Orient Bay, the busiest beach in St. Martin
If you drive to the North Eastern area of St Martin you will find the busiest beach on the whole island. Nestled amidst the surrounding hills, this sweeping two mile stretch of white sand in Baie Orientale has more bars and restaurants than you can visit in one go.
From the beach, you can see the islands of St Barth’s, Tintamarre, Green Key and Pinel!
One end of the beach is unprotected from ocean swells and so it’s a great beach for playing in the surf on a boogie board and body surfing. Whereas the other end is protected by a reef making it the ideal spot for swimming in calmer water and snorkeling around Green Key.
Standing on the northern end of the beach looking south, the length of the beach is separated by different colored sun loungers and umbrellas that belong to the individual bars, restaurants, resorts, shops and boutiques that line the length of the beach ranging from deep maroon, bright blue, red, yellow and pink turning the beach into a kaleidoscope of colors.
The sun loungers can be hired for about $10 a day and friendly staff are happy to bring the menus, drinks and food to you which leaves all the time in the world to sit back, people gaze and watch the many beach activities.
In between restaurants and boutiques, there are the activity desks where you can rent jet skis, snorkeling gear, Hobie Cats and wind surfing equipment. Volleyball and beach games can be arranged at some activity desks along with paragliding and dinghy rides to Tintamarre or snorkeling trips to Green Key.
At the southern end of the bay is Club Orient, the famous naturist resort, where clothing is optional. This part of the bay is the calmest so if you want a proper swim and body watch, this is the place. Nude bathers and shore walkers are not confined to just the club area so be prepared to see bare bum’s and boob’s along the whole length of the beach.
They call the main restaurants on the beach the “Five stars of Orient Bay” these are Kontiki, Kakao, Bikini, Waikiki and Coco restaurants.
Waikiki Restaurant is one of the largest offering a daily ‘All you can eat buffet’ and ‘Big Sunday breakfast Buffet’ with live music. Their ‘Saturday Lobster buffet’ is also quite an experience. Waikiki restaurant in Orient Bay often has live music and DJ’s during special party days so if you like dancing in the sand and partying the day away this is the venue for you.
Bikini Beach bar is one of the most established restaurants in Orient Bay that offers a Thai & Vietnamese menu. They also offer tapas and seafood. There is a children’s play area, boutique, Bikini Buddha Garden Restaurant, Beach Squeeze Fresh Fruit Juice Bar and watersports center where paragliding can be arranged.
At the northerly end of the beach near Esmeralda resort you can find Coco Bar & Restaurant. They have tropical cocktails and freshly squeezed fruit juices. The menu at Coco is comprised of sandwiches, pizza, tapas, hamburgers, pasta and seafood. A sushi menu is also available throughout the day.
Kontiki is a place with everything! Water sports, that include snorkeling, banana boating, jet skiing, paragliding, aqua jump and body board rentals. There is even a massage hut on the beach if it all becomes too much to cope with. All this and we haven’t mentioned the incredible food yet. For snacks there is the Tiki Hut selling paninis, sandwiches, pizzas and salads throughout the day. The restaurant has an extensive menu including sushi, salads, raw fish and seafood, steaks and a kid’s menu, prepared by a Thai/French super chef.
The last of the ‘5 Stars of Orient Beach’ is Kakao restaurant and boutique. Relax inside or on the beach, in one of the boat shaped beach tables or a sunlounger. The service and food are both excellent. Full cocktail menu with all the Caribbean and international beers chilled to perfection. The boutique carries beachwear, jewelry, beach towels, bags, sunglasses and sandals.
We certainly recommend trying out the many other beach bars and restaurants along the beach, they all have very varied menus and special cocktails which makes exploring Orient Bay quite the adventure!
By Lindy Green