Weather, coordinates & timezone
The weather on St. Maarten / St. Martin / Sint Maarten is considered subtropical, with a yearly average temperature of 80°F (27°C). Its skies are permanently cut across by Caribbean Sea winds. Sea temperatures do vary depending on the season: the peak temperature rises to the top around early February and gets to its coldest by a few degrees in late August.
The average temperature of the crystal clear waters surrounding St. Maarten / St. Martin / Sint Maarten ranges from 78°F to 80°F in winter and from 82°F to 84°F during summer. The sun rises year-round in average at 6:00 a.m. and it sets around 6:30 p.m. every day. The winds blow a fairly regular 15 knots from mid-November to mid-April. During summer, thermal effects and tropical waves can bring a bit stronger drafts, and rain showers are to be expected. They are usually brief, but intense.
St. Maarten’s official hurricane season starts around June 1, and ends on November 30, although it is not common to experience moderate to major weather events already in November.
St. Maarten / St. Martin / Sint Maarten Coordinates are Lat/Long 18º 02’ N/ 63º 03’ W.
Our timezone is GMT: -4:00 Universal Time.
Electricity / Appliances
The Dutch side (and our hotel) uses American sockets of 110V/220V 60Hz electricity system. Electrical outlets are the same as the ones used in the USA.
French Saint-Martin has the 220V European system with similar outlets. Converters or adapters for US electrical cords are required. These can be easily found. Princess Heights have converters available for our guests.
According to the latest census, Dutch Sint Maarten has a population of around 41,000 inhabitants, whereas French Saint-Martin has 36,000, for a total combined of over 77,000. Local St. Maarteners, Caribbean, Dutch, French, North and Latin American, even Asian and Arab communities gather together for an incredible Caribbean melting pot.
Officially, people in Dutch Sint Maarten speak Dutch in government departments and some schools. However, English is the predominant language in the island on a regular basis. On French Saint-Martin, they are used to speak French for government departments and schools. Spanish, Creole, Papiamento are also widely spoken on the island.
Currency | Credit Cards
The official currency of Dutch Sint Maarten is the Netherlands Antilles guilder (ANG). In French Saint Martin, it is the Euro. However, US dollars and major credit cards are widely accepted throughout both parts of the island. Services such as MoneyGram and Western Union are also available at some Banks. Bear in mind that traveler’s checks are no longer accepted all over the island; therefore, it is recommended to double-check this in advance during the planning and arrangements of your vacation. Also, please note that some places do not accept checks from foreign banks.
Renting a car for a vacation can truly benefit your budget compared to relying on taxis during your stay on St. Maarten / St. Martin / Sint Maarten. It also gives you the opportunity of independently explore this beautiful island. Some requirements apply, like being 18 years old and holding a driver’s license for at least one year. Payments are normally done by a major credit card (there are some exceptions). Princess Heights’ front desk will be more than happy to assist you rent a car during the reservation process, your check in or any time during your stay.
If it is not possible to rent a car, this kind of transportation is always available all around the island. Taxis are not metered here; there is a fixed fee depending on the distance, time of the day and number of passengers. They are generally available at hotels, major streets and venues throughout both sides of the island. Princess Heights’ front desk is always available to help you find a taxi.
Buses and minibuses are also available, however they don’t cover all areas of St. Maarten / St. Martin / Sint Maarten. They regularly run between Philipsburg and Marigot (via Cole Bay), Dutch Quarter, French Quarter, St. Peters and Mullet Bay. Prices range from $1.50 to $3.
Being St. Maarten / St. Martin / Sint Maarten an island shared by two different countries, international calling can result a bit tricky. However, the following information will be clear enough for your to be able to communicate call in and out of St. Maarten / St. Martin / Sint Maarten:
- To call the Dutch Side: dial +1 (721) followed by the 7-digit number
To call the French Side:
- Landlines: +(011) 590-590 followed by the 6-digit number
- Cell phones: +(011) 590-690 followed by the 6-digit number
Note that when calling from the Dutch to the French side and vice versa, calls are considered and charged as international.
Most hotels and some restaurants provide access to Internet. Princess Heights Luxury Boutique Condo Hotel offers complimentary Wi-Fi Internet connection in all our units and at the reception. Princess Heights offers complimentary Wi-Fi Internet in all the units.
It is possible to purchase a sim card with 3G technology or simply to call in and out at our island mobile service providers. Princess Heights also provides our guests the option of renting a cell phone during their stay.
Business hours depend on the season. During high season, stores normally open all day long. Business hours for most of the shops are normally from 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. from Mondays to Saturdays. Minimarkets open until later in the evening and some stores also open on Sundays when cruise ships arrive to the island.
Most stores open from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. with extended lunch of almost two hours from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. Most of them are closed on weekends.
Banks: Mondays to Fridays from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Duty-free shopping is one St. Maarten’s most attractive options. With no major importing limitations, tourists can find all kinds of goods such as cosmetics, liquors, cigars, clothing, electronics and more. Regarding jewelry, Philipsburg Front Street is the right place: diamonds, emeralds, sapphires, etc.
Even grocery shopping can be a very pleasant experience in this Caribbean island, with a wide variety of products coming from France, the Netherlands and the USA. Here, minimarkets offer items coming from all around the world: Asia, Latin America, and Arab countries, among others.
On St. Maarten / St. Martin / Sint Maarten, there are not particular custom procedures since it is a duty-free island. Therefore, importing personal items is generally simple unless prohibited by law.
Other ítems, such as food, might be subject to inspection by the authorities.
St. Maarten / St. Martin / Sint Maarten is a pet friendly island. Pets are allowed but it is necessary to double check for detailed information while making your travel arrangements. For a limited time, animals can stay on the island. These are the requirements:
- Health certificate issued no more than 10 days before travel.
- Vaccinations or immunization records.
- Rabies vaccine administered no later than 30 days before visiting the island.
- Pets from certain countrys are not allowed at all to enter the island.
Not all restaurants and beaches allow pets, especially on the French side.
Health Requirements & Facts
No vaccinations are required for entering St. Maarten / St. Martin / Sint Maarten. When on island we recommend you to keep in mind that:
- Tap water is safe to drink, but bottled water is recommended.
- Sunscreen lotion is a must when exploring the island for most visitors due to the beautiful, yet strong solar rays.
- Some areas are prone to mosquito breeding grounds, so it is always wise to carry a bug repellent spray.