Eventhough the complete island is only 37 square miles in size, it is administered by two different countries. While the Dutch side traditionally tends to follow US technical standards, the French side has to adher to European regulations. That's why even electric outlets and current are different from one side to the other.


Time
St. Maarten is on Atlantic Standard Time year-round. During the fall and winter, noon in New York equals 1 p.m. on the island. During daylight savings time in the U.S., the hour is the same on the Eastern Seaboard as it is on the island.

Electricity
Most hotels in St. Maarten are wired as in the U.S.: 110 volts, 60 cycles. On the French side, all run on 220 volts, 60 cycles so a converter and adaptor plugs are needed for travel appliances.

Radio and Television
Most hotels on both sides of the island have radio and television broadcasts in English - There is cable TV with over 50 channels - all major US networks and some European channels are available. Most hotels have their own video entertainment and direct TV systems. Satellite television reception is also available for private homes. Including DirecTV, DISH Networks.

Newspapers
The Daily Herald and Today are English language newspapers published on Sint Maarten. The international edition of the Miami Herald is also printed right here on the island. In addition to these newspapers, visitors can pick up one or more of the publications directed toward them. These include Destination Magazine, St. Maarten Nature Magazine, St. Maarten Events, Discover St. Maarten, St. Maarten Nights, Ti Gourmet and Vacation St. Maarten.

Telephone
Dutch Sint Maarten has become part of the American dialing system. Dial '1' and the country code of '721' from any other location part of the American dialing system. To reach the French side, dial +590 590 for land lines and +590 690 for mobile phones.

Pet Regulations
Animals are admitted temporarily to the island with the following papers: a health certificate dated no more than 10 days before visit and a record of inoculations, including a rabies shot administered no more than 30 days prior to the visit.

Marriage
A 127-year-old residency law has been changed allowing non-residents to marry on St. Maarten.

Medical Facilities
St. Maarten Medical Center in Cay Hill and L'hospital General de Gaulle St. Martin in Marigot offer medical services. Airlift is available to Puerto Rico and the continental U.S. in case of extreme medical emergency.

The Atlantic Hurricane Season starts officially on June 1st and runs through until November 30th.  Peak of the season is from middle of August to the end of September. Hurricanes threatening or even hitting a US territory are always front-page news and these storms are on the mind of everyone who plans to visit the tropics during the summer months.

Below are some basic statistics about the island, but take them with a grain of salt; especially the number of residents given by official institutions seems to understate the population dramatically. They do not take into consideration the large number of persons residing on the island without proper documentation. We avoid the politicaly and ideologically loaded term 'illegal residents' intentionally, because almost all of these undocumented persons are an integral part of the island's economy and provide valuable key services especially in the tourism sector.

Eventhough the complete island is only 37 square miles in size, it is administered by two different countries. While the Dutch side traditionally tends to follow US technical standards, the French side has to adher to European regulations. That's why even electric outlets and current are different from one side to the other.

Sunday, the 10th of October 2010 was a historic date for our tiny 37 square-mile Caribbean island: the southern part, called the 'Dutch Side', became an independent nation within the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Being an island of dual identity, there is also a choice of currencies. The official currency of Sint Maarten is the Antillean Guilder or Florin (fls). The Guilder is pegged to the US-Dollar and not free floating. The exchange rate is approximately 1.80 fls. for 1.00 $-US. IMPORTANT: Prices in the supermarkets and gas stations on the Dutch side are given in Guilders, but most other prices are quoted in US-Dollar.

Most visitors rely on taxis and rental cars, but public transportation also is available to all points on the island between 6 a.m. and 12 a.m. Fares can be paid in U.S. dollars.

As prudent website publishers, we frequently have to analyze the access logs of ST-MAARTEN.COM. That's how we find out how YOU found us. And it is amazing how creative the general public is in spelling the name of our little island. Even public institutions can't agree on how to spell Sint Maarten.

Have you ever wondered why 'insiders' shorten St Maarten/St Martin to SXM? You are seeing this abbreviation everywhere, even a popular bumper sticker is using it. Well, there is not much mystery behind it: SXM is the airport's international code name.

Some call the climate in the Lesser Antilles the best in the world: never too hot in summer thanks to the constantly blowing trade-winds, and never freezing cold in winter. The Caribbean Sea always maintains a temperature comfortable for swimming.

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