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


34 sq km (13 sq miles).


39,538 (UN estimate 2016).

Population density:

1,092 per sq km.




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

Before you travel

No travel can be guaranteed safe. Read all the advice in this guide and any specific travel advice that applies to you:

Travel insurance

If you choose to travel, research your destinations and get appropriate travel insurance. Insurance should cover your itinerary, planned activities and expenses in an emergency.

About FCDO travel advice

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) provides advice about risks of travel to help British nationals make informed decisions. Find out more about FCDO travel advice.

Follow and contact FCDO travel on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. You can also sign up to get email notifications when this advice is updated.

This information is for people travelling on a full ‘British citizen’ passport from the UK. It is based on the UK government’s understanding of the current rules for the most common types of travel.

St Maarten is an autonomous country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. It sets and enforces its own entry rules. If you’re not sure how these requirements apply to you, contact the Netherlands Embassy in the UK.

COVID-19 rules

There are no COVID-19 testing or vaccination requirements for travellers entering St Maarten.

Passport validity requirements

To enter St Maarten, your passport must have an ‘expiry date’ at least 6 months after the date you arrive.

Check with your travel provider that your passport and other travel documents meet requirements. Renew your passport if you need to.

You will be denied entry if you do not have a valid travel document or try to use a passport that has been reported lost or stolen.

Visa requirements

You can stay in St Maarten for up to 90 days without a visa. See St Maarten visa information.  

Vaccine requirements

To enter St Maarten, you must have a certificate to prove you’ve had a yellow fever vaccination if you’re coming from a country listed as a transmission risk.

For full details about medical entry requirements and recommended vaccinations, see TravelHealthPro’s St Maarten guide.

Customs rules

There are strict rules about goods you can take into or out of St Maarten. You must declare anything that may be prohibited or subject to tax or duty.

Travel between St Maarten and St Martin

There is no border between St Maarten (Dutch side of the island) and St Martin (French side). People and goods may travel freely. See St Martin travel advice.


There is a high threat of terrorist attack globally affecting UK interests and British nationals, including from groups and individuals who view the UK and British nationals as targets. Stay aware of your surroundings at all times.    

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 how to reduce your risk from terrorism while abroad.

Terrorism in St Maarten

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

Power cuts

St Maarten has been experiencing ongoing power cuts in recent weeks. These are frequent and can last for several hours, impacting shops, banks, hotels, and other infrastructure.

Ensure that you are prepared for power cuts by charging phones, writing down key phone numbers, and ensuring you have a sufficient supply of food and water. During power cuts follow the advice of local authorities.


Protecting yourself and your belongings

There is a risk of petty theft and street crime. The main tourist areas are generally safe.

To reduce the risk to yourself and your belongings:

  • avoid isolated areas, particularly after dark
  • use licensed taxis
  • avoid taking valuables to the beach
  • avoid carrying large amounts of cash or jewellery
  • make sure purses and handbags are closed and not easy to snatch
  • leave valuables in a safety deposit box or secure hotel safe

St Maarten is used as a drug passageway from South America to Europe and North America. There can be drug-related violent crime, but this rarely affects tourists. Do not leave bags unattended or agree to carry a package for anyone.

The authorities use body scanners and baggage screening for passengers. There are severe penalties for possessing and trafficking narcotics.


Prostitution is not illegal, but facilitating prostitution without a licence is illegal. St Maarten has adopted a ‘tolerance approach’ to foreign workers in certain establishments on the island. This means that criminal law is not enforced in those locations as long as people follow set requirements.

Laws and cultural differences

Personal ID

It is a legal requirement to carry ID with a photo, for example a passport or photocard driving licence. A printed copy of your ID is not usually acceptable.

LGBT+ travellers

St Maarten is generally accepting of the LGBT+ community. There have been no reports of incidents directed against members of the LGBT+ community.

Read more advice for LGBT+ travellers.

Transport risks

Road travel

If you are planning to drive in St Maarten, see information on driving abroad and check the rules of the road in the Dutch motor association guide (in Dutch). If you plan to hire a car, check ahead for the requirements of the hire car company.  

Driving conditions

Main roads are in relatively good condition. Roads can become slippery in wet weather and potholes can appear, especially on unsurfaced roads. 

Be alert in traffic on St Maarten, as it can be crowded and lacks traffic signs. Adapt your driving as much as possible.

Drink-driving is a serious offence in St Maarten. If you are tested and found to have more than two-thirds the legal limit for England and Wales in your system, you could get a fine and possible imprisonment.


Use registered taxis with the word ‘taxi’ on the number plate. Taxis are not metered, but there are fixed rates for standard routes. Always agree the fare before setting off.

Extreme weather

Find out what you can do to prepare for and respond to extreme weather and natural hazards.


The hurricane season in St Maarten normally runs from June to November. Monitor local and international weather updates from:

Before you travel check that:

  • your destination can provide the healthcare you may need
  • you have appropriate travel insurance for local treatment or unexpected medical evacuation

This is particularly important if you have a health condition or are pregnant.

Emergency medical number

Call 911 and ask for an ambulance.

Contact your insurance company quickly if you’re referred to a medical facility for treatment.

Vaccinations and health risks

At least 8 weeks before your trip check:

See what health risks you’ll face in St Maarten, including:

  • Zika virus
  • dengue


The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or bought in the UK can be different in other countries.

Read best practice when travelling with medicines on TravelHealthPro.

The NHS has information on whether you can take your medicine abroad.

Healthcare in St Maarten

The level of medical care on St Maarten is reasonable. The St Maarten Medical Center has an emergency room that is always open and staff speak English. There are also Dutch general practitioners based on St Maarten.

Travel and mental health

Read FCDO guidance on travel and mental health. There is also mental health guidance on TravelHealthPro.

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) cannot provide tailored advice for individual trips. Read this travel advice and carry out your own research before deciding whether to travel.

Emergency services in St Maarten  

Ambulance: 911

Fire: 919

Police: 911

Coastguard: 913

Contact your travel provider and insurer

Contact your travel provider and your insurer if you are involved in a serious incident or emergency abroad. They will tell you if they can help and what you need to do.

Refunds and changes to travel

For refunds or changes to travel, contact your travel provider. You may also be able to make a claim through insurance. However, insurers usually require you to talk to your travel provider first.

Find out more about changing or cancelling travel plans, including:

  • where to get advice if you are in a dispute with a provider
  • how to access previous versions of travel advice to support a claim

Support from FCDO

FCDO has guidance on staying safe and what to do if you need help or support abroad, including:

Contacting FCDO

Follow and contact FCDO travel on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. You can also sign up to get email notifications when this travel advice is updated.

You can also contact FCDO online.

Help abroad in an emergency

If you are in St Maarten and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the British Embassy in The Hague, Netherlands, who provide consular assistance for St Maarten.

FCDO in London

You can call FCDO in London if you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad.

Telephone: 020 7008 5000 (24 hours)

Find out about call charges

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