St. Maarten

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Caribbean Island of St. Maarten


One of the more interesting aspects of Saint Maarten in the Caribbean is its contradictory status as perhaps the most popular yet one of the smallest Caribbean islands in the region.  Together with its neighbor Saint Martin, they’re barely more than 39 square miles in size.

Since the sixteenth century Saint Maarten has been split from its neighbor Saint Martin.  While they’re pronounced pretty much the same and share land mass, one side practices French customs (Saint Martin) while Saint Maarten sticks to its Netherlands customs and culture.  Although there are few facts to justify the explanation, most locals will tell you that this interesting split of two distinct cultures stems from a pair of men (one French, one Dutch) who competed to try and own the most land.  Unlike other islands such as St Kitts and Nevis which are clearly divided by a body of water, only a small welcome sign lets visitors know when they’ve stepped on the soil of Saint Martin and vice versa.

If one were to visit Saint Maarten today, its former status as a quiet, relatively obscure Caribbean island would seem almost laughable due to the sheer number of attractions strewn copiously throughout the island.  This is also another feature Saint Maarten uses to distinguish itself from Saint Martin which, in comparison, can be considered the sleepier side of the island.  Saint Martin does have slightly more beaches (particularly nude beaches) so visitors may wish to head over to Saint Martin after they’ve indulged their entertainment and shopping needs in Saint Maarten.

While in Sint Maarten, take some time to experience the prevalent Dutch culture and the sights.  The Border Monument, not far from Mount Concordia, honors the Treat eyy of Concordia which was largely responsible for splitting Saint Maarten into its two halves.  At Maho Beach, you can enjoying tropical drinks on the beach while watching the planes take off and land on the airport runway.

The culture of Sint Maarten is an integration of several nationalities that include the native Dutch customs plus African and British influences.  It’s easy to get around both halves of the island since English is commonly spoken although you’ll likely catch locals speaking Spanish and French patois.  Saint Maarten is also famed for its superb cuisine which features a number of French, West Indies and Creole inspired dishes.  Like the rest of the Caribbean, reggae, calypso and the Latin tinged merengue genre originated in the Dominican Republic remain popular.

The smallest island divided by two nations is the Caribbean island of St. Martin/St. Maarten. The nation of St. Maarten is a commonwealth of the Netherlands which occupies the southern half of the dual nation and is known for its fine blend of Caribbean ambiance mixed with rich Dutch culture.

Whether visitors want to rent or buy real estate in St. Maarten, there's a variety of property options to choose from. A classic image of St. Maarten real estate is Dutch-style homes strewn across the mountainside right on the water in the Caribbean. St. Maarten homes are often midway up huge elevations, providing breathtaking views of the blue Caribbean waters. St. Maarten property varies: St. Maarten condos, townhomes, oceanfront villas and mansions are all available.

Resorts in St. Maarten are different from traditional Caribbean resort-hotels. They include plantation-style homes in small communities or condo-style homes in more standard Caribbean resorts. Amenities are an obvious benefit to these waterfront properties and usually include an outdoor pool, tennis court, jet skiing, kayak rentals, sailing, scuba diving, room service and an in-house restaurant and bar.

The island of St. Maarten also has a lot of vacant land for sale. Potential residents can choose from an acre of land on the water or within lush vegetation perched on the hilltops. Vacant land in St. Maarten provides some of the best views in the Caribbean. St. Maarten also has the option of buying your own private island off of its coast.

Guide to buying property in St Maarten – Netherlands Antilles

Can a foreigner buy land or property?
Do I need a residency permit?
a)      Non working permit – proof of sufficient income from abroad
b)      Working residence – for those forming a business on the island
c)      Visiting vacation - 90 day permit
Is a Lawyer required?
No, a Civil Law Notary acts for both parties, and does a title search to obtain a clear transfer of title
Is a deposit required?
Yes, it is customary to pay 10% held in escrow by the Notary pending closing
How long does the transaction take?
No time limit, usually within days
Are there any property taxes to pay?
None payable in St Maarten
Will the Seller have to pay Capital Gains Tax?
None payable in St Maarten
What sort of fees will the Buyer have to pay?
Notary fees of 1-2%
Transfer tax of 4%
Registration tax - minimal
Will the documents be in English?


The Frangipani


  • Restaurant
  • Bar
  • Tennis court
  • Boating
  • Nearby dive shop
  • Private yacht charter
  • Room service
  • Babysitting
  • Laundry service

Raffles Resort


  • Four restaurants
  • Four bars
  • Giant outdoor pool
  • Children's pool
  • Casino
  • Eighteen hole golf course
  • Four tennis courts\
  • Fitness center

The Cotton House


  • Two restaurants
  • Three bars
  • Outdoor pool
  • Two tennis courts
  • Exercise room
  • Spa

Palm Island


  • Two restaurants
  • Two bars
  • Outdoor pool
  • Tennis court
  • Fitness room
  • Fishing
  • Marina

Belair Beach Hotel


  • Restaurant
  • Bar
  • Outdoor pool
  • Tennis court
  • Jet skis
  • Kayaks
  • Sailing
  • Scuba diving and snorkeling


  • Antoine's - French cuisine
  • Cheri's Café - International cuisine
  • Rare - Steaks cuisine
  • Saratoga - International cuisine
  • Temptation - Caribbean cuisine
  • Turtle Pier - Seafood cuisine

The Euro (EUR) and U.S. dollar (USD) are both widely used on Saint Maarten.


Calling Code: (590)
Top Level Domain: (.mf) (.gp) or (.fr)
Cable providers: East Caribbean Fiber Optic cable

St. Maarten is an overseas collectivity of France with French laws applying where applicable.

Passport requirements:
Passports: Required
Valid Travel Documents: Required upon exit and entry
Government Issued Photo ID: Required

The weather of Saint Maarten is usually steady throughout the year, ranging between a pleasant 78 to 80 degrees in the wintertime and 82 to 84 degrees during the summer.  The hurricane season is considered the months of July to November.  There is no particular rainy season.

Language: French and English

Tips when you get there:

The best flight services to St. Maarten are from the U.S. and fly from New York and Miami, but direct flights also come from Paris Amsterdam and Puerto Rico. Cruise ships frequent St. Maarten and are a fun way to travel to the island. When visitor get to St. Maarten taxi's are available, public busse3s and boat ferrying services but the best way to get around the island is to rent a car.

What to do:

St. Maarten is a famous spot to let loose and have a good time. Festivities range from parades to nightly celebrations near the beach. Beaches in St. Maarten are popular because of their beauty and relative seclusion. Other interesting attractions include visiting historic buildings like Fort Amsterdam or St. Maarten Museum. 

Of course the main attraction of St. Maarten is their stellar beaches that have blue waters and year-round Caribbean sunshine. Cupecoy Bay is a lowland beach that allows residents to feel as if they have their own private beach due to its spaciousness.

St. Maarten has established itself as the more active of the dual nations island. Nightlife in St. Maarten is particularly eventful, casinos, bars and nightclubs line the coast as visitors from all around the world experience one of the Caribbean's most exciting countries for nightlife.

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