Saving money, etc.
the island has no dining tax
Some restaurants on the island will add 15% to your bill and it will be listed as Tax or SC Service charge. The truth is, the island has no dining tax so the restaurant may be taking advantage of North American tourists used to paying tax. You can consider the 15% your tip, those who aren't aware may pay another 15% to 20% when the "Tax/SC" is really a tip already going to the waiter.
If you ask for water in any restaurant they will assume you mean bottled water which can be $4 to $5 USD per bottle depending on the restaurant. Surprisingly this is sometimes more expensive than beer or wine. If you don't want to pay the higher price make sure you specify very clearly that you want tap water.
In many countries it is illegal to print the full credit card number on any receipt, on many islands it is not. Therefore, when you are signing a receipt make sure to check if your CC# is on the merchant copy and scribble it out. It's not illegal to do so and it protects your card.
When making an international phone call: Be sure to investigate pre-paid phone cards. The most expensive type of international phone call is to use a credit card. Companies like International Satellite Communications, which handle credit card calls, charge exorbitant connection fees and per-minute rates.
The island has some 300 restaurants with a wide variety of offerings available to both tourists and locals. The French cuisine and local fare is an exciting experience to most, but if you are apprehensive about trying new things, there are other restaurants. The island has restaurants that are American, Mexican, Chinese, Italian, vegetarian and more. If self-catering, you'll large modern supermarkets with excellent selections of American, European and other products as well...all imported.
If you are not feeling adventurous, the Dutch Side has several American fast food franchises including McDonalds2, Burger King2, Subway5, Pizza Hut3, Dominoes6, KFC4 and Bubble Tea4. In Philipsburg, you'll find a "Macs" a block west on Front Street...at least convenient for a cold soft drink during your "hot" shopping.
If you want to save some cash, eat where the locals eat on the cheap, both the french and Dutch sides of the island feature many Chinese restaurants, but the Dutch Side is the hands down winner with over 40 of them. In addition to the regular far eastern fare, these inexpensive eateries feature many local dishes, and "Caribbeanized" no,that's not really a word, but you catch my drift Chinese food.
Want to try something really different, stop at one the roadside food trucks for some take-away, one of these trucks located in Phillipsburg serves some of the best Suriname food on the island. Try the Chicken Sate with Bami or go light with a Soato Soup.
Enjoy Lunch, swim on a beautiful Beach and watch the Airplanes land at Tortuga at Maho.