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Banks and Exchange Services
Legal tender on the Dutch side is the Netherlands Antilles florin, but almost everyone accepts dollars. On the French side, the currency is the euro, but most establishments accept dollars. ATMs dispense dollars or euros, depending on where you are.
Generally, 110 volts AC (60-cycle) on the Dutch side, just as in the United States. The French side operates on 220 volts AC (60-cycle), with round-prong plugs; there, you'll need an adapter (many hotels can supply these for you).
Dutch-side emergencies (911 or 721/542-2222.)
French-side emergencies (17 or 590/52-25-52.)
There is Wi-Fi service on the boardwalk behind Front Street if you have your own laptop.
Dutch is the official language of St. Maarten, and French is the official language of St. Martin, but almost everyone speaks English.
Letters from the Dutch side to North America and Europe cost ANG2.85; postcards to all destinations are ANG1.65. From the French side, letters up to 20 grams and postcards are €1 to North America. Postal codes are used only on the French side.
A valid passport is required for all visitors.
Calling from one side of the island to another is an international call. To phone from the Dutch side to the French, you first must dial 00-590-590 for local numbers, or 00-590-690 for cell phones, then the number. To call from the French side to the Dutch, dial 00-721, then the local number. To call a local number on the French side, dial 0590 plus the six-digit number. On the Dutch side, just dial the seven-digit number with no prefix. Any of the local carriers—and most hotel concierges—can arrange for a prepaid rental phone for your use while you are on the island for about $5 a weekday plus a per-minute charge.
Taxes and Service Charges
Departure tax from Juliana Airport is $10 to destinations within the Netherlands Antilles and $30 to all other destinations. It is usually included in your air ticket. It will cost you €3 (usually included in the ticket price) to depart by plane from Aéroport de L'Espérance and $5 (the rate can change) by ferry to Anguilla from Marigot's pier. Hotels on the Dutch side add a 15% service charge to the bill as well as a 5% government tax. Hotels on the French side add 10%-15% and generally 5% tax.
Service charges may be added to hotel and restaurant bills on the Dutch side (otherwise tip 15%-18%). On the French side, a service charge is customary; on top of the included service it is customary to leave an extra 5%-10% in cash for the server. Taxi drivers, porters, and maids depend on tips. Give 10% to 15% to cabbies, $1 per bag for porters, and $2 to $5 per night per guest for chambermaids.
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