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St Maarten

Colourful houses, Saint Martin

Practical Info about St Maarten

Getting around the city

There are buses that operate on a somewhat lackadaisical schedule around St Maarten; they charge for every town you pass through (in US$), which include Philipsburg, Mullet Bay, Simpson Bay, Marigot, and Grand Case. It is much faster to travel by taxi, which can be arranged by phone. Hiring a car for a day or two is also a good way to maximise a holiday in St Maarten, as the road system basically consists of a ring skirting the coastline, with smaller roads to link the interior. Driving is fairly stress-free; St Maarten's road users have an extremely polite reputation, and mostly use their car horns to greet other drivers.

Time

GMT -4.

Electricity

110/220 volts, 60Hz. Standard, flat, two- and three-pronged plugs are used.

Currency

On the Dutch side the currency is the Netherlands Antilles Guilder or Florin (ANG), where one guilder is divided into 100 cents, but US Dollars are also widely accepted and prices are usually quoted in Dollars as well as Guilders. On the French side of the island the Euro (EUR) is the local currency, although establishments will also accept US Dollars. There are numerous bureaux de change and banks throughout St Martin and ATMs in the main towns in both national sectors. Major credit cards are widely accepted.

Communication

The country code for St Maarten, as part of the Netherlands Antilles, is +599. The code for French St Martin is +590. Phoning from one side of the island to the other is considered to be an international call. GSM mobile network coverage extends across both parts of the island. Internet access is available at internet cafes, and in most resorts.

Emergency number

Emergencies: 911.

Visa and health information

Everything about visa and health information

Public holidays

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2014 2015
New Years Day 1 Jan 1 Jan
Good Friday 18 Apr 3 Apr
Easter Monday 21 Apr 6 Apr
Kings Day 26 Apr 27 Apr
Labour Day 1 May 1 May
Ascension Day 29 May 14 Apr
Whit Monday 9 Jun 25 May
Bastille Day 14 Jul 14 Jul
Schoelcher Day 21 Jul 21 Jul
Antillean Day 25 Oct 21 Oct
All Saints Day 1 Nov 1 Nov
St Maarten Day 11 Nov 11 Nov
Kingdom Day 15 Dec 15 Dec
Christmas Day 25 Dec 25 Dec
Boxing Day 26 Dec 26 Dec

Climate

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The island is sunny and warm all year round, with average monthly temperatures varying little throughout the year. Temperatures range between 72 and 86ºF (22-30ºC) in coastal areas, and between 66 and 81ºF (19-27ºC) inland. Cooling winds buffet the island throughout the year. Showers can be expected at any time of year but rainstorms pass quickly. Hurricane season in the Caribbean lasts from June to November, with the most storms occurring in September. December to May is considered the dry season (though rain can occur at any time of year), and is considered the best time to visit St Maarten. Winter and the Christmas/New Year holidays are traditionally the most popular time to visit the island, but summer can also be a good time to visit because lodging rates are much lower and the beaches, roads and restaurants are not crowded.

Princess Juliana International Airport

www.sxmairport.com

Getting to the city

There is no public transport to and from the airport, but taxis are available and some hotels will arrange transfers.

Car rental

Car hire desks are to be found in the arrivals area. Among those represented are Avis, Hertz, Alamo, Paradise Islance, U-Save, Empress, Sunshine, Safari, Budget, Dollar, National and Thrifty.

Airport taxi's

Taxis, regulated by the Airport Taxi Association, are available outside arrivals, where there is a taxi desk. Taxis to Philipsburg cost around US$15. Tipping is expected.

Facilities

Airport facilities at Princess Juliana include a bank, ATM, restaurant, refreshments, a Business Class Lounge, disabled assistance, and duty-free shopping.

Parking

There are pick-up/drop-off areas outside the terminal, and parking is located within walking distance of the entrance. Parking is charged at US$1 per half hour for the first eight hours, and US$1 every two hours after that. Daily parking is US$24 and weekly rates are US$120.

Internet

The airport offers free wifi.