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