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Guest Solent Richard

Exploring St. Maarten - Orient Beach Edition

7 posts in this topic

St Maarten is a popular port of call for cruise ships in the Caribbean and when I noticed a member asking for tips on a visit there I thought I'd cobble together some ideas of what can be done.
St Maarten is quite unique in the sense that it is divided into two separate European style communities, Dutch and French: actually giving the visitor the opportunity to enjoy three distinct cultures on one 37 square mile Caribbean island. Philipsburg and the cruise terminal are in the Dutch sector.

Cruise ship berths are approximately 2 miles from the main township of Philipsburg...
At the end of the jetty there is a reasonably large terminal complex with cafes, shops, duty frees, telephones and an Information centre. This is also the point to grab a water taxi to the town of Philipsburg - avoiding the short two mile walk, or pick a taxi to take you further afield.
In order to maximise the information on St. Maarten I have combined two visits that we made in recent years. One on P&O's Azura and the other on Queen Mary2.
The first occasion we chose to visit the famous Orient Beach and decided on a direct taxi from the terminal building. Orient Beach lies in the French sector of the island and reaching it offers an interesting taxi ride across the island and the crossing of the 'Border Point'...
Perhaps a timely word of warning at this juncture. Orient Beach, is a 2 mile long, white powdered sand beach well  protected from the Atlantic waves by a reef. The major attraction of Orient Bay is the nude beach and the world´s famous Club Orient ("Club O"), the island´s only naturist resort at the southern end of the beach. Clothing is optional in front of the Club, though the nude beach there is open to the public
On reaching Orient Beach we took the advice of our taxi driver and chose to utilize the services of the KonTiki Beach Bar on the northern edge of Orient Beach...
A wise choice. The beach is divided into sections by the locals and each section has a bar, restaurant, sunbeds and parasols. The Kon Tiki Restaurant and Bar and beach area was  less concentrated with sunbeds and offered a somewhat higher quality of service and facilities. As the price varies so does the concentration of sunbeds on the patch of sand.
There is of course a 'rental' charge for using the beach facilities and generally the higher amount you pay, the better the quality of your stay.
There are numerous budget level bars to be found and most offer a complimentary drink when hiring a sunbed. Most places have perfectly respectable toilet and shower facilities.
We had arranged for our taxi driver to return us as far as Philipsburg. More about that in the second edition - Exploring St.Maarten -  Maho Beach...
D Harvey and Cathstones like this

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Nice pics SR they certainly capture the feel of St Maarten and give a good perspective on what it truly is like , especially the lovely blue skies and turquoise sea for those who have never visited . Oh to be there at the moment! Away from our rain and overcast skies.

They certainly bring back fond memories of our many visits there.

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Very Comprehensive answer SR,  addition of photo's is helpful!!  I think the northern side of the island the port is Marigot, some of the smaller companies like Seabourn used to use this side of the island for exclusivity, I dont know if this is still the case, last time I was there it bucketed it down so we spent more time dodging the rain (A bit like being in the UK but warmer) What we did see though seemed like a different alternative to the main port.

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St Maarten - one of the best islands in the Caribbean lovely beaches for sunbathing - welcoming people - where you don't feel threatened and the best shopping in the Caribbean - What more could you want

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