U.S. citizens and Canadian citizens
need to have proof of citizenship
and a return or continuing ticket.
Proof of citizenship would include
birth certificate, naturalization
papers, affidavit or an Alien registration
card and of course a passport. For
Canadians, a valid passport or birth
certificate is necessary. There is
a U.S.$10 departure tax.
Sint Maarten is the only completely
duty free port in the Caribbean and
attracts shoppers in swarms to it's
duty free shops. Travelers can save
anywhere from 20 percent to 40 percent
on luxury and designer items.
While the border between the two small
islands of Sint Maarten and St. Martin
may not have any official customs
and immigration checkpoints, vacationers
traveling to the country from foreign
destinations will still need to be
aware of customs regulations for the
small island. Travelers should keep
the exemption and customs limits for
their own country in mind while shopping
duty free in Sint Maarten. Exceeding
the exemption can mean being charged
with a sizable import tax.
Sint Maarten is a completely duty
free destination, meaning that all
items bought within the island are
without added taxes. While customs
regulations for travelers coming
into the country are generally not
stringent, vacationers should not
import any item in excess. General
allowances for both St. Martin and
Sint Maarten will be like much of
the rest of the Caribbean: 2 liters
of alchohol, 200 cigarrettes, 50
cigars, and 250 grams of tobacco.
Travelers should never bring illegal
drugs into a country and should
always research current rules for
other items such as pets or food.
The exportation of coral and shells
from Sint Maarten and St. Martin
is illegal. Travelers should consult
the embassy or consulate of France
or the Netherlands Antilles just
prior to traveling for up to date
Since entry & customs regulations
are subject to change from time
to time, it is best to check with
your country’s specific entry
requirements before you visit the
Caribbean, and keep your knowledge
current using the following contact
U.S. Department of State, Bureau
of Consular Affairs
Departing US citizens whose stay is
in excess of 48 hours may on their
return take back, free of duty, articles
totaling up to US $600 (based on the
retail value of the items in the country
of purchase). Duty on purchases in
excess of the US $600 exemption is
10% on the next US $1000 and thereafter.
For Alcohol the duty-free allowance
for US citizens age 21 and over is
one quart, the value of which must
be included within the $600 exemption.
U.S. residents who have visited St.
Martin (French side), for at least
48 hours, may bring home, for personal
use, up to $800(USD) worth of goods
duty-free, as long as they haven’t
used any portion of the $800(USD)
allowance during the 30 days preceding
their trip. You may combine your $800(USD)
exemption with family members. If
you visit for fewer than 48 hours,
the duty-free allowance is $200(USD),
which cannot be pooled with other
family member's exemptions.
U.S. Customs Pre-Registration:
Foreign-made personal articles taken
abroad are subject to U.S. Customs
duty and tax upon your return, unless
you have proof of prior possession
such as a receipt, bill of sale, an
insurance policy, or a jeweler's appraisal.
If you do not have proof of prior
possession, items such as foreign-made
watches, cameras, or tape recorders
that can be identified by serial number
or permanent markings, may be taken
to the Customs office nearest you,
or to the port of departure for registration,
before you depart the United States.
The certificate of registration provided
can expedite free entry of these items
when you return to the United States.
Visitors departing on an international
flight from St. Maarten´s
Princess Juliana International Airport
pay a US $20 departure tax regardless
of age at the airport; this tax
is collected at a separate window
you will find on the way to the
departure lounge. If traveling to
another island within the Netherlands
Antilles, the tax is only US $6.
Temperatures will range anywhere from
75 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter
to 90 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer.
The average temperature is around
80 degrees Fahrenheit, and this will
generally only vary a few degrees,
even in the summer months. Humidity,
another major climate concern, will
also increase in the summer months.
Hurricane season starts in the beginning
of June and goes through November
in the Atlantic. Although hurricane
strikes are rare on St. Martin and
Sint Maarten, it is during these
months that the island experiences
the most rainfall.
The island receives an average of
45 inches of rainfall a year. There
are times during the summer months
where the increased rainfall and heat
can become an issue for travelers.
Many, however, find the island to
be pleasant throughout the year. With
very little temperature variation
and only 45 inches of average annual
rainfall tourists come to St. Martin
and Sint Maarten in both June and
Trade winds, combined with air conditioning
and the water, however, make the increased
heat and humidity in the summer months
only a minor issue for most tourists.
The island's elevated interior can
also offer reprieve from the warmer
climate on the outskirts. In the winter
temperatures dip somewhat in the morning
and evening, occasionally making for
a cool night.
Communications on St. Martin can be
mildly difficult due to the dual autonomy
of the small island. St. Martin and
St. Maarten have different area codes
and use different phone systems. St.
Maarten uses the area code plus seven-digit
system used in the United States.
St. Martin uses a European area code
plus six-digit format. Calling from
one side to the other, as a result,
is considered a long distance call.
You can get Phone cards for $5.00,
$10.00 and $20.00 on both sides of
the islands at gas stations, Chinese
restaurants, phone stores and news
There are Internet Cafes everywhere
on the island which enable you to
go online. The island has an amazing
number of competing Internet Service
Providers, with broadband connections
available as well. For a nominal fee,
you can have a connection to the Internet
established in your unit during your
Some of the Internet Cafes like Cyber
Café also offer International
Phone calls usually for $ 1.00 per
To Call St.Maarten from the French
side of the island you have to dial
00-599 followd by your 7 digits number
To call Saint Martin from the Dutch
side of the island you have to dial
00-590-590 followed by your 6 digits
number. To call
a number on the French side from the
US/Canada you dial 011-590-590 followd
by your 6 digits number
The US dollar is accepted on both
sides of the island. The Dutch side
currency is the Antillean Guilder
and the French side's is the Euro.
Major credit cards are accepted almost
everywhere and several International
Banks are established on the Island.
Call St.Maarten from the French side
of the island you have to dial 00-599
followd by your 7 digits number To
call Saint Martin from the Dutch side
of the island you have to dial 00-590-590
followd by your 6 digits number
offices and Mail
There are several different options
when sending mail from St. Maarten
or St. Martin The main post office
on the dutch side of the island is
located in Philipsburg on Cannegieter
Street and can be reached by telephone
at 599-542-2298 in St. Maarten.
There are also postal branches located
on the French side of the island in
Marigot and Nettle Bay.
For those who want to send mail in
a hurry, The Mailbox in Simpson Bay
will put U.S. postage on your letter,
put it on a plane, and have your parcel
in the U.S. postage system 2 to 3
weeks faster than the local post office
branches. It may be more expensive
than local mail, but you will get
faster service for your money. The
Mailbox charges around $2(USD) per
piece of mail, and if you have a lot
of parcels, about $7(USD) per pound.
Airmail to Western Europe and the
USA takes four to six days, normal
mail takes four to six weeks.
There are two airports serving St.
Martin though one, the Aeroport de
l'Espérance on the French side,
is small and only accepts island-hopper
planes. The main St. Martin airport,
Princess Juliana International Airport,
is on the Dutch side of the island
near the southwestern coast. International
carriers fly in and out of this St.
Martin airport, as do several Caribbean
airlines which often use the St. Martin
airport as a connection point to the
rest of the West Indies. From the
United States, most travelers touch
down at the St. Martin airport aboard
American Airlines, though Continental
Airlines and US Airways offer some
less frequent flights from a limited
number of cities.
Getting to the St. Martin airport
from Europe is fairly easy, as Air
France has daily non-stop flights
there from Paris. To reach the St.
Martin airport from other Caribbean
islands, local carriers such as ALM,
BWIA, and LIAT are safe bets and usually
have daily connections between the
Antilles' major hubs. Windward Islands
Airways is based at the main St. Martin
airport on the Dutch side and provides
daily service from the St. Martin
airport to Anguilla, Saba, St. Barths,
St. Eustatius, and St. Kitts-Nevis.
For information on either St. Martin
Aeroport de l'Espérance
Princess Juliana International Airport
Despite being relatively small,
a St. Martin car rental is still
the most convenient way of getting
around the island, allowing visitors
a certain degree of freedom to explore
at their will. Roads on St. Martin
are generally in good condition
and well marked, but public transportation
can be infrequent and unpredictable
outside of urban areas - to get
the most out of touring the island's
sites, a St. Martin car rental is
your best bet.
There are several St. Martin car
rental companies, each with large
stocks of cars. Calling ahead is
never a bad idea, but there should
be no problem securing a St. Martin
car rental without a reservation,
especially at Princess Juliana International
Airport where almost every company
holds a booth. Look for Avis, Hertz,
and Budget locations to compare
St. Martin car rental prices - overall,
St. Martin car rental fares are
quite low, averaging US$50 per day
for a compact car. All St. Martin
car rental outfits honor international
drivers licenses and major credit
cards are accepted as payment.
Rental cars are the primary mode
of transportation for visitors staying
on island. If any driving is expected
off the major roads (such as to
some of the more secluded beaches),
a 4-wheel drive is recommended.
Traffic on the island however has
become a major problem, long traffic
jams between Marigot, Philipsburg
and the airport are common.