A beach town known for its lively bars set right in the sand, friendly atmosphere, and clothing optional beach, Orient Bay is a little piece of paradise on French St. Martin. Many people plan their Caribbean vacations around a few days stay here each year and as they begin the work quickly discover that their transportation options are more varied than they might have thought possible.
A favorite pastime of those staying in Orient Bay is to make a day of sailing, but it is also possible to sail to the area from one of the nearby islands, assuming you have the needed vessel and experience. In fact, Orient Bay is a top destination among pleasure sailors, and it is common to see luxury yachts from around the world docked at the local marinas. French immigration laws apply here, and a trip to the port authority will be in order before you'll be granted clearance to sail in local waters. Click here for more specifics, and to read about options for renting a boat or taking a day sail.
Orient Bay is within easy reach of two different cruise ports. One is located on the Dutch side of the island and is the larger of the two, while the other is only large enough to accommodate one medium-sized boat at a time. Mega ships have to anchor off shore and tender in passengers. Cruisers arriving at either destination will often choose to spend their day on the beaches of Orient Bay.
Rental costs in Orient Bay begin at just $30(USD) a day, road conditions are good, and local drivers are courteous – all of the things you look for in a destination when you're hoping to rent a car to get around. All of this means that if you're considering making this your main mode of ground transportation, you shouldn't have trouble making it happen. Find out more about the process as well as what it is like to drive in St. Martin when you click here.
Taxis are a great way to get around Orient Bay, especially for those staying at an resort who don't have big plans for seeing the rest of the island. You can call and have a cab pick you up, but they are easily spotted at many of the major tourist destinations like the airport, cruise ports, ferry terminal, and major shopping centers. Rates are set by the government, so as your driver for the rate card before you take off so you have an idea of how much you're spending. Do know that the rate are based on a two person occupancy, so every additional passenger will be $4(USD). There are also up-charges for transporting luggage as well as for traveling late at night, and you won't want to forget to tip your driver.
There is a fairly reliable public bus system on St. Martin that travels through Orient Bay consistently throughout the day. These buses are actually crowded minivans, but they are affordable and get the job done. You can get a ride from 5:00 a.m. to midnight at a rate of between $2 and $3(USD) per person.
While there is no ferry that departs from Orient Bay, there is a very important one that travels between Anguilla and St. Martin out of nearby Marigot. Between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. every day a ferry leaves approximately every 45 minutes and makes the 20 minute journey across the sea to the neighbor island. Rates are $15(USD) per person each way, plus the departure tax.
Orient Bay is the type of destination many people dream of visiting throughout their entire lives, but when it comes to actually book a trip it is easy to overlook important things. Transportation is one category that is important enough to make sure you get it right, and knowing what you now do about each available option, you're well prepared to go forth and make your travel arrangements with confidence.
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