Guest safety & health
Travelers to St. Martin need not be overly concerned about security or safety issues; using good common sense will help to keep you safe and healthy. The main security tip is to keep the doors of your villa and vehicle locked, and don’t leave valuables (including passports) in plain sight. Be careful at beaches, too; avoid leaving valuables unattended.
For your health, wear sunscreen as the Caribbean sun is much stronger than at home, and try to avoid the midday sun altogether. There is one poisonous tree to be aware of: the Manchionneel tree grows all over the island but mainly along the beaches. Look for its deep green leaves and attractive green fruit that look like small apples. Both the sap and the fruit are caustic and will burn the skin. Contact a physician or pharmacist immediately in case of contact or ingestion.
Mosquitos do exist and some may carry Dengue Fever in the Caribbean. It is wise to use a mosquito repellent with DEET, especially in the early morning hours and sunset hours for your personal protection.
St. Martin’s water is generally safe for drinking, cooking, and bathing; however, after a large rainstorm, it can become unhealthy. It’s better to buy bottled water at these times. St. Maarten Medical Center (011-599-543-1111) is a relatively small hospital (79 beds) where general surgery is performed. Complex cases are sent to Curaçao. On the French side, Marigot Hospital (011-590-590-29-57-57) can provide basic care. (Note that French is the main language here; only a little English is spoken.)
For less serious injuries, stop in at one of the many local pharmacies (marked by a green cross) in Simpson Bay, Philipsburg, or Marigot and avoid a trip to the hospital.