Ins and outs
International flights arrive at the Juliana Airport on the Dutch side. Sint Maarten has good long-distance air connections, with charter and scheduled flights from Europe, the USA and the Caribbean. It is used as a jumping-off point for many of the smaller islands in the area which do not have the capacity to receive large aircraft, such as Saba or Anguilla. A taxi to Marigot will cost about US$15. On the French side is the Espérance Airport which can only take 20-seater light planes for short hops to neighbouring islands. There are good ferry connections with both Anguilla and St-Barthélemy most days. It can be an unpleasant trip to the latter. If rough, take the plane.
The international airport is Princess Juliana, at Simpson Bay. A new terminal opened in Nov 2006 with duty- free shops, restaurants, bar and spa. Flight information T599-5455757. A taxi into Philipsburg costs US$10-15 and to Marigot US$15.
Most offices are on the Dutch side at Juliana Airport, American Airlines, T599-5452040. Air France, T599-545 4212, 590-(0)590-510202. Caribbean Airlines, T599-5454646. Continental, T599-5453444. KLM, T599-5454747. Caribbean Star/LIAT, T599-5454203. US Airways, T599-5454344. Winair, reservations, T599-5454230, flight information, T599-5454210, 800-6344907.
There are no long-distance sea communi- cations except cruise ships which usually stay 5-9 hrs. Boats to Anguilla, Saba and St-Barts, leave from the French side. Voyager, T590-(0) 590-871068, http://www.voyager-st-barths.com, daily high-speed ferries leave from Marigot (75 mins, 2 daily Mon-Sat) and Captain Oliver’s marina, Oyster Pond (40 mins, 2-4 daily) to St-Barts. Credit cards accepted. Look out for special deals. Ferries from Marigot Waterfront to Anguilla leave at least every 30 mins.
There is a fairly regular bus service from 0700 until 2400 between Philipsburg and Marigot (US$1.50), French Quarters and St Peters, and from Marigot to Grand Case on the French side. After 2000 there are few buses. The best place to catch a bus is on Back St. Buses run along Back St and Pondfill and in towns only stop at bus stops. Outside towns, however, just wave to stop a bus. Fare is usually US$1 in town, US$1.50 for short trips, US$3 for long trips. There is no regular bus service between Philipsburg and the airport although the route to Mullet Bay Resort passes the airport. Buses on this route run mostly at the beginning and the end of the working day (although there are a few during the day) and drivers may refuse to take you, or charge extra, if you have a lot of luggage.
Car and bike
Foreign and international driving licences are accepted. Drive on the right. The speed limit is 40 kph in urban areas, 60 kph outside town, unless there are other signs.
Many car hire companies have offices at the airport or in the hotels; free pick- up and delivery are standard and you can leave the car at the airport on departure. Prices range from US$35-55 per day. Companies include all the international names and several local firms: Cannegie Car Rental, T599-542 2397; Empress Rent-a-Car T599- 5443637; Safari Rentals, T599-5453185, safari@sint maarten.net; Alamo, T599- 5455546; Paradise, T599-5453737. Both tourist offices have full lists.
Super Honda, Bush Rd Cul-de-Sac, T5425712; Moped Cruising, Front St, T5422330; OK Scooter Rental, at Maho Beach Hotel and Cupecoy Resort, T5442115, 5444334; Concordia, T871424, from US$20 per day including helmets and insurance. If you have a heavyweight motorcycle licence, you can rent a Harley Davidson for US$112 a day at Super Bikes, 71 Union Rd, Cole Bay.
There are plenty of taxis, which are not metered so first check the fare, which is fixed according to your destination (the island is divided into zones) and number of people. Tip 10-15%. Trips to beaches or tours of the island can be arranged with taxi drivers. From Philipsburg (or Marigot) to Juliana Airport US$12, to Dawn Beach US$18, Mullet Bay US$16, Marigot to Grand Case US$10, Marigot to Oyster Pond, US$25, all for 2 passengers, additional passengers US$4, luggage extra, children under 12 half price. Night tariffs are an extra 25% 2200-2400, an extra 50% 2400-0600. Pick up taxi at the square next to the Courthouse in Philipsburg, T599-5422359, Juliana Airport, T599-5454317, or dispatch office, T147, in Marigot, T590-(0)590-875654, in Grand Case, T590-(0)590-877579.