St. Martin is the culinary capitol of the Caribbean and we made sure to try out as many of the restaurants as we could (see our top recommendations here). In order to balance out the delicious meals, fabulous wine and cocktails, we made sure to stay active. We always try to find ways to exercise while on vacation, but try to avoid the gym – who wants to be cooped up in a small room filled with equipment and generally without good views while on vacation? We can’t be the only ones that feel that way. We were able to come up with some excellent walks/hikes to help burn some calories without hitting the gym. So here are our top three starting with the easiest and ending with the most challenging.
1) Orient Beach: on our last trip to St. Martin, we stayed at a vacation rental at the north end of Orient Beach. Most mornings, we would get up early and walk to Club Orient (the naturalist resort) at the other end of the beach and back. It was a nice stroll, the beach was beautiful and the people watching was great. The roundtrip walk was a little under three miles. At first, we were hesitant to walk through the nude part of the beach since we were clothed, but there were others doing it and everything was fine. (Read more about our nude beach observations here).
Sometimes, we would take a break from our walk and cool off in the water. There are also plenty of water sports on the beach, so that was fun to watch. We felt like the kite-surfers could be a little dangerous though if you were not paying attention – it might get ugly if someone got caught in the kite strings! This beach is also a great place for sipping a nicely-chilled rose’. In fact, on our first trip, Katherine fell in love with this beach because they served wine in a REAL glass on the beach! There are plenty of restaurants and bars along the beach. And if you are in the mood for shopping, there are usually local vendors and even a few souvenir shops.
2) Happy Beach: When we were at Friar’s Bay Beach, we saw some people who were walking over a hill at the far end of the beach. We had read that there was another nearby beach nearby, and after consulting with some other tourists, we decided to give it a try. We had seen some people walk barefoot so we figured how hard can it be? Since, we had not planned on doing a hike, the only shoes we had were flip flops.
The beginning of the walk does start out a little bit steep, but then the rest is relatively flat until a decline to the beach. The ground does have a lot of rocks so we really would not recommend doing this without shoes and we wished we had better shoes than flip flops. We had to walk slowly to make sure we didn’t slip or twist an ankle. It took us about ten minutes to walk to Happy Bay, and there were beautiful views along the way. Happy Bay was a nice beach that was pretty quiet with a nice protected bay. While there are some bars and restaurants at Friar’s Bay Beach, there are no facilities at Happy Bay Beach.
3) Anse Marcel Beach: This one is definitely a hike, but is well worth it! On our first attempt when we were not prepared, we had to turn back before we made it all the way to the beach. So on our next trip, we had a plan and made it to the beach, so it is definitely doable. You can read more about our preparation and hiking tips here. Before you start the actual hike, you do have a bit of a walk from where you can park (at Anse Marcel Beach Resort Hotel) to where the trail starts.
Then most of this trail is either going up or down, very little is flat. For some parts you may need to use your hands to maintain your balance where it is a little steep. You do have a great view of the beach at certain points too, so we definitely recommend breaking and taking some photos. Also, it was surprising that we saw several hermit crabs along the path. I still don’t know how they were able to climb all the way up there. Once you get to the beach, you will be glad you made the hike. This beach is beautiful and very secluded (no facilities) as there is no easy way to get there. We cooled off in the water and then dried off and headed back.
We hope you enjoy these St. Martin walks as much as we did!
- Walking is a great way to burn calories while traveling
- Some walks may require proper footwear, water, etc, so it is important to prepare in advance.