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FAQ / Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a passport to visit St. Maarten/Martin SXM?

Yes, you will need a current passport to gain entry.  Once on island, there are no passport requirements to travel between the French Side & Dutch Side - borders are open and unmonitored.

What are the current COVID-19 requirements?

As of November 1, 2022, All Covid-19 travel requirements have been lifted.  You can visit https://stmaartenehas.com/travel-requirements to verify and check for any recent updates.

What language is spoken on the island?

SXM is home to a wide variety of heritage around the Caribbean and beyond.  It is well-known to attract residents and visitors from around the world,  Among the locals, you'll experience a range of dialects including Caribbean English, French, French-Canadian, Carib French, and Dutch,

Despite the world-wide locals, English is largely prevalent on the Dutch side, most will speak English as either a primary or secondary language.  Many locals and islanders are multi-lingual.  Not surprisingly, French and Caribbean French is the native language on the French side.  You'll be fine speaking English for most common interactions that you'll have during your stay.  You don't need to speak French, but if you do that's a bonus.

What major airlines travel to SXM?

US Carriers: Delta, United, American, Spirit, Frontier, Jet Blue

European Carriers: Air France, and KLM.

What should I bring to wear?

SHE SAYS: Beach attire, summer dresses, comfortable warm-weather fabrics, sun hats, and beach cover-ups,  You'll want some long-loose fitting pants for casual lunch at the cafe.  Throw in a couple favorite cocktail pieces, as you might end up at the casino or night club.  You'll likely be in sandals or flip-flops more often than not, but bring water shoes, some runners, and cute comfortable flats.  Be selective about heels, bring a nice pair or two if desired, but a lot of surfaces are not going to be ideal for high heels.

HE SAYS: It's a casual vibe pretty much everywhere, and it's really easy to dress like a local.  It's Dutch and French, so I like to tell guests to think casual & comfortable European rather than " Hawaiian tourist print".  Light, loose linen pants, comfortable linen shirts, beach dregs & swimsuits, water shoes, flip-flops or sandals, sneakers/runners, and a couple hats.  It's tough to find a need for a blazer or sport coat, but bring one if you must - along with a few collared sport shirts and short-sleeve collared button-ups.  In the winter months you might want to have a light jacket, hoodie, or sweatshirt in the evening hours - the breeze stays after sunset, but anything less than 70 degrees is extremely rare.  We'll help you with this as we're planning your trip - just ask!

What's the difference between the IslandStay! and the Vacation Rental?

The IslandStay! option is inclusive hosting for you....food/chef....bar/drinks.... transportation and tour, and your beach Sherpa!  The vacation rental option is not hosted - you're just renting our FreebirdSXM Cupecoy Beach Condo at Cupecoy Beach Club {sleeps up to 8}.

What is the cost of our SXM IslandStay!TM inclusive experience?

Our SXM IslandStay! option is $6500/week TOTAL for 4 people {2 couples}.  This includes 7-nights accommodations at FreebirdSXM on Cupecoy Beach, and everything offered in our SXM IslandStay! package.

Larger group?  Jules is an experienced island travel agent, with direct connections to a variety of exclusive Villas across the island.  Give us your budget, we can provide a wide spectrum of hospitality to meet your needs.  Of course, costs will vary based on group count, desired amenities, and what you'd like to enjoy.  Ask us, we're here to make your experience just right for your group.

What does our SXM IslandStay! usually include?

Pretty much everything you'll need or want to eat and drink at the Condo or Villa.  Traditional. European & Island Breakfast options, lunch (at the Condo or as a beach picnic),  appropriately-stocked kitchen and bar.  Usually the kitchen will have fresh-made French pastries, baguette, charcuterie selections, mixed salads, fresh fruits, snacks, and grab-and-go's

We'll prepare a nice dinner at least a few nights, but you're always welcome to dine out if you wish.  There's a great selection of restaurants with chefs and staff from around the world - and also beach fare & "lolo" options.  We will provide your transportation.

We'll always have Caribbean Beers and Rums, French Wines, and European Liquors, along with specialty beverages, liqueurs, and common mixers.  Most requests can be included in the flat rate, so please don't hesitate to ask for your favorites.  Beach days always include a cooler of drinks, our delicious rum punch, a picnic lunch, and snacks. 

I have a smaller/larger group for an IslandStay!, can you accommodate?

Just the two of you?  We can do that, but we do have a minimum charge.  Let's talk about timing to see if you might be able to visit during a stay that we already have planned, or how we can make your budget work.  Jules can offer potential island accommodations that might be a better fit for you.

Larger group?...,  We have access to Villas that can handle larger groups up to 20+.  Not surprisingly, these Villas are quite exclusive and come with a higher cost,  Jules will find the best option, and we can assemble a customized stay based on your specific needs.    

Will I need to rent a car?

If you're an SXM IslandStay! guest, you won't need a car, we will provide your transportation for tour destinations, beach visits, dinners, simple errands, etc.  If you'd prefer to rent a car for your stay, we will make the best recommendation.  Rates vary by season, expect a mid-size around $300-350/week including taxes/fees/insurance.  If you're renting FreebirdSXM, you have a pretty good selection of beaches, markets, cafes, bars/restaurants, and other amenities easily in walking distance.

Do you drive on the left or right side of the road?

Driving is on the right side of the road, but there are some nuances and local customs to learn.  Many of the roads are less than perfect, and the locals drive with more confidence.  There are far fewer signs and posted rules than you'd likely expect, There are also some very steep roads and narrow passages, often with motorbikes buzzing past you (legally).  If you're staying at the Cupecoy vacation condo, it's an easy walk to everything you'll need and it's only a five minute taxi ride from the airport.

What is the local currency - how do I pay for things on island?

US Currency is accepted generally throughout the entire island, and we definitely recommend bringing cash with you, as some operations are cash-only..

The official currency on the Dutch side is the Netherlands Antillian Guilder, ANG.  ($.55 USD = $1ANG).  Most stores on the Dutch side tag items with the ANG and USD.  On the French side the Euro is standard.  As of March 2024 the exchange is ($1 US = €1.08).  Visa and Mastercard and Discover are accepted in most retail environments, AMEX is not common.  BE SURE TO ADVISE YOUR CARD ISSUER/ BANK OF YOUR TRAVEL BEFORE YOU LEAVE FOR YOUR TRIP.

Can I use my electronics?  What outlet/plug style?

The Dutch side has a standard 110/120v plug style common to North America.  You'll need a European/Western adapter or converter if using any electricity on the French side. 

What is the weather typically like?

It's a running joke for us...."Hmmmm....wonder what the temperature is on island today?"......"It's 84 degrees with a slight breeze".  Winter months average 78°-84° during the day, and lows may rarely dip into the low 70's at night.  Humidity will usually vary from 67%-77% depending on season.  There's typically a steady ocean breeze, making the temperature and humidity less noticeable.  Summer months (June-September) will get up in temperature closer to 90° as a high, and a low of 75°-80°.  Winter (November-May) tends to offer more rain, but it's usually brief and followed by sunshine.  Hurricane season is mostly recognized as July-October, and it is possible that a storm, tropical depression, or hurricane could occur.

Is there A/C - air conditioning?

Yes, the bedrooms and living spaces in the condo are fully Air-Conditioned.  But you'd be surprised at how wonderful it is to just have the island breeze to cool you if preferred.  Indoor places that we'll visit will have A/C, and outdoors you'll have the Caribbean breeze.

Can I make special requests for food or drink?

Yes of course.  We will include/provide most staples and expectations as part of your IslandStay! option.  If you have any special requests we will do our very best to provide, based on availability.  If there's something you absolutely can't live without, ask us and we'll let you know.  Anthony has a wide range of culinary experience, and can provide anything from traditional Western-American, Southwestern, Mediterranean, Caribbean, Italian, Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian, Modified Vegetarian, Vegan and All-raw Vegan preparations.

Is there housekeeping & laundry?

There is laundry on site for your use.  Housekeeping details are available in the reservations area of our site.

Are the beaches topless/nude/optional?

Great question. Yes to all of the above depending on where you are.  On the more 'crowded' beaches, there's a good chance you'll have topless beach goers within your view.  As you explore and visit the more hidden destinations, this practice becomes more common, along with nude.  Some sections of Cupecoy are well-known for this because it offers unique privacy amongst the cliffs.

Orient Bay, specifically Orient Beach Club (the southern section) is the only designated nude beach.  Other than that, there is absolutely zero requirement or expectation for you to sun your buns in your birthday suit.  Do as you wish - it's yours to decide and experience, but you certainly shouldn't be surprised to see others in "full sun mode".

Are all of the beaches public?

Yes, but there are differences;  Let's break it down into 4 categories:

Full-Service; Full-Service destinations have a higher density of establishments, including hotels, restaurants, and retail - although still limited compared to what you're used to seeing in typical North American vacation spots.  Here you'll spend the most money, and typically have the most visitors around you.  Expect excellent service, and also expect to be approached by beach vendors and local buskers.

Limited-Service:  These locations have a few beach bars, often lightly constructed, with a casual menu and offerings.  There's likely restroom facilities and parking easily available.  You can usually rent a pair of lounge chairs and umbrella for $20-25, and you might have an occasional beach vendor stop by.

No-Service: These beaches are most often only sparsely speckled with visitors - if any at all.  There's no services, no facilities, and nothing but sand and water.

Nobody-around-at-all-anywhere:  These are remote, hidden gems that take a little bit of effort to get to.  Sometimes a short walk/hike, and you'll likely be the only ones there.

What services or amenities are available on the beaches?

See above.  It varies.  We're here to help you decide where you want to go!

Is there a gym or exercise facility?

There is a limited gym / fitness room at the condo.  Also a good idea to plan and pack your resistance bands, or focus on bodyweight exercises during your visit.  If you do need a full-equipped professional gym, we can make suggestions, there's actually one nextdoor.

Can I get medication at a pharmacy?

We strongly suggest that you bring your own health/medical necessities, However, if something unexpectedly comes up it's likely available at the pharmacy - as long as you can show your prescription.

Is there cell phone service?

Depends where you are.  In the dense/populated areas there's 3G or 4G service.  Wi-Fi is prevalent and commonly used to place calls, although nothing is going to be blazing speed.  Contact your cell provider for options well in advance of your stay.

Is there Wi-Fi service?

Yes, and most establishments do as well.  It may be a bit slower than what you're used to, but it will provide for most online necessities.

Are there medical facilities/hospital?

Yes.  Most common ailments/conditions are able to be treated on island.  However, emergency rescue / EMT service can be limited.  If you can make it to hospital or care center, then chances are you'll get the medical care you need.  For those concerned with the possibility of a health emergency or critical injury, we recommend you purchase a medical transport policy.  Jules can help arrange this for you.

Intrigued about our SXM IslandStay!TM experience?

Questions about the FreebirdSXM Condo at Cupecoy option?

We're real people, and we're here to help!

Email illbeontheisland@gmail.com

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