Sint Maarten Travel Tips: Creating A Memorable Vacation!

If you’re planning a trip to the island of Sint Maarten, you’re in for an unforgettable experience. This Caribbean gem is known for its stunning beaches, vibrant culture, and endless opportunities for adventure.

To make the most of your trip, it’s important to come prepared with the right information and travel tips. In this guide, we’ll cover all the essential information you need to know, from the best time to visit to the must-see attractions and practical advice for getting around.

So whether you’re a seasoned traveler or embarking on your first Caribbean adventure, read on for our comprehensive guide to Sint Maarten travel tips.

Table of Contents

Key Takeaways

  • Research public transportation options for convenient island exploration.
  • Discover must-visit destinations like Philipsburg, Simpson Bay, and Maho.
  • Follow safety measures for a worry-free travel experience.
  • Respect local customs and traditions to embrace the island’s culture.
A look at Great Bay Beach.
Photo by Scott S. Bateman on Unsplash

Sint Maarten Travel Tips

Plan a memorable trip to Sint Maarten with these essential travel tips. Discover convenient public transportation options, must-visit destinations like Philipsburg, Simpson Bay, and Maho, and embrace the island’s culture by respecting local customs.

Prioritize safety measures for a worry-free travel experience and make the most of your journey on this enchanting Caribbean destination.

Best Time to Visit Sint Maarten

Sint Maarten boasts warm and sunny weather year-round, but the ideal time to visit depends on what you’re looking for. Here are the key factors to consider when planning your trip:

High Season vs. Low Season

The high season in Sint Maarten runs from mid-December to mid-April, when the island sees an influx of tourists seeking warm weather and a break from the cold. During this time, prices for accommodations, restaurants, and activities are higher, and popular attractions can be crowded.

If you prefer a more relaxed atmosphere, consider visiting during the low season, from May to November, when prices are lower and there are fewer crowds.


Sint Maarten has a tropical climate with average temperatures ranging from 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit year-round. However, the island experiences two seasons: a dry season from December to May and a rainy season from June to November. While there’s no bad time to visit in terms of weather, keep in mind that the rainy season can bring occasional bouts of heavy rain and higher humidity.

Events and Festivals

Sint Maarten hosts several events and festivals throughout the year, including the Heineken Regatta in March, Carnival in April/May, and the SXM Festival in March/April. If you’re interested in attending one of these events, plan your trip accordingly.

Overall, Sint Maarten offers a tropical getaway any time of year. Consider the factors above and choose the season that best suits your preferences.

An aerial view of Great Bay Beach.
Photo by Tomasz Tomal on Unsplash

Getting to Sint Maarten

Sint Maarten is a Caribbean island, located in the northeast of the Lesser Antilles, making it a popular tourist destination due to its beautiful beaches, warm climate, and picturesque landscapes. To ensure a smooth journey, here is everything you need to know about getting to Sint Maarten.

By Air

The most convenient way to travel to Sint Maarten is by air. Princess Juliana International Airport is the main airport on the island, located on the Dutch side. The airport serves many major airlines, including American Airlines, Delta, United, JetBlue, and Air France, with daily flights to and from the United States, Europe, and the Caribbean. The airport also offers private jet services and chartered flights.

By Sea

Sint Maarten is also accessible by sea, with many cruise lines making it one of their stops. The island has two harbors, the Port of Philipsburg and the Port of Simpson Bay. Many cruise lines dock at the Port of Philipsburg, located on the Dutch side, and it is a hub for several ferries that travel to nearby islands, such as Anguilla and St. Barths.

Getting Around on the Island

Once you arrive on the island, there are several transportation options available to explore Sint Maarten. Taxis are readily available at the airport and the main tourist spots, and they charge set fares regulated by the government. Car rental agencies are also plentiful, with many reputable companies located at the airport. Public transportation, including buses and vans, is affordable and convenient, and they operate on specific routes.

Overall, reaching Sint Maarten is straightforward and easy, with plenty of options to choose from. By air or sea, the island is waiting for you to explore its beautiful landscapes, beaches, and cultural heritage.

Where to Stay in Sint Maarten

Sint Maarten offers a range of accommodation options to suit every taste and budget. Whether you are looking for a luxurious resort experience or a cozy vacation rental, you are sure to find the perfect place to stay on this stunning Caribbean island.

Best Areas to Stay in Sint Maarten

There are several areas in Sint Maarten that offer an ideal base for exploring the island. The most popular areas include:

AreaBest for
PhilipsburgShopping, dining, and nightlife
Cupecoy BeachSpectacular views and peaceful surroundings
Oyster PondSecluded, tranquil, and stunning natural beauty

Other popular areas to stay in Sint Maarten include Maho Beach, Simpson Bay, and Orient Bay.

Accommodation Options

Sint Maarten is home to a wide variety of accommodation options, from high-end resorts to charming vacation rentals. Some of the most popular types of accommodation include:

  • Hotels and Resorts – Sint Maarten is home to numerous hotels and resorts offering top-notch amenities and services, such as spas, restaurants, and swimming pools.
  • Vacation Rentals – Many visitors opt for vacation rentals, such as condos, villas, and apartments, which offer more privacy and space and may be more affordable than hotels.
  • Bed and Breakfasts – If you’re looking for a personal touch and friendly service, consider staying in a bed and breakfast. Sint Maarten has several charming B&Bs that offer a unique experience.

Some of the most popular accommodation options in Sint Maarten include the Sonesta Maho Beach Resort, the Westin Dawn Beach Resort and Spa, and the Simpson Bay Resort and Marina.

Whether you are looking for a luxurious retreat or a cozy getaway, Sint Maarten has something to offer every type of traveler. Book your stay today and experience the beauty and excitement of this Caribbean gem!

A view of Sint Maarten from a cruise ship.
Photo by James Thomas on Unsplash

Must-Visit Attractions in Sint Maarten

Sint Maarten boasts a plethora of picturesque sites and unique attractions, perfect for any traveler seeking adventure or relaxation. Here are some of the must-visit places in Sint Maarten:

1. Maho Beach

Located just a few steps away from the Princess Juliana International Airport, Maho Beach is known for its thrilling experience of planes flying overhead. Visitors can watch as planes of all sizes land and take off, creating a dramatic and adrenaline-inducing spectacle. Aside from plane spotting, Maho Beach is also a great spot for swimming, sunbathing, and enjoying the stunning Caribbean scenery.

2. Loterie Farm

Loterie Farm is a lush 135-acre nature reserve nestled in the hills of Pic Paradis. Visitors can enjoy a variety of activities, including hiking, zip-lining, and swimming in natural pools surrounded by tropical vegetation. The farm also boasts a restaurant and bar, serving delicious Caribbean cuisine and refreshing drinks.

3. Philipsburg

Philipsburg is the capital city of Sint Maarten, known for its colorful buildings, white sandy beaches, and duty-free shopping. Visitors can walk along the famous Boardwalk, explore the historic Fort Amsterdam, and soak up the Caribbean sun on Great Bay Beach. Philipsburg is also a hub for cruise ships, with many tourists arriving to discover the city’s charms and attractions.

4. Orient Bay Beach

Orient Bay Beach is a popular destination for beach-goers, sun-seekers, and water sports enthusiasts. The beach boasts crystal clear waters, soft white sand, and a variety of amenities, including beach bars, restaurants, and water sports equipment rentals. Visitors can also take a catamaran sail to explore the surrounding islands and enjoy the beauty of the Caribbean Sea.

These are just a few of the countless attractions that make Sint Maarten a beloved destination for travelers from around the world. From natural wonders to cultural treasures, this island paradise has something for everyone.

Exploring Sint Maarten’s Nature and Outdoor Activities

Sint Maarten is a nature lover’s paradise, with its pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and lush vegetation. Visitors can indulge in a variety of outdoor activities that allow them to explore the island’s natural wonders.


Sint Maarten boasts some of the most beautiful and diverse beaches in the Caribbean. Whether you prefer secluded coves or lively beach bars, you’ll find your perfect spot on the island. Some of the most popular beaches include:

Maho BeachLocated next to the airport, planes fly mere feet above beachgoers
Orient Bay BeachKnown for its clothing-optional section and water sports activities
Great Bay BeachLocated in the heart of Philipsburg, perfect for a stroll along the boardwalk

Hiking and Biking Trails

For those who like to explore the island on foot or two wheels, Sint Maarten has numerous hiking trails and bike paths that offer spectacular views of the landscape. Some of the most popular routes include:

  • The historic Fort Louis Trail
  • The lush rainforest trails of Loterie Farm
  • The scenic Coastal Trail

Water Sports

Sint Maarten’s clear blue waters are perfect for a variety of water sports such as snorkeling, scuba diving, and kiteboarding. Many beaches offer rental equipment and lessons for beginners. Some of the best spots for water sports include:

  • Little Bay for snorkeling and diving
  • Mullet Bay for surfing and kiteboarding
  • Grand Case Bay for kayaking and paddleboarding


Sint Maarten also offers eco-tourism opportunities that allow visitors to discover the island’s unique flora and fauna. Loterie Farm offers zip-lining and tree-top obstacle courses, while the Butterfly Farm and St. Maarten Zoo offer close-up encounters with exotic wildlife. The island’s many nature reserves and botanical gardens are also worth a visit.

With so much to see and do, exploring Sint Maarten’s natural beauty is a must for any visitor to the island.

Two cruise ships in the St Maaarten port.
Image by Viola ' from Pixabay

Dining and Culinary Experiences in Sint Maarten

Sint Maarten’s culinary scene is a vibrant mix of international flavors and local ingredients. With over 400 restaurants and eateries on the island, visitors have a wide range of dining options to choose from, from beachside cafes to fine dining restaurants.

One of the must-try local specialties is the national dish of Sint Maarten, which is a savory stew made with goat meat, dumplings, and plantains. Seafood lovers must savor the fresh seafood caught daily, including lobster, shrimp, and fish. For something sweet, visitors can indulge in the famous guavaberry rum, a traditional liquor made with the fruit of the guavaberry tree.

Sint Maarten’s Top Restaurants

For those looking for an upscale dining experience, Sint Maarten offers several fine dining restaurants, including:

Restaurant NameCuisineLocation
Temple CourtFrench, CaribbeanMaho Beach
Antoine RestaurantFrench, CaribbeanPhilipsburg
The StoneSeafood, SteakhouseSimpson Bay

There are also casual dining options available, such as:

  • The Greenhouse
  • Topper’s
  • Smokey’s at the Beach

Local Cuisine

Sint Maarten’s culinary scene is heavily influenced by the island’s mixed heritage, with Dutch, French, and Caribbean flavors blending together. One of the best ways to try local cuisine is to visit the local markets, such as the Marigot Market, where visitors can sample fresh produce, spices, and local delicacies.

Besides the national dish, there are several other local favorites, including:

  • Johnny cakes – a type of fried bread
  • Pastechi – a savory pastry filled with meat or cheese
  • Callaloo – a creamy soup made with leafy greens and spices

Visitors can also try the island’s Dutch specialties, such as bitterballen (deep-fried meatballs) and stroopwafels (thin waffle cookies with caramel filling).

Food Festivals

Sint Maarten hosts several food festivals throughout the year, celebrating the island’s culinary diversity. Some of the most famous events include:

  • Restaurant Week – a 2-week long event featuring special menus and discounts at participating restaurants
  • Heineken Regatta Village – a music and food festival held during the annual Heineken Regatta
  • Taste of St. Martin – a culinary festival featuring local and international chefs

“Sint Maarten’s culinary scene is a mix of international flavors and local ingredients.”

St Maarten carnival.
Image by ameliaechampion from Pixabay

Sint Maarten’s Cultural Heritage

Sint Maarten’s cultural heritage is as diverse and exciting as the island itself. As a melting pot of Dutch, French, and Afro-Caribbean cultures, Sint Maarten offers visitors a unique blend of traditions, festivals, and history.

The History of Sint Maarten

Sint Maarten’s history is just as colorful as its culture. The island was originally inhabited by the Arawak Indians and was later discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1493. In 1631, the Dutch established a settlement on the island, and the French followed in 1638. The two nations have coexisted peacefully on the island ever since, and Sint Maarten became a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in 2010.

Festivals and Celebrations

Sint Maarten is known for its lively festivals and celebrations, which offer a glimpse into the island’s cultural heritage. The most popular festival is Carnival, which takes place in April and May and features colorful parades, music, and food. Other festivals include the French side’s Bastille Day, Heineken Regatta, and the Dutch side’s SXM Music Festival.

Local Customs and Traditions

Visitors to Sint Maarten can experience the island’s local customs and traditions through its food, music, and craft. The island is renowned for its delicious local cuisine, which includes fresh seafood, spicy stews, and hearty soups. Visitors can also enjoy the island’s vibrant music scene, which encompasses a mix of reggae, calypso, and soca. Local crafts, such as pottery, basket weaving, and woodcarving, are also on display at various markets and shops around the island.

Environmental Conservation Efforts

Sint Maarten is also dedicated to preserving its natural beauty and wildlife, with several environmental conservation efforts underway. The island’s government has implemented several initiatives to protect its marine life, including banning single-use plastics and promoting sustainable fishing practices. Visitors can participate in various eco-tourism activities, such as hiking, bird watching, and snorkeling, while also learning about the island’s fragile ecosystem.

Practical Tips for Traveling in Sint Maarten

Traveling to Sint Maarten can be an exciting and memorable experience, but it is always important to be prepared and informed. Here are some practical tips to keep in mind:

1. Safety Tips

Sint Maarten is a relatively safe destination for travelers, but it is always important to take precautions to avoid any incidents. Make sure to keep your belongings close to you at all times, especially in crowded areas. Avoid walking alone at night and stick to well-lit and touristy areas. If you plan to rent a car, make sure to lock the doors and keep valuables out of sight.

2. Local Customs and Etiquette

When visiting a new place, it is always important to be respectful of local customs and etiquette. In Sint Maarten, it is customary to greet people with a friendly “Good morning” or “Good afternoon”. It is also considered polite to ask for permission before taking someone’s photograph. Avoid discussing controversial topics such as politics or religion, as these can be sensitive issues.

3. Currency and Money Matters

The official currency of Sint Maarten is the Antillean guilder (ANG), but US dollars are widely accepted. ATMs are available throughout the island, and credit cards are accepted at most businesses. However, it is always a good idea to carry some cash for small purchases and tips.

4. Communication and Language

The official languages of Sint Maarten are Dutch and English, but many locals also speak French or Spanish. It is always helpful to learn a few common phrases in the local language, such as “thank you” and “please”. Most businesses and hotels have English-speaking staff.

5. Transportation on the Island

The most common way to get around Sint Maarten is by car, but taxis and public transportation are also available. If you plan to rent a car, make sure to obtain an International Driving Permit and drive on the right-hand side of the road. Taxis are readily available at the airport and popular tourist areas, but make sure to negotiate the fare beforehand. Public transportation includes buses and vans, but these can be crowded and slow.

6. Health and Medical Facilities

Sint Maarten has several medical facilities and hospitals that offer quality care. However, it is always a good idea to purchase travel insurance before your trip to cover any unexpected medical expenses. Make sure to bring any necessary medications and prescriptions with you, as these can be difficult to obtain on the island.

By keeping these practical tips in mind, you can enjoy a safe and enjoyable trip to Sint Maarten.

People watching the planes land on Maho Beach, in St. Maarten.
Photo by Robin Canfield on Unsplash


In conclusion, Sint Maarten offers a wealth of travel tips to ensure an unforgettable journey. Understanding the public transportation system allows you to navigate the island’s attractions with ease.

Make sure to explore must-visit destinations such as Philipsburg, Simpson Bay, and Maho to immerse yourself in the island’s beauty. Prioritize safety measures for a worry-free trip, and respect local customs to embrace the rich cultural heritage of Sint Maarten.

Armed with these travel insights, you can make the most of your experience on this enchanting Caribbean destination and create cherished memories that will last a lifetime.

FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions about Traveling to Sint Maarten

Traveling to a new destination can be exciting but also comes with a lot of questions. Here are some frequently asked questions and useful information to help you prepare for your trip to Sint Maarten:

Do I need a passport to travel to Sint Maarten?

Yes, all international visitors to Sint Maarten must have a valid passport with at least 6 months of validity remaining.

What currency is used in Sint Maarten?

Sint Maarten uses the Antillean guilder (ANG), but US dollars are also widely accepted on the island.

What language do they speak in Sint Maarten?

English is the official language of Sint Maarten, but Dutch is also spoken on the island.

Is Sint Maarten a safe place to visit?

Sint Maarten is generally considered a safe place for tourists, but like any other destination, it’s always important to take precautions and be aware of your surroundings.

Do I need any vaccinations to travel to Sint Maarten?

No vaccinations are required to travel to Sint Maarten, but it’s always a good idea to consult with your healthcare provider before traveling to any new destination.

What is the weather like in Sint Maarten?

Sint Maarten has a warm, tropical climate with the peak tourist season running from December through April when temperatures are cooler and precipitation levels are lower. Hurricane season runs from June through November.

What is the voltage in Sint Maarten?

The voltage in Sint Maarten is 110-130 volts, the same as in the US, so most appliances and electronics from North America should work without a converter. However, European visitors may need to bring a converter for their devices.

What should I pack for my trip to Sint Maarten?

When packing for Sint Maarten, it’s important to pack light, breathable clothing suitable for warm weather. Don’t forget to bring sunscreen, insect repellent, and comfortable walking shoes for exploring the island.

Do I need to rent a car in Sint Maarten?

While not required, renting a car is a popular way to explore Sint Maarten. However, be prepared to drive on the left side of the road, as this is a British-influenced island. Taxis and buses are also available for transportation.

What time zone is Sint Maarten in?

Sint Maarten is in the Atlantic Standard Time zone, which is 1 hour ahead of Eastern Standard Time in the US and Canada.

Are there any cultural customs or taboos I should be aware of in Sint Maarten?

While Sint Maarten is a diverse and welcoming island, it’s always important to be respectful of local customs and traditions. For example, it is considered rude to wear a hat indoors in Sint Maarten, and topless bathing is not allowed on all beaches.


  • Karin K

    Meet Karin, the passionate author and founder of My love affair with St. Maarten began in 1994 during a memorable trip. The island's allure was so captivating that I decided to make it my permanent home. Since then, I've been committed to sharing the beauty and wonders of St. Maarten through my adventures and insights. Join me on this incredible journey!