General Info, Travel Info, & FAQs are provided to assist with your vacation.
ATMs Not all ATMs in the Caribbean operate like those in your home country. Some may only accept a four digit PIN number, so if yours is longer you may want to change it before your trip. Ensure you keep your travel money in your primary chequing account as some ATMs default to this account and will not allow you to choose another. Withdrawal fees are generally much higher outside your home country.
FirstCaribbean International Bank (tel 599/542-2491), RBTT Bank (tel 599/542-5908), Scotiabank (tel 599/542-2262) and Windward Islands Bank/WIB (tel 599/542-2313) have ATMs, also called bankomaticos, at their branches, the airport and at various locations throughout St Maarten. They generally accept major credit cards on the major networks, such as Plus/Electron or Cirrus/Maestro. They dispense Netherlands Antilles florins/guilders and some, including Scotiabank and WIB also dispense US dollars.
BANKING AND BUSINESS HOURS Banks Mon-Fri 8:30am-3/3:30pm Sat 8:30am-12 noon (only some banks)
Post Office Mon-Thurs 7:30am-5pm Fri 7:30am-4:30pm
CHURCHES/RELIGIONS Predominantly Roman Catholic. Jewish, Church of Christ and Protestant, including Anglican, Baptist, Jehovah's Witness, Methodist, Pentecostal and Seventh-day Adventist also represented.
CURRENCY AND CREDIT CARDS The local currency is the Netherlands Antillean florin (NAF, NAf, NAFl, NAfl, NFl or Fl) also known as the Netherlands Antillean guilder (ANG), which is divided into 100 cents. Paper money runs in denominations of NAF5, NAF10, NAF25, NAF50, NAF100 and NAF250 bills, and coins in 1¢, 2.5¢ (very rare), 5¢, 10¢, 25¢, 50¢, NAF1 and NAF5 pieces. The florin is fixed to the US dollar at approximately NAF1.78 = US$1. US dollars are widely accepted. (Note: generally St Maarten doesn't accept euros and St Martin doesn't accept florins.) Most prices are listed in both US dollars and the local currency.
To ensure hassle-free purchases during your trip, you may want to contact your credit card company and let them know you will be travelling abroad.
EMERGENCY PHONE NUMBERS American Express: lost or stolen card, 336/393-1111 (call collect); lost or stolen cheques or cheque cards, 800/393-1966 Discover Card: 801/902-3100 MasterCard: 800/307-7309 Visa: 410/902-8022 (call collect) Western Union: DHL Worldwide Express, 542-3174
DEPARTURE TAX Travellers age two years and older must pay a US$30/NAF54 departure tax for international destinations or US$10/NAF18 for islands within the Netherlands (Bonaire, Curaçao, Saba and St Eustatius). Some airline tickets include the departure tax.
ENTRY REQUIREMENTS A valid passport and a return or continuing ticket is required. Canadian citizens may also use a certified copy of a birth certificate with official identification in lieu of a passport. Canadian residents require a Landing Permit in addition to a valid passport.
Nationals of countries other than Canada, the European Community and the United States may also require a visa. Consult your nearest Netherlands consulate/embassy.
You can pass freely between St Maarten and St Martin. If you are planning day trips to St Barts or Anguilla ensure you check their entry requirements.
Note: As of January 23, 2007, all persons travelling by air to the Caribbean, Mexico and Bermuda will require a valid passport, Air NEXUS card or US Coast Guard Merchant Mariner Document to enter and/or re-enter the United States in accordance with the US Government's Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative. For more information visit the US Government's Bureau of Consular Affairs website at www.travel.state.gov.
Some countries require single/lone parents or other adults travelling alone with children to provide documents showing evidence of parental/custodial and/or access rights, and/or documents authorizing consent from the parents, legal guardian, and/or the court for the children to travel. Parents of adopted children, particularly those of a different nationality, should carry the proper documents.
NEAREST FOREIGN REPRESENTATION Honorary British Consulate: 599-9/747-3322 (Curaçao), 246/430-7800 (High Commission, Barbados) Consulate of Canada: 543-6261 (Dawn Beach), 520-5202 (after hours), 246/429-3550 (High Commission, Barbados), 613/996-8885 (collect to Ottawa) US Consulate General: 599-9/461-3066 (Curaçao)
As of January 2, 2007
British pound sterling
European Union euro
HEALTH STANDARDS The St Maarten Medical Center (tel 543-1111) located in Cay Hill offers limited medical care. Complex cases are transferred to Curaçao, which also has a hyperbaric chamber, Puerto Rico or the mainland US. Your home medical program may not provide payment for medical services outside your home country. Obtaining adequate medical/travel insurance, including air ambulance coverage, and consulting a physician or travel medicine specialist six to eight weeks prior to your trip to determine health risks and necessary vaccinations is recommended.
There are a number of pharmacies in St Maarten. In Philipsburg, Central Drugstore (tel 542-2321) on E Camille Richardson St is open Mon-Fri 8am-6pm, Sat 9am-5pm and Sun and holidays 11am-1pm, and Philipsburg Pharmacy (tel 542-3001) on E Voges St is open Mon-Fri 7:30am-7pm, Sat 9am-1pm and Sun 10am-12 noon. In Simpson Bay, The Druggist (tel 545-2777) on Airport Rd is open Mon-Fri 8:30am-7:30pm, Sat 12 noon-7pm and Sun and holidays 1-3pm, and Simpson Bay Pharmacy (tel 544-3653) at the Simpson Bay Yachtclub is open Mon-Fri 8:15am-7:30pm, Sat 9am-1pm and Sun 5-7pm.
For all emergencies dial 911.
ILLEGAL ITEMS There are harsh penalties for possession, use or trafficking in illegal drugs, and strict gun control laws.
For more information call the Windward Islands Customs Department at 599/542-1000.
LANGUAGE Dutch is the official language, but English is widely spoken.
POSTAGE Post offices are located at N Debrotstraat 2 (tel 542-2289) in Philipsburg and at the La Palapa Marina (tel 545-3782) on Airport Rd in Simpson Bay. There is also an outlet at the John Craane Cruise Terminal. They are open Mon-Thurs 7:30am-5pm and Fri 7:30am-4:30pm. Airmail to North America can take one to two weeks and to the UK, two to three weeks. Courier service is also available.
PUBLIC HOLIDAYS Jan 1 New Year's Day Mar/April (varies) Good Friday Mar/April (varies) Easter Sunday Mar/April (varies) Easter Monday April/May (varies) Carnival Day Apr 30 Queen's Birthday May (varies) Ascension Day May 1 Labour Day Oct 22 Antillean Day Nov 11 St Maarten's Day Dec 25 Christmas Day Dec 26 Boxing Day
SHOPPING HOURS Shops are generally open Mon-Sat 9am-6pm. Some may open on Sun when a cruise ship is in port.
TAXES Hotels add a 5% government room tax to all bills. Some hotels and guest houses also add an energy surcharge to your bill.
TELECOMMUNICATIONS Telecommunications are modern and cellular and Internet services are available.
The country code for St Maarten is 599. Local numbers have seven digits. For directory assistance dial 150. To make a local call within St Maarten you need only dial the seven-digit number. Calls between the Dutch and French sides of the island are considered international calls. To call French St Martin from Dutch St Maarten dial 00-590-590 + the local six-digit number. To call St Maarten from St Martin dial 00-599 + the local seven-digit number.
SMITCOMS (Sint Maarten International Telecommunications Services Limited, tel 542-9137) provides telecommunications services. SMITCARD international prepaid calling cards can be used from private or public phones. To make a direct international call, non-SMITCOMS customers can gain access to the network by dialing its carrier select code 0111 and then dialing 00 + country code + city or area code + the local number.
To make a call using a major credit card, dial the toll-free access number 0-801-0220. To make a collect call, dial the toll-free access number 0-801-1010.
For more information see the section in FAQs: Can I use my calling card from here?
CellularOne (tel 543-0222), East Caribbean Cellular (tel 542-2100), TelCell (tel 542-4155) and UTS (United Telecommunications Services, tel 542-0101) provide cellular roaming services. CellularOne also rents cell phones. Check with your service provider to see if they have a roaming agreement with one of these companies.
TEMPERATURES The average temperature in winter is 80°F and in summer it is 86°F. There is no rainy season, but occasional showers occur in late summer and early fall.
To obtain weather conditions while on the island dial 123.
TIME ZONE The island is on Atlantic Standard Time year round, which is four hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). During the summer the time is the same as on the east coast of North America and during the winter, the time is one hour ahead.
Disclaimer: Information is provided as a service to visitors and is updated regularly. All
information should be verified prior to travel.