Driving on St. Martin/Sint-Maarten
When driving on St. Martin, the same rules apply as in France, drive on the right-hand side, and the French Highway Code applies. A French or international driver’s license is enough to be able to drive on the island. Renting a car on St. Martin during your vacation is the best way to get around. You’ll be free to move around as you wish.
The road network on St. Martin is made up of one main road that runs all the way around the island, and then smaller roads to reach the various districts and beaches. There is a tradition here between motorists, to honk the horn to greet people they know. The atmosphere on the roads is very much a stress-free one, even though there are often traffic jams throughout the tourist season because of the fact there are very few roads.
There is only one main road: Route Nationale 7 (possibly a reference to the eponymous highway in France). There are not many signs indicating directions and districts. Don’t be surprised if your hotel is “just after the tree, at the mailbox on the left…” Or “on the right after the palm tree.” Don’t hesitate to ask for directions.
Road maps are available free-of-charge from St. Martin Tourist Office and in various stores and tourist sites across the island. You can also use the GPS applications on your smartphone (Google Maps) which work perfectly on the territory
To get around, you can easily find a car rental company on St. Martin. At the end of your vacation, you’ll have explored the whole island.
There are two swing bridges, the one in Sandy Ground on the French side, and the one in Simpson Bay on the Dutch side, so boats can access Simpson Bay lagoon. The lagoon itself is divided in two by a third bridge called Causeway Bridge. The bridges open on a regular basis to let boats through, stopping traffic momentarily each time.
Sandy Ground Bridge (on the French side, when you leave Marigot and head towards Nettlé Bay)
- From Monday to Saturday: between 9am and 5pm the bridge opens to let boats pass through and motorists have to wait a few minutes until it closes again.
- Closed on Sundays and public holidays.
- Information: +590 590-773126 (temporary number) / VHF channel 16.
Simpson Bay Bridge (Dutch side)
- 7 days a week.
- Outbound traffic: 8:30am / 10:30am / 4pm.
- Inbound traffic: 9:30am / 11:30am / 3pm / 5pm.
- Information: +1-721 545-5230 / VHF Channel 12.
- 7 days a week.
- 8:15am / 9:45am / 10:15am / 11:45am / 3:15pm / 3:45pm / 5:15pm.
Cabs of St. Martin
There are regular cabs available to get around from Marigot, from Philipsburg and from all tourist sites. There are regular cabs available at both airports (regional and international) seven days a week. If you do not want to rent a car on St. Martin, a cab is the ideal compromise. For example, to get from the international airport to your rental in the Maho district, it will cost you 15 euros for 4 people and luggage.
- Marigot: +590 (0)590 87 56 54.
- Philipsburg: (1-721) 542 2359.
- Princess Juliana International Airport: (1-721) 546 7713.
- Grand Case Esperance Airport: +590 (0)590 87 53 03.
Please note there are no taximeters, but an official fare table applies. Most cabs, especially the ones on the Dutch side, accept dollars as well as euros. There are plenty of cabs available at Grand Case regional airport, the cruise terminal on the seafront, in Marigot (French side), and at the Princess Juliana International Airport (Dutch side).
Buses of St. Martin
There are minibuses available all over the island. There is no fixed schedule and the stops are not always visible. All you need to do is ask the locals who use this type of transport to show you where these buses stop. When a minibus arrives, put your hand out. If you are not in a rush, this is a very cheap and authentic way to get around. Some minibuses even have air-conditioning! They usually accept both euros and US dollars.