It's easy to get around the island by car. Most roads are paved and in generally good condition. However, they can be crowded, especially when the cruise ships are in port; you might experience traffic jams, particularly around Marigot and Philipsburg. Be alert for potholes and speed bumps, as well as the island tradition of stopping in the middle of the road to chat with a friend or yield to someone entering traffic. Few roads are identified by name or number, but most have signs indicating the destination. Driving is on the right. There are gas stations all over the island.
Car Rentals: You can book a car at Juliana International Airport, where all major rental companies have booths, but it is often much cheaper to reserve a car in advance from home. A shuttle to the rental-car lot is provided. Rates are among the best in the Caribbean, as little as $20–$35 per day. You can also rent a car on the French side, but this rarely makes sense for Americans because of the exchange rates.
Avis. Airport Rd., Simpson Bay, n/a St. Maarten. 721/545–2847; 800/331–1084; www.avis-sxm.com.
Budget. 800/ 472–3325; www.sxmbudget.com/.
Dollar/Thrifty Car Rental. 102 Airport Rd., 721/545–2393; www.thriftycarrentalsxm.com.
Empress Rent-a-Car. 721/520–2391; www.empressrentacar.com.
Europcar. Airport Rd., Simpson Bay, n/a St. Maarten. 721/545--3141; www.europcar.com.
Golfe Car Rental. Rte. de l'Espérance, Grand Case, n/a St. Martin. 0690/35–04–75; www.golfecarrental.com.
Hertz. 82 Airport Rd., Simpson Bay, n/a St. Maarten. 721/545–4541; www.hertz.sxmrentacar.com.
Unity. 6 Sister Modesta Rd., Simpson Bay, n/a St. Maarten. 721/520–5767; www.unitycarrental.com.