Excursion Focus: Bikini Beach in St. Martin
If you think the perfect Caribbean beach is somewhere with crystal clear water that has beautiful color and delicious mixed cocktails, then we have the spot for you. Located on the French side of St. Martin as part of the larger Orient Beach region, Bikini Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean and a great place to spend a day.
Bikini Beach is part of Orient Beach on the French side of St. Martin (St. Maarten). Orient Beach is known for being quite beautiful and the Bikini Beach operation offers services that are sure to make your time at the beach as relaxing as possible.
Getting to Bikini Beach from your cruise ship will require a taxi/car ride of about 20-30 minutes. Like all beaches on St. Martin/St. Maarten, admission to the beach is free but use of the services does cost extra. Four chairs and 2 umbrellas will run $20, which is a fair price in the Caribbean. In addition, bar and restaurant service is available either by waiter to your beach chair or you can walk to the bar area and enjoy lunch there.
By far the reason to visit Bikin Beach is the beautiful beach. The water color is the sort of thing you see in postcards and the water is amazingly clear. Orient Beach is such a large beach that there's a number of other operations set up on the beach similar to Bikini Beach, but the size of the area helps keep crowds manageable.
For an additional cost, there are some water toys you may get access to. During our visit, for $10 per person, you could use the trampoline, log and water obstacle. The beach also partners with locals who can provide other services such as jet skiing, parasailing and massages for an additional cost as well.
Like many beaches in the Caribbean, locals will walk up and down the beach offering services and goods for sale. A simple no is usually enough to send them on their way to the next guest.
There's no question that the ocean here is the main attraction and the color and vividness of the water really made this one of the most beautiful beaches I've ever been to. If you want a beach with some of the best looking water you've ever seen, this is the beach for you. The sand is also really soft and no rocks or shells to really speak of (at least none that you can feel while walking). Once in the water, the bottom is sandy and free of rocks for the most part so no water shoes required.
While the beach is great, the icing on the cake is the service provided by the Bikini Beach staff. There's wait staff that will deliver any food and drink you need to right to your beach chair. Prices for the food and drink are about what you might pay at an average restaurant in the United States, so it isn't a tremendous value but when you're on vacation at a beautiful beach, it just feels nice to have someone bring you drinks without having to get up. The wait staff was also attentive and we never had to play "where did the waiter go" game.
The bar also has more formal tables that are covered to sit at if you prefer to get away from the water while you have a snack or drink. The staff claims there is a WiFi signal that guests can access but you essentially have to walk into the parking lot to access it and I was never able to actually connect. The staff also natively speaks French but their English is more than adequate.
We happened to visit Bikini Beach during the off season but Orient Beach in general can get full during the busier months of the year. Make sure you get off your Royal Caribbean cruise early and go directly to the beach for the best availability.
Because Bikini Beach is on the French side of St. Martin, topless sunbathing is possible so it's something to consider if that sort of thing bothers you.
Overall, Bikini Beach is a wonderful choice for anyone that wants beautiful water, a great beach and bar/restaurant service on top of it. The level of service was terrific and it's hard to beat the view.
Address: Orient Bay, St Martin
Cost: Beach admission free; Use of chairs and umbrellas additional cost.