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There are no particular health concerns on St. Maarten/St. Martin, Anguilla, or St. Barts. The best medical facilities are on St. Maarten/St. Martin, with good clinics on Anguilla and St. Barts. Emergency airlift to Puerto Rico is available from all three destinations.

It's fairly easy to obtain major over-the-counter medication, with most major North American brands available as well as brands manufactured in Europe under unfamiliar names. Some leading prescription drugs for such common ailments as allergies, asthma, and acid reflux are also available over the counter, albeit by European pharmaceutical companies.

Common Ailments

Bugs, Bites & Other Wildlife Concerns -- The biggest menaces on all three islands are mosquitoes (none are disease vectors) and no-see-ums, which appear mainly in the early evening. Window screens aren't always sufficient, so carry insect repellent. In St. Barts, many pharmacies sell the Belou line of essential oils, which includes Belou's P Soothing Mosquito Repellent Oil, a natural repellent. Many of the products in the Ligne St. Barth (www.lignestbarth.com) line of creams and sunscreens contain roucou, considered to be a natural insect repellent; its shop/laboratory is on the Route de Salines in Lorient.

Sun Exposure -- The tropical sun can be brutal. Wear sunglasses and a hat, and apply sunscreen liberally. Increase your time on the beach gradually. If you do overexpose yourself, stay out of the sun until you recover. Sun and heatstroke are possibilities, especially if you engage in strenuous physical activity. See a doctor immediately if fever, chills, dizziness, nausea, or headaches follow overexposure.

What to Do If You Get Sick Away from Home

It's easy to find good English-speaking doctors. You can find hospitals and emergency numbers in "Fast Facts" .

If you suffer from a chronic illness, consult your doctor before your departure. You may have to pay all medical costs up front and be reimbursed later. If you worry about getting sick away from home, you might want to consider buying medical travel insurance.

Crime & Safety

Petty crime has become an issue of concern on Dutch St. Maarten, with thefts and break-ins an increasing problem. Travelers are urged to lock their cars and lodging doors and windows at all times. Visitors should exercise common sense and take basic precautions everywhere on the island, including being aware of one's surroundings, avoiding walking alone after dark or in remote areas, and locking all valuables in a rental or hotel safe.

Anguilla is one of the safest destinations in the Caribbean, but you should still take standard precautions. Although crime is rare here, secure your valuables. Crime is also extremely rare on St. Barts; it's one of the safest islands in the Caribbean. But it's always wise to protect your valuables. Don't leave them unguarded on the beach or in parked cars, even if locked in the trunk.

Etiquette Tips -- Despite the clothing-optional beaches on St. Martin, St. Maarten, and St. Barts, flaunting one's body (or any flagrant display) is frowned upon, especially on proper British Anguilla. Except at casual beach bars, men should wear some kind of shirt, women a wrap. Casual resort wear is recommended for most restaurants, especially at dinner. "Sunday dress" is appropriate when visiting churches, though ties aren't mandatory for men. In general, profanity is frowned upon.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.