| Caribbean | Travel Guide | Main Index |

St. Martin

Sunbathing au naturel

About St. Martin: Unique is the word used to describe the longtime peaceful and friendly co-existence of French Saint Martin and Dutch Sint Maarten on the parcel of Caribbean land they have shared for more than 350 years. Until 20 years ago, the fule of thumb for visitors was to "sleep on the Dutch side" and "eat on the French side." The first half of the rule is no longer valid since the number of fine hotels on the Rench side has incresased dramatically since 1980.

Since French St. Martin is acompletely duty-free port, the shopping on the island is excellent. One can find perfume, cystal, china, jewelry, liquor and clothing at any one of the islands hotel shops and attractive boutiques. Galleries also exhibit and sell major works of art by local artisans.

Flying time from Miami 3 hours 30 minutes; New York 4 hours approximately.

Climate:  The average temperature 80°F (27°C). Average annual rainfall is 45 inches.

Documents:  For U.S. and Canadian citizens, a return ticket and a passport (current or expired within five years) or certified birth certificates with a photo I.D. (for example current driver's license) are required.   A driver's license alone is not a valid proof of citizenship.   Citizens from all other countries must have a valid passport.

Currency:  The French franc is the official currency but the U.S. dollar is widely accepted.

Electricity:  120 volts; U.S. appliances are compatible.

Taxes and Tipping:   The government levies a US$12 per night, per person room tax.   The normal service charge is 15 percent, which sometimes is added automatically to the bill.  The departure tax is US$18; children 6 and under are exempt. 

Time:  Eastern Standard Time that switches to Eastern Daylight Time to correspond with the U.S. Eastern Time Zone.

Language:  The official language is French. English is widely spoken.

Transportation:  Princess Juliana International Airport is located on the Dutch side. The Esperance Airport on the French side is used for inter-island flights.

Departure Tax:   There is no departure tax to the U.S. from St. Martin but there is a $20 departure tax from Princess Juliana Airport in Dutch Sint Maarten.

La Samanna
La Samanna