Philipsburg Transportation

Philipsburg's transportation options seem endless

Photo credit: © chezshai

Home to the international airport, the cruise ship dock, and the ferry terminal, Philipsburg is clearly St. Maarten's hub of transportation.  That doesn't mean you should just expect your transportation arrangements to fall into your lap.  With so many options regarding both how you'll get there and how you'll get around, there is a lot to consider and some decisions to be made.  

Air Travel

Home to one of the busiest airports in the region, Philipsburg is the main entry point for most people who visit the island whether they stay on the Dutch or French side of the island.  Princess Juliana International Airport is a modern facility with flights landing from around the world daily.  Direct flights to this airport are easier to book here than most, but depending on where you're traveling from a connection in Florida, New York City, or another island in the Caribbean may make more sense.  Read more about flying to Philipsburg by clicking here


Philipsburg is the main port of entry for pleasure sailors headed to St. Maarten, which is great news because many sailors choose the Great Bay Marina pinpointed as the location at which they'd prefer to dock their boats.  The process for gaining clearance is pretty simple, you'll just need to present passports for all aboard, a crew list, and a list of the ship's stores.  If foul play is suspected, a customs official may request an inspection of your vessel.  Everything you need to know about sailing into and around Philipsburg can be read here.  


Philipsburg is home to one of the busiest cruise ship docks in the Caribbean, and many large liners will stop here for a full day.  Cruisers can get off the boat and easily make a trip to either side of the island and explore whichever attractions or activities they have interest in and make it back before it is time to leave.  Still, this town is so great for day-trippers that a great majority decide to stay and do some duty-free shopping, stop in a casino, or walk along the Great Bay Boardwalk

Rental Cars

For as low as $30(USD) a day you can rent a car to get you around Philipsburg.  Before you rent, you should be aware that as far as traffic is concerned, this is the busiest city on the island.  However, conditions are generally good and international drivers report having a decent time driving in the area.  If you do plan to get on the road here, you'll need to be in possession of an international driver's license and in order for most local agencies to rent to you, you'll have to be over the age of 25.  Get more information when you read our guide to Renting a Car in Philipsburg.


If you're considering making taxis your main form of transportation, Philipsburg is a great place to do it.  They can always be found by the cruise port, at the ferry terminal, near the airport, at top , and around the major shopping areas.  In short, hailing a cab is never difficult.  Rates are set by the government and listed for two person occupancy; if you're traveling with more than two, it will be an extra $4(USD) per person and fares are higher after 10:00 p.m. 


Like the taxis, the buses in Philipsburg are actually minivans.  These buses are privately owned, however, and each company has the freedom to set the rates.  Still, you'll pay between $2 and $3(USD) per person, and you can travel pretty much anywhere on the island from 5:00 a.m. to midnight.  Although these buses travel on a set route and try to stick to a schedule, they are not precise so you should not rely on them if you have to be somewhere at a specific time. 


It seems that from Philipsburg you can explore the world.  Really, there are three international ferry services that make trips to nearby islands include Anguilla, Saba, and St. Barthelemy.  Plus, there is a water taxi that offers transportation from one end of Great Harbor to the other, so you don't even have to travel the world to take advantage of water transport. Learn more about this option here.

If there is a transportation option you're considering for your stay in Philipsburg, chances are it is not only available, but easily utilized.  Whatever you feel most comfortable with, you'll be able to make it work during your stay in this, the island's most visited town. 


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