French West Indies
|ALERT: Please see government health advisory.
Please make your own decision about this report from the Center for Disease
Chikungunya virus CDC report
|One of the
most famous nude beaches in the World is Orient Beach.
||U.S. Citizens: Passports are
required for international air travel to all destinations outside the
Martin/St. Maarten boasts more nude friendly beach opportunities to enjoy
yourself than virtually any other Caribbean island, even comparing
favorably with its larger competitor,
Jamaica. A small island, roughly 5 x 8 miles, St. Martin can be traversed in an
hour or two by car, but getting through Marigot on the French side or
Philipsburg on the Dutch side can be a nightmare due to traffic.
though nudity is allegedly unlawful in some areas of the island, many parts of
St. Martin, on both the Dutch and French side, are nude-friendly mainly
because, as my villa rental friend, Xavier, says: "we just don't care!" Which
There are numerous beaches to choose from for nude
beachcombing and sunbathing including Cupecoy Beach, Long Baie and Baie Rouge
on the west side to Orient Beach on the east. We like them all for different
There are terrific villas and guest houses on or near the
western beaches and great hotels and resorts
on or adjacent to Orient Beach on the French east side. Here are some
properties to consider in the Orient Bay area:
Club Orient Nudist
Resort--south end of Orient Bay This most popular nudist resort is back
from the dead after the September, 1995 hurricane, on the south end of Orient
Beach. All bungalows on this 30 acre site
have been rebuilt. You can choose accommodations from either concrete block
buildings or the traditional wooden chalets in garden view or beachfront
Starting at about $200-300 USD/night, you can enjoy all life
has to offer nude at Club Orient. Rates are 40%-50% higher during high season
(December 15-April 15). NOTE: Rates are charged in Euros by the resort and
dollar equivalent fluctuates. Rates not guaranteed; subject to change without
notice. Chalets include a living area, kitchen, sleeping area,
private bath and dining area with air conditioning and fan. Restaurant
Papagayo's is open air. Rates include car parking and use of of
umbrellas/chairs at the unit and on the beach. Tax is 5% on hotel costs. For
purposes of this report, rates are expressed in USD $ but all amounts are
actually charged in Euros. *NOTE: Rates are not guaranteed and will change
Note: Here is a recent comment from Club
Orient about nudity on the beach beyond its boundary:
Pedros....nude: Over the years one of the most erroneously repeated statements
has been that if you wish to walk without clothes past the rocks by Pedro's bar
(north end of Club Orient property line), all you have to do is make sure
you're finished by 8:00 AM. The Gendarmes were out in force and ticketed 17
people for being nude beyond Club Orient
..at 7:00 AM. The government has
required Club Orient to place a new sign at end of Club Orient's beach stating
that, "Nudity beyond this point is illegal and violators are subject to
penalties." So if you still wish to take your morning stroll in the buff, be
aware that the Gendarmes are enforcing this rule and you could be stopped and
Resort--north end of Orient Bay A really fine, upscale quality resort, with
each guesthouse containing 3-4 private bedrooms built around its own pool is
just a few yards from Orient Beach. You can rent a room or the entire
guesthouse. With 54 total rooms, this charming place gives you more of a
plantation feel that a resort hotel. It is NOT a nudist resort but topless
sunbathing is possible and Orient Beach is steps away. The Astrolab restaurant
is beautifully appointed and the grounds are well maintained. Rates can vary
from $100-$200+/person/night but seasonal specials often offer 7 nights for the
price of 5. Rates do not include meals.
Green Caye - central
section of Orient Bay Just up the hill from St. Tropez and near Esmeralda, it
is similarly located down the street from Orient Beach and priced like
Esmeralda with beautiful grounds and nicely appointed like its neighbor.
Cap Caraibes Hotel - Near St. Tropez and south of Esmeralda. Cap
Caraibes is a 35 room hotel with independent suites faces Orient Beach. Garden
View rooms open to the pool area. Ocean View rooms have private terraces; Third
floor suites include views of the entire bay with the islands of Green Cay,
Tintamarre and Pinel on the horizon. Rates range from $150-$200+ per night,
subject to change without notice.
Club Fantastico This 6-bedroom
villa is owned by a builder from New Jersey and managed daily by a caretaker or
a host couple. The villa is located up the hill immediately above the
commercial shops in the middle of Orient Beach, a short walk if you don't have
a car...about 10-15 minutes. The property operates as a B & B with a twist.
Although breakfast is served daily, there is open bar service included for 24
hour libations. This is a great set up for folks who want a pool and a bit more
privacy than being on the beach. Plus, it's great for 2 or 3 couples to visit
together where you have a separate bedroom and bath while enjoying the common
areas and pool. See the photo album of shots we took while staying at the villa
which includes a freshwater pool overlooking Orient Bay plus a large hot tub,
dining area and BBQ which you can use.
Cupecoy, Long Baie and Baie Rouge
Beaches--west side of the island Many properties are located near these
beaches but our favorite places are the luxury villas you can rent on the
beaches or on the hills overlooking the beaches. For a villa that sleeps 3-6
couples, you get accommodations, cook and caretaker for less than
$1,000/person/week. There, you can sunbathe as you wish or visit the beach of
your choice au naturale. Villas during high season are usually booked up in
advance so plan ahead.
|| Planes, boats and ferries can get you to St. Martin daily
from just about anywhere in the world. Airfare from the US on scheduled
airlines can run from $500-$700/person, round trip so it's not cheap to get
there. Rates vary seasonally. American Airlines dominates the market (and
Caribbean for that matter), so don't expect a benevolent rate from them. Check
with us for charters to St. Martin, primarily from certain eastern U.S.
Rental cars are plentiful, jeeps and cars can rent for
$35-50/day and taxis are fairly inexpensive. Ask first before you sign on.
You can also visit Anguilla, Saba and St. Eustatius, all nearby and
accessible by boat, ferry or commuter plane.
U.S. Citizens: Passports are required for international air
travel to all destinations outside the USA.
|| Most all of the better hotels and resorts include clean, well
appointed rooms, full maid service, restaurant, bars and sports opportunities.
The island, especially Philipsburg on the Dutch side, is a shopper's
paradise, perhaps eclipsed only by St. Thomas as the charge card capital of the
Caribbean. The numerous cruise ship passengers help keep it that way, too.
St. Martin is one of the more progressive of the islands so you will
find just about everything you need for your vacation there. Tourist traps,
fast food franchises and real estate companies mix with some of the quaint
areas to drag this island into the 21st century.
Villas are usually fully stocked
with complimentary staples before check in and personal supplies plus food can
be ordered for delivery prior to arrival, really a nice luxury touch by the
villa rental companies.
NOTE: Please take care of your valuables, cash,
airline tickets and passports while on vacation. Some vacation destinations are
considered "third world" countries and experience petty theft. Recommendation:
Do not take precious jewelry unless you wear it all times; keep your cash,
valuables, watches, travel documentation and cameras with you and don't expect
your in-room safe to be "safe." Just a word of caution to make sure you
remember to practice common sense with your valuables while you're on
||Eat in or eat out as you wish. Terrific French and Dutch
establishments are everywhere, so take your pick. Orient Beach resorts have on
site dining, snack shops on the beach and of course villas include cooks.
Papagayos Restaurant at Club Orient is a completely nude restaurant, open air
and anchors the south end of the beach. You don't have to be a guest to dine
St. Martin has a terrific wealth of
restaurants on both the French and Dutch sides of the island. Here are a few to
consider, thanks in part to some recommendations from CARIBBEAN TRAVEL &
On Dawn Beach, you will find Mr. Busby's Beach Bar for
beaching and open air burgers, plus it's a great place to start your snorkeling
At Oyster Pond, straddle
the island's imaginary border between the men's room and the main restaurant at
Captain Olivers, a good place recommended by some of our friends who live
there. Stop for cappuccino and croissants at any one of the French side's
superettes, where wonderful pate, fresh poulet roti (chicken rotisserie) and
pastries are featured.
If you want to bar hop and do the tourist thing
on Orient Beach, stop at Bongo Byrons and the Bikini Beach Bar, where few are
worn. In French Marigot, stop at La Parisienne for a sidewalk cappuccino.
For the greatest concentration of French bistros and restaurants, visit
Grand Case, a small town north of Marigot on the northwest side of the island.
Grand Case's main waterfront street is lined with the best restaurants on the
island including Le Tastevin plus many others along the street.
above Grand Case beach, lolos (food stalls) hold forth with local cuisine that
compete taste-wise with the refined restaurants nearby on the waterfront.
Choose from the following beachside fare: Conch stew, spare ribs, grilled or
fried fish and numerous side dishes such as johnny cakes, stuffed christophene,
macaroni & cheese, peas 'n rice, coleslaw and fried plaintain.
Plop your butt down at any of the BBQ lolo joints (you'll know them by the 55
gal drums used as BBQ grills) including: Sky's the Limit, Talk of the Town and
many others where you can stuff yourself for $10 USD (or more...add on for
inflation and the Euro).
NOTE: Small beachside bistros come and go so
be prepared for name or ownership changes.
At the other end of the
spectrum, try Ric's Place in Dutch Philipsburg, a great sports bar for super
burgers and fries.
Here is a list of dining selections reported by
Caribbean Travel & Life Magazine. Note: This list is subject to change and
is not guaranteed as establishments change hands, close or change cuisine.
St Martin - Island wide
L'Escargot-Dutch St. Martin
Loterie Farm-Orient Bay
Lolos (food stalls) in Grand Case
La Vie en Rose-Marigot
La Santal- Sandy Ground
Big Fish-Oyster Pond
The Tides at Mary Boons
Top Carrot(vegetarian) - Simpson Bay
Chocolate BoxBakery La Sucriere
Jeff de Bruges Chocolate shop
Grand Case (the best of dining on the
L'Epicerie de Marie
||Rates vary at each location so contact us for an exact
quote for your desired hotel or villa. Generally, most accommodations start at
||You will find both families with kids and adults, singles
and couples all over the island at resorts everywhere. Families are usually the
exception during high season (winter) and more prevalent during the summer.
When the cruise ships are in town, avoid the crowds. The nude beaches are
mostly adults only, with every age represented there.
||St. Martin's Dutch and French sides are probably the best
combination of nightlife, dining, resorts, beaches and casinos anywhere in the
Caribbean. There is literally something foreveryone from laid back, no-nonsense
resorts to the finest villas in the Caribbean.
For club hopping around
Marigot, our fearless clients and explorers have suggested Club Alibi, Club 1,
Pasha, all for late night mischief and dancing.....after about 11 PM. Others
have suggested a fun little club near the airport called Club Cheri, for local
entertainment earlier in the evening, including island talent, skits and
You don't lack for anything on this island.
||Although the island is small, you have a variety of
hillside, town, country and beach locations to enjoy. You are just minutes away
by air from Anguilla, Saba and St. Eustatius. Shopping in Philipsburg is some
of the best in the Caribbean besides perhaps St. Thomas to the west.
Contributed by TM from the UK: Happy Bay is on the French
side - it is the very next bay south of Grand Case. Cannot be reached by road
except via a 10 minute hike from the Friars Bay (Beach) parking lot which is
why it is somewhat deserted. We got there via a 10 minute (maybe less) water
taxi service directly from Grand Case Beach Club resort for $15 per head, round
trip.Tell the boat guy when you want to be picked up. We found that 4 hours was
just about right as there are no facilities/amenities on the beach so you need
to take water and a snack with you.
With thanks to Caribbean
Travel & Life:
For terrific French cuisine meals in Grand Case,
stay at Grand Case Beach Club and walk to town to: L'Auberge Gourmande, Le
Pressoir, Ranbow, Le Cottage and Le California. NOTE: Restaurants and offers
subject to change without notice.
For nude day tripper cruises, you can
also contact the folks at: www.nudetrips.net They offer local nude cruises on their
||St. Martin has lost some of its quaint, Caribbean
ways: The island has morphed into a popular tourist mecca as traffic and crowds
mix it up daily, especially when the big cruise ships visit. But St. Martin has
held on to more of its traditional values than most of the other islands. The
Island is unique, offering the French, the Dutch and the Caribbean cultures all
on one island. It defiantly represents a little traditional Dutch, a little
traditional French and a lot Caribbean. It's still a fun place to visit.
||Food and restaurant selections are outstanding all
over the island.
||Crowds seem to be everywhere in town when the cruise
ships dock. Try the smaller villages around the island for meals, drinks and
||Try nude sailing charters while you're there.
||The beaches are still some of the best to choose from
in the Caribbean, if not the world.
||Avoid hurricane season late August to early October.
Fall, winter and early spring are drier and a little cooler than the
heat and humidity of summer.
Otherwise expensive resorts from December
15-April 15, you will find rates are embellished with all types of free night
offers and incentives during low season, especially August-November.
||Build better roads through Marigot.
fast food franchises, but progress marches on.
|| View the Photo
Click on the Photo Album button on the left to view photos of
St Martin & Orient Beach. Some were taken by us, some by clients, &
some were provided by Club Orient. We would love to have you send us some of
your photos. All you have to do is go to our
Contribute Trip Report /
|| View the Trip
We have a few, but we still need your trip reports for St.
Martin. To contribute go to our Contribute Trip Report / Photographs page.