What to come with
Dress code throughout the Caribbean is generally very casual, and that holds true for St. Maarten/St. Martin as well. Except in the most sophisticated restaurants, men can be comfortable in shorts and sandals, and ladies in separates or a sundress for dining in the evening. Most restaurants are open-air, although there are a few air-conditioned ones, so pack cool, light clothing, with perhaps a light cardigan or long sleeved t-shirt for cooler evenings in January.
Each of the villas is well supplied with bath and beach towels, so there is no need for you to bring your own.
Many first-time visitors to the island underestimate the power of the Caribbean sun. To avoid the risk of sunburn, you should pack (or buy when you get here) sunscreen, a cover-up and a hat. Remember that UV rays penetrate water, so that you can burn even when you're swimming, and that reflected sun off the water can do the same if you're on a cruise or day-sail, even if you seem to be in full shade.
Our villas are within easy walking distance of all the shops, restaurants and activities in Phillipsburg. However, to really explore the beauty and diversity of our island, we recommend that you rent a car. Our manager can arrange a car rental for you -- all you need is a valid driver's license. On both the Dutch and French sides of the island, driving is on the same side of the road as the U.S./Canada.
The US dollar is accepted everywhere, so there is no need to purchase local currency. The official currency on the Dutch side is the Netherlands Antillean Guilder (abbreviation ANG), which has remained fairly steady in value in relation to the US dollar – about $1.00 to 1.8 ANG – over the past 5 years. Many prices are quoted in ANG's with a dollar symbol (particularly at supermarkets), so ask if you are uncertain.
The official currency on the French side is the Euro, the value of which has fluctuated over the past 5 years from the current low of $1.00 to 0.72 Euros to a high of about $1.00 to 0.60 Euros. However, some shops and restaurants will accept American cash on a 1:1 basis, but expect to be charged the full converted amount if you use a credit card.
Use this link to check on current conversion rates: currency converter
ATM's throughout the island will provide a choice of cash – USD's, ANG's, and Euros. Most stores and restaurants accept major credit cards.
There are 2 ATM's within walking distance from the Villas, 770 meters or 1/2 mile, that accept most credit and debit cards. Cash is dispensed in US Dollars or Guilders on the Dutch side and Euros or US Dollars on the French side. A tip... Notify your bank that you will be using your credit/debit card in Dutch St. Maarten/French St. Martin before you leave home. This will prevent your card from being blocked by your bank for security reasons.
Safety and security
Our villas are equipped with room safes to protect your valuables. However, we advise you to leave your more expensive jewellery, etc., at home – the casual dress code in St. Maarten/St. Martin will leave you with few opportunities to wear it.