General Information St Martin

The following is general information you may need for your St Martin yacht charter.

Passports

Valid Passports are required. Tourists are granted admission (upon arrival) as tourists for 14 days (maximum three months, upon request). A $20 tax is imposed upon departure from the Juliana Airport. Those arriving on the French side may stay up to three months, but a visa is required for more extended stays. A 3 euros departure tax is included in the price of airfare for those leaving Esperance Airport.

Currency
The Euro is the legal currency in St. Martin, but U.S. dollars are accepted everywhere. Banks are open Monday to Friday from 8:00 am to 1:00 pm, with an additional hour on the French side Monday to Thursday 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm and on the Dutch side, Friday 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm.

Tipping
Hotels on the French side typically add a 5% occupancy tax per person, but a small gratuity is greatly appreciated for excellent service. Restaurants also add a service charge to the bill. For taxi drivers, it is customary to tip between 50 cents and a dollar, while porters at the airport usually get $1 per bag.

Clothing

The choice of clothing should be casual and comfortable but neat. It is not acceptable to wear swimming attire in hotel lobbies or for walking around town. At night, attire remains somewhat informal. You may bring a jacket or shawl since casinos and restaurants can get chilly.

Language
Officially, French is the language of St. Martin and Dutch in St. Maarten, but almost everyone speaks English and Spanish. The languages spoken include French Creole and Papiamento, a Creole language of the Netherlands Antilles.

Driving
Getting around from place to place a car is virtually indispensable, although most hotels offer shuttle service to the casinos on the Dutch side of the island. Rental agencies are located at both airports and major hotels. Driving is on the right side of the road, and most roads are in reasonably good repair. Motorcycles and mopeds are also available for hire.

Telephone

Dialing from abroad, the country code for French St. Martin is (590)590, followed by the local number, which is six digits long. The country code for Dutch St. Maarten is (599)5, followed by the five digits of the local number. Calls between the two countries are also international. From St. Martin to St. Maarten, remember to use the prefix 00599 54, then the number of fixed phones, or 00599 55 or 00599 5, the number for cellular. Calling the other way requires the prefix 00 (590) 590, then the number for fixed phones, or 00 (590) 690, the number for cellular. Phone cards, which must be used for all public phones, must be prepaid and bought at the post office or some downtown Marigot stores.

Electrical Current
Electrical appliances run at 220 volts (50 Hz), following the European standard, in St. Martin, and at 110 volts (60 Hz), after the American standard, in St. Maarten. Visitors to the island should bring the appropriate converters, depending on where they plan on staying.

Poisonous Plants
The Manchineel tree is highly poisonous, growing all over the island but mainly along the beaches. You can recognize it by its deep green leaves and attractive green fruit that looks like little apples. Both the sap and the fruit are acidic and will burn the skin. In case of contact or ingestion, contact a physician or a pharmacist immediately.

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