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Most Popular Neighborhoods To Rent or Purchase in Sint Maarten


Choosing the right neighborhood to purchase or rent a house in is never easy. There are many variables to consider. Safety, distance to job and schools, real estate prices and traffic in the area to name but a few. Then you have your own personal list of criteria like pool or no pool, ocean view or view of the hills, a garage or curbside parking.

While these are definitely valid criteria when house hunting, and we at BrightPath along with our real estate partners can definitely assist you to find that perfect Caribbean abode meeting your standards, this post will focus foremost on the best neighborhoods to live in on Dutch St. Maarten.

Let’s start with one of the most coveted in real estate and that is the Gated Community.

Gated communities offer Safety, which makes them so attractive since most come with 24 hour security and an actual gate or security boom at the main entrance. Depending on your taste and location, there is a community ideal for you, here are a few of t. Maarten’s best.

Indigo Bay

Previously known as Cay Bay, Indigo Bay is conveniently located between Philipsburg and Simpson Bay, right in the valley of what we call the Cole Bay hill.

The eco-conscious developer behind this project was careful to build quality homes. A fact that can be seen by how well the homes survived the 2017 hurricane.

Besides quality homes with stunning ocean views, Indigo Bay also prides itself in having a beautiful beach and beach restaurant where one can enjoy cabanas and lounge chairs.


Oyster Pond

Surrounded by hills and luxury homes, the area of Oyster Pond sits right on the border with the French side on the Eastern side of the island. Long known for its exclusivity and privacy it has seen its share of celebrities purchasing homes here, eager to get their hands on prime real estate.

Most homes in the guarded Oyster Pond Estate, accessible by steep roads into the green and lush hills, offer an unobstructed view of neighboring St. Barth and the Oyster Bay Lagoon below.

It’s a quiet community where one needs permission from the home owner to access. It offers many great restaurants both on the Dutch part and the French side of the border. From here, it’s an easy and beautiful 10 minute drive along the shore to the popular French villages of Orient and Grand Case.


Dawn Beach

Adjacent to Oyster Pond is another popular gated community, Dawn Beach Estate, which sits right above the beach of the same name and the yet to reopen Dawn Beach Resort.

Many of the more affluent local families call this estate home and there is a true sense of community here as soon as one passes through security at the guardhouse at the main entrance.


Almond Grove

Another popular gated community on the island is Almond Grove Estate.

Located in the hills surrounding the Cole Bay area, this gated community with 24 hour security and a security boom at the main entrance, offer beautiful views of Simpson Bay and the airport.

It is a favored place to live by many local and French families on the island and boasts proximity and easy access to Marigot, the international airport and the entertainment areas of Simpson Bay and Maho with their many bars and restaurants.



If luxury condominium is more your style, than Porto Cupecoy might be just what you are looking for.

20 acres of different size condominiums, high security FOB system, state of the art gym, lagoon style swimming pool, tennis courts, a marina and a plaza filled with some of the island’s more renowned restaurants, this is Porto Cupecoy.

Choose from one to 4 or 5 bedroom condos and penthouses, some with beautiful ocean views or lagoon view, while others look out onto the entertainment plaza and the swimming pool below. Also on property is an ATM and a supermarket.

When it comes to Porto Cupecoy, location is another main attraction. It is located on the border with French St. Martin, close to the 5-star resort of La Samanna, steps away from the Cupecoy beach and less than a mile from one of the island’s most well known private schools as well as the Maho area and the airport.


What did you think of the gated communities listed above? If gated communities are not for you and you prefer your regular standard great neighborhoods, keep on reading.

Guana Bay

With homes nestled in the hills and valley surrounding Guana Bay beach, all with beautiful balconies and patios overlooking the ocean below, Guana Bay earns the right to be mentioned in our list of best neighborhoods on Dutch St. Maarten.

It’s a quiet neighborhood where one can hear the surf crashing onto the shore below. The beach, rough and with a heavy undertow, may not be ideal for swimming but is still a beauty to behold. It makes for perfect barefoot strolls or beach picnics.

Sip on your coffee in the morning while you watch the sun come up on the horizon, its rays illuminating the beach below or take a hike on one of the few hiking trails that start or end in Guana Bay, the trail to the popular natural pool being one of them.


Simpson Bay

Simpson Bay, also known as the island’s entertainment area is one of the most coveted areas to live in.

A modest fishing village at one time, Simpson bay has grown into the island’s epi-center of tourism, with bars, restaurants and some of the larger hotels within walking distance. Althoug there is still some fishing going on, the neighborhood is fast changing. Families that have lived their for generations are being bought out by developers and the modest homes along the beach are demolished to make space for multi level condominiums.

Beware that living here, means lots of traffic, possible noise from nearby bars and from planes taking off from the adjacent Juliana International Airport. Parking can also be an issue if you don’t have assigned parking, especially in the weekends and more so on Sundays when the crowd head for the popular beach bars on the Simpson Bay beach stretch.


Pelican Key

Adjacent to Simpson Bay, just on the other side of the drawbridge is the exclusive Pelican area.

The entrance into this neighborhood is filled with restaurants, beach bars and hotels. Homes here can cost quite a heap but once you go up the hill, where the houses seem to get larger, one will see the reason why a home here is worth every penny. The view is simply amazing.

Pelican can feel overcrowded at times with homes built so close to one another but the higher up into the hills, the better the view and the less crammed one will feel.


Mary’s Fancy

Mary’s Fancy is one of those neighborhoods often overlooked when house hunting.

It’s a quiet residential area in the hills overlooking Philipsburg. The road into this neighborhood is not in the best of shape, but again the view can’t be topped.

Mary’s Fancy is a lush area. Homes here look out either towards Philipsburg’s Great Bay area, with the cruise ships docked at the harbor or onto the valley and the hills of St. Peters on the other side.

This neighborhood feels homier than the rest of the areas covered so far in this article and there are a lot more families living here. That is no wonder seeing that Mary’s Fancy is adjacent to the school district.



No, we are not talking about the world’s most popular zip code, but rather a small neighborhood in the hills of St. Maarten.

By now you know how hilly St. Maarten is and most homes here are built in the hills. This means a lot of steep inclines to drive up but the views are the best part of living here.

Belair lies right outside of the island’s downtown area of Philipsburg and looks down onto Little Bay beach, Great Bay and the Divi resort. It is another popular neighborhood for families because of its close proximity to the hospital and schools, both public and private.

In conclusion, When house hunting on St. Maarten, the key is to take your time and to visit each of the neighborhoods to get a feel of what they’re like. Don’t focus only on one particular area but explore others that may not be on the top of your list. Each neighborhood comes with its advantages and disadvantages. Having an open mind is essential. Who knows, you may just find your dream home in a neighborhood that possibly wasn’t even on your radar before.

Do you have any questions?


How Long Can Americans Stay in St. Maarten?


Are you an American citizen that’s planning on visiting St. Maarten as a tourist and wondering how long you can stay here? BrightPath Caribbean is your most reliable source for up-to-date information regarding travel requirements to Sint Maarten. As of this publication in July 2020, American citizens do NOT need a visa to visit St. Maarten and can stay up to six (6) months uninterrupted. As an American citizen, you may also be able to extend your stay, but you must apply first, and also have valid health insurance that covers you for your entire stay in Sint Maarten. There are many various sources that mention a different amount of days an American can stay in St. Maarten, however, 6 months is the official duration from Sint Maarten government officials.

Entry Requirements for American Citizens. Upon arrival in St. Maarten by air or sea, you must present:

  • American passport that is valid upon entry, and for the entire duration of your stay;
  • Completed and signed Embarkation and Disembarkation card (ED card);
  • Valid return ticket;
  • Valid hotel/resort reservation, or proof of owned property while staying;
  • Proof of sufficient financial means for travel ($100 to $200USD per day)

Please note, that the final entry to St. Maarten remains with the border control officer. The Immigration and Border Protection Service (IBP) reserves, at all times, the authority to grant or refuse your entry.

Duration of Stay for American Citizens

The maximum amount of days that an American can visit St. Maarten is six (6) months, uninterrupted, with a possibility to extend stay to up to 6 months.

Extension of Stay for American Citizens

All American visitors who wish to stay longer than 6 months can apply for an extension of stay, however, the approval is not always guaranteed. If you do get approved to stay in St. Maarten for longer than 6 months as an American citizen, you must have valid health insurance that covers you for the entire stay here on the island.

Source: Sint Maarten Goverment

Do you have any questions?


How Long Can I Stay in St. Maarten as a Visitor?


St. Maarten is a top Caribbean destination for travelers coming from Canada, United States, Netherlands, France, United Kingdom and many other places! If you’re hoping to visit St. Maarten in the near-future, you may be wondering to yourself, “How long can I stay in St. Maarten as a visitor?”

How long can visitors stay in St. Maarten?

Most visitors may remain in St. Maarten for a maximum of 30 uninterrupted days. Dutch nationals and American nationals are allowed to stay for a maximum of 6 months uninterrupted with a possibility for extension.

Canadians, European Union nationals, Australians, New Zealanders and Japanese nationals have an allowable stay of maximum 3 months uninterrupted with a possibility for extension.

Requesting an extension of stay

Any tourist who wishes to stay longer than their allowed time may request an extension; however, the possibility to obtain an extension can differ for those travelers who require a visa to enter St. Maarten.

All tourists who have received an approved extension of stay must have medical insurance valid for the duration of the extended stay.

Source: The Government of St. Maarten

Do you have any questions?


Do I Need a Visa to Visit St. Maarten?


With all of St. Maarten’s beautiful beaches, fantastic restaurants, and lively nightlife, it’s no surprise that many people are thinking to themselves, “Do I need a visa to visit St. Maarten?” It’s a top Caribbean destination for many reasons and BrightPath Caribbean can help make your next visit to the “Friendly Island” a breeze!

St. Maarten is a frequent destination for tourists coming from Canada, United States, Netherlands and France. While BrightPath Caribbean specializes in permanent and temporary relocations to St. Maarten, as the island’s leading immigration specialists, we would like to provide future tourists with important St. Maarten visa information.

Most visitors to St. Maarten do not require a visa to enter St. Maarten, but if you are required to obtain one, please visit your nearest Dutch Embassy or Consulate. You will be provided with an application form to apply for a visa to St. Maarten, which must be returned to the Dutch Embassy or Consulate with several important documents. The cost of a visa to enter St. Maarten is approximately EUR €35 (USD $42).

If you need a visa to enter St. Maarten, please attach the following documents to your completed application form:

  1. A passport, which should be valid for three months after departure from St. Maarten.
  2. One recent passport-size colored photo.
  3. Proof of booked return tickets/itinerary from travel agency.
  4. For tourist/family visits: legalized invitation (from friends or family with a copy of his/her passport and residence permit if non-national) and guarantee declaration.
  5. For hotel booking: copy of confirmed booking and sufficient funds USD $100.00 – USD $200.00 per day.
  6. For business: invitation letter from company you are visiting.
  7. If you are a student, please submit a recent and original letter from your school, college or university confirming attendance.
  8. Bank letter: evidence of sufficient funds to cover the cost of your intended stay (e.g., original recent bank statement, travelers’ checks).
  9. A valid medical insurance or travel insurance which also covers medical costs with a minimum coverage of USD $15,000.00 or EC $41,000.00.

Please note: You cannot apply for a visa for St. Maarten more than three months in advance and the whole process takes approximately 2-3 weeks.

Do you have any questions?


How to apply for a work permit in Sint Maarten with BrightPath


If you are a Human Resources Manager within an organization or a business owner alike, you can understand the importance of sourcing the right candidate for a vacant or upcoming position. At BrightPath Caribbean, we specialize in immigration and work permit services to assist you in legalizing the indicated candidate for the position if the same cannot be filled by a resident or national. Interested in a specialized and confidential consultation? Email us to schedule yours at info@brightpathcaribbean.com

An employment (work) permit is a legal document granting an employer permission to hire non-Dutch citizens, as well as non-nationals of the United States of America, to work in a specific function for a specific period of time.

Any employer who wants to employ a non-Dutch citizen or a non-citizen of the United States must request an employment permit from the Department of Labor Affairs. The process for an employment permit may take a maximum of 6 weeks (although turnaround times vary) and applications may either be first-time requests or renewals/extensions of already existing employment permits.

The following is a general list of requirements applicable to First-Time Requests for the (prospective) employee:

  1. A copy of the entire passport evidencing the applicant remains abroad
  2. A recent (Dutch-sized) passport picture
  3. Information on the education background of the non-national supported with notarized copies of diplomas, certificates, and reference letters from country of origin
  4. An off-island declaration signed by the employer

For renewals or extensions of work permit requests the following apply:

Employers who wish to extend an employment permit or change an employee will need the following:

  1. Registration form from the Census Office of the Employee
  2. Copy of the present residence and employment permit of the Employee
  3. A copy of a valid passport, a recent passport picture of the Employee
  4. A valid medical insurance of the Employee
  5. Information on the educational background of the non-national supported by notarized copies of diplomas, certificates and reference letters from country of origin
  6. The crib number for the non-national

Requirements to obtain an Employment Permit from the (business) Employer:

  1. Proof of the labor registration of the current year
  2. Proof of notification of vacancy supported by relevant job description
  3. Proof that the ad was placed in the local newspapers and if possible other territories of the Dutch Antilles
  4. A copy of the labor agreement which must indicate the salary, duration, working hours and position
  5. Summary form of monthly taxes stating (wage tax/AOV/) receipts confirming no outstanding

Note – The following persons DO NOT need to obtain an employment permit for the purposes of employment on St Maarten:

  1. Persons married to a Dutch citizen with legal residency on Sint Maarten
  2. Persons in possession of an indefinite residence permit
  3. Dutch citizens
  4. US nationals with legal residency on Sint Maarten
  5. Residents 18 years old with five years’ previous (uninterrupted) consecutive resident permits guaranteed by a parent or guardian.

Do you have any questions?

Contact us today for a free consultation and let us guide you throughout the process!


How to retire in Sint Maarten?


Retiring in the Caribbean has never been easier, thanks to the Team at BrightPath!  We specialize in immigration services throughout multiple islands in the Caribbean and we can make retiring in St. Maarten a reality for you.

Have you been wondering about retiring in St Maarten? If yes, here are some things you should consider before making your move.

1-Retiring in St. Maarten is a great choice for many citizens of the United States of America.  As a retiree, you may be entitled to tax concessions and benefits, as well as to local banking options in United States dollars.  There is no obligation to bank in local currency.  This means you can collect your retirement funds in United States dollars and continue to bank on island in United States dollars – no currency conversion necessary.  

2-Many Americans retire in the Caribbean and choose St. Maarten because the island is a cultural melting pot, with a very low incidence of violent crime, as well as lots of entertainment options and all of 37 spectacular beaches from which to choose.

3-Not an American national? People from all over the world consider St. Maarten as a great retirement destination.  This is because a temporary residency permit can be applied for once the applicant can substantiate adequate savings (retirement reserves) and provide a letter of intent to retire in St. Maarten.  After this one-year temporary residency permit is granted, a real estate purchase of a minimum of USD 255,000 must be made in order to request the extension of the temporary residency permit.

Need assistance looking for the right property for you?  Contact our friends at BrightFuture Realty Group.  In collaboration with the team at BrightPath, your retirement in St. Maarten can be a seamless, guided process, with the answers to your questions all in one place!

4-You can start the process from the comfort of your own home! As the most recognized and trusted immigration services provider, you can feel safe that with BrightPath you can start the process of retiring in St. Maarten right from your living room.  We can schedule your free consultation by video conference, obtain the required documents and legalizations, and ensure that the documents are collected at your home and sent to our main office by overnight mail. It’s as easy as sending your request to info@brightpathcaribbean.com

Let the team at BrightPath and BrightFuture Realty make your lifelong dream of retiring in St. Maarten a reality today!

Do you have any questions?


Ten things before moving to SXM


If moving to St. Maarten is at the forefront of your plans, then you have come to the right place! Our regional and renowned expert in all things Caribbean @thetravelingislandgirl has put together a very informative video on ten things you should know before moving to St. Maarten.

Are you moving to St. Maarten in the near future? Or, is moving to St. Maarten more of a long-term goal? The Traveling Island Girl gives you the full scoop – or as the team at BrightPath calls it, “The good, the bad, and the ugly” of moving to St. Maarten! No detail is spared in this must-see video.

Moving to the Caribbean can often be a big change in lifestyle and yes, that includes moving to St. Maarten as well. With its 37 amazing beaches, hundreds of A-rated restaurants, lots of bars and entertainment, moving to St. Maarten can be one of the best choices in lifestyle change for you.

If you have ten minutes to spare, you should definitely check out the full video on the Top Ten Things You Should Know Before Moving to St. Maarten. It’s the best free information on moving to St. Maarten that’s available to those who want to live the island dream.

For more information about moving to St. Maarten and how the team at BrightPath can support you with immigration, business, and banking services, contact us at info@brightpathcaribbean.com Our friends at BrightFuture Realty Group can also assist with you in finding the property that’s right for you hello@brightfuturecaribbean.com

Do you have any questions?


Want to travel to Sint Maarten?


Information from Stmaartenehas


As of May 24 2021 new requirements will enter into effect for all travelers from Aruba, Curacao and Bonaire to Sint Maarten (see below). Until then, only residents of Sint Maarten, Sint Martin, Saba and St. Eustatius will be permitted to return from Aruba, Curacao and Bonaire to Sint Maarten.

  1. Due to the COVID-19 epidemic Sint Maarten has established a mandatory health authorization application through an Electronic Health Authorization System (EHAS) for every visitor arriving by air including transits, Sint Maarten and Sint Martin residents. Without the health pre-authorization boarding will not be possible. Be advised that processing time can take up to 12 hours. Visitors arriving on a vessel please read the latest requirements here.
  2. AsSaba has their own EHAS operational, as of May 24 same day transit travelers to Saba no longer need to apply in the Sint Maarten EHAS system, but only the Saba EHAS system which can be found at http://www.sabatourism.com/travel-requirements. Proof of the Saba EHAS approval must be demonstrated when transiting through Princess Juliana Airport Sint Maarten.
  3. The requirements vary depending on the country risk status which can be found at the bottom of this page.
  4. Children must have the online health form filled out by their parents.
  5. The application must be completed in order to be processed. This includes the purchase of the mandatory COVID-19 insurance and a negative COVID-19 test result in case they are required.
  6. If you are suffering from flu like symptoms and/or fever travel will be denied by the airline and by the EHAS.
  7. As of January 27, 2021, until further notice, a travel ban is in place for persons who have been the 14 days before departing to Sint Maarten in a banned country as mentioned in the “banned countries” table below.
  8. Sint Maarten/Sint Martin/Saba/St. Eustatius residents are exempted from the travel ban and should get a rt-PCR test before departure (see below). The EHAS application must be completed.
  9. All incoming passengers are subjected to temperature checks and other screening protocols and may be subjected to mandatory testing at their own expense. Failure to comply with the screening at the Health Check Point upon arrival will result in you not being cleared to enter St. Maarten and sent back to your originating country.
  10. If re-tested upon arrival you will be required to self-isolate or self-quarantine at your place of lodging/residence until the test results are known.
  11. Provide a working email address on which you are reachable.
  12. Monitor your health on a daily basis during your stay.
  13. Applicants will receive confirmation of their accepted application. Non-completed applications will be automatically deleted within a day after the provided travel date.
  14. If health authorization is pre-approved, you will receive a (printable) pre-authorization via e-mail, which must be presented to the health and immigration authorities upon arrival. The original rt-PCR or antigen test result should be presented to the health authorities upon request. Please check your spam/junk mail folder as well in case you haven’t received a response.
  15. If health authorization is not pre-approved, you will receive an e-mail informing you that health pre-authorization has been denied.

  1. The government of Sint Maarten has implemented a mandatory COVID-19 insurance for all travelers with destination Sint Maarten with the exception of Sint Maarten residents, transit passengers (checkbox), flight crews (checkbox), transiting cruise ship crews (checkbox), French nationals residing in France or a French territory, BES-ZVK insured (checkbox) and AUC faculty and students (special procedure).
  2. The insurance purchasing process is an integrated step in the EHAS application. Travelers requiring the COVID-19 insurance must complete this process upon application.
  3. For more information on and all questions related to the COVID-19 insurance please visit www.sxmprotectionplan.com or contact customer support at info@sxmprotectionplan.com


All travelers originating from Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao:
Until May 24, 2021, a negative rt-PCR test result 72 hours obtained from a naso-pharyngeal swab before departure and a negative antigen test result 24 hours before departure are mandatory for . Alternatively, only a negative rt-PCR test 24 hours before departure will also be accepted.

As of Monday May 24, 2021 the following applies: For fully vaccinated travelers, a negative Ag test result within 48 hours before departure is required. Official proof of the vaccination status (national vaccination card) must be uploaded in EHAS. The Ag test must carry at least an FDA-EUA approval. For non-fully vaccinated travelers, a negative rt-PCR test result obtained from a naso-pharyngeal swab within 48 hours before departure is required.

Other travelers:

  1. A rt-PCR test for the SARS-COV-2 virus obtained from a naso-pharyngeal swab performed in the country of origin and within 72 hours prior to departure to Sint Maarten (last leg in case of connecting flights) is required for all travelers originating from a country that is categorized as high risk. Antibody tests and tests performed outside of the 72 hours period will not be accepted. Results from home covid-19 collection test kits will also not be accepted. Airlines might require you to show a negative lab test result. For travelers from the USA, US territories and Canada the time frame remains 120 hrs. prior to departure. This will remain in effect as long as the national health authorities of the USA and Canada do not require differently for their traveling citizens.
  2. Alternatively, travelers originating from the USA and Canada can do an antigen test for the SARS-COV-2 virus obtained from a naso-pharyngeal swab performed within 48 hours prior to departure to Sint Maarten. All FDA approved antigen tests including those with Emergency Use Authorization only (EUA) are accepted. Tests performed outside of the 48 hours period and home tests will not be accepted.
  3. Travelers residing in and/or traveling from a low-risk country are exempted from the mandatory rt-PCR or antigen test.
  4. Travelers who reside in a low-risk country but have visited a high-risk country in the 14 days prior to departing to Sint Maarten, must also have a rt-PCR or antigen test for the SARS-COV-2 virus performed in the country of origin within 72 respectively 48 hours prior to departure to Sint Maarten (last leg in case of connecting flights).
  5. The original test result to be uploaded as part of EHAS application procedure must clearly specify the name of the laboratory or clinic, full name of test subject, type of test administered, name of antigen test, swab date, source of the swab, result date and a negative result. Incomplete results, hand written or e-mail statements from doctors will not be accepted.
  6. Children of age 10 and under are exempted from the mandatory rt-PCR or antigen test. As of the day after the 10th birthday, a rt-PCR or antigen test has to be submitted.
  7. Airline and private flight crews with stopovers in St. Maarten or St. Martin must demonstrate a valid negative rt-PCR or antigen test upon arrival. Crew members not in possession of a valid negative rt-PCR or antigen test must self-quarantine until their departure flight.


  1. For travelers originating from a high-risk country, 14 consecutive days of self-monitoring of body temperature and possible flu like symptoms is mandatory. The travelers in this category will receive during 14 days an automated daily email alert providing a link for submitting the required information online. If you are remaining for a shorter term on the island, you will have to submit the information for the time you are on the island. Temperature measuring possibilities will also be offered in the lobby in most hotels and other lodging facilities.


  1. For information on testing locations please visit https://stmaartenupdates.com/testing-on-island/ Thank you for choosing St. Maarten as your preferred vacation destination.

Retiring in SXM Podcast


Falling in love with Sint Maarten is so easy, that almost everyone that visits the island wishes to retire here.

If you have been thinking of moving to the friendly island and live your Caribbean dream, listen to our podcast in collaboration with Island92 for more information.

And complement the information by reading the latest article in our blog in How to Retire in St. Maarten.

BrightPath Caribbean