Though we have been to beaches on the Dutch side of St. Maarten, we would like to go to the Orient Bay area on the French side. I do not want to be judgemental at all about the culture there but I understand there is a high degree of nudity at one end of the beach & much toplessness in other areas. Since we will be traveling with several teen girls, we would feel more comfortable in an area where bathing suits (with tops) are the norm. Are any of the beaches at Orient Bay more conservative? I understand the areas have different names - Waikiki, etc. We have been to Cupecoy & Mullet Bay (Dutch side) & there was very little toplessness but hear Orient Bay has a lot of activity & is beautiful. Any info. appreciated! Thx.
If you say just on the topless side, thats all you will see and not really that much of it. The other side which is plainly marked is the nudist colony's area, once in a while they may wonder over, but its unlikley. The beach is huge, I'm sure you can find an area with all people in suits. Yes, its true, I thought Orient beach was beautiful and a lot of water activities, its worth the trip over.
Thanks a bunch, Donna! A magazine article I recently read made the area sound like it was a hedonism to the max, which had us a little worried. Your description makes it sounds o.k., though. If we hire a minivan or take a ship tour to get to this area, do you know if there is a particular area or named beach we should probably gravitate toward?
WE BROUGHT OUR TWO GIRLS THERE LAST YEAR AGES 13 & 15 . IT WAS ONE OF THE NICES BEACHES WE WENT TO . ONLY A FEW TOPLESS MOST PEOPLE IN SUITS.IT DID NOT SEEM TO BOTHER THEM AT ALL. WE HAD A HARD TIME GETTING THE KIDS OUT OF THE WATER .THERE IS A NUDIST COLONY WAY DOWN THE END OF THE BEACH .
The beach is just huge, we never even walked the whole area, lots of restaurants and ships, I believe for $5.00/$6.00 you could get a lounger and a beer for the day and there are tons of them, no problem getting one. Plan some time to walk around as well. Here is one of the restaurants on Orient Beach :-)
Thanks again Donna! Great photo! And to you, too, Arthur. It's always better to get the lowdown from folks who have actually 'been there' - esp., in this case - to someone who had teen girls w/them. As I mentioned before, we stayed in St. Maarten years ago, and have stopped there on cruises about 2 or 3 times (my favorite shopping place!),but did not go to Orient Beach. I am really looking forward to it & having a "new" experience there. It will seem almost like a new destination!
Looks like you have found plenty of answers to your question, but I just have to put in my two cents. Orient Beach was one of the highlights to our honeymoon cruise. We took the ship excursion, which included transportation, lunch, beach chairs, etc, and had a wonderful time! I think I remember seeing one topless lady walking down the beach, but other than that, nudity was not widespread at all. We are visiting St Maarten again in December and definitely plan on going to Orient Beach again. Have fun!
Do you know if that is the restaurant you eat at with the Orient Beach Lunch Excursion? We took that tour in '99 and loved the restaurant, so we want to make sure we go there again in December, but I couldn't remember the name or where on Orient Beach it was located. Do you happen to know? Thanks!
If I remember correctly that restaurant was kind of in the middle of the beach, but more towards the nudist colony area. There were lots of different places to eat on the beach, so not sure if thats the one that you'd eat at doing the tour?? If not, you can still drop by I guess, hope you have a great time there again. Remember that Orient beach is huge, I didn't even walk the whole thing, but sure you will find it again, at least its not that far of a walk, have fun!
Oh, thanks, Heather. Actually, I'm glad everyone is writing. I did a similar post on another sight & have gotten solid warnings to stay away from the French beaches.
We were there in July yrs. ago when we hit the beaches, but always in March -when on cruises, & didn't really go to the beaches then. A topless lady here or there is one thing; finding MOST women topless, plus nudists, is another matter. There is a difference between feeling surrounded or outnumbered & just having a few "sightings", if you know what I mean! With teen girls along, watching topless females bouncing on a water trampoline or something might be awkward! We were in Villefranche & Nice on a cruise this past summer & even there, 99% of women wore tops. I understand in San Tropez there is much more toplessness. We may even take the ship excursion to Orient Bay if one is offered, just for ease of arranging. (We usually arrange our own, but cabs in St. Martin are not cheap. Esp. for a group of 9.) Anyone else who wants to put in their 2 cents, feel free. I don't care how many answers there are. So far the ones on this sight seem better.
Heather or Donna,
Do you recall WHERE they drop you off when you are on the ship's shore excursion? The middle of the beach, or where? Do they advise you on what to expect at the different areas? Can you recall APPROXIMATELY what this excursion costs? Thanks.
I really have NO idea where we were dropped off, but I wish I did, because we would love to go there again. From what I remember, it "seemed" like the middle of the beach. Facing the water, the beach to the left led into mountains, and to the right seemed to be hotels (the clothing-optional resort?). The bus dropped us off in the parking lot of the restaurant, but, of course, I don't remember the name! The tour on Royal Caribbean was about $50 per person, and this included lunch (which was wonderful), transportation by bus, and beach chairs. Going by excursion was very convenient, and I think that its probably about what you would pay about the same if you did everything individually, especially since you mentioned the cabs are expensive, and I think the food probably is, too. I think we stayed there about 4 hours, which was enough time to enjoy the beach and eat lunch. I'm sorry I can't give you more detailed information. Maybe the cruiseline could tell you where they drop you off.
Seems to me there was only one area where you could get dropped off and picked up, it was basically the start of the beach, right were the nudist colony begins and the other beach is. We took a cab there and the more people in the car, less per person, on the way back we shared a cab with another couple going back to the pier and it was only $5.00 per person, not bad. We didn't have the first driver come back, because we really didn't know what to expect either and didn't know when we wanted to go, but there were cabs right there, it was no problem.
Hi there: Lucky you, our cruise this time doesn't go to St. Maarten. It's one of our favorites. We usually get a van driver who gets about $15.00 pp and usually gets about 6 people. He takes you for several hours of touring the island including the huge outdoor flea market where we got wonderful bargains. When we are done with all the sightseeing and shopping we always go to Orient Beach. We have always gotten dropped off where people are wearing suits. There is one great snack place that has a live 3 piece band and it's a very festive mood to have lunch there and it's not expensive. It's the only place with live music. While we stroll the whole length of the beach and do pass the nudist area, it is absolutely not necessary to go there. However, nudity is very acceptable there and noone gives it a second thought (except us dressed folks of course)lol. It's probably the most beautiful beach I've had the pleasure to see and I think that includes Hawaii. Hope you have a great time. Arlene
I looked in my magazine again & sure enough, it had a photo of Peeping Tom's, too. The article mentioned it's a popular place. There was another photo of a woman sitting on a bar stool nude while having a temporary tatoo painted on her bottom. That could also be the same restaurant, which would mean it is just outside the "official" beginning of the nudist resort. If you know which end that is, that should be where Peeping Tom's is, I THINK. (The more answers coming in, the more I'm learning & putting together w/the article. By the way, the cab prices indicated in some of the replies are much less than we were quoted to be taken almost anywhere the last time we were in St. Maartin, 2 Marches ago. Good!
The degree of skin exposure range from topless to full nudity down toward the resort. N ot everyone is topless but you may see it anywhere on the beaches, especially in the French settled areas. It really isn't any big deal and I am sure your teen girls won't really care after the initial surprise. It seems even hormone raging teenage boys become used to it quickly and barely notice toplessness on Caribbean beaches.
If I understand your answer correctly, the closer to the main resort, the less clothing we can expect, right?-So in which direction is the resort?
I think we will just go ahead & go there. We can always leave if the girls feel wierd. (I think they'll be o.k. as long as none of the BOYS they meet on the ship are around!) I was in St. Maarten the first time with - of all things - a l4 yr. old baseball team! We went to Cupecoy Beach (right on the French/Dutch border) the first a.m. There weren't a whole lof of people there, but there were some young women & a couple of guys. The boys on the team gave an interested but somewhat embarrassed look-see at first, then the water & waves were more their thing. However, a couple of the FATHERS that were along as sort of coaching assts. were acting pretty adolescent - the jokes & comments got too much for me. After that I made my husband take me to Mullet Bay Beach where there were a few topless females, but I didn't have to listen to the "remarks".
Thanks for your reply. I feel better about Orient Bay after reading these posts.
I can assure you that all of the hedonistic and immature behavior takes place on the clothed side of Orient beach. The clothing optional part of the beach is quiet.
You will find families that are comfortable with nudity on the clothing optional beach. I can also assure you that there is nothing harmful about the human body to other humans. It's all a matter of what you are used to.
In fact, a lot of people would say that it's important, particularly for a young girl to realize that few of us look like a Playboy Bunnies underneath their clothes. And we don't have to run and hide because of it.
I pretty much agree w/you. I, too, believe there's nothing wrong with the human body (well, maybe mine!!!!), though I personally prefer to be around most of them when they are covered to some extent. But, as you said, it is what you are used to. Since we are not, & being a teen is sometimes hard enough, we just want to at least be in the area where MOST of the bathers are dressed like us. It's hard to get really comfortable when you only have a couple of hrs. to adjust. My own daughter has been in Europe - yes, to the beach. But the other girls have not & are somewhat timid about how it will seem. I'm sure I'm much too concerned about it & things will be fine!