Getting Oriented or Disoriented on Orient Beach, St. Martin

Editor’s Note: In March, I traveled to the Caribbean Island of St. Martin/Saint Maarten to help my friend Kenitra celebrate her birthday and I’m just getting around to posting about the experience. Join me as I travel back to sandy beaches, tropical drinks and nude bathers…


I saw my first nudist on Orient Beach during an early morning stroll. He was somewhere between orange and pink in color and he was wearing a red hat and dark shades. I wondered why he was so concerned about protecting the top of his head and not the one dangling about down below.

The sighting was a tad disturbing at 7:30 am during what I thought would be a fairly solitary stroll on the beach. I’d forgotten that our hotel was steps away from the nudist end of Orient Beach, which is on the French side of the island shared by the Dutch on the other. Olivier, our airport transfer driver, pointed out the beach yesterday upon our arrival. We didn’t see much nakedness then and the only other nude beach that I knew was one in Ocho Rios, Jamaica where the nude bathers there kept to themselves, choosing not to mingle with the clothed ones.

Soon, I saw a parade of sun worshippers who were as naked as the day they were born. Well, almost. One wore a fanny pack and I thought to myself, if you have to go someplace where you have to carry money, wouldn’t you just wear clothes? It also occurred to me that you don’t have to be clothed to be fashion challenged.

Orient Beach is one of the island’s most popular beaches, lined with bars tilting towards the water’s edge serving up any tropical drink you can think of along with the soundtrack for a lazy day in the sun. But this morning it is quiet and owned by respectful early risers jogging the length of the beach and back or practicing yoga sun salutations in the buff. The surf is too rough to enter, so I decide to simply sit on a perfectly situated mound of sand and stare out at the glistening turquoise water, averting my eyes with the approach of another nude bather.

I managed to get some nice G-rated pictures from my first morning on Orient Beach…

Next: Why eating French food with sand between your toes is pretty close to heaven…

St. Martin/Saint Maarten

About Robin

Robin Bennefield is the author of the blog Robins Have Wings, which is not just a blog; it is a travel manifesto, reminding her—and maybe you—to take flight and embark upon unexpected journeys near and far.

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