Orient Beach, St. Martin/Sint Maarten
St. Martin is a very unique island because the Northern half is French and the Souther half is Dutch. The island isn't all that big, so it's easy to see the whole thing in a couple of hours. You don't have to worry about crossing borders or anything like that, and rental cars are affordable and the roads easy enough to navigate. The French side has some great food and the Dutch side offers lots of night life and casinos. The entire island offers some very scenic beaches in its many bays.
Orient Bay is located on the Northeastern part of the island on the French side. It is a very beautiful bay which spans about a mile and a half. The sand is very white and the water clear and blue. The Nude section is on the Southern end and is well marked. The other part of the beach is true to its French style so going topless is allowed.
All along the main part of the beach are lots of little bars and restaurants, many of them pretty much connected, forming a bit of a boardwalk. Many of them offer lounge chairs and a steady supply of frosty beverages and food for your enjoyment. There's something to suit anybody's tastes here, and the views are spactacular. There are large floating trampolines and slides out in the ocean, jetskiis for rent, parasailing and any other kind of touristy thing to consume your hard-earned money :).
The nude part of the beach isn't quite developed like the textile side, which is quite nice! You'll find lounge chairs you can rent and accompanying umbrellas to shape you from the bright Sun. This is a little tiki type bar up near the dune where you can get all kinds of frosty beverages. They have Caribe and Presidente beers for sure, and a bunch of different frozen drinks as well. The memory is a little fuzzy after the first 4 or 5, but I remember them being nice and cold ;).
There are a couple of swim platforms you can swim out to and sunbath on. It's very pleasant on them with the gentle waves rolling under you and the nice tropical breeze. It's a fair bit cooler on the platforms because you don't have the heat effect from the entire beach cooking you. The water is generally very clear here and offers some good snorkeling. You'd have to go out pretty far to see the actual reef stuff, but there's plenty of interesting things to check out while in the buff.
When you look out across the bay, you'll see a small island out a ways, and a barrier reef that helps to keep the waters calmer around the beach. To the North, you'll see steep mountains rising out of the sea. It really is a very beautiful bay to spend at least a day.
Depending upon when you're there, you may get an influx of people if a cruise ship is in port. Some of them are happy to be there and partake in the nudeness of it all, while others are clearly out there "to see them some nekkid peoples." There were several groups of clothed people who walked by when I was there, clearly there to see the crazy naked people. heh. But for the most part, it's a nice friendly beach comprised of people who are there to have a nice relaxing visit. I will say that I took out my camera to take a picture of the bay and I guess some sort of security person appeared from nowhere and sternly told me no pictures and waited for me to put the camera away. There was clearly nobody in my shot, but he didn't care — wsn't having it. Of course, pictures are clearly taken as confirmed by orientbeach.com.
If you're looking for a totally nude vacation, there's a nude resort (Club Orient) right there ajoining the beach. One of the people we met on the beach gave us a tour of his villa and it was quite nice. You certainly can't beat the location!
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