Saint Martin is located between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean and spans an area of 34 miles (88 square km). The island has white sandy beaches, fascinating sea life, friendly locals, superb culinary cuisine, and numerous choices of entertaining activities that offer all travelers an amazing Caribbean experience.
The key to the uniqueness of Saint Martin is that the island has two countries in one. One side is owned by France, the other is owned by the Netherlands. The population of Saint Martin is 39,421 on the French side of the island and 40,733 on the Dutch side of the island. Dutch Sint Maarten is known for being very lively while French Saint Martin is known for being more laid back. Although each side has its own traditions and character, each side of the island adds to the vibrant spirit of the entire island.
The island of Saint Martin has a lot to offer to all kinds of travelers. The things all travelers should know before visiting the island are addressed in this article.
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Saint Martin is a beautiful island brimming with culture, delicious and picturesque scenery, this alone is already a good reason to visit Saint Martin. But St. Maarten also possesses so many unique qualities that draw many tourists back to the island year after year. The reasons why you should visit Saint Martin are listed below.
The travel requirements of entry into the island of St. Maarten are a valid passport from your country of citizenship and proof of return for onward travel. Naturalized citizens must present their original naturalization certificate and photo ID to enter St. Maarten. Tourists traveling from the United States, Canada, Australia, the EU, and Britain do not require a visa upon entry into Saint Martin unless they plan to stay more than 90 days.
In addition to a valid passport and proof of return from St. Maarten, travelers arriving from countries outside of the United States, Canada, Australia, and the EU are required to have a visa prior to entry into the country, regardless of the length of their stay. This visa should be obtained before departing from their country of residence by contacting the local French embassy in their country. Because of COVID-19 different travel requirements for St. Maarten might be in place, please visit your local/national government information website for the current restrictions.
No, there are no border crossing restrictions between the French side of St. Martin and the Dutch side of St. Maarten. Since there is no physical border division in Saint Martin between the French and Dutch sides of the island, people can move about freely through both the French and Dutch sides.
The best time of year to visit St. Maarten is between the months of January and June. During this time the climate is dry and there is not as much rain as there is during the rainy season. It would be better to avoid traveling to St. Maarten during the months of July to December to avoid hurricane season.
The climate of Saint Martin is tropical all year round. The weather is hot and sunny with a daily average temperature of 77 F (25 C) between the months of January to March and 82 F (28 C) from June to October. At night the temperature rarely drops below 68F (20 C). The annual amount of rain is 40 inches per year. February and March are the months with the least rain and the months with the most rain are from August to November.
Yes, Saint Martin is generally considered a safe island to visit. The crime rate is relatively low compared to other countries. Most crimes are petty theft crimes that occur due to valuables being left out. As when traveling to any other tourist destination, safety precautions should be taken such as being aware of your surroundings, traveling in groups, and traveling around the island with a minimum amount of jewelry, cash, and other valuables.
In Saint Martin, one of the biggest crimes is passport theft, so be sure to bring your original driver's license with you as well as a photocopy of your passport. If you are renting a car, It may also be wise to purchase rental car insurance, as rental cars are sometimes broken into on the island. Along with purchasing insurance, be sure to not leave any valuables on the seats of the car.
St. Maarten is located in the Atlantic Standard time zone (AST). St. Maarten is a small island located between the Caribbean and the Atlantic sea. St. Maarten is located south of the island of Anguilla, east of the British Virgin Islands and the US Virgin Islands, and north of the Leeward Islands.
Yes, it is very possible for travelers to be affected by jet lag when visiting Saint Martin and traveling in general. “Jet Lag” is a temporary sleep problem that can affect anyone who travels quickly across multiple time zones. The severity of the Jet Lag can vary depending on which of the 24 time zones you are coming from and the number of hours that differ.
There is a time difference of 1 to 6 hours between St. Maarten and the USA. There are 6 different time zones in the USA including Eastern Standard Time (EST), Central Standard Time (CST), Mountain Standard Time (MST), Pacific Standard Time (PST), Alaska Standard Time, and Hawaii-Aleutian Standard Time. All of these time zones have a 1 to 6 hour difference between the Atlantic Standard time zone in St. Maarten. Most travelers coming from the USA will not normally be heavily affected by jet lag when traveling to St. Maarten.
There is a time difference of 4 to 6 hours between St. Maarten and Europe. There are 3 different time zones in Europe including Western European Time (GMT), Central European Time (CET), and Eastern European Time (EET). All of these time zones have a 4 to 6 hour difference between the Atlantic Standard time zone in St. Maarten. Most travelers coming from countries in Europe such as France, England, the Netherlands, etc. can be mildly affected by jet lag when traveling to St. Maarten.
There is a time difference of 7 to 13 hours between St. Maarten and countries in Asia. There are 11 different time zones in Asia some of which include Japan Standard time (JST), Korean Standard Time (KST), China Standard Time (CST), Western Indonesia Standard Time (WIST), Indochina Time (ICT), Bangladesh Standard Time (BST), India Standard Time (IST), etc. All of these time zones have a 7 to 13 hour difference between the Atlantic Standard time zone in St. Maarten. Most travelers coming from countries in Asia such as China, Japan, India, etc can be greatly affected by jet lag when traveling to St. Maarten.
There is a time difference of 5 to 8 hours between St. Maarten and countries in Africa. There are 6 different time zones in Africa including West Africa Standard Time (WAT), East Africa Time (EAT), Central European Standard Time (CET), South Africa Standard Time (SAST), and Central Africa Time (CAT). All of these time zones have a 5 to 8 hour difference between the Atlantic Standard time zone in St. Maarten. Most travelers coming from countries in Africa such as Egypt, South Africa, Nigeria, etc can be greatly affected by jet lag when traveling to St. Maarten.
There is a time difference of 12 to 16 hours between St. Maarten and Australia. There are 3 different time zones in Australia including Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST), Australian Central Standard Time (ACST), and Australian Western Standard Time (AWST). All of these time zones have a 12 to 16 hour difference between the Atlantic Standard time zone in St. Maarten. Most travelers coming from Australia can be greatly affected by jet lag when traveling to St. Maarten.
The culture of Saint Martin is generally very friendly, the locals are known to be happy and helpful to tourists. For this reason, St. Maarten is often called “The Friendly Island”. The French side of the island is known for its peaceful laid-back nature and the Dutch side of the island is known for its more lively and vibrant nature.
There are currently 120 different nationalities on the island of St. Maarten, but there have been many influences from the past that have contributed to the vast culture of the people of Saint Martin. The culture of the island stems from Dutch, French, British, and African heritage.
The languages spoken on the island of St. Martin are English, French, Dutch, Spanish, Creole, and Papiamento. English is widely spoken in both French Saint Martin and Dutch Sint Maarten, as it is the official language of both sides of St. Maarten.
The standard of dress in St. Maarten is generally informal. With the warm climate, it is best to wear lightweight clothes with cotton fabric. Some commonly worn items are sports clothes for the beach, jeans, polos, shorts, dresses, sandals, and boat shoes. Swimwear is common for the beach, but it is not considered proper in town, so it's best to bring a cover-up.
The official currency in St. Martin depends on which side of the island you are on. In French Saint Martin the currency is the Euro and it Dutch Sint Maarten the currency is the Netherlands Antilles Florin, also known as the Guilder. The US Dollar is commonly used all over St. Maarten and there are many currency exchange locations on the island. Saint Martin has a tourist-based economy, the restaurants, hotels, and other tourism-related places account for a large share of the island's income.
There are marvelous beachfront hotels on both the French and Dutch sides of St. Maarten that cater to all sorts of vacationers. The best hotels on Saint Martin are listed below.
St. Maarten is one of the culinary capitals of the Caribbean. Full of local eateries and fine dining establishments. Immigrants from all over the world have helped the island to cultivate a rich culinary experience. Some of the most popular foods in St. Martin are listed below.
Some of the best tours on the island of St. Maarten are listed below.
Some of the top places to visit in Saint Martin are listed below.
Some of the top beaches in St. Martin are listed below.
Some of the best museums in Saint Martin are listed below.
The transportation conditions are generally good on the island of St. Maarten. The best way to travel throughout Saint Martin is to rent a car. The conditions for traveling throughout Saint Martin are relatively good. Roads are paved and vehicles do not normally require 4-wheel drive. There are no toll roads on St. Maarten. There is traffic at times during certain hours in the tourist frequented locations.
For those deciding not to rent a car when on the island, there are other options such as buses and taxis that are readily available all throughout Saint Martin. Uber and Lyft are not available in Saint Martin.
Princess Juliana International Airport is located on Airport Rd in Simpson Bay on the Dutch side of Sint Maarten. This is the main airport in St. Martin.
When departing from Saint Maarten you can arrive at Princess Juliana International Airport, by renting a car, taking a taxi, or a minibus. Princess Juliana International Airport is located 10 minutes away from Marigot, 25 minutes away from Phillipsburg, and 30 minutes from the town of French Cul-de-Sac. The price to rent a car is upwards of $35 US Dollars per day, the price for traveling by taxi to the airport usually ranges from $10-$30 US dollars depending on where you're coming from, and the fare for a minibus ride is $2 per person.
The best activities to do on Saint Martin are listed below.
The best ways to navigate Saint Martin are listed below.
Yes, traveling with pets is permitted if the animal is at least 3 months old, has a recent letter of good health for the veterinarian, and has up-to-date vaccinations. The airline must be consulted about the requirements of animal transport.
Three days is the minimum number of days needed to see and experience the best things St. Martin has to offer. This gives enough time to experience the island's diversity, see both the French and Dutch sides, and participate in fun activities and experiences.
Yes, most of the roads in Saint Martin are suitable for walking. Saint Martin's roads are paved very well. However, it is not recommended to walk in areas outside of Simpson Bay, Grand Case, Maho, or Orient bay or far away from your resort. Some of the terrain in Saint Martin is quite hilly with a narrow sidewalk. Renting a car or public transportation is the best way to navigate the island.
All travelers must have a valid passport from their country of residence to enter Saint Martin, as well as a return ticket for departure from the island.
In addition to a passport and a return ticket, travelers arriving from countries outside of the United States, Canada, and Europe will also be required to have a visa prior to entry into the country. This visa should be obtained before departing from their country of residence by contacting the local French embassy in their country.
All travelers will be presented with an immigration card on the airplane upon arrival at Princess Juliana Airport in Dutch Sint Maarten. It is important to know the address that you will be staying on the island to be able to present to immigration at the airport.
Yes, Saint Martin is generally considered a safe island for tourists to visit. The crime rate in St. Martin is low compared to other countries. As when traveling to any other tourist destination, safety precautions should be taken such as being aware of your surroundings, traveling in groups, and traveling around the island with a minimum amount of jewelry, cash, and other valuables.
One of the biggest crimes on the island is passport theft, so be sure to bring your original driver's license with you as well as a photocopy of your passport. If you are renting a car, it may also be wise to purchase rental car insurance, as rental cars are sometimes broken into on the island. Along with purchasing insurance, be sure to not leave any valuables on the seats of the car.
No, snakes are not known to frequent the island of St. Martin. Fortunately, there are very few harmful animals located on the island. While swimming in the water it is advisable to watch out for sea urchins and jellyfish and sharp coral. However, there are very few reports of tourists being injured due to animals on Saint Martin.
There are several species of sharks located in the waters surrounding St. Maarten. Experts say that they are generally not a threat and that they most commonly are located offshore in deeper waters and are rarely located close to shore. Shark attacks are so rare on the island, there has only been one non-fatal shark attack reported in St. Maarten, and it was in the year 2005.