Commercial airliners approach Princess Juliana International Airport for landing
The island is in the Caribbean Sea, 18 degrees latitude N and 63 degrees longitude WO1, 150 miles southwest of Puerto Rico. It covers 37 square miles with Dutch St. Maarten on the south side spanning 16 square miles and French St. Martin on the north side covering 21 square miles. The island is the smallest landmass to be shared by two separate governments.
Philipsburg is the capital of Dutch St. Maarten; Marigot is the capital of French St. Martin.
Both St. Maarten & St. Martin have a heavy tourist oriented economy; the vast majority of tourist coming to the Dutch side is from North America, in contrast, more Europeans (esp. French tourists) vacation on the French side.
As part of the Netherlands Antilles and the Kingdom of the Netherlands, St. Maarten boasts of approx. 100 different nationalities. St. Martin has recently become a separeate entity from Guadeloupe and a direct commune, overseas territory of France.
Dutch is the official language of Dutch St. Maarten and French is the offical language for French St. Martin; however, ENGLISH is SPOKEN & WRITTEN everywhere. On the Dutch side, you can also hear Spanish and Papiamento, the dialect of the the Dutch ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire & Curacao). On the French side, Creole Patois is also spoken.
'BoardWalk', Philipsburg on the left; A.C. Wathey Cruiseship complex on the right
According to the most recent statistics, approx. 50.000 people reside on St. Maarten and approx. an equal amount live on the French side.
The island offers a year-round warm and sunny tropical climate with a little cooling from trade winds. Averange temperatures during the winter season is 27 degrees Celcius (80 DF) and a few degrees warmer in the summer. Occasional showers in late summer and early fall; average annual rainfall is about 45 inches.
The official currency of the Dutch side is the Netherlands Antilles Florin or Guilder (Naf,) while the official currency of the French side is the EURO, as in France. As the U.S. dollar is accepted on both sides of the island, visitors do not need to exchange their U.S. money for a visit to the island. Nearly all prices are listed in U.S. currency as well as the local currency. Credit cards are widely accepted all over the island.
ST MAARTEN CARNIVAL
Carnival is the biggest cultural event on the island; it is generally celebrated from mid-April to the beginning of May. During the festive seaso, there are several performances from well known local and various internationally recognized entertainers at the carnival village. The high-light of carnival are the jump-ups and beautiful parades of troupes, dancing, costumed and people partying through the streets of the capital, Philipsburg. On the French side, carnival is celebrated two (2) weeks before Ash Wednesday.
|New Year's Day||January 1st|
|Carnival||April 17th - May3rd|
|Queen's Birthday||April 30th|
|Labour Day||May 1st|
|Ascension Day||July 2nd|
|St. Maarten Flag Day||June 13th|
|St. Maarten's Day||November 11th|
|Kingdom Day||December 15th|
|Christmas Day||December 25th|
|Boxing Day||December 26 th|
ST. MAARTEN EMERGENCY NUMBERS
542 - 2222 ; 111
Fire Alarm (Philipsburg)
542 - 6001 ; 120
|Fire Alarm (Airport)||545 - 4222|
|Ambulance||542 - 2111 ; 130|
|Medical Centre (SMMC)||543 - 1111 ; 140|
|GEBE (electric company)||544 - 3100|
Pure Health B.V. & SALUTOGENA