Viewing entries tagged St. Maarten
Even though a good portion of Orient Beach in St. Maarten is dedicated to those wishing to strip away all the barriers and let the sun shine where it normally wouldn't, the beach does offer plenty to people who want to keep their clothes on.
The nude beach is definitely a sight to see (just don't be a creep), yet what surprised me was the ridiculous amount of activity going on, both on and off the water. Jet skis, small sailboats, kite surfing, windsurfing, kayaks, floating docks, parasailing, boogie-boarding - the ocean was, for sure, in motion.
Lining the beach are cafes and restaurants that offer specials, usually a beach chair, a drink, and bathroom access for $7-$10. Buckets of 6 beers are $10-$12, and the vibe is very social and happening - I'm not afraid to label it as the busiest beach on the island.
It's big enough where you can find solace if you wish, though - and the beauty of the bay is what stole the show for me. Even if you don't stay at one of the nearby hotels, it's a must-do day trip when you're on the island.
Yesterday, I took the GB Express from St. Maarten over to Anguilla, leaving out of Simpson Bay and arriving at Blowing Point Ferry Terminal (25 minute ride, $105 round-trip, semi-private shuttle, 12 persons max).
People told me there was "nothing to do" on Anguilla - mainly in the way of nightlife - yet they failed to mention how that vibe translates into extreme relaxation. From the moment my toes hit the silk-like sand, I could feel my entire body embrace the aura of tranquility.
No loud chatter, no loud music, no noisy groups or plane engines roaring - just you and the sun and the sand and the ones you love. There is plenty of space to spread out a picnic on the beach, perhaps a bottle of wine in the sand as the sea sparkles in front of you.
There are a few really nice properties on the island - those photos and stories to come.
For now, enjoy these beach photos:
Aerial view of Sandy Ground.
Ocean view from Meads Bay.
View of St. Maarten from Paradise Cove.
Yesterday morning I drove from Maho over to Phillipsburg and toured the Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort.
Set on a small hill above the town of Phillipsburg (which is the capital of St. Maarten), it provides absolutely stunning views of the bay and the cruise ship docks.
This week I will tour the other Sonesta in Maho, right near the Princess Juliana Airport (video of planes flying in over the beach to come).
Check out these photos from the resort:
Yesterday, we took the Great Bay Express high-speed ferry over to St. Barths ($80 round trip). It was about a 40-minute ride, but the time flew by as we were treated to views of the different Caribbean islands (St. Maarten, Saba, St Barths, others that are uninhabited).
We landed in Gustavia Harbar and had a really nice day (stories to come), but one of the biggest surprises is the fact that accomodations are 70% luxury villas and 30% hotels - there's only about 500 hotel rooms on the entire island.
Not that you'll mind when you see what the villas look like - I was lucky enough to tour one of them yesterday.
Prices can range from a few thousand to over $25,000/week.
Check out this three bedroom, priced on the low end (which makes you wonder what the high end looks like):
View from the kitchen.
Pool and hot tub.
View from the bathroom.
View from terrace of Flamand Beach.
It's been a while since I've done one of these cold-to-hot swings - last week I was in Quebec sleeping at the Ice Hotel, now I'm in St. Maarten and donning a shirt is the last thing on my mind.
Every traveler no doubt has memories of when they were young, experiences that led him or her to the current point in time. I grew very fond of the active winter lifestyle that was on display in Quebec City, but it seems like last night's sunset was trying to remind me where I came from.
The Caribbean was the first place that really infected me when I was a kid - I simply wanted the sun and the sand and the weather in my life every day. Not just one week during the summer - every day.
When I was here in 2005, I discovered an amazing spot at the entrance to a cave where the water rises and falls about two feet in a matter of seconds. Back then I would sit and have a beer almost every day, watching the water and thinking about how good I felt.
Of course, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Almost seven years have passed since my last visit to St. Maarten, yet there I was back in the same spot - drinking a beer, watching the water, thinking it all over. It was an absolutely gorgeous sky last night, perfect for a writer to sit and ponder.
Here are a few photos. More coverage to come - I'm here the next two weeks.
My secret spot.
Warmth Needed! (Photo taken in Punta Cana.)
When I woke up and saw the dusting of snow on the ground (Philly area), I brewed a hot cup of coffee and began looking over my plans for the next two months - specifically my two-week trip to St. Maarten/St. Martin in the middle of February.
I might have mentioned that I just relocated back east from California, and all my friends think it's funny to send me the weather report from Santa Barbara: 70s and sunny today.
That's all right - no seasonal depression here, however I do require a touch of warmth in my life - and I'll have details of my island plans for you in the beginning of February.
Before that (end of January) I get another shot of the cold when I visit the Finger Lakes to check out Wine on Ice and take a scenic flight over the area. I was there recently to check out the fall colors, and now I'll see what the winter is like in Upstate New York. The Rosewood Inn (bed and breakfast) will be my home for the weekend.
It's a long way off, but I confirmed the other day that I will be headed south in April to check out the King and Prince Beach and Golf Resort on St. Simons. More info to come on that - I believe I will wrap it in a trip to check out Savannah as well.
Stay warm, kids.