St. Martin is an island found in the Caribbean that is split between the French and the Dutch often referred to as the French side and the Dutch side to avoid confusion. The island is accessible by plane and boat. Airport St Martin includes the Princess Juliana International Airport on the Dutch side which is the largest airport on the island. When departing St. Martin, guests pay an extra tax that is approximately $300, but may be exempt for children under two, certain airlines and transit flyers.
When traveling to Airport St Martin from the U.S. and Canada, travelers only need to bring proof of citizenship such as an original birth certificate, a valid passport, or even an expired passport or driver's license that isn’t more than five years old.
Pack casual, but neat clothing, and avoid wearing swimming apparel in hotel lobbies or even when walking around town. Euros are the legal currency in Airport St Martin but U.S. dollars are accepted. Hotels sometime offer shuttles, but renting a car will make getting around much easier. There are rental agencies at the airport and major hotels. Another option is to rent a motorcycle, scooter, taxi, or take the local buses. The buses are usually vans, and will have a license plate that says bus on it.
Be aware that the electrical current is European and it runs at 220 volts on St. Martin. If you travel over to the Dutch Airport St Martin, it runs on American electrical current which is 110 volts.
Casinos are only available on the Dutch side. Clothing is only optional on beaches on the French side, but do not be surprised if you wander onto a nude beach on the Dutch side as the police tend to look the other way.
Shopping is known to be better than other Caribbean islands as far as prices go. Shopping is duty-free on both the Dutch and the French side, but be aware that credit cards are not always accepted. Cameras and other electronics do carry a warranty, but it is an international warranty and repairs are to be done at home and not on the Island.
There are a variety of restaurants on both sides of the Island and they include anything from fine dining to McDonalds. Cuisines offered include American, Mexican, and Italian, and of course, French and Dutch. Some well known fast food restaurants include McDonalds, Subway, Pizza Hut, Domino's, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and Burger King. The island also has a wide variety of Chinese restaurants that have an island touch added to them, and local food trucks are found around town for another dining option.
St Martin is considered a safe island, but precautions should always be taken such as not leaving valuables in cars or flashing them around for others to see. Drinking is inexpensive, and you may purchase a beer-- even at McDonalds. Care should be taken when driving. If you are watching the planes take off and land from Maho Bay, be aware that they fly so low that you could get sand or water blasted on you.
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