St. Maarten is the Dutch half of the northern Caribbean island known as St. Martin/St. Maarten. This southern portion of the island is part of the Netherlands Antilles, along with the neighboring islands of Bonaire, Curaçao, Saba and St. Eustatius. If you’re looking for great beaches, tasty cuisine, rocking nightlife, rum drinks and casinos in your Caribbean vacation, St. Maarten will make a nice stop for you. Shoppers will LOVE the many duty free shops found throughout the island. But with over a million tourists visiting the area each year, finding some alone time in your slice of paradise may be hard to do.
Dutch is the official language of St. Maarten, but everyone speaks English as well.
The official currency of St. Maarten is the Antillean Guilder, but the U.S. Dollar is widely accepted. To find out about the conversion rates, visit our currency converter.
Lodging on the low end starts at around $125 per night. You can find a place to suit you, from a hotel to a B & B to a rental villa or time share.
Food and Drinks
With more than 300 restaurants on this tiny island, you’ll never run out of dining choices. The tourism website boasts everything from Italian to Tex-Mex, Thai and Vietnamese to Indian and Japanese. If you’re in a hurry, fast food chains are available as well.
Carnival is a big draw in St. Maarten, as it is throughout the Caribbean.
Getting There & Around
American Airlines, Continental, Delta and US Airways all offer service from the United States. From Europe, you can take Air France, Air Holland, Corsair or KLM. Regional carriers include Air Caraibes, American Eagle, BWIA, Caribbean Star, Caribbean Sun, Dutch Caribbean Express, LIAT, St. Barth Commuter, Trans Anguilla, Windward Express Airways and Winair (Windward Islands Airways).
A rental car is pretty much a necessity in St. Maarten, but be prepared for horrid traffic. Public buses are available, with no scheduled stops. If you want a ride, hop on.
Electricity in St. Maarten is 110 volts, just like in the U.S. European visitors will need a converter to use appliances.
Things to Do
You can spend your days on the beach sipping tropical drinks. Shopping is one of the big draws of St. Maarten with the many duty free shops around. The most unique thing you can possibly do on this island is to sit on Maho Beach at the end of the airport runway while jumbo jets buzz directly over your head. Hiking trails can be found throughout the territory and there are many historic sites to visit. Sailing, surfing, body-boarding, wake-boarding, jet-skiing, para-sailing, windsurfing, snorkeling & diving, kayaking, and Kite-surfing are all available on the island. Yachting is also hugely popular, with a whole fleet making their home in the Simpson Bay Lagoon, the largest lagoon in the Caribbean. Horseback riding, hiking and mountain biking are great activities for the active travelers, as well as skydiving. For a little time out of the sun, museums, galleries and historic sites abound. Horseback riding on the beach is always fun, and zip line tours can be found. After dark, you can party the night away at one of the many casinos and nightclubs in the territory.