St. Martin – Practical Information
Time difference from mainland France
- - 5 hours in winter (end of October to end of March)
- - 6 hours in summer (end of March to end of October)
Time difference from New York
- + 1 hour in winter (end of October to end of March)
Time difference from Universal Time (GMT)
- - 4 hours
Languages of St. Martin
You understand why St. Martin is called the “Friendly Island” when you consider how over 120 nationalities make the island home. Those living on St. Martin’s French side use French in official institutions and schools, however the locals are proud of being bilingual and English is spoken freely. On the Dutch side, both English and Dutch are the official languages. All over the island you will also hear Spanish, Creole, and Papiamento.
The Euro is the official St. Martin currency on the French side, and the Netherlands Antilles Florin (NAF), also known as the guilder, is the official currency on the Dutch side. The US dollar is also commonly used all over, and there are many currency exchange locations and banks on the island. Keep in mind that many establishments do not accept foreign checks, although most locations do accept major credit cards.
Electricity and Water on St. Martin
- St. Martin (French side): 220V / 60Hz. European electrical outlets
- St. Maarten (Dutch side): 110V / 60 Hz. US electrical outlets
On both sides of the island, stores selling appliances, stereo equipment, and cameras also sell power converters as well as European /American outlet adapters, so you can use your electronics on both parts of the island.
There are no natural springs or fresh-water rivers on the island, and running water is supplied by the island’s desalination plant. Like everywhere on the planet, water has become rare, and therefore precious. Bottled spring and mineral water can be purchased island wide.
Telephone and Internet on St. Martin
International dialing codes are +590 for St. Martin and +1 721 for St. Maarten.
Dialing from the French side, St. Martin
- To another number in St. Martin: dial the 10-digit number of the person you’re calling
- To St. Maarten:
- Landline: +1 721 54 plus the 5-digit landline number
- Cell phone: +1 721 55 plus the 5-digit cell phone number
- To mainland France: +33 plus the 10-digit number
- To the US: 001 + local area code plus the 7-digit number
Dialing from the Dutch side, St. Maarten
- To another number in St. Maarten: the 7-digit number of the person you’re calling
- To St. Martin:
- Landline: +59 plus the 10-digit landline number
- Cell phone: +59 plus the 10-digit mobile number
- To mainland France: +33 plus the 10-digit number
- To the US: +1 plus local area code plus the 7-digit number
Internet service providers include Orange Caraïbes, Dauphin Telecom, and Canal Box. Broadband internet (DSL) is currently available in most districts, and fiber optic broadband service is now being installed throughout the island. Many bars and restaurants offer internet service, and hotels generally provide wifi as well.
Traveling with Pets
You can certainly visit St. Martin with your pets, but before you travel, we advise you check with your hosts to ensure that pets are welcome.
On the French side, small, leashed dogs are welcome in many places; the choice is left to the discretion of the establishment. Pets are not allowed on the beaches.
Health & Safety on St. Martin
No vaccinations are required for travelers to St. Martin.
Located between the Tropic of Cancer and the Equator, St. Martin gets full sun. High-SPF sunscreen or a total sunblock is recommended for those who aren’t used to the intense Caribbean sun. Sunglasses with 100% UV protection and a hat are also highly recommended.
Dengue fever is a virus transmitted by the Aedes mosquito (Aedes aegypti in the Caribbean). Symptoms include high fever, headache, body aches, and weakness, which may last for several weeks. Symptoms appear two to seven days after a bite from an infected mosquito. Dans la majorité des cas, la dengue ne présente pas de complications.. Nevertheless, because the platelet count drops when infected with Dengue, there is a risk of hemorrhage. Whenever in doubt, consult a physician and avoid taking aspirin or anti-inflammatories.
Avoid mosquito bites by using mosquito nets, wearing long clothing, and using insect repellents. Prevent mosquitos from multiplying by clearing out any potential breeding areas (namely stagnant water) inside and outside the house.
Some plants can cause severe allergic reactions. One in particular is the manchineel tree (from the Spanish “manzana”, meaning apple). The manchineel, which is two to five meters tall, looks like an apple tree and is found in dry, sandy soils, especially along St. Martin’s beaches. Its leafy branches create shade, but beware, its fruit is highly poisonous. Contact with any part of the manchineel can cause severe burns. Do not shelter under the manchineel when it is raining, as the sap and fruit are extremely toxic. As a general rule, avoid eating the fruit of any tree on the island until you can consult an authority about whether or not it is safe to eat.
Certain fish, particularly reef fish, contain toxins that may, if eaten, cause uncomfortable symptoms (itching, numbness, dizziness) or even sometimes serious illness (paralysis and sudden drop in blood pressure). This is known as ciguatera, locally known as “gratte”, meaning itch in French. Avoid eating fish until you can consult an authority on its safety, especially if you have caught the fish yourself. The larger the fish (more than one kilo), the higher the toxin concentration and the more dangerous.
The medical system is identical to that in France, so all common medications are available on the island
Important phone numbers in St. Martin
- Louis Constant Fleming Medical Center of Saint Martin, Concordia, Marigot – Emergency: +590 590 52 26 29 / Reception: +590 590 52 25 25
- General Emergency/S.A.M.U.: 15
- Police Department: 17
- Fire Department: 18
- Erick Ambulances: +590 29 29 34
- Ambulances des Îles du Nord: +590 690 29 08 11
- Local police, Concordia: +590 52 21 90
- Local police, Hope Estate : +590 590 52 35 95
- French Red Cross: +590 590 87 86 50
- Territorial police: +590 590 29 56 22 or +590 590 29 56 23
- Border police, Marigot: +590 590 87 57 13
- S.N.S.M. St. Martin (sea rescue): Emergency: +590 690 76 75 00 – Station telephone: (590) 590 29 20 46
- CROSS AG (sea rescue between Anguilla and French Guiana): Emergency: 196 or +596 596 70 92 92 or channels 16 and 73
Important phone numbers in St. Maarten
- Hospital: 910 or +1 721 543 1111
- Police department: 911 or +1 721 542 2222
- Ambulance: 912 or +1 721 542 2111
- Fire department: 919 or + 1721 545 4222
Media on St. Martin
Le Pélican, daily newspaper
- +590 590 52 21 45
Soualigapost, online news
97150, free bi-weekly newspaper
- +590 590 27 74 61
FaxInfo, free daily newspaper
- +590 590 29 22 22
Saint-Martin’s Week, newspaper
- +590 590 77-8080
The Daily Herald, daily newspaper in English
- +1 721 542 52 53
SXM Info, online news
Magazines about St. Martin ranging in different topics:
Local government and services of St. Martin/St. Maarten
- Tourist Office, Marigot: +590 590 87 57 21 - https://www.st-martin.org/
- Collectivity of St. Martin, rue de l‘Hôtel de Ville, Marigot: +590 590 87 50 04
- Prefecture, 23 rue de Spring, Concordia: +590 590 52 30 50
- Chamber of Commerce and Industry (C.C.I.), Concordia, Marigot: +590 590 27 91 51
- Veterinary Services: +590 590 87 31 16
- Unemployment Agency: 39 49
- Post Office, Marigot: +590 590 51 07 60