Welcome To St. Maarten

Orient Beach St Martin The Nude Beach on Orient Bay

SXM Island

When visiting St. Maarten, St. Martin , you will come to know, if you don’t already, that many of the beaches are what are referred to as “clothing optional”. These comprise most of the beaches on the French Side where topless is ordinary but it is on Orient Bay where total nudity is most common. Thousands of visitors come to our island for the liberation of being able to shed clothes and relax on the beach au naturel. After getting over the initial worry of trying something new, most first timers agree that naturism is a release (no pun intended) and a liberating experience as well as a great way to relax.  While I do tend to compulsively joke about most things (as I will about this), nudity on the beach rarely raises an eyebrow here as it is such an ordinary part of the St. Martin ambience.

The popular Club Orient at the South end of the beach is the islands only naturist resort. Occupying several hundred feet of beachfront, Club Orient has been in existence for 24 years and today has 136 rooms in one-story chalets throughout the property. The resorts “Papagayo” restaurant is probably the only clothing optional restaurant at the beach. Although all of Orient Beach is clothing optional, the other restaurants along it prefer that swimsuits be on when dining.

For those that are uninitiated with the general rules of “clothing optional”, particularly first timers who might tend to go a bit overboard in their enthusiasm for the experience, I’ve chosen to list a few do’s and don’ts.

  • Nudity while shopping in Philipsburg or Marigot is illegal.
  • Do not try to undress strangers at the beach.
  • Do not put celery in your ears and run down the beach screaming “I Love A Parade”. These common occurrences annoy others.
  • Always use sun block but only applied to the skin. It serves no purpose to drink it.
  • Wrapping your feet in aluminum foil will not prevent sunburn of the ass.
  • Doing any dance besides the Tango while nude is frowned upon.
  • If you must point at anyone, use a finger on one of your hands.
  • All men in the nude are referred to as Ralph. All women, Edna.
  • Do not use binoculars or video camera to observe other nude persons when within 8 feet of them.
  • Standing in the middle of the road, making obscene gestures and going “Nyah-Nyah” at oncoming traffic can get you hurt. Nude or not nude.
  • Be advised that these rules may vary from island to island but try to observe them as a general policy for everyone’s benefit.

St. Maarten / St. Martin Interior Decoration

Tuso a St. Maarten / St. Martin Interior Decorator has recently launched an interior decorating / interior design blog on which interior decor tips will be shared along with many samples of work done. St. Maarten is renown as a prime spot in the Caribbean for Real Estate investment and as a result of this the island is literally an Architectural Museum. L.Tuso is one of the top interior design / interior decorating firms on the island and has a very high reputation when it comes to "Flavoring Properties" as they like to call it. Be sure to visit St. Maarten Interior Decoration for great interior decorating ideas and tips.


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St. Maarten Beaches

St. Maarten Beaches

37 beaches on a 37 sq. mi. island. That’s a lot of beaches. Far more than anyone can visit on a single vacation. All the more reasons that tourists come back and back to St. Maarten St. Martin although not the only reasons.

St. Maarten is the spelling of the Dutch Side and when talking about the Dutch Side Beaches we’re talking about Mullet Bay, Dawn Beach, Maho Beach, Simpson Bay Beach, Pelican Beach, Royal Palm Beach, Great Bay Beach, Little Bay Beach, Guana Bay and Cupecoy Beach. The best of all these being Mullet Bay and Dawn Beach.


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Philipsburg The Capital Of Dutch St. Maarten


Philipsburg St. Maarten



The Capital of Dutch St. Maarten is Philipsburg which is adjacent to the Great Salt Pond. During St. Maarten’s history, the Great Salt Pond, among others, was at the heart of the island’s industry. Gleaning salt to ship out to other countries was a staple of St. Maarten’s economy. This is, of course, no longer true as tourism is now the island’s only industry and Philipsburg is the main Dutch Side shopping hub.

While Philipsburg has its share of restaurants along its relatively new Beach Walk, shopping, particularly jewelry shopping is its main attraction. In fact, St. Maarten’s Cruise Port, which is one of the finest, if not THE finest in the Caribbean, is located within walking distance of Philipsburg so our thousands of cruise passengers generally make it their first stop.


There are over 100 fine jewelry stores along Philipsburg’s main street, Front Street (Guess what the other main street is. You got it. Back Street) which might be more highly concentrated than even New York’s Jewelry Exchange. The difference is that St. Maarten is duty-free and New York is not.

A great piece of advice for cruise passengers when jewelry shopping in Philipsburg is pay no attention to your cruise directors when they tell you what stores to shop at. The cruise directors get paid to recommend certain stores but all the stores along Front Street are reputable and have quality product. Don’t let them scare you. Another great piece of info is that many activities booked through cruise directors can be as much as twice the price.
Particularly bus tours.

Some of the stores that I recommend (and I don't get paid by them) are the high end Little Europe (2 shops on the street), Pearl Gems, obviously the island’s pearl specialists, Caribbean Gems (2 shops on the street) Oro Del Sol, Zhaveri, Colombian Emeralds and the Platinum Mine.


For people staying at a hotel or villa on the island, the best days to shop in Philipsburg would be Saturday or Monday as there are usually no cruise ships in port on those days and you’ll have the whole town to yourselves.

Philipsburg also has a fully functioning Courthouse which is over 200 years old. This Courthouse has become a symbol of Philipsburg and it can be seen on many St. Maarten photos and postcards. Add to this a museum or two along with many other old buildings and Philipsburg can represent a whole day of eating, shopping and looking.


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Marigot The Capital of French St. Martin


Marigot

The Capital of French St. Martin is Marigot. The pronunciation is generally Ma-Ree-Goh although many people from other islands will say Ma-Ree-Got. This is because there is a town in Dominica of the same spelling which pronounces the T. We like to say it the French way.

Spending a day in Marigot is like spending a day in France except that St. Martin’s beaches are light years better. While Philipsburg is the place to shop for jewelry, Marigot is the place to shop for nearly everything else. Clothing, Cosmetics, Perfumes, Souvenirs, Costume Jewelry. Shop all day and relax at any one of Marigot’s sidewalk restaurants. Yes. Just like in Paris. Don’t worry. They all speak English but they are unmistakably French. That’s what’s so incredibly cool.

When in Marigot you must go to the Marina. Not to moor your boat of course, unless you sailed here, but to eat. The Marina is surrounded by some of the best restaurants in St. Martin which is already the Gourmet Capital of the Caribbean. The chefs are from France, trained in France and cook in the French styles with a Caribbean flavor.




Another absolute MUST is the Open-Air Marketplace on the water. This is THE place to get all your costume jewelry and t-shirts and souvenirs and gifts for home. Oh. And also to eat. Well this is St. Martin after all and the Marketplace is also surrounded by restaurants. Just a hint. The best days to go to the Marketplace are Saturdays and Wednesdays. Those are the days when all the booths will be open. The restaurants are open every day.


For all you timeshare owners that have kitchens, this is a great place to buy fresh fish and produce. A better deal than in the supermarkets. I have lived here for 26 years and we used to go to the Open-Air Marketplace every Saturday to do our produce shopping for the week. There are also booths that sell all the exotic spices you will ever need, many of which you may never have heard of. Oh, the aromas. When I travel to the U.S., one of the things I have to bring back are spices you may have a hard time finding up there and vanilla beans. Also know that the prices will be less than in the U.S. so have fun.


Cruise shippers never get to do any of this great stuff. They get off the ship, take a trip by taxi or bus around St. Maarten, St. Martin or take part in a single activity or go to see a single beach (we have 37).

They have to forget the ship, put aside the “all you can eat” thing and come down here for a full week. Even that’s not enough time to see this little, 37 sq. mi. island of ours.


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6 Couch Potato Rules



I won’t be joining you as I’m a "couch potato" but even couch potatoes have their rules.

1) Never pour potato chips directly from the bag into your mouth to avoid crumbs.
2) If you find yourself drooling out of the corner of your mouth while rapt in the T.V., change positions.
3) If you do have to stand up, try to multi-task. (ie: Use the bathroom AND go to the refrigerator AND put used dishes in the washer).
4) Keep the telephone within arms length (2½ ft.) and practice reaching for it to avoid re-adjustment.
5) Should food drop on your underwear, always clean up within 24 hours.
6) Should your house catch fire, you’ll be ok until the flames reach the door so keep an eye out.

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  • Biking In St. Maarten / St. Martin



    If you’re in St. Maarten, St. Martin and you really want to get a taste of mountain biking in the Caribbean, there is a group that meets every Saturday morning at 6:30 AM in Cole Bay. There is no charge and all levels are welcome. Rides can last from one to two hours.

    If you’re a tourist and want to participate, bikes and associated equipment can always be rented at Tri-Sport in Simpson Bay (545-4384). Things to remember when biking in St. Maarten, St. Martin are as follows:
    1) Keep hydrated at all times by drinking at least 1 liter of water every hour.
    2) Always ride in the early morning or late afternoon.
    3) Whenever possible, stay off the main roads.
    4) Carry a repair kit for flat tires, broken chains, etc.
    5) Wear proper attire and helmet and protection from the sun.
    6) Ride with a buddy in case of accident. Ok. Now you’re ready.

    I won’t be joining you as I’m a "couch potato" but even couch potatoes have their rules.
    1) Never pour potato chips directly from the bag into your mouth to avoid crumbs.
    2) If you find yourself drooling out of the corner of your mouth while rapt in the T.V., change positions. Read more couch potato rules here...

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  • A Brief History of St. Maarten / St. Martin




    About St. Maarten St. Martin



    Christopher Columbus discovered the island in 1493, never setting foot ashore but spotting it from his ship. Since this happened on the feast day of St. Martin of Tours. The island was quickly named.

    During the ensuing 140 years, possession and the right to exploit the resources of the island was disputed by the Spanish, French and Dutch. It was not until the 1620s that the Dutch first began to ply the island's ponds for salt, so important to the herring industry back home. These ponds still exist although salt farming is long gone.

    Ownership of the island is shared between the Dutch and French, yet no rift exists between the peoples of these two cultures. In fact, the island's inhabitants are proud of a near 350-year history of peaceful co-existence.
    St. Maarten / St. Martin is the smallest country in the world to be occupied by two sovereign nations.

    In spite of the Dutch presence on the island, the Spanish recaptured the island in 1633 and one year later built a fort at Pointe Blanche to assert their claim. In 1644 Peter Stuyvesant, director of the Dutch West India Company, led an attack on the Spanish position on St. Maarten/St. Martin. After a month of fighting, the Dutch retreated. You may remember that the one-legged Stuyvesant became Governor of New York City. His leg was lost in St. Maarten.

    As a reward for successfully defending the island, the Spanish commander requested that he and his men be allowed to leave. This makes little sense to this writer as what were they fighting for if they were going to be leaving anyway? Legend then has it that five French and five Dutch prisoners escaped and stayed behind. These Frenchmen and Dutchmen were the first of their respective countrymen to share the island.

    Sugar cane plantations came during the late 1700s and inevitably brought slavery to the island. The slavery system remained intact and prospered until the exploitive system was eventually abolished in 1848 on the French Side and in 1868 on the Dutch Side. Once slavery was abolished, the island's economy suffered greatly and St. Maarten/St. Martin became mired in a depression that lasted until 1939, when all import and export taxes were rescinded and the island became a free port.

    Thereafter, the island developed as a Caribbean trade hub. The most dramatic advances came in the 1950s, made possible by Princess Juliana International Airport's opening in the 1940’s. It was then that tourism became the island’s main source of revenue. The next few decades saw the development of many large-scale properties and casinos on the Dutch side of the island. The French side began developing rapidly in the 1980s with the passage of a tax law known as de-fiscalization.


    St. Maarten Princess Juliana International Airport


    Tourism is now the island’s only industry and flourishes with the island's airport, totally rebuilt in 2001, becoming one of the busiest in the region. It now serves as a hub for flights to several neighboring islands. In addition, more cruise ships began to visit and the island has kept pace with this lucrative and rapidly growing business. The St. Maarten Cruise Port Facilities are among the best.

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  • Purchasing Real Estate in St. Maarten / St. Martin





    Real Estate In St. Maarten / St. Martin



    Whether it’s a purchase of land from $85,000 to $15,000,000, a condo from $95,000 to $2,000,000 or an estate or a luxury villa from $385,000 to $29,000,000, the benefits of buying real estate in St. Maarten, St. Martin are many.

    One of the major benefits is the ability use your property as a lucrative vacation rental which can go anywhere from $2,500 to $25,000 per week. That’s more than you can say about most real estate sold in the world. Many purchase island real estate, particularly beachfront or ocean view real estate for this purpose alone.

    Another benefit is that St. Maarten, St. Martin is so close to home. In general, only a 4 hour flight and you’re here on the beach or at the pool in your condo, apartment or villa.

    A third benefit is the value of any Caribbean real estate, most particularly St. Maarten, St. Martin real estate, retaining and increasing its value because of its limited availability. We’re talking about 37 total sq. mi. here in St. Maarten, St. Martin. For this reason, homes, condos and apartments that are not on the beach or ocean view are tremendously valuable also. On a 37 sq. mi. island, no place is more than a few minutes from the beach and other island attractions.

    Of course, yet another value is your own use of your home, condo or apartment. For me, that’s the greatest benefit. What can be better than relaxing on the beach or at the pool in your own vacation property? I can’t think of many things.

    It’s important to know the process to purchase any island real estate. The first and most important thing is a well-known and reputable real estate agent who can steer you through the process of things like residency and any legal requirements to the actual viewing and eventual purchase of your condo, apartment or villa. It’s easier than you may think.

    I have listed below my own recommendations of the best real estate companies on St. Maarten, St. Martin:

    Island Real Estate Team: Simpson Bay, St. Maarten
    Contact: Arun Jagtiani
    Phone: 001-599-544-4240
    E-Mail: info@islandrealestateteam.com
    Website: www.islandrealestateteam.com

    Antilles Realty: Oyster Pond Rd. #144A, St. Maarten
    Contact: Maika
    Phone: 001-599-543-6411
    E-Mail: info@antillesrealty.com
    Website: www.antillesrealty.com

    Platinum Vacation Properties: Welfare Drive #6, Cole Bay, St. Maarten
    Contact: Frankie
    Phone: 001-599-544-5140
    E-Mail: info@platinumvacationproperties.com
    Website: www.platinumvacatioproperties.com

    Island Properties: Emerald Merit Rd. #13. Oyster Bay, St. Maarten
    Contact: Anju Snow
    Phone: 001-599-543-6160
    E-Mail: info@islandpropertiesonline.com
    Website: www.islandpropertiesonline.com

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  • Where To Stay in St. Maarten / St. Martin - Hotels, Resorts, Villas, Condos, Guest Houses e.t.c




    St. Maarten St. Martin Accommodations



    The choices are almost unlimited but personal taste, location and of course, affordability would be the major factors.

    St. Maarten is a tourist island. It has no other real industries. St. Maartener’s do not grow wheat, raise cattle or manufacture for export. The sole industry on both sides of the island is tourism and all businesses on the island are related to the tourism sector. Because of this, accommodations are many, from Hotels to Resorts to Villas & Condos to Guesthouses to Timeshares. Lots of them and they’re all over so take your choice.

    Hotels and Timeshares are ordinarily the first options looked at. Most of the major Hotels, such as Pelican (now Simpson Bay Resort), Maho, Divi, Oyster Bay, Caravanserai, Westin, Flamingo, Royal Palm and Atrium all have Timeshare adjuncts and were, in fact, built with Timeshare in mind. What that means for the vacationer is that all rental units are suites from Studio to 3 Bedroom. All of the above mentioned are located either directly on or steps from the beach. Is this a major factor? For those who don’t like to move around a lot the answer would be yes but the St. Maarten vacation is not about being "hotel-bound" like in Jamaica. It’s a “move-around” vacation where 37 wonderful beaches must be visited ( not all, of course, but certainly a good number of them ).

    Oh. Be sure to rent a car. They’re inexpensive and necessary. Go to: www.onestopsxm.com to do this.

    St. Maarten, St. Martin is also known for its restaurants, the best of which are not going to be at your hotel. Yet another reason for being mobile is the fabulous shopping. Well that’s all over but the main centers are Philipsburg, Capital of the Dutch Side ( best bet for Jewelry ) and Marigot, Capital of the French Side ( best bet for Clothing and Cosmetics and Fragrances and Souvenirs ).


    My personal favorites would be based primarily on convenience of location. I would want to be in the Simpson Bay area as that’s the most centrally located and nearest to nighttime entertainment and many restaurants. Those resorts would be Flamingo, Royal Palm, Atrium and Pelican, all on the beach and near to everything. This does not exclude other beautiful resorts. St. Maarten, St. Martin is only a 37 sq. mi. island so nothing is too far away. You can probably drive around it, traffic permitting, in an hour.



    Villa rentals are also recommended. Many people think that renting a Villa may be too pricey but not when you look at the numbers. Staying at the better hotels can be $200 per night for a Studio and even higher while a Villa can service 3 to 4 couples, have consummate luxury and of course, private pools.

    Go to www.jennifersvacationvillas.com and check them out.

    For More On St. Maarten St. Martin Villas See the follow post:

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  • St. Maarten St. Martin Villa & Condo Rentals




    St. Maarten Villa Rentals



    If you want to experience true Luxury on St. Maarten, or what we refer to as St. Maarten luxury for St. Maarten vacations, you have to look into St. Maarten condo rentals and St. Maarten villa rentals. Of course this means the French side also so include St. Martin villa rentals and St. Martin condo rentals too. Vacation rentals, whether they be for St. Maarten or for St. Martin vacation rentals have been becoming increasingly popular with more and more vacationers choosing a St. Maarten villa, a St. Maarten condo, a St. Martin villa or a St. Martin condo rather than a hotel stay.


    Cost for St. Maarten / St. Martin Villa / Condo Rentals

    The costs for such a luxury vacation may seem prohibitive at first but when you consider that costs can be divided by two, three, four or even five couples, you will find them more than competitive with hotel costs and they offer many times the luxury. It is for this reason that the best known St. Maarten villa rental and condos and St. Martin villa rental and condos, Jennifer’s Villa Rentals in Simpson Bay is doing so well. So if you’re planning a St. Maarten vacation or a St. Martin vacation, check with Jennifer about the costs of a villa or condo while you’re checking hotel prices. You’ll be surprised.


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    St. Maarten / St. Martin Real Estate Guide


    St. Maarten Real Estate


    There have been so many negative stories about real estate in recent years that some people might actually believe that all markets in every part of the world have been wiped out. With all this going on it’s easy to miss what happens on a tiny dot on the globe. Having said this, many who are familiar with St. Maarten, St. Martin have been, and still are enjoying a very successful wave of real estate growth.

    Historically, the real estate prices in St. Maarten, St. Martin have shown a pattern of steady growth. This can be followed by a period of no significant growth but, differing from many markets in the world, there has never been a significant dip in prices. Even through challenging times, the St. Maarten, St. Martin real estate market has proven its stability.

    A few years ago, when the world economy was booming, St. Maarten, St. Martin responded quickly and wisely by constructing numerous condo projects and luxury villas, most of which were sold before completion. The efforts of local real estate developers and agents were complemented by a new international airport and a new harbor which has driven demand for island real estate, particularly luxury real estate, beach real estate and ocean view real estate, whether they be homes, villas, condos or apartments, which has created small fortunes for many.

    Those who purchased real estate on St. Maarten, St. Martin ten years ago can, in most cases, sell those homes and apartments and villas, be they full time occupancy or used for vacation rentals, for close to double what they paid.

    It is important to understand that Caribbean real estate in general, because of its mass appeal and year-round weather, has immense value. Property does not necessarily have to be beach front real estate, oceanfront real estate or even luxury real estate to hold and increase in value. This is true in St. Maarten, St. Martin in particular because any island map will show you that its small size of 37 sq. mi. leaves limited real estate available for sale under even the best of circumstances. That’s called "exclusivity" and that creates stability.

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