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World Travel Guide > Guides > Caribbean > St Maarten

St Maarten travel guide

About St Maarten

Sun-lovers, water babies, sailors and divers alike will find St Maarten an alluring Caribbean getaway. This popular destination in the former Netherlands Antilles is lined with delicious coastline, on which to frolic, bake, or get active.

The most prominent physical feature in St Maarten is Mount Flagstaff, an extinct volcano, but the most important for visitors is the excellent beach that follows the south and west coasts; beach activities and shopping at duty-free centres firmly satisfy most tourists.

St Maarten is also popular with sailing enthusiasts and divers. The excellent diving conditions feature striking coral reefs located close to the shore. One of the most popular dive sites is the wreck of HMS Proselyte, a British man-of-war which sank in 1801. Body boarding is increasingly popular way of enjoying the gleaming waters and getting refreshed in the pouring sunshine.

Key facts

Area:

34 sq km (13 sq miles).

Population:

39,538 (UN estimate 2016).

Population density:

1,092 per sq km.

Capital:

Philipsburg.

Government:

Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Head of state:

King Willem-Alexander since 2013, represented locally by Governor Eugene Holiday since 2010.

Head of government:

Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs since 2019.

Travel Advice

Coronavirus travel health

Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for St Maarten on the TravelHealthPro website.

See the TravelHealthPro website for further advice on travel abroad and reducing spread of respiratory viruses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Entry and borders

See Entry requirements to find out what you will need to do when you arrive in St Maarten.

Be prepared for your plans to change

No travel is risk-free during COVID-19. Countries may further restrict travel or bring in new rules at short notice, for example due to a new COVID-19 variant. Check with your travel company or airline for any transport changes which may delay your journey home.

If you test positive for COVID-19, you may need to stay where you are until you test negative. You may also need to seek treatment there.

Plan ahead and make sure you:

  • can access money
  • understand what your insurance will cover
  • can make arrangements to extend your stay and be away for longer than planned

Travel in St Maarten

The Government of St Maarten has put measures in place in response to the coronavirus pandemic. See the website of the Government of St Maarten for updates and details of these measures, including guidance on what you should do if you test positive for COVID-19 during your stay.

Accommodation

Travellers must familiarise themselves with the guidelines and protocols of their accommodation and activity providers and adhere to them.

Healthcare in St Maarten

If you think you have COVID-19 symptoms, you should:

  • Seek medical care. Call ahead before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room
  • Contact the public health authorities by dialling 914
  • Tell your doctor about your recent travel and your symptoms
  • Avoid contact with others

Your emotional and mental wellbeing is important. Read guidance on how to look after your mental wellbeing and mental health.

View Health for further details on healthcare in St Maarten.

Finance

For information on financial support you can access whilst abroad, visit our financial assistance guidance.

Crime

Most visits to the Dutch Caribbean are trouble-free. However, petty theft and street crime occur. There is violent crime amongst members of the illegal drugs world, but this rarely affects tourists. The main tourist areas are generally safe, but you should take sensible precautions. Avoid remote areas at night. Do not take valuables to the beach. Make sure purses and handbags are closed and not easy to snatch.

The islands of the Dutch Caribbean continue to be used to smuggle illegal drugs from South America to Europe and North America. You should have a heightened sense of awareness of this problem and never leave bags unattended. Under no circumstances should you discuss or agree to carry a package for anyone. Some airports have installed “body scanners” and you may be required to have a scan. Dutch authorities generally screen all baggage and passengers from the Dutch Caribbean.

Local travel

When taking a taxi, always check that it is a registered one and negotiate the price before taking the ride. Most taxis do not have meters.

Road travel

Traffic drives on the right-hand side. Main road conditions are relatively good, but roads can become slippery when wet and potholes can appear after serious showers.

Political situation

St Maarten is an autonomous country within Kingdom of the Netherlands, together with Aruba and Curaçao. It has a separate government, and currently shares a central bank with Curaçao. The island lies about 100 miles east of Puerto Rico. St Maarten is the Dutch side of an island that is half French (St Martin).

Language

English is the dominant language in St. Maarten although Dutch, Papiamento, and Spanish are also spoken. The Creole language, Papiamento, is a mixture of Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese, English and French.

Although there’s no recent history of terrorism in St Maarten, attacks can’t be ruled out.

UK Counter Terrorism Policing has information and advice on staying safe abroad and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. Find out more about the global threat from terrorism.

There’s a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.

By Dutch law, you must always carry your ID. You should have a copy of your passport with you at all times.

Local laws are similar to Dutch law.

This page has information on travelling to St Maarten.

This page reflects the UK government’s understanding of current rules for people travelling on a full ‘British Citizen’ passport from the UK, for the most common types of travel.

The authorities in St Maarten set and enforce entry rules. If you’re unsure how St Maarten’s entry requirements apply to you, contact its UK embassy, high commission or consulate.

All travellers

All travellers should complete and submit the health declaration form (EHAS process) 72 hours prior to travel. Part of the application process is the purchase of a mandatory COVID-19 insurance. Further information on entry requirements can be found on the website of the Government of St Maarten.

There are no border formalities when crossing St Maarten from the Dutch side to the French side.

If you’re fully vaccinated

If you’re fully vaccinated, you can enter St Maarten without needing to test or quarantine.

At least 14 days must have passed since your last dose of the vaccine and the vaccine must be approved by the government of St Maarten.

Find out if you qualify as fully vaccinated in St Maarten on the website of the Government of St Maarten.

Proof of vaccination status

You must present proof that you have been fully vaccinated to enter St Maarten. The proof of vaccination needs to be uploaded as part of the Electronic Health Authorization System (EHAS) process. This applies to all travellers aged five years and above.

If you’re not fully vaccinated

The latest entry requirements can be found on the website of the government of St. Maarten. See information on getting a test before entry.

If you’ve had COVID-19 in the past year

The latest entry requirements can be found on the website of the government of St. Maarten. See information on getting a test before entry.

Children and young people

The latest entry requirements can be found on the website of the government of St. Maarten. See information on getting a test before entry.

If you’re transiting through St Maarten

Transiting passengers are required to complete the EHAS application form but do not need to take out mandatory insurance if they are departing on the same day. More information on this can be found on the website of the government of St. Maarten.

Check your passport and travel documents before you travel

Passport validity

Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry into St Maarten.

Visas

British passport holders do not need a visa for stays of up to 3 months. For further information about entry requirements, contact the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Further information on visa requirements can be found at the Netherlands and You website.

There are no border formalities when crossing St Maarten from the Dutch side to the French side.

Yellow fever certificate requirements

Check whether you need a yellow fever certificate by visiting the National Travel Health Network and Centre’s TravelHealthPro website.

UK Emergency Travel Documents

UK Emergency Travel Documents (ETDs) are accepted for entry, airside transit and exit from St Maarten.

If you have a health condition, or you are pregnant, you may need specialist healthcare abroad. Check whether your destination country can provide the healthcare you may need and ensure you have appropriate travel insurance for unexpected medical evacuation or local treatment.

See the Coronavirus travel health and Healthcare sections in the Coronavirus page for COVID-19 health information.

Visit your health professional at least 4 to 6 weeks before your trip to check whether you need any vaccinations or other preventive measures.

Check the latest country-specific information and advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website or from NHS (Scotland) on the fitfortravel website. Useful information and advice about healthcare abroad is also available on the NHS Choices website.

UK health authorities have classified St Maarten as having a risk of Zika virus transmission. For information and advice about the risks associated with Zika virus, visit the National Travel Health Network and Centre website.

While travel can be enjoyable, it can sometimes be challenging. There are clear links between mental and physical health, so looking after yourself during travel and when abroad is important. Information on travelling with mental health conditions is available in our guidance page. Further information is also available from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC).

The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is not valid. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.

Cases of Chikungunya virus have been confirmed in St Maarten and the number of reported cases in the region is increasing. You should take steps to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.

If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 911 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.

The hurricane season in the Dutch Caribbean normally runs from June to November. You should monitor local and international weather updates from the US National Hurricane Centre and the Meteorological department of Curacao.

See our tropical cyclones page for advice about how to prepare effectively and what to do if you’re likely to be affected by a hurricane or tropical cyclone.

The official local currency is the Antillean guilder (ANG) and has been fixed to the US Dollar at approximately 1.80 ANG to 1USD for over 35 years. The US Dollar is accepted everywhere on the island. Local currency and US Dollar ATM machines (Maestro/Cirrus) are situated throughout the island. Major credit cards are accepted in most tourist establishments.

If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. If you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad, contact the FCDO in London on 020 7008 5000 (24 hours).

Foreign travel checklist

Read our foreign travel checklist to help you plan for your trip abroad and stay safe while you’re there.

Travel safety

The FCDO travel advice helps you make your own decisions about foreign travel. Your safety is our main concern, but we can’t provide tailored advice for individual trips. If you’re concerned about whether or not it’s safe for you to travel, you should read the travel advice for the country or territory you’re travelling to, together with information from other sources you’ve identified, before making your own decision on whether to travel. Only you can decide whether it’s safe for you to travel.

When we judge the level of risk to British nationals in a particular place has become unacceptably high, we’ll state on the travel advice page for that country or territory that we advise against all or all but essential travel. Read more about how the FCDO assesses and categorises risk in foreign travel advice.

Our crisis overseas page suggests additional things you can do before and during foreign travel to help you stay safe.

Refunds and cancellations

If you wish to cancel or change a holiday that you’ve booked, you should contact your travel company. The question of refunds and cancellations is a matter for you and your travel company. Travel companies make their own decisions about whether or not to offer customers a refund. Many of them use our travel advice to help them reach these decisions, but we do not instruct travel companies on when they can or can’t offer a refund to their customers.

For more information about your rights if you wish to cancel a holiday, visit the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website. For help resolving problems with a flight booking, visit the website of the Civil Aviation Authority. For questions about travel insurance, contact your insurance provider and if you’re not happy with their response, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Registering your travel details with us

We’re no longer asking people to register with us before travel. Our foreign travel checklist and crisis overseas page suggest things you can do before and during foreign travel to plan your trip and stay safe.

Previous versions of FCDO travel advice

If you’re looking for a previous version of the FCDO travel advice, visit the National Archives website. Versions prior to 2 September 2020 will be archived as FCO travel advice. If you can’t find the page you’re looking for there, send the Travel Advice team a request.

Further help

If you’re a British national and you have a question about travelling abroad that isn’t covered in our foreign travel advice or elsewhere on GOV.UK, you can submit an enquiry, or contact us on Twitter or Facebook. We’re not able to provide tailored advice for specific trips.

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