A trip to St. Maarten is usually quite uncomplicated , and the island has many attractions to offer its visitors. The country is geared for tourism, which makes everything from transportation to choosing where to eat exceptionally easy. Regardless, here are some tips which could make your stay even cheaper and more enjoyable.
1. The country is split into two sections. There is French St. Martin and Dutch St. Maarten. However even if you don't speak either of the two languages, English is widely spoken by locals throughout the country so you shouldn't encounter too many difficulties.
2. Public transportation runs frequently during the day, and local buses run between both sides of the island. During the night, the number of public buses drop significantly, causing considerable waiting periods. If you are downtown in Philipsburg, the best place to wait for a bus is along Back Street as all the buses run through here regardless of their end destination. Typical bus fares range from $1.00 to $1.50 USD.
3. If you had a long day of shopping however, and the local bus simply won't cut it for you, you don't need to panic. For a twenty-five minute drive from the yacht marina at Simpson Bay to Philipsburg, I was quoted only $7 USD. Luckily for me however, a bus chose that oppurtune moment to swing by so I jumped in instead!
4. Maho Beach near the airport is a great place to spend at least an hour of your day. As if you need another reason besides white sand, warm sun and sparkling clear waters to convince you! However what makes this beach so special, is the fact that if you're not aware of the main attraction, it will definitely scare you. Planes cross over the beach literally over your heads as they make the final approach to land! Seeing as St. Maarten has such a busy international airport, the planes land almost every two minutes!
5. The offical currency of Dutch St. Maarten is the Netherland Antilles Florin/Guiler (NAF). However the United States Dollar is widely accepted throughout the entire island, so it would be highly unnecessary for anyone to change the money before heading to the country. Most prices in restaurants, hotels and even the public buses are quoted in USD.
Hopefully, at least one of these five tips will help any prospective visitors. St. Maarten is a great destination whether your stay is a week in a resort/hotel or simply a day trip during a cruise. Filled with friendly locals, great shopping and beautiful beaches, there is something here for everyone!