“Is St Martin a Country?” is one of the most frequent questions we receive on our contact form. The answer is, of course, “not exactly.”
The island of St. Martin is not a country. It’s actually made up of two territories, known as “the Dutch side” and “the French side.
Sint Maarten is a Country…
The southern Dutch side of the island is called Sint Maarten, and is actually a country. Sint Maarten is one of the four countries that form the Kingdom of the Netherlands. As a country Sint Maarten has its own constitution and its own parliament, and sends delegates to the European Parliament.
…While St. Martin (the French Side) is More Like a Province
The northern French part of the island is comprised of the Collectivité de Saint-Martin (Collectivity of St Martin). As an overseas “collectivity” of France, St. Martin is not a country, but is more like an administrative region and part of France itself. As such, St. Martin is represented in France’s National Assembly.
“Do I Need a Visa to Travel to St. Martin?”
Most visitors on St. Martin arrive at St. Juliana Airport, or SXM. SXM is on the Dutch side of St. Martin, but remember: our hotel itself is on the French side. Generally speaking, the entire island is considered part of the European Union, with the same travel requirements.
There is no border patrol or immigration between the two parts so you will have no trouble accessing the whole Island once you have entered.
If you plan to visit any of the surrounding Islands such as St Barths, Anguilla or Saba, even just for a day trip, please check the entry requirements before arriving here in case you need a visa for any.
For the most part if you are an American, Canadian or a European Community valid passport holder you should not have any problems entering any of the nearby Islands.
Currency on St. Martin
St. Martin might be small but we are confusing when it comes to currency:
- The Dutch takes US dollars and Dutch guilders
- On French side we take euros, however we are also accustomed to US dollars
- All restaurants and shops will accept US dollars
Some restaurants take US$ on a one for one basis or at a very favourable exchange rate if you pay in cash, but have Euro credit card machines. Most shops and supermarkets take dollars but at an exchange rate, most tend to work on a daily exchange rate basis or thereabouts..
Travelers cheques are accepted all over the island, and so are a handy form of currency (we told you it was confusing).
If you have any other questions please ask at the front desk when you are here, or give us a call at 011 590 590 87 51 87.
Electricity on St. Martin
While not exactly a different country, St. Martin does have its own electricity. For example, our electricity is 220v here so a converter is advisable. Most electronic equipment e.g. cameras, cell phones etc. now a days have built in converters, which means you just need the American to European two-pin plug adapter.
Check the equipment you want to bring to see if this is the case, they should say Input: 110v – 240v. With equipment that needs a converter make a note of the wattage output before you go to buy one to ensure the converter has the wattage capacity for the equipment it will need to run. For example, do not buy a 50w converter if your curling iron produces an output of 1600w.
Of course, St. Martin is one of the most interesting and beautiful places in the Caribbean. And our home of Grand Case is one of the most beautiful towns in which to live.
Grand Case is a small fishing town located on the northwestern side of French St. Martin. It’s home to several thousand year-round residents, and is famous for its beaches, its bathing, and wonderful food culture.
Grand Case has maintained its village feel and you will find the people warm, friendly and quick to help. If you make the effort to speak with some of the residents don’t be surprised if after a few days, while walking down to dinner, you hear your name called out and you find yourself dragged off for a quick aperitif.
Have More Questions?
If you have more questions about St. Martin and Grand Case, please give us a call at 011 590 590 87 51 87.