Sint Maarten, Netherlands Antilles—Guide


Atlantic Stamdard Time (AST) all year.

Same as our summer EDT. During our fall-winter EST, "spring forward" to set your watch to AST.

Hours of Operation


Banks Monday–Thursday, 8:30–1:00 and 4:00–5:00
Shops/Stores Monday–Saturday, 9:00 or 10:00 until 6:00
Post Office Monday–Friday, 8:30–3:30


Banks Monday–Friday, 2:00–5:00
Shops/Stores Monday–Saturday, 9:00 or 10:00 until 7:00 (some close 1:00 to 3:00)
Post Office Monday–Friday, 7:30–4:30

Tipping and Gratuities in St. Martin

There is a service charge on both the Dutch St. Maarten and the French St. Martin when visiting hotels and restaurants, and tipping people for services such as chambermaids and taxi cab drivers is customary. In St. Maarten hotels add a 15 percent service charge and 5 percent government tax to the final bill. In French St. Martin, the service charge is between 10 and 15 percent, and a visitors tax on rooms which varies in rate up to 5 percent by hotel.

Most hotels include gratuity in your bill, so be sure to ask your hotel concierge whether or not this cost is covered in the final bill. If the gratuity is not included in the final bill, then a 10 to 15 percent tip is standard. In St. Maarten and St. Martin, airport porters generally expect a tip of about $1(USD) per bag, taxi drivers usually get a $0.50(USD) to $1(USD) tip depending how long of a cab trip was taken, and if they had to handle any luggage.

Gratuity and tipping is an important part to many people's income, and should not be overlooked by vacationers.

Driving in St. Martin

Driving in St. Maarten and St. Martin is a relatively simple task, and most tourists find that navigating their own vehicles is almost like driving at home. The freedom to travel about at your own rate attracts many tourist to braving the sometimes dangerous traffic conditions on the island.

To drive in St. Maarten or St. Martin, all vacationers need is their valid home drivers license. This is the same for both the French and Dutch sides of the island. Vacationers driving on the island must exhibit a little bit of patience with the local livestock, as these animals are not afraid to take a pause right in the middle of the road. According to St. Maarten and St. Martin traffic law, cows have the right-of-way on the island. Tourist will have to sit and wait out these beasts, who often take their time crossing the road.

Driving is on the right-hand side of the road, like in most parts of North America, which may come as a pleasant surprise to many travelers visiting the island. The majority of driving rules are pretty basic, like keep your eyes on the road and obey traffic signs, which can most of the time be read in French, Dutch, and English. Travelers must remebr that unlike most of North American, the road signs and speedometers on the island are in kilometers instead of miles.

If you do happen to get into an accident while driving on the island, don't try and move the car, and immediately dial telephone number 22222 in the Dutch St. Maarten and 87-50-04 on the French side.

Some of the driving conditions on the island may be unfamiliar to many vacationers visiting the island. By taking the necessary precautions, vacationers who choose driving as their primary method of transportation can enjoy the roads on St. Maarten and St. Martin.

St. Martin's Currency and Credit Cards

There are three forms of currency you could use while on this one island

Vacationers from the United States and most of Europe should have no problem using their currency, traveler's check, and major credit cards when they travel to the small nations of St. Martin and Sint Maarten. (see Frommers)

The official currency of the French St. Martin is the same as France, the euro, €. Denominations of the euro come in notes of €5, €10, €20, €50, €100, €200, and €500. Coins come in €0.01, €0.02, €0.05, €0.10, €0.20, €0.50, €1, and €2. The U.S. Dollar's rate of exchange with the Euro fluctuates, but as of August 2015, the current conversion rate is $1.24(USD) to the euro. Some places may accept U.S. dollars and even fewer may accept the Netherlands Antilles florin. Cab drivers from French St. Martin who drive you into Dutch Sint Maarten may only accept euros or dollars.

The Netherland Antilles florin or guilder is used on the Dutch side of the island and comes in note denominations of NAf 5, NAf 10, NAf 25, NAf 50, NAf 100, and NAf 250. Coins come in denominations of NAf 0.01, NAf 0.05, NAf 0.10, NAf 0.25, NAf 0.50, NAf 1, and NAf 2.50. The Netherlands Antilles florin is currently tied to the U.S. Dollar at NAf 1.77 to the dollar. It currently trades with the euro at a rate of NAf 2.20 to the euro. U.S. Dollars are widely accepted on the Dutch side of the island, and many establishments will list their prices in U.S. dollars.

The major credit cards of Visa, Mastercard, and even American Express are accepted widely in both St. Martin and Sint Maarten. Plus and Cirrus network cards are generally usable at ATMs located throughout the island. Banks are generally open from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m (sometimes later on Fridays), but many ATMs are accessible 24 hours a day. Vacationers can find a wide array of banks and ATMs, some discharging U.S. dollars in both Marigot, Philipsburg, Princess Juliana International Airport and other locations throughout the Island.

St. Martin's Telephone Services

Each country has it's own telephone system on the small island

Phone cards, credit card calls, and cellular service can all be found on the island that is home to St. Martin and Sint Maarten. Travelers going to the island will need to educate themselves about the telephone system in both countries in order to ensure they know how to call home.

If you are looking to make contacts in St. Martin and Sint Maarten prior to your arrival, or simply looking to confirm a hotel reservation, you will need to learn the procedures for dialing each country. To call Dutch Sint Maarten from another country the code is 599-54, plus a five digit local number. As of September 30, 2011 the 599-54 area code will change to 1-721, though the 599-54 area code will remain in use up until September 30, 2012. To call French St. Martin from another country, the code is 590-590, followed by a local six digit number. Those calling from the United States should add 011 to the beginning of these numbers.

Despite their proximity, a call from one St. Martin to Sint Maarten is considered an international call. If you wish to make a call from one part of the island to the other, the same codes will be used; 599-54, plus a local five digit number; and 590-590 plus a local six digit number. The number 00 will precede these numbers when making a call on the island to the opposite side. When dialing a cellular phone from one end of the island to the other, the code is; 00-599-55 for Sint Maarten; and 00-590-690 for St. Martin.

Emergency contact phone numbers on the island
Ambulance (Sint Maarten)
best to fly home
or 912
Police / Emergency (Sint Maarten) +1(721)542-2222
or 911
Ambulance (St. Martin)
best to fly home
Police / Emergency (St. Martin)

Calling Home

Visitors to St. Martin and Sint Maarten will find both cellular and Internet service available on the island. Both St. Martin and Sint Maarten have prepaid phone cards available for use at public phones throughout the island, and cards must be bought for each side of the island. In St. Martin, public phones only accept these phone cards, which can be bought at the post office (which has one credit card phone) and in selected vendors in Marigot. In Sint Maarten, there are phones which accept credit card calls.
International dialing access codes for various phone companies:

International Dialing Access Codes
AT&T Direct (From Bobby's Marina, Sint Maarten) 001-800-872-2881
AT&T Direct (St. Martin) 0800-99-0011
MCI (Sint Maarten) 001-800-888-8000
MCI (St. Martin) 0-800-99-0019
Sprint (St. Martin) 0800-99-0087

Remember, all of these numbers and codes are subject to pay phone compatibility (St. Martin has very few), the use of calling cards, or the acceptance of credit cards.

International country dialing codes for United States: 1