The island of Sint Maarten / St Martin is located in the North Caribbean at 18.1 degrees North Latitude and 63.3 degrees West Longitude. It lies directly across the path of the balmy north trade winds. The island has a beautiful tropical climate with summer-like conditions year around.
The Island covers 37 square miles with Dutch Sint Maarten spanning 16 square miles in the southern portion and French Saint Martin on the north covering 21 square miles.
The official languages are Dutch and French for each portion of the island. English is spoken everywhere and other languages like Spanish can be heard in addition to native dialects like Papiamento and Creole Patois.
The dual nationality of the island adds variety to this unique of island gems in the Caribbean. It is estimated that the island population consists of 150 different nationalities, reaching to an overall population of 74 thousands between French and Dutch sides.
The island is considered the gourmet capital of the Caribbean with more than 300 restaurants offering French, Italian, Dutch, Creole, Chinese, Thai and more. SHOPPING: A 100% duty free island in the Caribbean, St. Maarten/St. Martin offers the best shopping, including everything from French perfumes, Swiss watches, Japanese cameras and electronics, Italian leather goods, fine jewelry, porcelain and liquor .
Both french and dutch sides of the island are home to world class night clubs. From jazz to house, indoor demure to outdoor exotic, every night is memorable.
Only on the Dutch side, the twelve casinos offer sophisticated gaming from noon until 4:00 a.m.
St. Maarten / St Martin has the only complete duty-free port in the Caribbean with a fully equipped deep water harbor. It has a Multilingual population. St. Maarten as part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and is an "Overseas Country and Territory"(OCT) of the European Community, and therefore has preferential access to the European Community. The North Eastern Caribbean location puts the island in close proximity to the US, very easy for business travel.
With its modern, clean and comfortable facilities, Princess Juliana International Airport provides air lift with numerous airlines as: Air France (daily) and Corsair from Paris, KLM (weekly ) from Amsterdam, American Airlines, U. S .Airways and Continental fly daily from Miami, New York, Charlotte, Philadelphia, and San Juan with connecting flight to numerous cities in the US. Also from Canada there are Air Canada (seasonal) and Air Transit(weekly) flights to the island. Other destinations through out the Caribbean and South America are served from Sint Maarten through a numerous of charter flights and smaller airlines.
AIRPORT DEPARTURE TAX:
A tax of US $ 20.00 is levied on every passenger on international flights.
Tourist are required a current passport or birth certificate with raised seal and photo identification. St. Maarten is a free port for which there are no customs. No vaccinations are required unless special epidemic circumstances on country precedence.
Official currency is the Netherlands Antilles Florin (Naf) for the Dutch side and the Euro for the French side. US dollars are accepted throughout the island.
Dutch side 110 volts, 60 cycles, French side 220 volts, 60 cycles.
GMT - 4 hours. Atlantic time: 1 hour ahead Eastern. Standard time: Same as daylight savings time during the summer