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FAQ Sint Maarten | Saint Martin: Good to know!
Here you’ll find the answers to all frequently asked Island questions!
Q1: Is it safe to visit St. Maarten?
A1: Yes, completely! All the tourist areas such as cities and beaches are safe to walk around. Especially during the day, there’s nothing to worry about and you can enjoy the Island everywhere.
At night in Philipsburg or Marigot, just like in any other capital, we would advise not to wear expensive belongings. For evening activities take a cab drive there or park close. At most companies, you can ask the security for Valet Parking.
Q2: Is it St. Maarten or St. Martin?
A2: Both the Dutch side is called Sint Maarten and the French side Saint Martin.
Fun Fact, you know this Island probably has the largest variety of given names: San Martin, Saint Marteen, Sint Marteen, San Marteen, Sankt Martin, St. Martens, St. Martins, Saint Martins, but it is (Dutch) St. Maarten or (French) St. Martin
Q3: Will I be bothered on the streets?
A3: On the Boardwalk in Philipsburg and at other beaches, people will try to rent you their Beach Chairs, don’t feel bad saying “no” and choose the ones you prefer. Outside the cruise-port, they will offer you tours and trips, make sure you arrange everything in advance not to be bothered. We selected only the best companies.
In Philipsburg, several cosmetic stores will try and lure you in with a free sample, realize that you end up paying large commissions for the people selling it to you.
In some areas of Philipsburg and Marigot, some might offer you weed, cocaine, or any other drugs they have available. Don’t worry, when you say “no” they will stay respectful of your choice.
Q4: Why should I visit St. Martin?
A4 Dutch side: St. Maarten is known as the Las Vegas of the Caribbean, with lots of Nightlife, Casino’s, Bars and Restaurants.
As the Dutch side has Duty Free importing and no additional product Tax, it’s the best place to buy jewelry, clothing, alcohol, cigarettes, cigars, cosmetics, and more. Combine this with the most pristine places to stay, beautiful Beaches, and beach bars/restaurants. Your vacation is complete!
A4 French side: St. Martin is known as the Culinary Capital of the Caribbean, with fine-dining and dishes prepared by world-class chefs all around. On the French side, it is all about tranquility, no loud music, and a Caribbean vibe.
Being part of France, they are also known for being very liberal and so free spirits all around. Therefore several nude beaches and topless sunbathing is accepted by all. Next to this, you’ll find beautiful shops for European clothing; colorful, unique, and with a perfect fit.
Q5: Can I use US dollars in St Maarten?
A5: Yes, the dollar is widely accepted as a currency on both the Dutch and French sides of the island.
Dutch side: the Dollar is considered the standard currency for everyone on the Dutch side. Prices will are given in Antillian Guilder and the Dollar (standard exchange NAF 1.8 = $ 1).
French side: the Euro is the standard currency for everyone on the French side, but the Dollar is accepted everywhere. All prices will be given in Euro and Dollar (standard exchange changes between $ 1.1 and $ 1.2 = € 1). Some places will rate $1.1 for € 1, but most take the Dollar 1 = 1 with the Euro.
Q6: What are the best thing to do in St. Maarten – St. Martin?
A6: From the best activities, watersports and entertainment to world-class dining and nightlife, the choices are endless on St. Maarten – St. Martin!
Our top 10 things to do:
1. Visit Philipsburg: Enjoy the historical sights of the Capital and visit the Heritage Museum to learn all about our history.
2. Around the Island Tour: Explore the Island all around with a guided tour early during your visit. That way, you know where to enjoy your days the most as everyone has their preferences.
We recommend you JoJunie tours with the most experienced local drivers/tour guides.
Another great option is an ATV Island tour.
3. Loterie Farm: Combine a healthy & sporty day with some ultimate relaxation. With the hiking trails and tree-top zip lines, you enjoy the biodiversity of the tropical forest while admiring monkeys, iguanas, and other wild Caribbean species.
After or instead you can relax at their spring-fed swimming pool and enjoy great food and drinks. Read more…
4. Tour on the Water: Around the Island or to Anguilla. With so much water surrounding SXM there’s nothing better and more calming than to explore the island from the ocean.
Catamaran, Mono-haul, Powerboat, or Jet-Ski, we made a selection of the best ways to explore the island by sea, read more.
5. Pinel Island: A trip to St. Maarten | St. Martin is not complete without visiting lovely Pinel Island. Park your car and take the Ferry for $12 both ways, the Ferry leaves every 30 min.
When on Pinel, you can enjoy hiking this small charming island, snorkeling around, and chill on the beach. There are beach chairs available for rent at Yellow Beach or Karibuni, where you can also enjoy refreshing drinks and a great lunch!
6. A night out in Simpson Bay/Cole Bay & Maho: The party central of the Caribbean. With the largest Mega Yacht Marinas, Sail Marinas, and Hotels, there are people all around.
You can choose between an array of restaurants, bars, casinos, clubs and adult entertainment. From Karaoke, Acoustic to Salsa, Rock, Blues, and House music, one night will not be enough! Or join the two weekly Pub Crawl to explore 5 bars in one night. Read more.
7. Dinner evening in Grand Case: The culinary Capital of the Caribbean, with world-class fine dining all around. Here you find the largest selection of fine European cuisine paired with the best wines!
You can also visit Lolo’s for a Caribbean BBQ experience or Rainbow Café for a beach club vibe with sunset, cocktails, and tapas. You probably like to come back several nights!
8. Beach visits: A Caribbean vacation is not complete without visiting our Island Beaches. St. Maarten | St. Martin is home to some of the most beautiful beaches, make sure you visit some.
Don’t miss Mullet Bay, Happy Bay, Orient Bay, Grand Case Bay, Great Bay, Simpson Bay, Kim Sha, Cupecoy Beach and Maho Beach. Some are great to relax, some for water activities and others to see planes coming over. See our list of beaches here, read more.
9. Visit Local producers: Visit and support the makers of our local products. Guavaberry Rum, Topper’s Rhum, Sint Maarten Nectar, Tijon Perfumes, MaDouDou, Caribbean Brewing Company, Noco Art Studio, Art Craft Café, Art Box Gallery and lots more. Great products read more.
10. Relax, rejuvenate and be reborn: What’s better before going home than to enjoy a relaxing massage with only 100% natural essential oils. Combine this with your own made perfume and a fresh hairstyle. A reset and a fresh start before entering “normal life,” relax and read more…
Other great sightseeing locations are Fort Amsterdam, Fort Louis, Marigot shopping, ATV Tour, Trike Rental, Diving Tour, Rainforest Adventure Zipline, Birdpark visit, Amuseum Naturalis. Check out our webpage for most of the best options. Enjoy!
About Sint Maarten | Saint Martin
Our Magical little paradise inhabitants approximately 100.000 citizens spread over the Dutch side (55.000) and the French side (45.000). It’s extremely hard to make an exact count as many are on and off-island due to the Tourism Industry.
Our high-season months are from November until April, mid-season from May to August and low-season September and October due to the Hurricane season.
The average temperature on the island of St. Maarten is approx 80ºF or 27ºC. Within the high-season months there’s a lot more wind and less humidity, where in the low season there’s almost no wind and more himidity.
After Hurricane Irma which destroyed SXM the Island went into a recovery phase. Now a couple of years after the Island is back on track and completely renovated and renewed. Everything on Sint Maarten | Saint Martin is newly built and services are improved compared to pre-hurricane. There are lots of new restaurants, hotels, activities, and watersports to enjoy.
Our island is pleasant to visit all year round so we hope to see you soon!
Sint Maarten | With years of mostly American tourists (75%) the Dutch side of Sint Maarten became the Las Vegas of the Caribbean, with restaurants, marinas, casinos and lots of nightlife all around.
The dutch side its also famous for its Tax-Free importing and so shopping for luxury brands, alcohol, cigarettes, pharma-products, and cigars are extremely affordable and your savings can make back the trip! Not for nothing, SXM is known as a Sin-Island where you get to leave all your worries behind.
The capital Philipsburg became great for your day-trips and a real hub for cruise-ships. With lots of historical sights, the front street which is amazing for shopping and the boardwalk along Great Bay you can enjoy a traditional Caribbean vacation. There are bars, restaurants, and beach chairs all along the boardwalk for you to soak up some sun. Read more about Philipsburg and the Boardwalk…
In Simpson Bay, Cole Bay and Maho you’ll find several large marinas and hotels. This area became the “Party Central of the Caribbean” with more bar’s restaurants, casinos and nightclubs than you can imagine. Within the high-season months, you can admire some of the world’s largest Mega Yachts. Read more about nightlife…
Oyster Pond on the east coast is more secluded with nice beaches, some great hotels and views on St. Barths. If you like a quiet stay closer to calm beaches such as Orient Bay and the French side than this is a good pick. You can expect a lot more wind on this side of the Island so also for windsurfing or kitesurfing this is the best area.
Saint Martin | the French side of the island kept its European charm with no high structures, no casinos and almost no fast-food. Not for nothing, it is known as the “Culinary Capital of the Caribbean” as the fine-cuisine and gastronomic know-how is simply amazing!
The capital Marigot has some nice marinas for smaller yachts and sailboats. It is known for European shopping, great restaurants, and its historical sights. Since the Hurricane, a lot has been destroyed but amazing street art from Jimmy Sheik and Mashinart covered areas with love and color.
A little further out from Marigot there’s Pic Paradis, the highest point of SXM and its lush jungle surrounding. Escape in the nature of our unique tropical forest system with wild iguanas, monkeys and lots of birds.
Grand Case is known as the Culinary capital with lots of top-notch restaurants. Experience French gastronomic know-how first hand eating here, the dishes will blow your mind.
Orient Bay is known as the “Cannes of the Caribbean” one long stretched beach with some of the best beach bars, lots of watersports and an elegant European plaza with top-class restaurants.
In Hope Estate there’s a nice shopping mall and other stores with European brands, french food delicacies and unique island souvenirs such as the famous “One Love, One Life, One Island” T-shirts.
If you like to be more secluded there’s also Anse Marcel, a private beach with the secrets resorts one of the islands best beach restaurant and lots of tranquility.
Last you do not want to miss Pinel Island a small secluded island that can only be reached by a Ferry service for a day-visit, on Pinel you’ll feel like you’ve entered a tropical expedition to an inhabited island.
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