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17 Top St. Maarten Packing List Items for 2023 + What to Wear & NOT to Bring

what to pack for St. Maarten
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There is only one island, but two different territories and two different spellings: Sint Maarten of the Netherlands on the southern half and Saint Martin of France on the northern half. The southern half speaks Dutch, and the northern, French. The island, in total, is fairly small at 37 square miles. It’s located just east of the British and US Virgin Islands in the Caribbean. The Dutch side is the party side with casinos, nightlife, and the famous Maho Beach. In the northern French half, you’ll find more shopping, nude beaches, and delicious food.

No matter which half (or both) you visit, the island is beautiful year-round. The weather is consistent, tropical, and beautiful.

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What to Pack for St. Maarten – 17 Essentials

  • 1. Packing Cubes

    Honestly, one of my favorite packing tricks is using packing cubes. Keeping the clothes together and organized and being able to just unzip the lid and through them in a drawer upon arrival is fantastic. Also, being able to separate clothes easily, whether socks from shorts or dirty from clean, these packing cubes are amazing!

    Packing Cubes

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 2. Universal Waterproof Phone Case

    You never know when the opportunity will be to jump in the water and grab the perfect photo. Better bring a waterproof phone case so you don’t lose that once-in-a-lifetime shot! You can use the phone even while it is in the case, so you can carry it inside all the time you’re at the beach.

    Universal Waterproof Phone Case

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 3. Neck Wallet

    How can you keep all your belongings with you safe at the same time? Use a neck wallet. No need to worry about your passport, cash, hotel key card, or cellphone. You can store all of them in an easy-to-carry neck wallet. Make sure the only hands in your pockets are yours!

    Neck Wallet

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 4. Lipstick-Sized Portable Charger

    Your phone may last you all day at home, where you’re only checking social media every half hour or so. But when you’re taking pictures and following directions, your battery may just need a quick charge. Plan ahead so you can capture every last photo and not get lost. Bring a portable charger with you. It can fit in a neck wallet and personal safe!

    Lipstick-Sized Portable Charger

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 5. Cooling Towel

    The temperatures on the island are beautiful, but the sun can feel really hot. This cooling towel is just the secret to keeping you feeling great all day long. Whether you’re on the beach, on the tour bus, or just walking around town, pack this cooling towel to keep your chill!

    cooling towel

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  • 6. Floating Wrist Straps

    If you want to take pictures during your ocean activities, be sure to attach your waterproof phone case or action camera to one of these floating wrist straps. If you accidentally drop your phone in the water, these straps will keep your devices from sinking to the bottom of the sea! They’re also a great way to keep your camera or phone on hand while also staying hands-free.

    Flotation Strap

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 7. Quick-Dry Travel Towel

    You never know when you’ll have a spill or get sweaty while you’re traveling. Packing a quick-dry travel towel is a surefire way to be ready. It’s compact and lightweight, but most importantly, it dries fast. Whether it’s mopping up water or soaking up sweat, this towel is there to keep you dry!

    travel towel

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  • 8. LifeStraw Water Bottle

    There are lots of water bottles, but if you want one that filters your water through the straw, there is only one. You’ll save water and plastic by bringing your own reusable water bottle with you. And you can drink whatever water knowing that any harmful viruses and bacteria will get filtered out.

    LifeStraw Water Bottle

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 9. Windproof Travel Umbrella

    It’s always better to be prepared and this is the perfect umbrella to do so. It’s compact and lightweight and windproof. Pack it along in case the weatherman doesn’t get the forecast right and you are caught in the rain. This umbrella will keep you covered and dry on your trip.

    Windproof Travel Umbrella

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 10. Insect Repellent

    The Caribbean has bugs and insects like everywhere else. Be prepared and bring along this natural insect repellent. This repellent uses natural oils that insects hate but that smell great. The most important thing, though, is that it works and can keep your trip insect and bug-bite-free.

    Insect Repellent

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 11. TSA-Approved Luggage Locks

    Luggage locks are one travel essential that you will use on any trip, no matter the destination. I like this set of two because the four-digit combination lock is harder to crack than the standard three-digit. They’re tough enough to last a lifetime of travel, and they’re TSA-approved, so you won’t run into any trouble with airport security.

    luggage locks

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  • 12. Hanging Toiletry Bag

    For a tropical destination such as St. Maarten, you’ll likely bring quite a few toiletries. This hanging toiletry bag will fit everything from your sunscreen and after-sun lotion to your shower essentials and more. I like all of the different compartments in this bag because it makes it easy to organize and find what I need rather than having to dig through my whole suitcase.

    Hanging Toiletry Bag

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 13. Universal Travel Adapter

    Electronics are our lives, so being prepared to charge them is a must. Not all countries use the same system, so packing a universal travel adapter keeps you prepared for whatever outlets you find in your room. Be prepared, and always keep a travel adapter in your suitcase, just in case!

    Peru power adapter

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  • 14. Travel Insurance

    Possibly the most important part of planning a trip is getting travel insurance. It’s not exciting, but it’s necessary. Nothing will ruin your trip more than having an issue arise and realizing you didn’t prepare with insurance ahead of time. Take a trip with travel easy with travel insurance! We recommend TravelInsurance.com because their site lets you compare policies from top companies in order to find the best option for you and your travel plans.

    Travel Insurance

    Compare policies at TravelInsurance.com ➜

  • 15. Affordable Underwater Action Camera

    Planning to go snorkeling or scuba diving? Do you like paddling around in the tide pools and seeing all the sea creatures? If you do, then be sure to pack an Akaso adjustable underwater action cam. Capture all the memories on video so you can relive them over and over and share them with all your friends back at work!

    Affordable Underwater Action Camera

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 16. VPN for Internet Safety

    Using public wi-fi is not safe and staying safe online is of utmost importance if you want to have peace of mind on your trip. Purchase a VPN, and you can use it across all your devices and keep prying noses out of your personal information. Stay safe out there!

    vpn

    View options at NordVPN ➜

  • 17. After-Sun Hydrating Butter

    Want to smell and feel good after a long day at the beach? Slather on some Hawaiian Tropic after sun hydrating butter. The rich coconut scent will scintillate you and the oils in the butter will keep your skin soft and luxuriously hydrated. Taking care of your skin is important so be sure to remember to pack your butter!

    After-Sun Hydrating Butter

    View on Amazon.com ➜

What to Wear in St. Maarten

There are lots of activities on St. Marten. Bring your beach gear, hiking gear, and party gear. You will find mountains to explore, street parties to dance the night away, and more beaches than you can count (even nude ones on the French side). The island is typically casual, although you will find a bit more formal attire on the northern French side. Shorts and polos are still the standards. Pack for comfy, cool, and casual.
What Should WOMEN Wear in St. Maarten? – (Click to expand)
Below is a sample women’s clothing list. (All items link to Amazon.com for your convenience).

Sit back, sip a drink, see the sunset. Island trips are all about the comfy, casual, and cool. Don’t worry about bringing fancy clothes or jewelry. It’s better to blend in and enjoy your trip. Bring a cardigan for the cool evenings or an infinity scarf. Enjoy the hot days in a sundress or shorts and a tank top.

What Should MEN Wear in St. Maarten? – (Click to expand)
Below is a sample men’s clothing list. (All items link to Amazon.com for your convenience).

Relax and have a good time on St. Maarten. Bring comfy and casual clothes that are easy to care for and hassle free. Temperatures can get cooler in the evenings so pack a sweater just in case. A good pair of flip-flops or Vibrams will keep your feet going all day. Paired with some aviator sunglasses, you’ll feel fantastic in paradise.

Packing for the Seasons in St. Maarten

Dry Season – December, January, February, March, April, May

The dry season, or tourist season, is when you’ll find the island the most crowded. It’s the best beach weather and rains infrequently.Be sure to pack your sunscreen, after-sun butter, and sun hat to keep protected from the harsh rays. The island is beautiful and has some of the most memorable beaches in the Caribbean. Be sure to pack your portable charger, so you don’t miss a moment! Temperatures are the same year-round. No matter when you visit, the weather will be that gorgeous Caribbean climate.

Wet Season – June, July, August, September, October, November

Hurricane season may sound scary, but mostly it’s just a rainy season with the possibility of hurricanes. The weather stays warm year-round, including the ocean water. So, pack your swimsuit and shades and hit the beach! You’ll find temperatures staying around the 70s and 80s year-round. In the cooler months, it can get a bit lower, and in the hotter months into the low 90s. In general, it’s gorgeous Caribbean sunshine!
Dressing appropriately for the activity – (Click to expand)
Beaches: St. Maarten offers traditional and clothing-optional beaches. Be sure to check before you go so you don’t have any unexpected surprises. There’s also a beach that will blow you away, literally. Be sure to keep your hat in hand, just in case.

Street Parties: The Dutch side of St. Maarten loves to party, especially with the local island rum. Pack your comfy shorts and shoes and get ready to do a tasting tour and try some street concoctions.

Catamaran and Snorkeling: You can pick from dozens of tours to take you out on the beautiful blue water and let you swim among the fish. Don’t forget your underwater cam and waterproof phone case!

Zip Lining: The world’s steepest zip line is on St. Maarten. Grab your action cam and stick your neck wallet under your shirt. Sit back and enjoy a thrilling St. Maarten adventure activity!

What NOT to Bring to St. Maarten

  • 1.DON’T Bring Fancy Clothes

    No need to dress to the nines. Bring some cute flats and a maxi skirt or flowy dress for a night out. You’ll be cool, comfortable, and fit right in with the locals.

  • 2.DON’T Bring Expensive Jewelry

    Bringing expensive jewelry is asking for trouble. Whether wearing it out on the streets for others to see or leaving in a hotel room, expensive jewelry attracts unwanted attention in the Caribbean.

  • 3.DON’T Bring Heavy Books

    These days, even books are electronic. Pack a reading device and download your travel guide and a book for the beach.

  • 4.DON’T Bring Coats

    The weather doesn’t get really cold in St. Maarten. Even in the evening, a light jacket or sweater is all that’s necessary. Save space and leave your cold-weather garments behind.

  • 5.DON’T Bring Stilettos

    You may like wearing heels, and if you must, bring a wedge. Walking on dirt and broken asphalt roads is asking for an injury. You’ll find the locals in flats too.

  • 6.DON’T Bring Water Sports Equipment

    There are a plethora of snorkeling tours and rental companies. You can find something for everyone on the island so free up some packing space and leave your personal equipment at home.

What NOT to Wear St. Maarten – (Click to expand)
When you travel to St. Maarten, don’t wear fancy or stuffy clothes. Enjoy a nice breeze in casual and comfy outfits that can go all day long. Leave behind any winter garments as well. Scarves and jackets will keep away the evening chill.

FAQs about Visiting St. Maarten

  • 1. What language do they speak in St. Maarten?

    What language do they speak in St. Maarten?

    There are really three languages spoken on St. Maarten. English is spoken around all of the tourist parts. On the Dutch side they also speak Dutch. And on the French side, you guessed it, they speak French. Most people speak basic English so don’t fret too much if you don’t know Dutch or French. However, it’s always courteous to learn a few words like “please” and “thank you” in the local language. Locals will definitely appreciate the effort.

  • 2. What currency do they use in St. Maarten?

    Technically the official currency is the Antillean guilder, but the island accepts US dollars everywhere, so no need to stress about exchange rates.

  • 3. Is it safe to visit during rainy season?

    Is it safe to visit during rainy season?

    Yes, it is. Be sure to check the local advisory board though in case they are preparing or anticipating any harsh weather. You will just want to be prepared for the rain, especially if you’ve never experienced a tropical rainstorm before. They’re usually quick but intense. Be sure to pack a travel umbrella and a raincoat so that you stay dry in case you get caught in a rainstorm. Be sure to check the forecast so you can plan your day’s activities around the weather.

  • 4. How big is the island?

    The island is pretty small. It’s only 9 miles wide and 8 miles long. Don’t let its size fool you though. The island packs a lot into its tiny land mass.

  • 5. Is there an airport on the island?

    Is there an airport on the island?

    Yes, and it’s a rather famous one. The Princess Juliana International Airport is so close to the beach and ocean that it can literally blow you into the water if you are right under a plane taking off or landing. It’s a local tourist hotspot. Visit at your own risk! It’s a great spot to take some epic pictures. But let it be known that it gets crowded as it’s a popular tourist spot.

  • 6. What is the food like?

    Because of both a Dutch and French influence you’ll find a mecca of fine restaurants to choose from and try. Enjoy local Caribbean cuisine, Dutch, French, and a mix of all three!

  • 7. What country does St. Maarten belong to?

    What country does St. Maarten belong to?

    The country is divided into two territories. The northern part of the island belongs to France and the southern part to the Netherlands. Both parts have their prospective languages, laws, food, and customs, but they are both entirely Caribbean! Be sure to check out both parts to get a feel for the rich culture this island has to offer.