The north side, St Martin, is controlled by the French government. Whereas cosmopolitan St Maarten (Dutch) shelters the most animated casinos, bars and clubs. A territory of the Dutch Kingdom St Maarten takes up the southern 16 square miles.
For all the excitement, St Martin and St Maarten still foster a stress-free vibe, starting out with how easily you can pass between both sides of the island. Catch a few morning rays on a quiet Dutch-side beach; later, take a leisurely afternoon stroll through a French-side mountain. You’ll be more than primed to sneak back over the border for a night in the casinos.
Some restaurants have put an extra 15 percent “tax” on the bill that the wait staff might neglect to tell you is their service charge. Don’t tip extra unless your service was really exceptional.
Email, don’t call
Calls between the Dutch & French sides are considered international calls. If the number isn’t local, attempt to make restaurant reservations and book island tours by email.
Take the Bus
Things move at a more leisurely pace in the Caribbean, so take advantage of that by taking the bus. There’s no set schedule, but you can get around for as little as $1.50 each way.
Best Time to Visit
The average temp is 26°C. July through October is warmer and several establishments close completely in September. Busier times include November to early December and May to June.