Sint Maarten Travel Guide
About Sint Maarten
The quintessential beach vacation. The gastronomic capital of the Caribbean. This is Saint Martin/Sint Maarten. Two cultures – one 34 square mile island. For over 350 hundred years, the French and Dutch have coexisted on this small island, living amicably and creating a tourist destination that is the envy of the Caribbean. The former home of the Arawak people, then the Carib tribe, the island was settled by Europeans in the mid-1600s.
There is so much to do on this unique island. Saint Martin/Sint Maarten has activities to suit absolutely everyone. Everything from swimming to diving to boating is available on most beaches (36 in all), but the most active beach is Orient Beach on the Dutch side of the island. Orient Beach offers what you imagine when you daydream about what a Caribbean vacation could be like turquoise water, white sand, and beach restaurants. You can Jet Ski, parasail, snorkel, and more.
The food in Saint Martin/Sint Maarten is something you will not soon forget. From the French Marigot to the Dutch Phillipsburg, the cuisine on St. Martin/St. Maarten is unrivaled by any other island. The influences of both cultures are evident in their cuisine. The French side of the island offers a variety of gourmet foods. The chefs are influenced by traditional French and West Indian cooking and use fresh seafood and tropical fruit in their preparation. St. Martin also has fantastic food stands called lolos, where you can sample specialized food on the go. The Dutch side of the island is considered the gastronomic capital of the Caribbean. Worldwide cuisine such as Greek, Thai, Indian, German, and Indonesian are represented with impeccable flair. Much like the lolos on the French side, roadside grills dot the landscape on the Dutch side, offering savory barbeque and Johnny cakes for you to enjoy on the run. If you are looking for the daily catch, my favorite restaurant is Lee’s Roadside grill in Simpson Bay – their grilled lobster is to die for!
Saint Martin/Sint Maarten has it all. There isn’t anything you could think to do on vacation that can’t be done on this versatile island. You have to see it to believe it.
Where To Stay In Sint Maarten
Visitors to Sint Maarten stay in a wide variety of accommodations, including private rental, guesthouses, and luxurious all-inclusive hotels. Some of the best hotels in Sint Maarten include:
- Blue Pelican Vacation Rentals
- Divi Little Bay Beach Resort
- Oyster Bay Beach Resort
- The Horny Toad Guest House
- Simpson Bay Beach Resort
- Sonesta Great Bay All-Inclusive Beach Resort, Casino & Spa
- The Westin Dawn Beach Resort & Spa
Activities Sint Maarten
Major tourist activities for Sint Maarten include:
- Exploring the historic capital city of Philipsburg
- Shopping for luxury items, including jewelry on Front Street
- Exploring a Yoda Guy, a Star Wars exhibit creature by Nick Maley, who worked on the films
- Hanging out at Maho Beach to watch the airplanes fly over
- Visting the Parotte Ville Bird Park
- Hiking Guana Bay and Bellevue Hiking Trails
- Exploring Fort Amsterdam initially built 1631
- Swimming and relaxing at one or more of the islands beautiful beaches, including Mullet Bay Beach, Simpson Bay Beach, and Cupecoy Beach
- Snorkeling and diving at the more than 30 dive sites across the island
About Sint Maarten
13 square miles
Dutch & English
Constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
Telephone Country Code:
right side of the road
Conch and dumplings; also callaloo soup
St. Juliana International Airport (SXM)
110v/50Hz – plugs are US standard two and three-prong
Visa Information for Sint Maarten
Sint Maarten is a Dutch Caribbean island, and as such, immigration rules for The Netherlands apply. That said, visitors from the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom do not need a visa to visit Sint Maarten.
All visitors to Sint Maarten must have a valid passport. Furthermore, all visitors must have a return or onward ticket plus sufficient means to support themselves during their stay in Sint Maarten.
How Long Does It Take To Get A Visa For Sint Maarten
With a valid passport and supporting documents, it typically takes two weeks for a Sint Maarten visa application to be processed by the nearest Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. An approved visa application grants entry to Sint Maarten for three months.
Is It Safe In Sint Maarten
Compared to major American and European cities, Sint Maarten is relatively safe, and crime levels are low. That said, it is vital to be vigilant at all times, especially when away from the major hotels and tourist areas. Take sensible precautions to secure personal possessions, including wallets, purses, and handbags.
How To Get To Sint Maarten
Most visitors to Sint Maarten and Saint Martin arrive via the Princess Juliana International Airport (IATA: SXM, ICAO: TNCM).
From Canada, book flights to Sint Maarten via:
- Air Canada (Seasonal): Toronto–Pearson
- Air Transat (Seasonal): Montréal–Trudeau, Toronto–Pearson
- Sunwing Airlines: Montréal–Trudeau, Toronto–Pearson
- WestJet: Toronto–Pearson
From the United States, book flights to Sint Maarten via:
- American Airlines: Charlotte, Miami, Philadelphia (Seasonal: New York–JFK)
- Delta Air Lines: Atlanta, New York–JFK
- JetBlue: Fort Lauderdale, New York–JFK (Seasonal: Boston, Newark)
- Spirit Airlines: Fort Lauderdale
- United Airlines: Newark (Seasonal: Chicago–O’Hare, Washington–Dulles)
From Europe, book flights to Sint Maarten via:
- Air Caraïbes: Paris–Orly
- Air France: Paris–Charles de Gaulle
Within the Caribbean region, book flights to Sint Maarten via:
- Air Century: Santo Domingo–La Isabela
- Air Sunshine: Anguilla, Dominica–Douglas-Charles, Nevis, St. Thomas, San Juan, Tortola, Virgin Gorda
- Caribbean Airlines: Port of Spain
- Coastal Air: Anguilla, Dominica–Canefield, Nevis, St. Croix, St. Eustatius
- Copa Airlines: Panama City–Tocumen
- Divi Divi Air : Curaçao
- Fly All Ways: Curaçao (Seasonal charter: Paramaribo)
- InterCaribbean Airways: Tortola
- KLM: Amsterdam
- Seaborne Airlines: San Juan
- Sky High Aviation Services: Santiago de los Caballeros, Santo Domingo–Las Américas
- St Barth Commuter: St. Barthélemy
- Trans Anguilla Airways: Anguilla
- Winair: Antigua, Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, Dominica–Canefield, Dominica–Douglas-Charles, Nevis, Pointe-à-Pitre, Port-au-Prince, Saba, St. Barthélemy, St. Eustatius, St. Kitts, San Juan, Santo Domingo–Las Américas, Tortola
When To Go To Sint Maarten
The high season for Sint Maarten is mid-December through mid-August when the weather is warm and sunny. It is also the most expensive time to visit Sint Maarten, and good hotels are often booked far in advance. The low season is from mid-August to the end of October when temperatures are hot and humid, plus there is an increased risk of hurricanes. Some hotels close, and other offer discounts during this period.
Major events attracting visitors to Sint Maarten include:
- March: Heineken Regatta
- April: St Marteen Carnival
- July: Grand Case Festival
- November: St Maarten Day
- December: Alliance Boat Race
Weather In Sint Maarten
The weather in Sint Maarten is warm year-round. The temperature stays in the 80°F all year and is cooled by trade winds. The wet season is June through December, coinciding with the hurricane season. The island is quite popular in March, with many events related to the Heineken Regatta and Sint Maarten Carnival. May through June is a great time to capitalize on reduced prices and quieter beaches. Also, November through early December is an excellent time to visit.
Getting Married In Sint Maarten
Couples wishing to get married in Sint Maarten must be submitted to the Civil Registrar at least 14 days before the ceremony’s date.
In addition to the completed application for marriage, both the bride and groom will need their:
- birth certificates along with driver’s licenses or other forms of identification
- certificates of no impediment or single status report
Also, if applicable:
- divorce papers i.e., decree absolute and/or death certificate of spouse
- proof of parental consent if under 18, stamped and signed by a solicitor
- proof of name change by Deed Poll stamped and signed by a solicitor
One week for St. Maarten.
Six witnesses are required if the marriage is performed outside of the Marriage Hall and two witnesses if the wedding occurs in the Marriage Hall.
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