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Telephones

Calling St. Maarten/St. Martin from Abroad

1. Dial the international access code: 011 from the U.S. and Canada; 00 from the U.K., Ireland, or New Zealand; or 0011 from Australia.

2. Dial the country code 599 for St. Maarten and 590 for St. Martin.

3. Dial the city code 590 (a second time) and then the six-digit number on St. Martin. The St. Maarten city code is 54, and then dial the five-digit number.

Calling Within St. Maarten/St. Martin -- To call the French side from the Dutch side and vice versa is an expensive international "long distance" call, going through Byzantine routing to Europe and back. From the French to Dutch side, dial 00, then 599, 54 and the five-digit number. From the Dutch to the French side (and St. Barts), dial 00, then 590590 (590690 for cellphones) and the six-digit number.

International Calls from St. Maarten/St. Martin -- From St. Maarten/St. Martin, first dial 00 and then the country code (U.S. or Canada 1, U.K. 44, Ireland 353, Australia 61, New Zealand 64). Next dial the area code and number. For example, if you wanted to call the British Embassy in Washington, D.C., you would dial 00-1-202-588-7800.

Both the Dutch side and the French side have public phones from which you can make overseas calls using prepaid phone cards. On the Dutch side there are phones from which you can also make overseas credit-card and collect calls. The public phones on the French side only accept prepaid phone cards. You can buy phone cards in $5, $10, and $20 increments throughout the island at gas stations, newsstands, phone stores, and post offices. At the Marigot post office, you can purchase a prepaid phone card called a Têlécartes, giving you 40 units. A typical 5-minute call to the States takes up to 120 units. There are two public phones at the Marigot tourist office from which it's possible to make credit card calls. There are six public phones at the post office.

If you need operator assistance in making a call, dial 0 if you're trying to make an international call and a number within St. Maarten/St. Martin. For directory assistance, dial 150 if you're looking for a number inside St. Maarten/St. Martin, and dial 0 for numbers to all other countries.

Toll-free Numbers -- There are no toll-free numbers on St. Maarten/St. Martin, Anguilla, or St. Barts, and calling a 1-800 number in the States from them is not toll free. In fact, it costs the same as an overseas call.

Cellphones

The three letters that define the islands' wireless capabilities are GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications), a big, seamless network that makes for easy cross-border cellphone use. If your cellphone is on a GSM system, and you have a world-capable multiband phone such as many Sony Ericsson, Motorola, or Samsung models, you can make and receive calls across the islands. Just call your wireless operator and ask for "international roaming" to be activated on your account.

For many, renting a phone on one of the islands is a good idea. You can rent a phone from any number of island sites, including kiosks at airports and at car-rental agencies. Mobile phone rentals are available from Friendly Island Cellphone Rentals (tel. 599/553-7368), in Simpson Bay, St. Maarten; they'll even deliver the phone to your resort or villa. On Anguilla, you can arrange a phone rental through your hotel or resort or directly from LIME (formerly Cable & Wireless Ltd.), Wallblake Road, the Valley (tel. 264/497-3100), or Digicel (tel. 264/498-3444), with its main office by the Public Library in the Valley. On St. Barts, Centre @lizés, rue de la République, Gustavia (tel. 590/298-989) is a full-service Internet cafe that also offers cellphone and laptop rentals.

Voice-Over Internet Protocol (VoIP)

If you have Web access while traveling, you might consider a broadband-based telephone service (in technical terms, Voice over Internet protocol, or VoIP) such as Skype (www.skype.com) or Vonage (www.vonage.com), which allows you to make free international calls if you use their services from your laptop or in a cybercafe. For all the details on restrictions and availability, check the websites above for details.

Internet/E-Mail

Without Your Own Computer -- To find cybercafes on the islands, check www.cybercaptive.com and www.cybercafe.com

With Your Own Computer -- More and more hotels, resorts, airports, cafes, and retailers are going Wi-Fi (wireless fidelity), becoming "hot spots" that offer free high-speed Wi-Fi access or charge a small fee for usage. Most laptops sold today have built-in wireless capability. To find public Wi-Fi hot spots on the islands, go to www.jiwire.com; its Hotspot Finder holds the world's largest directory of public wireless hotspots.

For dial-up access, most business-class hotels offer dataports for laptop modems.

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.