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St-Martin/Sint Maarten

Health & safety

Dangers & annoyances

All leased cars on the island have markings that show they are rentals, making them easy targets for petty thieves. Do not, and we repeat, do not leave anything whatsoever in your car when you leave it parked. Nothing. Not even your umbrella. Certain spots on the island are a bit more dangerous that others, like Pic Paradis, where every single car will be scoped out, no matter how dingy it looks. But it’s not worth taking a chance anywhere or at anytime. Even if you don’t mind that your umbrella was stolen, you might end up paying through the nose to repair your smashed-in window. Before taking your rental car off the lot, check the car doors – many have had the locks jimmied open at some point in their lives.

Oh but there’s more. In the evenings, muggers have been known to follow cars home, and when the victim is driving through a particularly quiet patch of land, the assailants will purposefully bump the car to have a mini accident. After you pull over and get out of your car to check for damages, the thief will mug you and take off. In other instances petty criminals will follow victims all the way back to their hotel or villa and rob them as they walk from the car to their lodging. The best way to avoid these situations is to be mindful of who is behind and in front of you and if you feel like you are being followed, simply pull into a very public place, or continue driving past where you are staying until the driver goes in another direction. If you are bumped by another car, just continue driving. The highest concentrations of these crimes have occurred in the quiet area of Oyster Pond, which is largely the domain of wealthier tourists.

There’s one more car-related scenario of note: as traffic becomes an ever increasing problem on the island, you make often find yourself waiting for long periods of time within moving an inch. Sometimes during bottleneck traffic, druggies and derelicts will start banging on the window of your ‘parked’ car begging (and sometimes threatening you) for money. Simply ignore them. This type of annoyance tends to happen around congested Marigot.

A good ole fashioned ‘hold-up’ is another petty crime that often makes the papers. In the last few years Grand Case has developed a bit of an edge and once in a while a robber will hold-up one of the posh restaurants, collect everyone’s wallets and zoom out the door.

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While you're there

Medical services

Medical services can be easily scouted in the capital towns of each side of the island: Marigot and Philipsburg.

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