Orient Bay Beach, also known as “Baie Orientale” by the locals, is one of the most famous beaches on the entire island of St. Martin. This beach is famously and affectionately called “the St. Tropez of the Caribbean” by those who visit. The reason for this is that many who visit Orient Bay Beach feel as if they have taken a trip to France for the day. Orient Bay Beach has been compared to the chic and pristine beaches of Southern France, the beach has a very stunning natural beauty with fluffy white sand, sparkling blue water, and lush and green palm trees. Anyone traveling to Orient Bay beach will no doubt enjoy the island atmosphere along with the European flair.
Orient Bay Beach has much to enjoy for tourists of all kinds. There are a large variety of upscale restaurants that feature live entertainment and a wide array of water sports to participate in near the beach such as snorkeling, surfing, windsurfing, parasailing, banana boating, jet skiing and more. Orient Bay Beach is also famous for being the most popular nude beach on the island of St. Martin. Many tourists and locals alike visit Orient Bay Beach to enjoy sunbathing and enjoying the gorgeous surroundings of the beach all while being unencumbered by clothing. The paradisiac beauty that can be experienced at Orient Bay Beach will leave any visitor longing to plan their return.
Table of Contents
- Where is Orient Bay Beach?
- Did hurricane Irma affect Orient Bay?
- Is Orient Bay Beach safe?
- How to go to Orient Bay?
- When should you go to Orient Bay Beach?
- What are the things to do in Orient Bay?
- What are the best places to visit in Orient Bay?
- What are the best photos from Orient Bay?
- What are the facts about Orient Bay?
Where is Orient Bay Beach?
Orient Bay Beach is located on the north-eastern shore of French St. Martin. The coordinates of Orient Bay Beach are 18°05′13″N 63°01′19″W. Below you can see a map where Orient Bay Beach in Saint Martin is located on the island.
Did hurricane Irma affect Orient Bay?
Yes, Hurricane Irma had a great effect on Orient Bay Beach in 2017. Hurricane Irma battered the entire island of St. Martin and reduced Orient Bay Beach to almost nothing. The hurricane destroyed homes, hotels, restaurants, local shops, and businesses in Orient Bay Beach, the destruction was shocking for many to see. The winds tossed cars and boats and wreaked havoc on the local businesses. Even Club Orient, which is a popular naturist resort in St. Martin was badly damaged by Hurricane Irma.
Since 2017, large efforts have been made to restore Orient Bay Beach to its former glory. Many restaurants, hotels, businesses, and homes have been restored and renovated since the hurricane including Club Orient. These efforts have caused Orient Bay Beach to make a comeback as one of the most popular beaches in St. Martin.
Is Orient Bay Beach safe?
Yes, Orient Bay Beach is a very safe place for all to visit. The reason for this is that Orient Bay is mostly a private town with a gated entry that is open to the public. This makes the area very safe. St. Martin as an island is a relatively safe island to visit, there have not been many reports of crime on the island. As when traveling to any other tourist destination, safety precautions should be taken such as being aware of your surroundings, traveling in groups, and traveling around the island with a minimum amount of jewelry, cash, and other valuables.
How to go to Orient Bay?
There are a few different ways of getting to Orient Bay. Some of those ways are by renting a car, public transport and taxi. Orient Bay Beach is a very popular tourist attraction in St. Maarten, so it is quite an easy location to get to from any location on the island. Several different forms of transport make it possible to travel to Orient Bay beach whether you are coming to St. Maarten via cruise ship or staying at one of the hotels on the island for an extended time. The different methods that can be used to get to Orient Bay Beach are listed below.
- Public transportation: The main method of public transportation in Saint Martin is the bus, it is also the cheapest form of transportation on the island with the cost of a one-way ticket ranging from $1 to $3 (€0.86 to €2.50) per person. This is a method of transportation that many tourists rely on during their stay in St. Maarten. The buses in Saint Martin have frequent routes that stop at major cities on the island including Orient Bay. Each bus has an identifying marker that states the driver’s route which is usually a sign in the front window that indicates the starting and ending point of the route. Tourists disembarking their cruise ship at the port in Philipsburg can walk for approximately 10 minutes to the center of Phillipsburg to catch a bus to the French Quarter, from here they can catch a bus or a taxi that will take them to the nearby Orient Bay Beach, this trip will take about 35 minutes. These buses pass by every 15 minutes or so. The same route should be followed on your way back to the cruise ship port from Orient Bay Beach. Make sure to leave plenty of time for travel to board the cruise ship before its departure if you are traveling to St. Maarten via cruise ship.
- Taxi: Taxis are readily available throughout Saint Martin and are a form of transportation that a lot of tourists rely on when they visit St. Maarten. Usually, these taxis are vans that can carry up to 10 people. Taxis are especially available at the arrival section of the cruise ship port in Philipsburg, at major hotels on the island as well as at Princess Juliana International airport. Drivers usually only accept cash in both Euros and U.S Dollars. The prices of each taxi ride can range from $4 to $45 (€3.5 to €40) depending on the distance and timing of your trip to Orient Bay Beach. It is important to agree on a rate with the driver before entering the taxi. There are no Lyft or Uber services available on the island of Saint Martin.
- Renting a car: Most travelers choose to rent a car during their stay in Saint Martin. This is a good option if you are planning to stay in St. Maarten for an extended time and would like to explore more parts of the island independently, including Orient Bay Beach. Renting a car would not be very practical if you are traveling to St. Maarten via cruise ship. Several car rental companies are available for tourists at both Princess Juliana airport in Dutch Sint Maarten and at Grand Case airport in French Saint Martin. These rental car companies usually charge around $30 (€25) per day. The ride to Orient Bay Beach should take about 40 minutes at most from any point on the island of St. Martin.
When should you go to Orient Bay Beach?
The best time to go to Orient Bay Beach is between the months of April to August. The reason for this is because the weather is nicest during these months. The temperatures in Orient Bay Beach range from 77 °F (25 °C) to 88 °F (31 °C) during April to August. During these months there are also warmer sea temperatures, calmer waters, more hours of daylight as well as less rainfall. Although the weather in St. Maarten is sunny all year round, all of these weather conditions that occur during these months make April to August the best time to visit Orient Bay Beach.
What are the things to do in Orient Bay?
There are many amazing activities to participate in at Orient Bay Beach for travelers. Some of the best things to do in Orient Bay Beach are listed below.
- Snorkeling: Orient Bay beach has a beautiful coral reef teeming with various sea life that many visitors of all ages can enjoy by snorkeling. Nearby hotels and vendors on the beach are often available to rent out snorkel gear for around $18 to $42 (€15 to €36) per person.
- Sunbathing: The weather in Orient Bay is always sunny and warm around 85 °F (29 °C). This is ideal weather for those who enjoy sunbathing especially on Orient Bay beach where nude sunbathing is allowed on the southern end of the beach.
- Water Sports: There are many different water sports to participate in at Orient Bay Beach such as jet skiing, parasailing, banana boating, paddle boarding, surfing, windsurfing, and more.
- Dining at restaurants & bars: There are many amazing gourmet restaurants as well as bars in Orient Bay Beach and the surrounding town that serve delicious food and cocktails that are influenced by different cultures around the world.
- Club Orient: Club orient is a famous nudist resort located in Orient Bay that is very popular for people from all over the world to visit. This resort is the only nudist resort in the French West Indies and is the ideal spot for those who want to relax and soak in the sun in the buff. The resort has 136 spacious bungalows, different activities available such as surfing and snorkeling, tennis courts, volleyball, and more.
How to snorkel in Orient Bay?
Orient Bay and the nearby surrounding islands such as Tintamarre Island, Green Cay, and Pinel island offer amazing opportunities for tourists of all levels of experience looking to snorkel in Sint Maarten. The clear waters and colorful marine life are fascinating and waiting to be explored. There are many beachside kiosks and hotels in Orient Bay that rent snorkeling gear for the day for around $18 to $42 (€15 to €36) per person. Once snorkel gear is purchased (fins, mask, and snorkel) you can choose to snorkel independently in the designated swimming area right there at Orient Bay Beach. You will need to rent a floating marker if you intend to snorkel outside of the designated swimming area at Orient Bay Beach. There is usually no need for a wet suit as temperatures in and around Orient Bay can reach up to 90 °F (32 °C).
Others who would like to venture outside of Orient Bay Beach have the option of taking a ferry, speed boat or signing up for a tour that will take them to nearby islands such as Tintamarre Island, Pinel Island, and Green Cay. These are some of the best snorkeling spots in Saint Martin because the waters in these areas are protected by the government so it’s possible to see a wide variety of marine life such as sea sponges, sea turtles, schools of tropical fish, stingrays, crustaceans and more. The ferry to these nearby islands usually costs around $6 (€5) round trip and the tours cost around $130 (€114) per person and snorkel gear is usually provided.
What are the best places to visit in Orient Bay?
There are many exciting places to visit in Orient Bay such as restaurants, museums, stores and bars, and more. These places offer a good time to all who are looking to enjoy their trip to St. Martin. The best places to visit in Orient Bay Beach are listed below.
- Waikiki Beach: A restaurant that is located on the shore of Orient Bay Beach that specializes in cuisine that is a lovely blend of the french and Caribbean cultures. Guests can sit at a picnic table or lounge bed on the beach and enjoy the nice views along with their delicious food.
- Amuseum Naturalis: One of the most popular museums in St. Martin that showcases the nature and heritage of St. Martin. Entry into the museum is free.
- Club Orient: A popular naturist hotel in St. Martin where guests are free to roam around unencumbered by any clothing.
- Kontiki: A beach bar located along Orient Bay beach that features delicious cocktails and seafood.
- Kakao Beach Bar & Restaurant: A restaurant and bar that has been located on the coast of Orient Bay Beach for over 20 years that specializes in fine European cuisine.
What are the best restaurants in Orient Bay?
Orient Bay has no shortage of restaurants available to tourists. Many restaurants are lining Orient Bay Beach where gourmet food with European and local Caribbean influence is served. Some of the restaurants in Orient Bay Beach are also the best restaurants in St. Martin. Some of the best restaurants in Orient Bay are listed below.
- Sol e Luna
- Le Piment
- Le Petit Bistro
- Coco Beach
- Perch Bar & Grill
- Kakao Beach Bar & Restaurant
- Bikini Beach
All of the restaurants listed above are known for their wide array of delicious gourmet dishes such as short ribs, truffle risotto, filet mignon with potatoes, mahi-mahi in a creole sauce, and more. These restaurants are also known for their delicious cocktails, some that are even native to the island of St. Martin such as the guavaberry colada.
What are the best hotels to stay at in Orient Bay?
Orient Bay is not only known for its beautiful beach and restaurants but its superb hotels. Some of the best hotels in St. Martin are located in Orient Bay. The best hotels and villas in Orient Bay are listed below.
- La Playa Orient Bay: This seaside hotel in Orient Bay is directly on the beach. There are 56 rooms with furnished patios and kitchenettes. An on-site water sports center provides access to equipment for parasailing, jet skiing, and banana boating.
- Hotel Esmeralda Resort: The Esmeralda Resort is a four-star resort that is located only minutes away from the exciting and entertaining nightlife, fine dining, and shopping in Orient Bay. The Esmeralda Resort has beautiful views of the ocean and has 65 different rooms and suites that are spread throughout 18 villas in an elegant tropical setting. Each villa has its own swimming pool, jacuzzi, and a private terrace and entrance.
- Hotel La Plantation: This hotel is located on the north Atlantic coast of Saint Martin near Orient Bay. The hotel has 52 rooms, a freshwater swimming pool, and a lounge area. Water sports can also be enjoyed nearby, and you can rent kayaks, surfboards, and snorkel equipment from the hotel.
- Residence Adam & Eve: This hotel is located in the heart of Orient Bay and is known for its paradisaic and serene surroundings. This resort is a 5-minute walk from the beach and has amenities such as an infinity jacuzzi, spa, lounge bar, independent studios, and private suites.
- Orient Bay Villa Rentals: Located in Orient Bay, Orient Bay Villa Rentals is within walking distance from the beach and has amazing views of Orient Bay. The amenities include a private pool, free wifi, flat-screen TVs, 4 bedrooms, three bathrooms, and a fully equipped kitchen.
- VIlla Blue Dreams: Located in Orient Bay, within less than 1 km (0.62 miles) of Orient Bay Beach, Villa Blue Dreams has gorgeous views of the sea and amenities such as an outdoor swimming pool, a private indoor swimming pool, free wifi, and a lovely, lush garden.
What are the best stores located in Orient Bay?
Along with the beautiful beach, restaurants, and hotels that Orient Bay has to offer there are also wonderful places to shop in Orient Bay. These shops include souvenir stores, home goods stores, and clothing stores. These stores are some of the best places to shop in St. Martin and a must-see for any tourist visiting Orient Bay. Some of the best stores in Orient Bay are listed below.
- Bisous Boutique
- Villa L’Orientale
- Beachlife Concept
The gorgeous Orient Bay Beach spans a little over 1 mile and is one of the most popular beaches in St. Martin.
La Playa Orient Bay is one of the most luxurious beachside hotels in Orient Bay.
Hotel La Plantation is a magnificent four-star hotel situated on the shore of Orient Bay Beach.
Parasailing is one of the many exciting activities for tourists to engage in during their stay in Orient Bay Beach.
Orient Bay Beach is a popular spot for surfers to catch some waves on the island of St. Martin.
Orient Bay Beach is known for its colorful coral reef that is full of underwater life that is just waiting to be explored.
A museum located in Orient Bay that focuses on the heritage and nature of Saint Martin.
A popular naturist resort in Orient Bay where many from all over the world visit to enjoy the beach unencumbered by clothing.
One of the top restaurants in St. Martin where guests can enjoy delicious cuisine along with an amazing view of Orient Bay Beach.
Many who visit Orient Bay Beach travel by ferry to nearby islands such as Tintamare Island, Pinel Island, and Green Cay.
What are the facts about Orient Bay?
Orient Bay Beach is one of the most popular beaches on the entire island of St. Maarten. This beach is often called “the St. Tropez of the Caribbean” because of the heavy European influence that can be seen in the attitude and culture of the locals. The length of the beach spans 1.5 miles (metric) so there is usually no crowding and plenty of privacy. The temperature throughout the year at Orient Bay Beach is usually around 77 °F to 88 °F (25 °C to 31 °C).
Orient Bay Beach is most popular for the famous Club Orient which is a clothing-optional naturist resort on the southern end of the beach. Many of the beaches in St. Martin are topless beaches, however, in Orient Bay Beach it is common for many beachgoers to lounge on the beach completely in the nude. Many people come from all over the world specifically to Orient Bay Beach to enjoy soaking in the warm rays of the sun unencumbered by clothing.
Orient Bay is known for having many colorful buildings and chic high-end bars and restaurants lining the beach. These restaurants offer a wide array of cuisine and cocktails that are influenced by many different cultures. Entry onto Orient Bay Beach is free. There is a $15 to $20 (€13 to €17) charge to rent beach chairs and umbrellas. If you are driving to the beach, there is a parking lot on the beach that is also free of charge. The currency used in Orient Bay Beach is mainly the Euro, the US dollar is also accepted.
Is Orient Beach a Nudist Beach?
Yes, Orient Bay Beach is the only official “nude beach” on the island of St. Martin. There are other beaches on the island such as Cupecoy Beach, Pinel Island, Happy Bay Beach where toplessness and nudity are commonly practiced and tolerated in certain areas of the beach. However, Orient Bay Beach is an official nude beach where people who visit are expected and even encouraged to enjoy the sand and sun completely in the nude. There is even a popular naturalist resort on the southern end of the beach called “Club Orient” where people from all over the world visit to sunbathe without any clothing at all. Due to the high volume of nude sunbathers on the beach, Orient Bay Beach is not the most suitable beach for families who are visiting St. Martin.
Are pets allowed in Orient Bay?
Yes, pets are allowed in many places in Orient Bay. The entire island of St. Martin is generally very pet friendly.