The 7 Most Beautifull Beaches
The St. Maarten island's beaches range from windswept stretches of shoreline to sheltered bays with low sandstone cliffs and swathes of pearly white sand. Some beaches are lively and crowded and have beach bars, restaurants and water sports rentals while others are quiet, virtually deserted and have no services at all. The beaches along the windward coast tend to have larger waves and some are popular with surfers and windsurfers. Leeward coast beaches are popular with families.
All beaches are open to the public and several in the French half of the island are favored by topless sun worshippers. After you have spent a few days at Simpson Bay and Simpson Bay Lagoon, you may want to visit some of the following beaches:
At one time, this area was famous for its families who made their living by fishing. There are still a few fisherman who shove off, hours before dawn, in search of “the one that got away”. Today, residential and vacation homes dot this mile long beach, as well as a few small resort hotels.
Right at the end of the Simpson Bay Village, you’ll find ‘Karakter’, an active beach bar with great drinks and food. Half of Simpson Bay Beach runs parallel with The Princess Juliana International Airport runway. This beach is never crowded and perfect for watching planes and sunsets.
Just down the road from Maho Beach, this is a surfers paradise, when the conditions are “right”. Mullet Bay Beach borders on the island’s only 18-hole golf course and is very popular with locals, especially on the weekends. At the southern end, sea grape trees provide pleasant shade for those who are sensitive to the sun’s rays and heat.
Lounge chairs and umbrellas are also available. A little snack bar cooks up hamburgers and hotdogs and serves cold beers and soft drinks. Mullet Bay Beach is also an ideal place to take a long stroll in search of free souvenirs. Make sure you take a little waterproof bag with you. Washed up onto the seashore are all types of tiny shells and little pieces of interestingly shaped coral that could grab your eye – great way to get a tan!
One of the major pleasures of visiting Orient Bay is the opportunity to indulge in some serious scuba-diving. A short sail north from Oyster Pond brings you to Orient Bay, situated on the north-east coast of French St. Martin, which experts say has some of the best diving in the Caribbean. Take care when entering the bay as conditions can be tricky. Coral, amazing sea-life including turtles, eagle rays and barracudas, dramatic underwater structures and wrecks are all there to be explored and there is a PADI-accredited dive-school where instruction can be taken.
Jet-skis and windsurfers are available to rent, and the white sandy beach offers a full range of watersports from kite surfing to kayaking. If airborne thrills are more to your liking, think about an exhilarating (did someone say heart-stopping?) ride in one of the ultra-light aircraft that ply their trade here. (Best done before lunch, so those who have been before will say.) Chic boutiques are plentiful and the beach has a good range of bars and restaurants, with Chez Leandra’s garlic conch stew a particular favourite.
Cupecoy is Dutch St. Maarten’s semi-official nude beach. Sandstone cliffs give Cupecoy beach a dramatic golden backdrop, unlike any other beach on the island.Protected from the wind, this beach is perfect for those who enjoy “baking” in the sun.
Dipping in the Caribbean Sea often or just lying on the edge of the rolling surf is recommended. If you’re wearing nothing but your birthday suit, be sure, at least, to wear plenty of sunscreen! Lounge chairs, umbrellas, cold drinks, and sometimes a BBQ are available for your enjoyment.
Known in French as “Anse des Pères”, the very scenic Friars Bay Beach is a sheltered, family friendly beach in the northwest of the island. The beach is famous for its two well-known beach restaurants, Friars Bay Beach Café and Kali’s Beach Bar.
By day, visitors relax by the calm waters of the Caribbean sea, but when the sun goes down Friar’s Bay Beach moves to the sounds of rock and reggae. Don’t miss the legendary Full Moon parties at Kali’s Beach Bar. Friar’s Bay Beach Café frequently hosts concerts in this magical and intimate setting.
Every hour, brightly painted local ferry boats shuttle visitors the few hundred yards from the mainland to this tiny picture-perfect tropical paradise. There are several beaches surrounding Ilet Pinel, some unspoiled and private, which are ideal for sunbathing and snorkeling excursions.
Two beach estaurants/bars offer fresh seafood dishes, grilled lobsters, and ribs and chicken. At Eric’s Place, cooks grill up the live lobster you choose from lobster traps in waters just off the beach. Mmmmm. While you’re on Ilet Pinel, check out Tom’s place. He has hundreds of beautiful sarongs and other souvenirs to choose from. Plenty of lounge chairs and umbrellas, as well as snorkeling equipment available.
Only two miles off St. Martin’s eastern coast lays the uninhabited island of Tintamarre. The flat and brush covered 80 acre islet features a gorgeous beach, with a calm anchorage for the day-charter boats which frequently visit for a few hours. On the southern coast, there are several sandy coves with complete privacy. A little exploration of the island will reveal that Tintamarre was not always without permanent residents. In the old days, there was agriculture and some commerce. Up to 150 people made their living on Tintamarre and it was reigned by its owners as an almost independent territory. Even a currency was installed about 100 years ago, when 30000 Dutch cent-coins, not circulating as currency in the Caribbean, where imported as cheap tokens with a new value assigned to them. During the years of World War II, the island was governed by the French Vichy government and it is rumored that it gave shelter and provisioning to German sub-marines.