Antilles Guilder, while the official currency of French St Martin is the Euro. However, both sides happily accept US Dollars. The Guilder is pinned to the US Dollar and the exchange rate floats around 1.78 and 1.80. The Euro/Dollar exchange rate is more volatile so check it before shopping or dining out on the French side. ATMs dispense Guilders and Dollars on the Dutch side and Euros on the French side. Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted, but check other cards before using them. Some of the smaller restaurants do not accept credit cards.

Banking & ATMs

Generally, banks on both sides of the island are open from 8:30 am to 3 pm, Monday to Friday. Banks on the French side also open on Saturday morning. ATMs are open 24 hours. Money can be changed at Cash Points. Some hotels and casinos also offer a currency exchange service, but the rates may be less favorable.

Medical Facilities

The St Maarten Medical Center is located in Cay Hill, 1 721 543 1111. Proof of insurance or adequate funds may be required before admission.

The Louis Constant Fleming Hospital on the French side is located in Concordia, (590) 590 52 25 25.

Drop-in clinics and pharmacies are available on both sides of the island and a list of physicians and dentists can be found in the local telephone directory. 

There is a medical shuttle that runs between Grand Marche on Bush Road to the St Maarten Medical Center and to other medical facilities in the immediate area. They run from 6 am – 8 pm. To find out where they are on the road, if a lift is required to or from the Medical Center, 1 721 559 2323 and tell them your location. The cost is $1 either way.

Map of St Martin / St Maarten

Explore St Martin / St Maarten and plan your perfect Caribbean adventure

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Amuseum Naturalis

Route de Quartier d'Orleans Quartier d'Orleans MF 97150, Quartier D'Orléans, St Martin

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Marigot Market

Marigot Harbour, Marigot 97150, St Martin

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