French West Indies

This report focuses on Club Orient, arguably the best known nudist resort in the Caribbean
A more complete report on greater St Martin is available here
And another complete report on St Martin’s Garden Villas is here

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Resort OverviewGetting There • Services • Ambiance • Group Trips
Sightseeing • Dining  Rates • Impressions • Photo Album • Trip Reports

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Resort Overview

St. Martin/St. Maarten boasts more nude friendly beach opportunities to enjoy yourself than virtually any other Caribbean island, even comparing favorably with its larger competitor, Jamaica. About 37 beaches are on St. Martin. A small island, roughly 6 x 8 miles, St. Martin/St. Maarten (half is French, half is Dutch) can be traversed in an hour or two by car, but getting through Marigot on the French side or Philipsburg on the Dutch side can be a nightmare due to traffic. Club Orient is on the French side and about 5 miles north of Philipsburg (Dutch side). Since Club Orient is on the French side of the island, St. Martin (French) will be used in the report. You can move from the French to Dutch side of the island without any formality.

Even though nudity is allegedly unlawful on the island, many parts of St. Martin, on both the Dutch and French side, are nude-friendly mainly because, as my villa rental friend, Xavier, says: “we just don’t care!” Which is true.

There are numerous beaches to choose from for nude beach combing and sunbathing including Cupecoy Beach, Long Baie and Baie Rouge on the west side to Orient Beach on the east. We like them all for different reasons. Terrific villas and guest houses are on or near the western beaches and great hotels and resorts on or adjacent to Orient Beach on the French east side.

Club Orient Nudist Resort–south end of Orient Bay. This most popular nudist resort is on the south end of Orient Beach. All guest quarters are located on this 30 acre site and include stand alone cottages or chalets . You can choose accommodations from either concrete block buildings or the traditional wooden chalets in garden view or beach front locations.

Starting at about $200-300 USD/night, you can enjoy all life has to offer nude at Club Orient. Rates are 40%-50% higher during high season (December 15-April 15). NOTE: Rates are charged in Euros by the resort and dollar equivalent fluctuates. Rates not guaranteed; subject to change without notice. Chalets include a living area, kitchen, sleeping area, private bath and dining area with air conditioning and fan. Restaurant Papagayo’s is open air. Rates include car parking and use of of umbrellas/chairs at the unit and on the beach. Tax is 5% on hotel costs. For purposes of this report, rates are expressed in USD $ but all amounts are actually charged in Euros. *NOTE: Rates are not guaranteed and will change without notice.

Note: Here is a recent comment from Club Orient about nudity on the beach beyond its boundary:
Walking past Pedros….nude: Over the years one of the most erroneously repeated statements has been that if you wish to walk without clothes past the rocks by Pedro’s bar (north end of Club Orient property line), all you have to do is make sure you’re finished by 8:00 AM. The Gendarmes were out in force and ticketed 17 people for being nude beyond Club Orient…..at 7:00 AM. The government has required Club Orient to place a new sign at end of Club Orient’s beach stating that, “Nudity beyond this point is illegal and violators are subject to penalties.” So if you still wish to take your morning stroll in the buff, be aware that the Gendarmes are enforcing this rule and you could be stopped and fined.

See also Drone Shots of Orient Beach, courtesy Travelwithdrone.com    See numerous other images from Google for Orient Beach here.

Photo Courtesy Alamanda Resort

Getting There

U.S. Citizens: Passports are required for international air travel to all destinations outside the USA.

Planes, boats and ferries can get you to St. Martin daily from just about anywhere in the world. Airfare from the US on scheduled airlines can run from $500-$700/person, round trip. Rates vary seasonally. American Airlines dominates the market (and Caribbean for that matter), so don’t expect a benevolent rate from them. Check with us for charters to St. Martin, primarily from certain eastern U.S. markets.

Rental cars are plentiful; jeeps and cars can rent for $35-50/day and taxis are fairly inexpensive. Ask the price first before you enter a taxi. You can also visit Anguilla, Saba and St. Eustatius, all nearby and accessible by boat, ferry or commuter plane. As of January 1, 2007, visitors from the USA are required to have a valid passport….not necessarily to visit St. Martin but to gain entrance back into the USA.

Public and pedestrian access to the beach is available via the road outside the Club Orient property.

Services

Club Orient Resort has thought of everything: a fully stocked grocery store and boutique, full service restaurant and bar on the beach with daily happy hours, live entertainment and weekly manager’s cocktail party, water sports facility, spa and fitness center, tennis courts, and more. All of these conveniences are located on the property where clothing is always optional. However, this resort is NOT all inclusive. It you’re used to other similar properties in Jamaica, Mexico or Dominican Republic, you will find no food or drink included in the room rates here.

Massage and spa treatments are available on site. A general store, La Boutique, is on site for food, drinks, books, artwork and clothing.

TIP: Open an account for the restaurant, bar & grill at reception upon check in. Euros and US Dollars, travelers checks or cash. American Express, Master Card, Visa, Optima, Carte-Bleu and Discover are accepted credit cards throughout the resort.

The island, especially Philipsburg on the Dutch side, is a shopper’s paradise, perhaps eclipsed only by St. Thomas as the charge card capital of the Caribbean. The numerous cruise ship passengers help keep it that way, too.

St. Martin is one of the more progressive of the islands so you will find just about everything you need for your vacation there. Tourist traps, fast food franchises and real estate companies mix with some of the quaint areas to drag this island into the 21st century.

Guests of Club Orient have free car parking on site and use of chairs and beach umbrellas at their rental unit and on the beach at no additional charge.

Day visitor policy: Club Orient’s beach, water sports facility, restaurant and bars are open to the public during daylight hours. Resort tours are available upon request. Club Orient welcomes visitors to spend the day offering a package for beach chair rentals, umbrella rental, parking and use of facilities.

Water sports include snorkeling, sea kayaking, diving, sailing, windsurfing, floats and paddle boats.

Club Orient produces its own power and water. The power is BOTH 110v and 220 v, NO need for converters.

NOTE: Please take care of your valuables, cash, airline tickets and passports while on vacation. Some vacation destinations are considered “third world” countries and experience petty theft. Recommendation: Do not take precious jewelry unless you wear it all times; keep your cash, valuables, watches, travel documentation and cameras with you. Just a word of caution to make sure you remember to practice common sense with your valuables while you’re on vacation.

Ambiance

Club Orient is comprised of about 137 chalets, studios plus one villa laid out on the south side of 2.5 mile Orient Beach. Most activities on the resort center around the beach and visiting with other guests at the resort. Nightlife locally is found mostly along the central and northern parts of Orient Beach while the towns of Marigot and Philipsburg are home to numerous bars, restaurants and bistros and casinos, although only the Dutch side includes gaming establishments.

St. Martin’s French and Dutch sides are probably the best combination of nightlife, dining, resorts, beaches and casinos anywhere in the Caribbean. There is literally something for everyone from laid back, no-nonsense resorts to the finest villas in the Caribbean.

For club hopping around Marigot, our fearless clients and explorers have suggested Club Alibi, Club 1, Pasha, all for late night mischief and dancing…..after about 11 PM. Others have suggested a fun little club near the airport called Club Cheri, for local entertainment earlier in the evening, including island talent, skits and reviews.

You don’t lack for anything on this island, except for maybe a true tropical atmosphere with palm trees and rain forests. St Martin is really an arid island with low hills and scrub brush dotting the landscape.

For a great overview and aerial shot of all of Orient Beach, see Ed and Sandra’s excellent jpg panorama here.

Here’s an informal list of the more popular sections of the beach from Mont Vernon on the north end to Club Orient on the south end: Boo Boo Jam area (had a fire in 2012), Palm Beach, Coco Beach, Waikiki Beach, Kakao Bikini, Beach Kontiki, Sun Beach and Club Orient

Group Trips

We have occasional group trips scheduled for St Martin/Orient Beach, check here for availability. But even if we don’t have any listed when you’re planning on going,  that doesn’t mean its not a great place for two, three or even dozens of couples to get together for a group trip.  If you have other couples that might want to join you, please contact us and see what kind of group trip deals we might be able to package especially for you.

Sightseeing 

Although the island is small, you have a variety of hillside, town, country and beach locations to enjoy. You are just minutes away by air from Anguilla, Saba and St. Eustatius. Shopping in Philipsburg is some of the best in the Caribbean besides perhaps St. Thomas in the USVI.

Most sports activity is in, on, under or around the water.

A fun excursion is to choose the daily nude cruise on the yacht Tiko Tiko that visits the little island of Tintamarre a few miles offshore for sun, snorkeling, one meal, boozing and fun. The day tripper cruise can be arranged at Club Orient. Sundays, a sailing tour of the island is available, too.

Contributed by TM from the UK: Happy Bay is on the French side – it is the very next bay south of Grand Case. Cannot be reached by road except via a 10 minute hike from the Friars Bay (Beach) parking lot which is why it is somewhat deserted. We got there via a 10 minute (maybe less) water taxi service directly from Grand Case Beach Club resort for $15 per head, round trip.Tell the boat guy when you want to be picked up. We found that 4 hours was just about right as there are no facilities/amenities on the beach so you need to take water and a snack with you.

For nude day tripper cruises, you can also contact the folks at: www.nudetrips.net They offer local nude cruises on their power boats.

Dining

Eat in or eat out as you wish. Terrific French and Dutch establishments are everywhere, so take your pick. Dotted along the 2.5 mile Orient Beach, bistros and bars have on site dining and snack shops & dance clubs are on the beach, too. Papagayos Restaurant at Club Orient is a nude restaurant, open air and anchors the south end of the beach. You don’t have to be a guest to dine there. Papagayos serves Club Orient guests as well as anyone who has the money. Prices are comparable to European and U.S. meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Each chalet includes a kitchen, but guys, be forewarned: Most women on holiday do not mix the word “kitchen” in the same sentence as “vacation.” Plan to volunteer to cook or barbecue if you want to do something nice for your spouse. Plus, if your budget can afford it, read on:

Restaurant ideas:
St. Martin has a terrific wealth of restaurants on both the French and Dutch sides of the island. Here are a few to consider, thanks in part to some recommendations from our clients plus a recent issue of Caribbean Travel & Life magazine. ALERT: Bars and restaurants come and go so take time to discover new ones as the list below can change without notice.

On Dawn Beach, you will find Mr. Busby’s Beach Bar for beaching and open air burgers, plus it’s a great place to start your snorkeling adventure.

At Oyster Pond, straddle the island’s imaginary border between the men’s room and the main restaurant at Captain Olivers, a good place recommended by some of our friends who live there. Stop for cappuccino and croissants at any one of the French side’s superettes, where wonderful pate, fresh poulet roti (chicken rotisserie) and pastries are featured.

If you want to bar hop and do the tourist thing on Orient Beach, stop at Bongo Byrons and the Bikini Beach Bar, where few are worn. In French Marigot, stop at La Parisienne for a sidewalk cappuccino.

For the greatest concentration of French bistros and restaurants, visit Grand Case, a small town north of Marigot on the northwest side of the island. Grand Case’s main waterfront street is lined with the best restaurants on the island including Le Tastevin plus many others along the street.

Set above Grand Case beach, lolos (food stalls) hold forth with local cuisine that compete taste-wise with the refined restaurants nearby on the waterfront. Choose from the following beachside fare: Conch stew, spare ribs, grilled or fried fish and numerous side dishes such as johnny cakes, stuffed christophene, macaroni & cheese, peas ‘n rice, coleslaw and fried plaintain.

Plop your butt down at any of the BBQ lolo joints (you’ll know them by the 55 gal drums used as BBQ grills) including: Sky’s the Limit, Talk of the Town and many others where you can stuff yourself for $10 USD (or more…add on for inflation and the Euro).

NOTE: Small beachside bistros come and go so be prepared for name or ownership changes.

At the other end of the spectrum, try Ric’s Place in Dutch Philipsburg, a great sports bar for super burgers and fries.

Rates 

Rates vary by room category so contact us for an exact quote for your desired accommodation or villa. Generally accommodations start at about $130*/night up to about $400/night. Rate based on per room, double occupancy per night. Children under 12 are free. Rates subject to discounts for long stays and are seasonal. Discounts do not apply to Villa.

The private villa on site which can be up to $1,100+/per night (villa sleeps up to 7 people).

*ALERT: Rates above are in US dollars for examples but room reservations are expressed and charged in Euros. Actual deposit and final payment are in Euros. Rates not guaranteed and will change without notice.

A deposit of about $550-600 (Euros 500) will reserve your chalet; final balance is paid upon check out.

NOTE: Typically, all pricing is in Euros on the island, but USD is accepted at many stores, restaurants and bars in town.

Club Orient includes about 137 separate or duplex chalet (cottages). Club Orient homes provide a blend of traditional Caribbean simplicity and European luxury. Dwellings can accommodate from 3 to 7 persons. Every unit is equipped with a full kitchen, dining area, air conditioning,telephone and internet service, full bathroom with tub or shower, front and back patio with an outdoor shower, picnic table and beach chairs and a specially chosen bottle of Bourdeaux wine, compliments of Club Orient Resort.

Categories include:
Chalet: Concrete structure located either waterfront, near the beach or in the gardens.
Studio: Wooden structure located in the gardens, two individual units per structure.
Mini suite: Wooden structure located in the gardens, two individual units per structure.
Mini suite deluxe: Concrete structure located in the gardens, two individual units per structure.

All accommodations include:
* Fully equipped kitchen
* Patio with outside shower
* Beach Chairs
* Safe
* Ceiling Fans
* Air Conditioning
* Sleeps up to 4 persons

La Villa at Club Orient features three bedroom, two baths, great room with dining room, outdoor Jacuzzi with dining area and privacy fence. Luxury villa with deluxe amenities include:
* 1500 sq ft
* Sleeps up to 7 persons
* Great Room and Dining Room
* Two King size beds
* Two Twin size beds
* Foyer with desk and Sofa daybed
* Two full bathrooms with Antillean showers
* Dish T. V. in Great room and two bedrooms
* Internet and telephone access
* Privately fenced backyard and patio
* Outdoor shower and Reflection Pool

Impressions

 Uppers-Downers

▲▼  St. Martin has lost some of its quaint, Caribbean ways: The island has morphed into a popular tourist mecca as traffic and crowds mix it up daily, especially when the big cruise ships visit. But St. Martin has held on to more of its traditional values than most of the other islands. The Island is unique, offering the French, the Dutch and the Caribbean cultures all on one island. It defiantly represents a little traditional Dutch, a little traditional French and a lot Caribbean. It’s still a fun place to visit.

▲ Orient Beach is a premier spot in the Caribbean to enjoy the good nude life on a beach about 2.5 miles long.

▲ Orient Beach attracts its share of day trippers from the cruise ships. On big cruise ship days, Orient Beach will have textiles that get the courage to walk down the beach to see what the nude way of life is all about. Cameras are not allowed on the beach or resort and are very sensitive to guests’ privacy. Club Orient service includes security on the beach and resort 24/7 that enforce these policies.

▲ Food and restaurant selections are outstanding all over the island.

▲ Try the smaller villages around the island for meals, drinks and entertainment. (Crowds seem to be everywhere in town when the cruise ships dock)

▲ You can meet people easily at Club Orient. Try the nude sailing charter while you’re there to meet other guests from Club Orient as well as other tourists.

▲ The island’s beaches are still some of the best to choose from in the Caribbean, if not the world. Orient Beach is one of the best.

▲ Best shopping is in Philipsburg on the Dutch side, 5 miles south of Club Orient.

Age Ranges

You will find both families with kids and adult singles and couples all over the island at resorts everywhere including Club Orient. Families are usually the exception during high season (winter) but lots more prevalent during the summer and fall. When the cruise ships are in town, avoid the crowds downtown…half of them seem to congregate at Orient Beach to watch you! The nude beaches are mostly adults with every age represented there.

Best Time To Go

Fall, winter and early spring are drier and a little cooler than the heat and humidity of summer. Lows run in the 70s while the highs in summer or upper 80s/low 90s. Winter months are milder and less humid.

The most expensive rates and prices are from December to March. Other dates are lower when you will find room rates available and a discounts offered for longer stays. Hurricane season is late August to early October but actually can extend from June through November.

Wish List

• Build better roads through Marigot

• Downplay the fast food franchises, but progress marches on.

Photo Album

The photos were either shot by us, our clients or provided by the resort. If you have recently visited St. Martin or Club Orient we invite you to send in your photos for us to display. To contribute you own photos (or trip reports), go to our Contribute Trip Report / Photographs page.

This report focuses on Club Orient, arguably the best known nudist resort in the Caribbean
A more complete report on greater St Martin is available here
And another complete report on St Martin’s Garden Villas is here

Trip Reports

If you have recently visited Club Orient or St Martin, we would appreciate you contributing a trip report. You can contribute to this section buy using our Contribute Trip Report / Photographs page.  Here are a few we have from recent visitors

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March 2013 – J & C
Here’s a useful panorama photo of the Orient Beach area from Ed and Sandra

Here’s an informal list of the more popular sections of the beach from Mont Vernon on the north end to Club Orient on the south end: Boo Boo Jam area (had a fire in 2012), Palm Beach, Coco Beach, Waikiki Beach, Kakao Bikini, Beach Kontiki, Sun Beach, Club Orient,
Beachfriend – March/April 2013
Club Orient should be renamed ‘Heaven on Earth’. My Bride of 40 years and I recently spent 10 days at our favorite resort. Perhaps our tenth visit but it just keeps getting better. We were there with our group of 12 who we refer to as the ‘Beachfriends’. For all of us, we look forward all year to our trip to Club ‘O’. There is nothing like being totally nude in a true tropical paradise. The restaurant ‘Papagayo’ once again provided great food and ambiance. Some nights though the entertainment consisted only of a DJ with absolutely horrible ‘music’ selections. Bring back the Karoake please. The units were all being refurbished and as always the entire property was well maintained. The staff is always helpful and courteous. Already counting the days until next year. 

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J & M – November 2012
Our trip to Club Orient…
We emailed Club Orient ahead of time for them to have a taxi (in our name) ready for us.There was no taxi. It was no problem to get a taxi, but when they say they would have one and don’t…

Check-in was a bit of a hassle. They told us we should pay the balance due to Castaways Travel. Didn’t sound right to me, but anyway, when we checked out a week later we did the balance due at Club Orient.
(Castaways note: Instructions from the report require Castaways to charge the deposit while the balance remaining is due and payable at the resort upon check out …. EUROS, so be prepared)

Second office snafu… they told us the Butterfly Farm was a “quarter mile” walk down the road. It was a good “mile” at least !!

Third office snafu… they told us the “wine and cheese” gathering was at the Perch Bar. It was not. It was at the main restaurant.

We were never kept very well informed about anything going on. I guess you have to stand in front of that “electric billboard” and try to catch what it sez. That gave us wrong info also.

Happy Hours at Papagayo’s suddenly changed. It was supposed to be until 6:30. The bartender refused to give us 2 for 1 at around 6:10pm. We did complain at the office and they later gave us two drink coupons.

The walls of the mini suites are way to thin. No tv, no radio, no clock. Not enuff stuff in the rooms to get by. You have to go out and buy a lot of small stuff. Not even an outdoor grill !!!!! Maybe we are just spoiled by the “all-inclusivie” resorts.

The beach… not what we expected. They should have an area just for Club Orient guests !!!!!!! We could not even get an umbrella on Sunday. On other days we were lucky if we saw ONE security guard or employee or whatever they were . .. . All the tags on the chairs ?!?!?!?!? All colors… etc etc. We had no idea what was going on. Never made it to the “elite front line” of chairs.

Food was overpriced and not that great. I can get better ribs right here at home. To many FRIES and not enuff food at the Perch Bar !!

Check out. We had to ASK them to pick up our luggage and bring it to the office. That should be a GIVEN. AUTOMATIC. Why would anyone want to drag their luggage up to the front office.??? (Again… maybe we are just spoiled by the all-inclusive resort).

Weather was GREAT !! People were semi-friendly. I think we were the ONLY ones there for the first time. No night life. We did not venture out into town. (We did not know where to go or have anyone to go with).

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Bill S – April 2012
Both more and less than expected.

More than the old style nudists resorts. Less than Caliente 1 & 2 and Hidden Beach, Mexico.

More people than Caliente Caribe and Hidden Beach.

The beach was mostly full, two lines of naked people on lounges under orange umbrellas facing a gorgeous bay. A general store along with a souvenir/branded store. They have the basics in food: frozen, cold and dry. Each room has a kitchenette, it seems all rooms on the island have kitchenettes.

Club Orient has lots of convenient parking, you can drive up to your cabin to load and unload. Or they can drive you from the office to your cabin in a golf cart.

Wonderful island ambience; sand roads and pathways, lots of palm trees, outside showers. Each cabin has two patios with shade, a table and bench seats, a lounge chair, grass. If you’ve only been to a trailer park nudist camp, you won’t feel at home.

Less people and party atmosphere than Caliente Tampa. Not a first class luxury resort. No pool. No breakfast (free coffee in the lobby and available pastries in the store). The restaurant serves good food but it is expensive. (To be fair, it was on par with the other restaurants on the island).

We didn’t see any farms, a few goats, 30 cattle. Everything must be brought to the island which runs up the prices. But why the fish should cost on par with the steaks is unclear.

Not All Inclusive. You have to pay separately for food and drink but because you’re naked you just show them your room key on this plastic bracelet and they will add it to your bill. (Which means you have a nasty surprise at checkout.)

Not exclusively adult. Saw one or two little kids, under ten years old, naked. There is some playground equipment and beach toys for sale. Not lifestyle friendly. The families put a heavy hand on any public displays and the attitude is nudist, not lifestyle. Having said that, there’s no reason a group of lifestylers can’t rent one of the large villas and play inside their room where no one is the wiser. The management really doesn’t care what you do as long as you are respectful of others. (It was apparent that I had two girls in my room one night and there was no problem. They helped one of the girls get a taxi the next morning. It was treated like just a part of a vacation.)

Everything, but security, is closed up tight by 10 PM. (Most everything on the island, except the nightclubs, is closed up by 10 PM).

No easy drive up entrance to the resort. If you are driving yourself we recommend asking them to send you detailed driving instructions. If you are being driven, everyone seems to know where Club Orient is located. (A taxi from the airport is around USD $40 and $25 to/from Philipsburg.)

There’s entertainment in the restaurant most nights. Breakfast can be found on the beach two buildings north from 8 AM.

The Club Orient manager, Steve, used to manage Desert Shadows in Palm Springs, now Desert Sun. Electricity is 110 volts with American style plugs, they generate their own. The tap water is drinkable, they desalinate their own. My approx. costs: $1,200/4 nights including 1 lunch & 1 dinner for 2 and $150 items at the store.

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TW – Winter 2011
Of all the locations we have traveled to this was by far the best location, setting, and island we’ve visited. We were very happy with resort (no TV, but that can be good), the beach, and the staff. We highly recommend this to other Castaway clients.

St. Martin is an island that you can roam without concern for your safety unlike Jamaica and Mexico. Of the nude vacation options available Club Orient / St Martin has by far the best combination of beach, cleanliness, staff, location, and ease to go offsite for dinner, lunch, shopping, dancing, and so on. It is not all inclusive but that didn’t bother us and gave us more opportunity to roam the island. The beach is not private but we found everyone to be respectful and almost everyone participates. Great people, great location.

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VG – Summer 2010
We enjoyed our trip to Club Orient in May 2010 so much I just booked with Castaways for 10 more days in November.

The staff at Club Orient was very accommodating. The place was clean and friendly. The beach was fantastic. We did get into Grand Case for a few meals and had a fantastic meal at Auberge Gourmande http://www.laubergegourmande.com/home.html . We ran into the owner’s wife in a clothing shop she owns in Philipsburg and of course she recommended it and we were treated very well. Spoke to a few merchants and it seems like the shaky economy has hit hard there too. We also had a great day on the Tico Tico on their dinner cruise.

Club Orient is not Hidden Beach but I must say we felt more comfortable traveling around the island then we did in Mexico. There is a lot to be said for all inclusive but more then anything we like to venture out for the local feel and food. St Martin was a great place to do that.
March 2010 – Sandy
Club Orient was a very relaxing vacation. Quiet with beautiful surroundings. Everything you need is right there. The beach was great and good for taking long walks and the people are all very friendly.

We had many great experiences at local restaurants for dinners and enjoyed the Beach BBQ at the Perch Bar on the premises. Excellent ribs. This is a trip I would take again.

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