Five Things You Should Know About St. Maarten Before Starting a Business

Discover essential information about conducting business in St. Maarten with these key insights.

For many years, St. Maarten has been well-known for its high tourist footfall, making it a leading vacation destination in the Caribbean. With the highest GDP in the region, Sint Maarten ranks as one of the best vacation spots in the Caribbean. It is also a popular vacation and retirement destination, offering a wide variety of businesses tailored to different types of clients, prices, and preferences.

For these reasons, foreign nationals like Americans, Canadians, and Europeans are keen to start a business in St. Maarten.

Understanding the Business Environment

Before starting a business in St. Maarten, it is important to have a good understanding of the business environment. This includes knowing the local laws, regulations, and cultural norms that may impact your business operations. Having the correct advice is crucial and contacting the team at BrightPath for assistance with your incorporation should be your next step. From the business structure and incorporation to the banking, tax advisory with CaribTax, and a great commercial space with the real estate agents at BrightFuture Realty. Finding professional services for your business is possible with BrightPath Caribbean.

Before you incorporate, It’s very important to understand all the legalities of your business, timeframes when setting up, renewals for licenses, and tax responsibilities. Questions like: How often do I have to renew my business license? Do I need a special License? Where can I find assistance with taxes or payroll? Can I change the purpose of my business? Can I bring key personnel from abroad? How does the work permit process start? These are some of the many questions related to your type of business that you should have an answer to before you invest your time and money. Make your business incorporation stress-free with the corporate services at BrightPath. Book a consultation today.

Expanding Economic Landscape

Historically, St. Maarten was known for its salt exports. Then came the era of tourism, which is still dominant. However, as Sint Maarten’s Infrastructure is getting better fast, and with a tax-free structure for imports and exports, we are starting to witness the island becoming the headquarters for many businesses planning to expand or already expanding to the neighboring islands.

St. Maarten has experienced significant economic growth in recent years, making it an attractive location for businesses. The island’s expanding economic landscape offers various opportunities for entrepreneurs and investors in many sectors. Tourism-related businesses might be the most important sector, however other industries sectors like construction, IT Infrastructure, real estate, and manufacturing, have been growing steadily. By understanding the current economic trends and identifying areas of growth, you can position your business for success in St. Maarten.

Transactions in US Dollars

Although the Antillean Guilder or Florin (In 2025 becoming the new Caribbean Guilder) is the official currency in St. Maarten, the U.S. dollar is widely accepted and transactions can be conducted under this currency.

In reality, all transactions on the Dutch side are primarily conducted in US dollars, this means commercial and personal banking, loans, invoicing, and even pricing display for any goods or services. Being able to run your business transactions in U.S. dollars provides stability and ease of doing business with international companies and investors.

The U.S. dollar is overwhelmingly the world’s most frequently used currency in global trade and also the dominant currency in international banking. Over the period 1999-2019, the dollar accounted for 96 percent of trade invoicing in the Americas, 74 percent in the Asia-Pacific region, and 79 percent in the rest of the world. The only exception is Europe, where the euro is dominant, this includes the French side of the island. (Source: Carol Bertaut, Bastian von Beschwitz, Stephanie Curcuru. (2021) The International Role of the U.S. Dollar.)

Duty-Free for Import and Export

St. Maarten has a duty-free policy for both import and export, which can be beneficial for businesses involved in international trade. This policy allows for cost savings and competitive pricing. In other words, this means whether it’s for personal or business, you won’t incur in any taxation fees when bringing goods from abroad as well as sending them. Usually, all the costs are merely, shipping and insurance fees, and those will all depend on the company hired for the service.

Duty-free import and export in Sint Maarten is a great advantage to big and small business operations, letting you ship out any manufactured on-island goods and bring in raw materials for your production.

Always consider that other countries will have different policies and you will pay customs duties. Ask the shipping company of your choice to consider all your costs when importing or exporting for your business.

Opportunities for Growth and Expansion to the Eastern Caribbean Islands

St. Maarten’s strategic location in the Eastern Caribbean offers great opportunities for businesses to expand and grow beyond the island. With its well-developed infrastructure and transportation links, St. Maarten serves as a gateway to the Eastern Caribbean islands. Sint Maarten features the most modern airport in the Eastern Caribbean and the largest port in the region. This gives all businesses registered in Sint Maarten a strategic advantage, enabling them to reach and serve the neighboring islands. By leveraging this geographical advantage, businesses can tap into new markets, collaborate with regional partners, and explore growth opportunities in the wider Caribbean region.

A guavaberry emporium


  1. Why is St. Maarten an attractive location for starting a business?

St. Maarten is attractive for starting a business due to its stable economy, high GDP in the Caribbean, and being a popular vacation and retirement destination. Additionally, the use of the U.S. dollar for transactions, duty-free import and export policies, and its strategic location with developed infrastructure make it an ideal place for entrepreneurs and investors.

  1. What are the key legal considerations before starting a business in St. Maarten?

Key legal considerations include understanding local laws, regulations, and cultural norms, determining business structure, incorporation requirements, license renewals, tax responsibilities, and whether special licenses are needed. It is also important to know about the work permit process for bringing key personnel from abroad and the ability to change the business’s purpose.

  1. How does the duty-free policy in St. Maarten benefit businesses involved in international trade?

The duty-free policy in St. Maarten benefits businesses by allowing them to import and export goods without incurring taxation fees. This leads to cost savings and competitive pricing, making it easier to bring in raw materials for production and ship out manufactured goods. However, businesses must consider customs duties and costs imposed by other countries when importing or exporting.

  1. What sectors are experiencing growth in St. Maarten’s expanding economic landscape?

Besides the dominant tourism sector, other growing industries in St. Maarten include construction, IT infrastructure, real estate, and manufacturing. Understanding these economic trends can help entrepreneurs identify opportunities for success and expansion on the island.

  1. How does St. Maarten’s use of the U.S. dollar impact business operations?

The widespread use of the U.S. dollar in St. Maarten simplifies business transactions, providing stability and ease of doing business with international companies and investors. It allows for consistent pricing, commercial and personal banking, loans, and invoicing in a globally dominant currency, facilitating smoother international trade and investment.

Do you have additional questions?

Contact us today for a free consultation!

Guide to the Best Sint Maarten Beaches

The Caribbean Island of Sint Maarten is well-known for its outstanding beaches, amazing food, and friendly people. Every beach in Sint Maarten and Saint Martin (French Side) has a unique feeling, and finding your favorite will all depend on what you are looking for, the things you like to do, and the distance from where you are staying. The best thing? You can find a little bit of everything in St. Maarten! From hidden solitary gems to spend a relaxing day, to breezy beaches with lots of watersports options, and beautiful bays with high-end restaurants.

With 37 beaches to choose from, who’s better to guide you to the island’s best beaches than Elma and Ted from All Things Sint Maarten. Not only do they love Sint Maarten, but they love showing the world how unique and enchanting this island can be.

Maho Beach

Maho Beach in Sint Maarten is one of the island’s most captivating destinations, renowned for its tranquil beauty and pristine white sands. This unique beach offers the perfect spot for relaxation, with restaurant services just a few steps away. What sets Maho Beach apart is its location at the end of an airport runway, providing an exhilarating experience as planes land and take off right overhead. Despite the proximity to the runway, the beach is heavily secured, ensuring the safety of all visitors. Beachgoers can enjoy watching various international planes from airlines like American Airlines and Air France, making each visit a thrilling experience.

Adjacent to Maho Beach is the famous Sunset Beach Bar, known for serving some of the best burgers on the island and hosting vibrant events. Whether you are listening to live performances by DJs or local bands, the atmosphere is always lively and welcoming. Maho Beach truly offers a one-of-a-kind experience, combining the serene beauty of a tropical beach with the excitement of close-up plane spotting and dynamic entertainment options.


Kim Sha Beach

Kim Sha Beach in Sint Maarten is one of the island’s most enchanting spots, attracting visitors with its clear waters and refreshing ocean breeze. Recognized by BrightPath Caribbean as one of the best beaches in Sint Maarten, Kim Sha offers a perfect blend of relaxation and adventure. Water sports enthusiasts can indulge in activities like jet skiing, kayaking, paddleboarding, and tubing with different water sports providers. Kim Sha Beach is also a culinary haven, home to some of the island’s top restaurants. Enjoy a delicious meal at Buccaneer Beach Bar, The Green House, or Captain’s Rib Shack, among others. Whether you are looking to relax on the beach, partake in thrilling watersports, or savor a variety of local and international cuisine, Kim Sha Beach offers an unforgettable experience for all.



Little Bay Beach

Little Bay Beach in Sint Maarten is a stunning destination, offering one of the most picturesque settings on the island. Despite its name, Little Bay is a sprawling beach, perfectly positioned to provide breathtaking views of the island. One of its unique features is the hill overlooking the beach, which offers a glimpse into history with the remains of Fort Amsterdam. Visitors can explore this historical site with guided tours that delve into the fort’s rich past.

The beach is nestled within the magnificent Divi Little Bay Beach Resort, which provides a wealth of amenities, dining options, and activities that can keep visitors entertained for days. Whether you are relaxing on the beautiful sands, exploring historical landmarks, or enjoying the luxury of the resort, Little Bay Beach promises a memorable and enriching experience for all. Little Bay offers one of the best spots for snorkeling, with underwater sculptures, lots of fish, turtles, and the remains of a sunken helicopter.


Baie Rouge

If the previous beaches did not catch your interest, Baie Rouge in Sint Maarten surely will. Offering a classic and traditional beach experience, Baie Rouge is a serene escape with no restaurants or official activities—just pure sand and ocean. The colorful entrance sets a welcoming tone for beachgoers seeking tranquility. Baie Rouge is perfect for those looking to relax and unwind. Its simplicity allows visitors to immerse themselves in the natural beauty of the beach, making it an ideal spot to sit down on the sand and enjoy the soothing sounds of the waves. Just remember to bring a towel and soak in the peaceful ambiance of this beautiful, unspoiled beach.


Orient Bay

Orient Bay on the French side of Sint Maarten is a quintessential tropical experience that combines natural beauty with vibrant culture. This expansive beach is not only famous for its stunning views and turquoise waters but also for its lively and welcoming atmosphere. Stretching over a long, picturesque shoreline, Orient Bay features a diverse array of restaurants and beach bars that serve world-renowned cuisine, offering everything from gourmet French dishes to fresh, local seafood.

The beach’s consistent winds create perfect conditions for a variety of watersports, making it a hotspot for windsurfing, kiteboarding, and sailing. Whether you are an adrenaline junkie looking to catch the waves or a foodie eager to sample some of the finest dining options the island has to offer, Orient Bay caters to all interests. The combination of its scenic beauty, culinary delights, and adventurous spirit makes Orient Bay a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Sint Maarten. Relax on the sandy shores, enjoy the lively beach scene, and take in the breathtaking views that this tropical paradise offers.

Mullet Bay

Nestled on the Dutch side of Sint Maarten, Mullet Bay Beach is sprawling with life, a beautiful haven that shows visitors its pristine, clear waters and stunning scenery. Located just past the Maho area and adjacent to Mullet Bay’s Golf Course, the beach offers a unique blend of natural beauty and architectural wonder. The best way to spend your day at Mullet Bay is by renting a chair and umbrella while you get snacks and drinks from nearby restaurants.

As you relax on the soft, sandy shores, you’ll be treated to mesmerizing views of beautifully constructed buildings and the thrilling sight of planes descending towards the nearby airport. For those who love marine life, the small rocky area on one side of the beach is a vibrant underwater ecosystem, teeming with fascinating sea creatures. Mullet Bay Beach is not just a destination; it’s an unforgettable experience, combining leisure, adventure, and breathtaking vistas.

Are you considering living in Sint Maarten?

Yes, it’s possible!

At BrightPath Caribbean we have seen throughout over 12 years of business, so many people falling in love with Sint Maarten, the lifestyle, the beaches, the food, and all the things the island has to offer, that they decide to make Sint Maarten their home and apply for legal residency with the assistance of BrightPath. You might be wondering, what’s the process like? What documents do I need? Read our informative blogs on the process and book a consultation with our team to find out how to move forward and make it happen.


Pictures courtesy of All Things Sint Maarten.



  1. What makes Maho Beach a unique destination in Sint Maarten?

Maho Beach is unique due to its location at the end of an airport runway, offering the exhilarating experience of planes landing and taking off overhead. It also features the famous Sunset Beach Bar and a lively atmosphere with events and live performances.

  1. What activities and amenities can visitors expect at Kim Sha Beach?

Visitors to Kim Sha Beach can enjoy a range of water sports such as jet skiing, kayaking, paddleboarding, and tubing. The beach also boasts several top restaurants, including Buccaneer Beach Bar, The Green House, and Captain’s Rib Shack, providing a blend of relaxation and adventure.

  1. Why is Little Bay Beach considered a notable destination in Sint Maarten?

Little Bay Beach is notable for its picturesque setting, historical significance with the nearby Fort Amsterdam, and the amenities offered by the Divi Little Bay Beach Resort. Visitors can enjoy breathtaking views, explore historical landmarks, and take advantage of the resort’s dining and activity options.


Do you have additional questions?

Contact us today for a free consultation!

BrightPath Caribbean