All serious guides to the island are emphasizing how important a rental car is to get the most out of your stay. That’s were SXM (the airport code, commonly used as abbreviation for the island’s name) is so very different from other tropical destinations: the complete island is accessible to visitors, with an open minded and friendly population and many, many attractions to be found.
The rental rates at Travel Rent a Car are so affordable that you would get your wheels for a complete week just for the price of one good dinner for two! Ad a bottle of decent wine, and you could afford an upscale vehicle!
For small communities such as SXM, maintaining a road infrastructure is always a huge undertaking. But there is now visible progress in the quality of the roads, with dirt roads virtually eliminated and pot holes not being such a common occurrence anymore.
Traffic regulations on the French side follow European law; be especially aware of the rule that on unmarked intersections, traffic from the right has the right of way. On the Dutch side, the rules are a bit more foggy and the implementation of traffic signs is spotty; the basic rule is that turning traffic has to watch out. One highlight of the Dutch side is that Philipsburg is the location of the island’s only traffic light.
What car to choose:
Our smallest cars a adequate for two persons to navigate the island’s roads. There are some very steep hills with 45% incline – and the economy or compacts might struggle here. Because of their small wheels, they are also more sensitive to ‘road imperfection’ and speed bumps (please, please don’t abuse or wreck our cars by driving too rough).