Located two miles west of Sandy Ground and within walking distance of Marigot (if you like long walks), Baie Rouge is home to one of St. Martin’s most popular beaches. After spending several days in Anguilla, it was difficult to be impressed by the golden sand which had the texture and color of cornmeal, or somewhat choppy seas. But it isn’t a bad beach, and the area is said to be good for snorkeling. Be warned – Orient Beach isn’t the only beach with nudists; there are plenty at Baie Rouge as well.
Orient Beach is the most developed, most popular, and busiest beach on the island of St. Martin/Sint Maarten. Protected from Atlantic rollers by a reef, the beach is a two-mile long swath of sugary white sand surrounded by turquoise waters. It is reputed both for its natural beauty and setting and for being the island’s foremost swimsuit optional beach.
There are charters everywhere around the island. Go on the water taxi to Saba and sign up for the 2-dive outing. We opted for only the afternoon dive and got a taxi to take us around the island and had lunch in the small town at the top of the hill. The water was warm down to 82' and the coral and fish were amazing.
In case you did not know, St Martin is the French side of the island and St Maarten is the Dutch side of the island. Look up St Maarten here at Virtual tourist. It is listed as part of the Netherlands Antilles. You are in the Guedeloupe and you are also in the Leeward islands. So many names! There is no border crossing, just a sign on the side of the road. You may come and go at ease whenever you please. If you want to call from one side of the island to another you will need an international calling card.
On both sides of the island there are telephones with red and blue stickers. Avoid them, they are a private company's phone. My $10 card of theirs did not work. Use the other phones and you will not have any problem. On the dutch side it is 75 cents US to make a phone call. You can drive around the whole island in an hour-and-a-half if there were no trafic or bridge openings (south west side).
There are 33 beaches all with free public access (some have washrooms for a fee/others are free bring TP) The French capital Marigot is know for great clothing shopping. Grand Case is known as the Gourmet Capital of the world second to Paris. The Dutch sides main capital is Philisburg and is know for it's jewelry. The most popular beach on the French side is Orient Beach, on the Dutch side Philisburg beach with the cruise ships and Maho & mullet beaches.
On the Dutch side the currency is the Netherlands antilles Florin. I never saw this currency during my trip. I wanted to bring some because I was sure the cheapest way to travel was to use the local currency. I'm glad I did not bring any, the currency exchange places offered such a poor rate back home in Canada, I said forget it, I'll use the US dollar. Everyone uses the American dollar!!!! On the French side the currency is the Euro, however I did not use any either cause every person I encountered accepted the US dollar dollar per Euro and that was a bargain!
If you have a chance to sail in the Heineken Regatta (held every March), DO IT! And if you don't have a boat, try to party with the sailors in Phillipsburg at the Greenhouse or in Marigot Bay and if you become friends with the right ones, they might invite you along the next day - it happened to me!
Bikini Beach has great things to do. Lots of watersports available (ex. waverunners $90/hr or $45 for 1/2 hour). Massages at the Buddha Garden ($75 hour or $45 1/2 hour). Not to mention the people watching and just lying in the Caribbean sun. This beach is also European style, so you will be able to go topless if you like, we opted not to but did see one woman walking down the bbeach. Club Orient is located at the far right of the beach where you can go fully nude.
Beach is free but if you want lounge chairs, it will cost you $7/each chair and an umbrella is $3.
This small fort is actually largest historical monument in St.Martin. It is also the best viewing vistas on the whole of the shared island. This includes the absolute best place to view sunsets. It would also be the most likely place to build a fort. It was erected in 1767 on the direct orders of King Louis XVI. This was obviously previous to the French Revolution and the loss of his head in 1793. In fact the Dutch seized the fort after the start of the Revolution in 1789 to head off any sort of anti-royalist elements from Guadeloupe getting subversive ideas.
It was originally built to to protect the settlement at Marigot and its done a very good job. Today Marigot is a beautiful village and bay. Not only do you get panoramic view of the island, you can also see the British island of Anguilla.
The fort is a steep climb and is open every day from 8:00am to 12:00pm and 1:00pm to 6:00pm.
World famous Caribbean artist Roland Richardson has a gallery in Marigot. In fact, he w
See my comments on the main page for more info. in fact, he was born right next door. Original Paintings are for sale and Mr. Richardson will even do a portrait of you if you want. Ot you can just browse around if you like with no pressure to buy.
On Thursday's Roland has a meet and greet in the early afternoon.
We were fortunate enough to bump into him and have a long chat. See my blurb on the opening page for more details.
While staying at Orient Bay, this was a natural visit for me--I love animals and stuff like that, so my next door lady friend and I went up the driveway to the Butterfly Farm---a huge tented area full of beautiful butterflies, and folk who are willing to take the time to discuss them with you. There is a fee to enter, but well worth it, once you get inside. There are many species fluttering around the enclosed area, as well as places where you can view pupae and cocoons and hear info on their lifestyles.....Many photo oportunities abound in here so take your cameras. The gift shop at the end is wonderful as well, with butterfly gifts for anyone at reasonable prices....
This is a very cool, very large beach on the eastern side of the French part of the island. There's a decent, but overpriced, bar area and plenty of places to rent any type of water fun item you might desire.
The water here is much too rough for any snorkeling, so if thats your thing you'll want to go elsewhere.
Also, there is a section of the beach here that is clothing optional so beware you may see some 'stuff a sagging'.
Le Fort St-Louis est situé a quelques pas de la place du marché Marigot. On y accède par un sentier qui grimpe la montagne.
Les ruines du fort sont intéressantes à voir et donne une occasion d'admirer une grande partie de l'ile.
Baie l'Orient, la plage des hôtels de touriste, elles est la plus belles de l'ile et fait face au vent. Les vagues y sont donc puissantes. De là, on apercoit les voiliers passer en direction de St-Barth. On voit aussi l'ile déserte sur laquelle on est allé passer quelques heures lorsqu'on était justement en route pour la même place.
Nous avons passé la journée a un hotel pour prendre un verre, manger et relaxer au soleil. Grosse vie sale!
Must go see downtown Marigot. (especially at sunset). It's got small, crazy roads and little hidden away shops and fantastic clubs. Be sure to eat at "la Vie En Rose" while you're there.