Saint Martin Car Hire

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The Caribbean Island of Saint Martin is actually a dual nation. The northern part of the island is French and called Saint-Martin. The southern side is Dutch and called Sint Maarten. The island is a cosmopolitan melting pot. It has its roots in Europe but also has a strong Caribbean identity. The big draw here is the beautiful beaches and the duty-free shopping. There are also plenty of opportunities to get out on the water and to hike in the hills.

To explore the island with ease, consider hiring your own car. You can book your Saint Martin car hire in advance with Enjoy Travel, with prices averaging around $21 per day for a compact car like a Toyota Yaris.

Guide to Saint Martin

Geography

Saint Martin is located in the northeast Caribbean sea. It is part of the Leeward Islands and lies around 300km (190 miles) east of Puerto Rico. The island is split 60:40 into a French and Dutch side and both sides of the island are roughly equal in population with slightly more people living on the Dutch side.

Climate

Saint Martin has a tropical savanna climate. This is characterised by a dry season that lasts from January to April and a rainy season that lasts from August to December. Temperatures don’t fluctuate much and the average mean temperature is 27.2°C (81°F). Tropical cyclones and hurricanes can sometimes hit the island.

Culture in Saint Martin

The Dutch side of Saint Martin is known for its lively nightlife, casinos and beautiful beaches. The French side is known for its nude beaches, shopping and cuisine. There are also lots of historic landmarks and attractions as well as interesting museums and art galleries.

Things to do in Saint Martin

Hike the hills

At 427m (1,400 feet), Pic du Paradis is the highest point on the island. The western side of the slope is forested and BirdLife International has called the area an Important Bird Area (IBA). Bring your binoculars and look out for bridled quail-doves, green and purple-throated caribs, Antillean crested hummingbirds and Caribbean elaenias, and more. You’ll need a four-wheel-drive car to get up the steep slope, but at the top are two viewpoints with sweeping views.

Shop til you drop

Head to Front Street in Philipsburg on the Dutch side and stock up on duty-free shopping. The best bargains to be had are on jewellery, china and electronics. Make sure you stop at Guavaberry Emporium and pick up some of its potent liqueur. Running parallel to Front Street is Back Street and Great Bay, both of which also have good shopping options.

Eating out in Saint Martin

Saint Martin has hundreds of places to eat. You won’t go hungry here, that’s for sure. Book a restaurant on Grand Case for some fabulous French cuisine. There are also some terrific Chinese restaurants on both sides of the island, but lots more choices on the Dutch side. There are some great food trucks in Phillipsburg and if you want to keep things authentic, try the conch and dumplings and anything made with guavaberry.

Saint Martin Transport

Airport

Fly into Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM), which is located on the Dutch side of the island. The airport is located 11km (6.8 miles) from the centre of Philipsburg and it takes about 25 minutes to get there in a taxi. You can also get a minibus if you have little luggage.

Getting around Saint Martin

Saint Martin has a good public bus service which is the cheapest way of getting around. However, there is no set timetable, so, if you want to get somewhere in a hurry, it is better to order a taxi. There are no ride-hailing services, for example, Uber, in Saint Martin, therefore many visitors decide to hire a car to get around, which makes it easier when travelling. Some of the most reliable car hire agencies in Saint Martin include Dollar, Sixt and Avis.

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FAQs about car hire in Saint Martin

Most frequently asked questions about hiring a car in Saint Martin

The average cost per day of hiring a car in Saint Martin is just $21 per day.
Prices for Saint Martin car hire start from just $17 per day when booking in advance with Enjoy Travel.
To hire a car in Saint Martin you must be at least 19, but a surcharge may be applied to drivers under 25.
Additional drivers can be added to your Saint Martin car hire agreement upon request.
If you’re travelling with friends or family, an SUV like a Ford Expedition is comfy for rural island roads.