Happy Bay, St. Martin

A beautiful tropical beach really does make us happy, so when we heard about a beautiful beach on the french side of St. Martin called Happy Bay, we thought we really had to see it.

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It’s a 15 minute hike to get to Happy Bay from Friar’s Bay, and the day we explored that side of the island we were in flip flops. We thought we’d attempt the hike anyway.

There’s parking for the trail in the lot behind Friar’s Bay and the path to Happy Bay which can be found on the north side of Friar’s Bay Beach Cafe.

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There’s a section of trail that was a little rocky, but then it opens up to a nice meadow. Small signs painted on several rocks indicate where to go.

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There are some nice views of Friar’s Bay and surrounding coves from the trail.

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A gate mid-way down the trail opens up to a beautiful meadow.

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Pass under the tree with the beautiful canopy to get to Happy Bay Beach.

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We hear that Happy Bay is usually very quiet with very few people and although there were quite a few people playing in the water and enjoying the beautiful sand while we were there, there were still a lot of quiet spots to enjoy the sunshine and gentle surf. Currently there are no amenities available at Happy Bay, so be sure to bring in any snacks and drinks you might need.

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Or, just make a stop for lunch and some drinks at Friar’s Bay Beach Bar/Cafe or Kali’s Beach Bar when you get back to Friar’s Bay!

Even if you’re in your flip flops – if you like beautiful, less crowded beaches, the hike to Happy Bay is well worth it.

Have you been to Happy Bay?

Find Happy Bay on our St. Maarten/ St. Martin Map

To see more posts on St. Maarten/St. Martin and other islands, check out our Island Blog Directory

 

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Pictures and other content may not be re-used without written consent from Rum Therapy, LLC

Pinel Island, St. Martin

In the northern part of Orient Bay on the French side of St. Martin and just off the town of Cul de Sac, lies a small island called Pinel. Depending on who you talk to or the travel guide you read, Pinel Island can also be called Isle Pinel, Ilet Pinel, or Ile de Pinel.

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We visited Pinel Island last year during a sail around St. Maarten/ St. Martin but if staying on or visiting St. Martin, Pinel Island is very easily accessed by ferry from the town of Cul de Sac.

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The day we visited, Pinel Island was very busy and the beach was much more crowded than we normally like and we hear that is really pretty normal for the small island – and many people obviously don’t mind the crowds! Even though we’d probably rather spend the day at a quieter beach somewhere, we still had fun and recommend a visit for the following reasons:

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Pinel Island main beach has lovely soft sand and the water is clear and very calm.
It’s a great area to bring the family to play in the water. You can also kayak over from St. Martin.

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A short hike from the beach you can find a snorkel trail with decent snorkeling and we were told that  snorkel equipment can be rented there.

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If you continue up the trail from the snorkel trail and you’ll be treated to fantastic views of St. Martin and Orient Beach.

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At the top of the trail you get a good look at the island of Tintamarre and if you look south, you may even catch a glimpse of St. Barths.

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There are also a couple of more deserted beaches on Pinel that you can reach and explore via a short hike.

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Umbrellas and chairs on the beach in front of Up on the Key Beach Bar/Restaurant

After your hike, you might want to head back down to sit under a beach umbrella and enjoy a frosty beverage. At the time of our visit, there were three beach bars/restaurants on Pinel: Karabundi, Up on the Key and Yellow Beach.

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Karabundi Beach Bar/Restaurant. Known for it’s fresh Lobster

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Yellow Beach Bar/Restaurant (located under the thatched roofs)

While writing this article, I found a FB link for Up on the Key that said the beach bar/restaurant was razed this past July amid some controversy (see article in The Daily Herald), so as of this writing, it looks as if Up on the Key is no longer located on Pinel Island. For those of you that have been there, it was the two story structure in between Karabundi and Yellow Beach. Too bad – they served up some good rum drinks and friendly conversation and I’m sure the beach looks quite different now.

Just a few more colorful images from our day of sun, fun and rum at Pinel Island, St. Martin…

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Find Pinel Island on our St. Maarten/St. Martin Map

To find more posts on St. Martin and other islands, check out our Island Blog Directory

 

Copyright©Rum Therapy Beaches, Bars & More, Tropical Travel Guide, 2013
Pictures and other content may not be re-used without written consent from Rum Therapy, LLC

Mr. Busby’s Beach Bar, St. Maarten

Mr. Busby’s Beach Bar, St. Maarten is a laid back and fun beach bar with good food by day and an award winning Italian Food Restaurant called Daniels by the Sea at night.

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Located on the east side of St. Maarten on beautiful Dawn Beach – close to the Oyster Bay Beach Resort, this bustling place is just barely on the Dutch side of St. Maarten.

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Mr. Busby’s sits on beautiful Dawn Beach and you can rent the beach chairs that sit in front of the bar. Food and drink can be ordered directly from your chair on the beach, making it even easier to relax and enjoy the St. Maarten sunshine…

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From Mr Busby’s you can even see St. Barths in the distance (very faintly in the center of the picture)

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Swimming is good on calm days and there’s plenty of room to walk the long beach.

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We enjoyed spending an afternoon at Mr. Busby’s and think it’s worth a stop if in the area for lunch – or a fine Italian dinner, good rum beverages and some quality St. Maarten beach time.

Find Mr. Busby’s Beach Bar on our St. Maarten/St. Martin Map

To see more posts on St. Maarten/St. Martin and other islands, check out our Island Blog Directory

 

Copyright©Rum Therapy Beaches, Bars & More, Tropical Travel Guide, 2013
Pictures and other content may not be re-used without written consent from Rum Therapy, LLC

Baie de l’Embouchure, St. Martin

Heading north on Rue de Coralita on our way to Le Galion Beach, St. Martin for the day, we turned the corner to Baie de l’Embouchure and saw what appeared to be a couple of people walking on water – a good distance from the shore – toward one of the small islets in a protected area of the bay. We immediately pulled over to see what was going on.

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The area is called Ilets de la Baie de l’Embouchure and is a protected area on the southern edge of Baie de l’Embouchure. From the parking lot, walk up to an observation platform overlooking the beautiful bay and check out the plaques providing information about the area, history and ecosystem. From the platform you can look north to Le Galion and to the south and east you can see St. Barths.

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We talked to several people who had just returned from “walking on the water” to one of the small islets, and they showed us the route to take across the water. There’s a shallow path of pebbles from the shore to one of the islets where the water is only a few inches deep.

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It’s about a 10 minute walk across the watery path to one of the rocky, windswept islands. You’ll need to wear water shoes or sandals. The path in the water is made of pebbles and the island is comprised of sharp rock.

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Be sure to climb to the top and leave a rock on the cairn.

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And check out the view of the bay behind you.

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Find Baie de l’Embouchure on our St. Maarten/St. Martin Map
Press the 
Baie de l’Embouchure bar (Attractions) underneath the map

 

To see more posts on St. Martin and other islands, check out our Island Blog Directory

 

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Pictures and other content may not be re-used without written consent from Rum Therapy, LLC

Orient Bay Beach, St. Martin

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Orient Bay Beach on the French side of St. Martin is undoubtedly the best known and busiest beach on the island.

With two miles of beautiful, powdery, white sand it’s easy to see why so many people flock to Orient to spend time lounging, walking, visiting one of the great beach bars, people watching and playing in the stunning blue water.

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You might know Orient Beach as the “nude” beach and yes, the southernmost part of Orient is clothing optional and part of the naturist resort Club Orient.

The rest of Orient is divided into sections – each with it’s own restaurants, chair and umbrella rentals and shops. Heading north from Club Orient, the sections include Kontiki, Kakao, Bikini Beach, Waikiki, Coco Beach and Palm Beach.

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Each section has a different feel and some sections are busier then others – although there were pockets of activity all the way down the beach. It did seem that in general though, the beach became a little quieter and less crowded as we walked north – away from Club Orient.

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Orient Beach 4 (600)Coco Beach

Orient also offers water sport options and rentals such as kiteboarding, parasailing and jet skiing.

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Orient Bay Beach can get really busy, especially on days when there are numerous cruise ships at port in Philipsburg. But even if you prefer quieter beaches, with two + miles of gorgeous sand and water, you can almost always find a quiet spot to relax and just take in the beauty….

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Find Orient Bay Beach on our St. Maarten/St. Martin Map
Press the  Orient Bay Beach bar underneath the map

 

To see more posts on St. Martin and other islands, check out our Island Blog Directory

 

copyright©Rum Therapy Beaches, Bars & More, Tropical Travel Guide, 2013
Pictures and other content may not be re-used without written consent from Rum Therapy, LLC

Sint Maarten Yacht Club Bar & Restaurant

 Several years ago while sailing out of Simpson Bay lagoon through the Simpson Bay Drawbridge, we saw what seemed to be a bar/grill with an excellent deck overlooking the bay and the bridge.

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It looked like a great place to enjoy a beverage while watching the boats and yachts, so we decided on a return trip to St. Maarten/St. Martin, to check it out.

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Located right at the base of the drawbridge, Sint Maarten Yacht Club Bar and Restaurant can be accessed by car (limited parking next to the building), by dinghy (tie up on their dock) or by walking if staying in the area.

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They have indoor/outdoor seating and we ordered a few brews on special for happy hour then grabbed a few chairs on the deck overlooking the bridge and lagoon.

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As it got closer to the time that the drawbridge was set to open, the deck really filled up with patrons. While enjoying the view and the beverages, we made a few new friends from North Carolina (note the Rum Bum Cap!)

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We really enjoyed watching the huge yachts make their way back to the lagoon before sunset.

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Great view, good cold drinks and good conversation with fellow boaters and travelers – not a bad place to spend an evening!

To find out more, check out their Facebook page here:
Sint Maarten Yacht Club Bar & Restaurant


To see more posts on St. Maarten and other islands, check out our Island Blog Directory


copyright©Rum Therapy Beaches, Bars & More, Tropical Travel Guide, 2013
Pictures and other content may not be re-used without written consent from Rum Therapy, LLC

Calmos Café, St. Martin

Whether you just want to relax on the beach with your toes in the sand while sipping on your favorite beverage or to enjoy some tapas while watching the sun set over the bay, Calmos Cafe has you covered.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALocated right on the beach on the French side in Grand Case, St. Martin, Calmos Cafe serves everything from fine wines to tropical rum concoctions and tasty fresh, local food to go with it.
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We enjoyed some tapas along with a frozen rum drink called the Calmos (with peach and mango) and a Rhum Runner, all of which were excellent, but even more so as we enjoyed them while sitting just inches from the water while watching the sun set…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe atmosphere is warm and quiet most nights, but if you’re looking for more excitement, plan to visit on the nights they have a live salsa or reggae band.
Calmos Cafe4Their motto: C’est La Vie – That’s life!
Calmos Cafe1Calmos Cafe5Calmos Cafe3We got there early one evening and it was relatively uncrowded, but as the evening wore on, more and more people arrived snapping up all the tables and seats by the shoreline.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd why not. With good food and drinks and a view like this…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo, if you’re looking for a place to enjoy some rum with a view while on St. Martin, Calmos Cafe will serve up that and much, much more.
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To find out more, visit their website here:
Calmos Cafe

More posts on St. Maarten/St. Martin that you might be interested in:

Sarafina’s Bakery, Marigot, St. Martin

Sunset Bar and Grill, St. Maarten

Karakter Beach Bar, St. Maarten

Le Galion Beach, St. Martin


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Pictures and other content may not be re-used without written consent from Rum Therapy, LLC

Le Galion Beach, St. Martin

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View of Le Galion from one of the floating platforms

Le Galion – this lovely, calm beach on the east side of St. Martin (French side), is just south of popular Orient Beach. Le Galion is sometimes called Baie de L´Embouchure. The beach is protected by a coral reef and is usually quite calm. It gets deeper very gradually and is shallow and crystal clear close to the shore.

Access: When heading north to Orient Beach, turn right on Ru Du Coconut Grove and follow the signs to the Butterfly Farm. Pass the Butterfly Farm and continue to the end of the road. There’s a large parking lot close to beach.

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View from the parking lot

Beach: Le Galion has a large stretch of soft, light colored sand with very gentle access and sandy bottom. There were a few patches of sea grass and we saw a few people snorkeling. There are two floating platforms in the water – one in a shallow area and one farther out that you can swim to.

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Looking east (from the beach chair area) at Le Galion Beach

Amenities: beach chairs and umbrellas to rent, food and drink available at the bar called Tropical Wave, restrooms, water-sports rental area, sand volleyball pit, picnic tables and some shade.

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Tropical Wave Bar & Grill and Water Sports Rental

Recommended for: those wanting a somewhat quieter beach than Orient (although Le Galion can get busy especially on weekends), beach is good for walking, picnicking, good place to learn SUP and kayaking, good beach for children.

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Looking west at Le Galion Beach

Find Le Galion on our St. Maarten/St. Martin Map
Press the  Le Galion bar underneath the map

 

 Other Posts on St. Maarten/St. Martin that you might enjoy:

 Sunset Bar and Grill, St. Maarten

 Sint Maarten Yacht Club Bar & Restaurant

 Calmos Cafe, St. Martin

 Sarafina’s Bakery, Marigot St. Martin

 Karakter Beach Bar, St. Maarten

 Guy’s Driftwood Boat Bar, St. Maarten

copyright©Rum Therapy Beaches, Bars & More, Tropical Travel Guide, 2012
Pictures and other content may not be re-used without written consent from Rum Therapy, LLC

The Beaches of St. Maarten/St. Martin by Antilles Treasure

We’ve had the pleasure of “virtually” getting to know the wonderful folks at Antilles Treasures through Facebook and email over the last several months. If you don’t already follow them, you should pop on over to their Facebook page and “like” them for daily pictures and other island related material. They also have a website at: http://treasures.beachjunkie.com/. Through conversations we realized they not only appreciate good rum, but they’ve spent a substantial amount of time on St. Maarten and Anguilla and have taken many wonderful pictures of their adventures. We will be spending some time on St Maarten and Anquilla this spring and asked for recommendations of – you’ve got it – the best beaches and beach bars!!! We wondered if they would be kind enough to do a guest post for us on this topic and here is what they had to say:

The good folks at Rum Therapy asked us to put together a guest blog about a couple of our favorite ST Maartin/ST Martin beaches. Since we love opportunities to discuss our favorite island, we jumped at the chance.

Island background: The island of ST Maartin/ST Martin is a 37 square mile land mass that anchors the northeastern corner of the Lesser Antilles. This island is split by two governments French and Dutch.  Coincidentally, there are 37 named beaches. So for every mile that makes up this jewel of an island, there is a breathtaking beach.

First on most visitors list is Orient Beach, located on the French Side:
If you are looking for a beach that has it all, this one is for you. This is a great “ activity” beach with a plethora of beach bars, each hocking their own chairs, umbrellas and cuisines.

Wherever you choose to park on a thick cushioned chair for the day, you will be greeted by a breathtaking view including some of the small islands just off shore.  Relaxing in your chair, you will be treated to the dance of the sun baked tourists being performed in many acts. This will range from the kids bouncing on the floating trampolines to parasailing boats and jet skis crossing to and fro in the bay that is just a few feet from your chaise.  This is also a great beach for couples of all ages to stroll lovingly hand in hand from one end of the beach to the other.

The south end of the beach features Club Orient which is a clothing optional resort and beach area.  You are on a French beach, so you will most likely see topless women but the only place that everything is optional is at Club O.  No you do not have to participate but it is good to be aware.

Our favorite places on Orient are either Kakao beach or La String.  Our tip for this beach is to visit the KO bar. This is a little Tiki Hut in front of Kakao.  The bartender, GP, makes incredible drinks and if you are lucky enough to land a bar stool you are in for some enjoyable conversations.

This is one of the few beaches that have bathrooms and showers at almost all of the beach bars.

Our favorite venue is Cupecoy Beach; Dutch Side of the island.The sand on this beach is “ever changing”, it shifts with the tides. The backdrop is 20 + feet of sandstone cliffs dotted by several hollowed out caves.  Lying on the beach, you will be treated to a view of the island Saba on the horizon, jumbo jets as they arrive in paradise and boats of all shapes and sizes cruising by.  At this point, Cupecoy is a clothing optional beach.  There are rumbling that this could change, but as of now, you will see sun worshipers displaying all options.

Beach tip.  Stop in and say hi to Dany.  He can rent you a chair for the day, but he also makes an awesome rum punch and some of the best ribs on the island.  We give him our food order as we find our chairs and he will deliver food and drinks when lunch is ready.

Third on the list is Baie Rouge on the French side.

We discovered this beautiful long beach on our first trip, and now it has found a home in our hearts.  The sand here is a bit coarse, and once you enter the water there is a fairly quick drop off.  Views from this beach are breath taking, from the high cliff walls that glow red in the sunset to the multi million dollar villas that dot the cliffs and shoreline.

There are two permanent beach bars on this beach.  One will signal happy hour by the sound of someone blowing thru a conch shell.

Our Beach tip, bring a couple of bottles of water with you and hike the length of the beach.  It is a quite a walk but the far end of the beach is gorgeous and in our minds the best segment of beach on the island.

If none of these beaches tickle your fancy, there are 34 other beautiful beaches to explore, some which will be unpopulated.  There are a few others with the amenities of umbrellas and chairs for rent but the three we described top our list of favorites and bring us back to them day in and day out over our many trips to paradise.
Rob and Mary/Antilles Treasure

A big thanks to Rob and Mary for putting together this informative and picturesque guest blog. Be sure to check them out on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AntillesTreasuresLLC and at their website: http://treasures.beachjunkie.com/