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St. Maarten - Travel Information
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St. Maarten | Travel Information

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

St Maarten is a completely duty-free port, so there are no restrictions on items you can bring in.

For more information call the Windward Islands Customs Department at 599/542-1000.

Also see the section in General Info: Illegal items.

You can temporarily import animals with a health certificate (dated within 10 days of your visit) and a record of inoculations, which must include a rabies shot received no more than 30 days prior to your visit.

Flights land at Princess Juliana International Airport (airport code SXM; tel 545-5757), which is located in Simpson Bay, about nine miles from the capital, Philipsburg. If you are flying in from another Caribbean destination or a French department, such as Guadeloupe or St Barts, you will most likely land at L'Espérance Airport (airport code SFG; tel 05 90 59 04 47) in Grand Case, French St Martin. Flying time is approximately 2.5 hours from Miami, five hours from Montreal and eight hours from Paris.

Airlines that service St Maarten include Air Canada (tel 545-2372), Air France (tel 545-4212), Air Caraïbes (tel 0820-835-835), American Airlines/American Eagle (tel 545-2040), Caribbean Airlines/formerly BWIA West Indies Airways (tel 546 7660), Caribbean Star/Sun (tel 1-800-744-7827), Continental Airlines (tel 545-2788 or 1-800-231-0856), Corsair (tel 545-4344), Delta Air Lines (tel 1-800-872-2881), KLM/Northwest Airlines (tel 545-4747 or 545-4344), LIAT (tel 545-2403 or 1-888-844-5428), United Airlines (tel 1-800-United-1), US Airways (tel 545-3053 or 1-800-622-1015) and Winair (tel 545-2568).

Note: The phone numbers listed above are local access numbers unless otherwise stated.

Cruise ships dock at the Dr A C Wathey Cruise Pier at the John Craane Cruise Terminal in Great Bay Harbour.

Cruise lines that call on St Maarten include Carnival Cruise Lines, Celebrity Cruises, Costa Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Cunard, Disney Cruise Line, Holland America Line, MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, P&O Cruises, Princess Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, Seabourn, Star Clippers and Windjammer Barefoot Cruises.

The St Maarten Port Authority maintains a cruise ship schedule on its website, www.portofstmaarten.com.

The Rapid Explorer ferry (tel 599/542-9762, St Maarten or 590/590 27 60 33, St Barts) offers daily service between Gustavia Harbour in St Barts and Chesterfield Marina at Pointe Blanche, St Maarten. The open-return round-trip fare for adults is €89/$115 and for children €45/$59. The ferry trip takes about 40 minutes, plus 10-30 minutes to get from the airport to the marina.

The Edge ferry, operated by Aqua Mania Adventures (tel 599/544-2640, St Maarten), operates between Gustavia Harbour in St Bart's and Pelican Marina in Simpson Bay, St Maarten. The round-trip fare for adults is $80 and for children 2-12 years $40, plus a $9 port fee per person. There is a $5 charge for each piece of luggage. The trip takes about 45 minutes.

The Voyageur ferry (tel 590/590 87 10 68) operates from Gustavia Harbour in St Barts to two ports in French St Martin (Marigot waterfront, 75-minute trip; Captain Oliver's Marina, Oyster Pond, 40-minute trip). (You can pass freely between St Maarten and St Martin.) The open-return round-trip fare for adults is €71 and for children 2-12 years €25. A €12 port fee and fuel surcharge is added in addition to the fare. A €5 surcharge is added if you don't make a reservation at least 24 hours in advance.

The Gustavia Express (tel 05 90 27 54 65) operates between St Barts and Anse Marcel in French St Martin. (You can pass freely between St Maarten and St Martin.)

Car rental agencies are located at the airports and major hotels. Many car rental agencies service both the Dutch and French sides of the island. Motorcycles and scooters can also be rented. To rent a car you must have a valid international driver's license or a valid driver's license from your home country.

There are few street signs and many roads are poorly lit or not lit at all. The road network is under improvement, however, and newly resurfaced roads are being equipped with lights and sidewalks.

Driving is on the right and it is illegal to turn right on a red light. Seat belts are mandatory and motorcyclists must wear helmets. Children under 12 years must ride in the back seat and children under four years should sit in child safety seats.

CAR RENTALS (country code 599)
Princess Juliana International Airport: Alamo Car Rental, 545-5546; Avis, 545-2847; Best Deal Car Rental, 545-3061; Explorer Car Rental, 545-2056; GCL Car Rental, 522-8636; Panoramic Car Rental, 522-3675; Payless Car Rental, 545-3061; Sandyg Rent A Car, 545-3335; Vacation Car Rental/Oyster Pond Car Rental, 557-6415 or 553-1841; Thrifty, 545-2393 or 542-2333

Cole Bay: Ebony Car Rental, 581-4679; Europcar, 544-4138; National Lucky Car Rental, 544-2168 or 544-4268; Venando Carrental, 544-4147

Philipsburg: Alamo Car Rental, 545-5546; Antillean Car Rental, 542-2614; Arthur's Car Rental, 542-6260 or 557-5565; Avis, 545-2847; Brink's Car Rental, 542-3366, ext 106 or 522-7705 (Brink's Hotel); Cannegie Car Rental, 542-2397 or 545-4329; Delta Car Rental, 542-5733; Delta Hotel & Car Rental, 542-2246; Family Car Rental, 543-7180 or 543-7181; Flamingo Car Rental, 545-3185; Fortuno Car Rental, 542-3420; Grace Car Rental, 543-1188; Guess Who Rental & Garage, 544-4032; J C Car Rental, 542-2777; Kenny's Car Rental, 800/686-1689 or 545-3201; Rodael Rental, 542- 5155 or 559-8891; Reynold's Car Rental, 542-1050; Risdon Car Rental, 542-3578 or 545-4239; Robelto Car Rental, 542-0411 or 542-0412

Simpson Bay: Adventure Car Rental, 544-3688 or 544-3687; Alamo Car Rental, 545-5546; Alpha Car Rental, 545-2885; American Car Rental, 545-3664 or 545-3665; Avis, 545-2847; Beach Island Car Rental, 544-3054; Budget, 545-4030; Century Car Rental, 545-3327; Creative Car Rental, 545-4017; Dollar Rent A Car, 545-3281; Empress Car Rental, 544-3637; Excellent Car Rental, 545-2448; Executive Car Rental, 545-4028 or 545-2371; Flamingo Rent-A-Way, 545-3665; Hertz, 545-4541 or 545-4543; Lucky's and Hibiscus Car Rental, 526-3230; National Car Rental, 545-2488; Panoramic Car Rental, 522-3675; Paradise Car Rental, 545-3737 or 545-2361; Prince Rental Car, 547-4264 or 557-0134; Safari Car Rental, 545-3186 or 545-3185; Sidro United Rent-A-Car, 545-3335; Summerset Car Rental, 545-4138; Super Class Car Rental, 544-3599; Unity Car Rental, 557-6760 or 557-1064; Tropicana Car Rental, 544-3470; Value Car Rental, 545-5634 or 545-5635

Elsewhere in St Maarten: Ambassador Car Rental, 545-3921 or 545-3922 (Maho Bay); Rent 4 Less Cars, 523-5237 (Belvedare)

French St Martin-based companies (with Dutch phone numbers): St Louis Car Rentals, 557-5750; Tropical-Tropicana Car Rental, 557-6069; Valley Car Rental, 557-2225

Taxis are readily available at the airports and major hotels. Hotel tour desks can arrange taxi sightseeing tours.

Taxi fares are set by both the Dutch and French governments based on travel between zones. There are no metres. Your taxi driver should have a copy of the rate sheet in his/her vehicle. The official rate sheet is dated February 2, 2000 and includes four signatures by Dutch and French officials. Verify the rate with the driver prior to departure. Rates increase by 25% after 10pm and 50% after midnight. The fare between Princess Juliana International Airport and Philipsburg is US$12.

- Taxi dispatch hotline, 147
- Dutch St Maarten Taxi Association, 543-7814 or 543-7815
- Big Time Taxi Service, 556-7240 (Simpson Bay)

Privately owned small buses or minivans, called jitneys, generally operate between 6am and 12 midnight. While there are no set schedules they have signs that indicate their destination. There are designated bus stops or you can hail them from the side of the road. Once aboard just tell them where you want to get off. Fares are approximately US$1-$2.

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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