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St. Maarten - Frequently Asked Questions
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St. Maarten | Frequently Asked Questions

General Info, Travel Info, & FAQs are provided to assist with your vacation.

What is the population?
The population of St Maarten is about 47,000.

How big is the country/island?
The entire island is 37 sq miles. Dutch St Maarten occupies 17 sq miles in the south, and St Martin, a dependency of France, occupies the remaining 20 sq miles in the north.

Can I drink the tap water?
You can drink the tap water, which is mostly desalinated sea water. Bottled water is widely available.

What are the best things to buy here?
St Maarten is one of the world's few duty-free ports, so there is no duty on any item going into or out of the country. Luxury goods can cost up to 50% less than in other countries. Look for jewellery, electronics, leather, perfume, crystal, china, designer fashions and cosmetics. Native arts and crafts include West Indian hammocks, woodcarvings, paintings, handmade jewellery and local guavaberry liquor.

Are there nude beaches?
Cupecoy Beach, which is close to the French border, tolerates clothing-optional sunbathing. There are a number of nude or clothing-optional beaches on the French side - the most famous at Orient Bay.

What are the main industries?
The island's main industry is tourism.

What is the drinking/gambling age?
The legal drinking and gambling age is 18 years old.

What native dishes should I try?
Try callaloo soup, a national dish made with callaloo (spinach-like leaves of the taro plant), okra, kale and pork, seasoned with hot pepper and thyme. For something sweet try coconut sugarcakes, guavaberry tarts or a cool guavaberry colada made with the locally made guavaberry liqueur. A side to practically any dish is local favourite johnny cake, which is either baked or fried.

Can I use my calling card from here?
For directory assistance dial 150.

AT&T: Service is not available from public phones. You can, however, use the phones at Bobby's Marina for calls to the US only using AT&T Calling Cards, AT&T Corporate Cards, American Express, Diners Club, Discover/NOVUS, MasterCard and Visa. Dial 001-800-872-2881 + area code + local number and follow the voice prompts.

BT: no service available

Canada Direct: no service available

MCI MinutePass: Service is available at hotels, pay phones and ports of entry. Dial 001-800-888-8000.

Sprint: Dial 1-800-877-8000. An English-speaking Sprint phone operator will request your Sprint Foncard number.

For more information see the section in General Info: Telecommunications.

How should I dress to go out?
The island is pretty casual, but swimwear should only be worn at the beach or around the pool. Smart casual is acceptable in the evenings, but a jacket and tie are sometimes required at fancier hotels and casinos. You may want to bring a sweater, as sometimes it can get a bit chilly.

Can I use my hair dryer and electric shaver?
Electricity is 110 volts, 60 cycles, which is the same as in North America.

How much should I tip?
Most hotels and restaurants add 10-15% to the bill in lieu of tipping, so check first, as it is not necessary to leave more unless the service was exceptional. Tip taxi drivers 50¢ to $1 for short trips, more for longer tours. Tip airport porters $2 per bag.

Disclaimer: Information is provided as a service to visitors and is updated regularly. All information should be verified prior to travel.

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