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St. Barts Visitors Guide

How to Get There, Things to Do & More

Updated February 2024

St. Barts Visitors Guide: How To Get There & The Best Things To Do In St. Barts
St. Barts Visitors Guide: How To Get There & The Best Things To Do In St. Barts

Welcome to St. Barts

Sunbathe on one of the many white sand beaches, dine in some of the top high-end restaurants, or shop the best designer stores in St Barts. This French speaking island offers a luxurious vibe with a Caribbean charm. Catering to the wealthy, St. Barts is one of the best places to spend a day on a yacht, snorkel in the crystal blue water, or just relax at one of the deluxe resorts.

Sunbathe on one of the many white sand beaches, dine in some of the top high-end restaurants, or shop the best designer stores in St Barts. This French speaking island offers a luxurious vibe with a Caribbean charm. Catering to the wealthy, St. Barts is one of the best places to spend a day on a yacht, snorkel in the crystal blue water, or just relax at one of the deluxe resorts.

St. Barts Map

St. Barts Map

Contents

St. Barts Visitors Guide: Coastline
St Barts Visitor's Guide. The Best Things To Do In St Barts

A Bit Of History

The first inhabitants of St. Barts were the Arawak and Taino peoples, but they didn’t thrive due to a lack of water sources. Christopher Columbus arrived on the island in 1493 and named the island after his brother, Bartolomeo.

The French eventually took over the island but traded it with Sweden in 1784. The capital of the island was named Gustavia after the king, Gustavia III. The island was eventually sold back to the French in 1878.

It wasn’t until 1946 that those on the island became French citizens with full rights.

St Barts Visitor's Guide. The Best Things To Do In St Barts

St. Barts Today

The luxurious island first became a hot spot for tourism when Remy de Haenen, a Dutch aviator, landed his plane on the island and opened his first hotel. His friendship with some of the world’s elite brought jetsetters and spectacular yachts in the 60s and 70s. Today St. Barts is known for its high-class luxury vacations.

Is St. Barts Safe?

Is St. Barts Safe?

St. Barts is thought to be one of the safest places in the Caribbean. It is one of the only places in the Caribbean where travelers can feel safe going anywhere on the island, day or night.

There is no gun violence, no muggings, no gangs, leading to little to no personal risk at all. There is petty theft, like in all other places in the world, but travelers shouldn’t be stressed as safety is not typically a concern in St. Barts.

Where is St. Barts?

St. Barts Caribbean Map

click map to enlarge

St. Barts is a Caribbean Island south of Anguilla and north of St. Kitts. It is in the French West Indies and is part of the Lesser Antilles which includes some popular islands including St. Kitts and Nevis, the US Virgin Islands, Dominica, Antigua and St. Lucia. St. Barts is only about 15 miles away from St. Martin.

St. Barts Visitors Guide: St. Jean Beach
St Barts Visitor's Guide. The Best Things To Do In St Barts

The Best Time to Visit St. Barts?

Looking for the best time to go to St. Barts? Temperatures range from the low 70s to low 90s year-round in St. Barts. While the weather is always nice, guests can choose certain months that are better for weather, affordability, and crowds.

Looking for the best time to go to St. Barts? Temperatures range from the low 70s to low 90s year-round in St. Barts. While the weather is always nice, guests can choose certain months that are better for weather, affordability, and crowds.

April to June

April to June is the best time to visit St. Barts. Since it is outside of the winter tourists’ season, guests can find better deals on hotels and flights. The island will also be less crowded during this time, which makes booking excursions very easy.

December to March

December to March is the peak tourist season, which means more crowds and more expensive flights and hotels. While the weather will be nice, the beaches and attractions may be crowded. Make sure to plan in advance if you go during these times, as excursions and hotels can book up fast.

July to November

While you may be able to find a great deal during the months of July to November, you do risk having your trip canceled or cut short due to hurricane season. While you can still get days or even weeks with beautiful weather, you should be aware that the island can get more storms during these months, which may cut your vacation short or cause an excursion to be canceled.

April to June

April to June is the best time to visit St. Barts. Since it is outside of the winter tourists’ season, guests can find better deals on hotels and flights. The island will also be less crowded during this time, which makes booking excursions very easy.

December to March

December to March is the peak tourist season, which means more crowds and more expensive flights and hotels. While the weather will be nice, the beaches and attractions may be crowded. Make sure to plan in advance if you go during these times, as excursions and hotels can book up fast.

July to November

While you may be able to find a great deal during the months of July to November, you do risk having your trip canceled or cut short due to hurricane season. While you can still get days or even weeks with beautiful weather, you should be aware that the island can get more storms during these months, which may cut your vacation short or cause an excursion to be canceled.

  When Is St. Barts Hurricane Season?

St. Barts hurricane season runs from June to November, with the peak happening from late August through mid-October. The risk of experiencing a hurricane in St. Barts is relatively low, but even if there isn’t a bad storm, you can expect plenty of rain during this time of year. Due to the island’s small size, these systems are typically detected at least five days in advance, so be sure to check weather reports before your trip, and we always recommend getting travel insurance during these months just in case of inclement weather.

St. Barts Visitors Guide: Sailing At Sunset
St. Barts Visitors Guide: Sailing At Sunset

How to Get to St. Barts & Around

There are a few ways to get to and around St. Barts.

Arrival by Air

There is one airport on the island, the Saint Barthelemy Airport, that tourists can easily fly into. The Remy de Haenen Airport has connections that land daily from neighboring islands. However, there aren’t any direct flights to the island from the U.S. Canada, Europe, or the U.K.

You’ll most likely land first at Princess Juliana International Airport in St. Maarten. Most major carriers fly into this airport and then you’ll fly on a small commuter plane through Winair or St. Barth Commuter to the island. The flight only takes about 10 minutes and is an easy way to get to the island.

  Search for deals on flights here.

Arrival by Cruise

There are comparatively few cruise lines that stop in St. Barts, but you can find cruises available. The cruise lines that dock here are not your typical cruise lines.

Instead you can book a cruise through Regent Seven Seas, Oceania Cruises, Crystal Cruises, SeaDream Yacht Club, and Star Clippers. The main draw for cruising to St. Barts is the beautiful and idyllic public beaches.

  Search for great deals on cruises here.

Shuttles in St. Barts

  Shuttles or private transport can be pre-arranged to pick you up and take you from the airport to your accommodation. You can easily book ground transportation from the airport to your hotel here.

Rental Cars in St. Barts

A rental car is an essential part of a trip to St. Barts. It’s the best way to have to freedom to go as you please while on the island. You can reserve one at your hotel or at the airport. 

All major rental car carriers are available on the island. Cost is typically around $33 per day for a convertible and $77 for an open air all terrain vehicle. Make sure you keep enough gas in the car at all times, as there are only two gas stations on the island and both are closed on Sundays.

You’ll need to have a valid driver’s license when driving on either side of the island.  

  Search for great deals on rental cars here.

Taxis in St. Barts

One way to get around the island can be by minivan taxi. It can be inexpensive, especially since most places are close to one another. Flat-rate are in effect for trips up to 5 minutes long, and fares do increase for every additional 3 minutes.

Fares are higher on Sundays, holidays and evenings or festival periods. Be aware that prices between 8 pm to 6 am and on holidays can be about 50% more expensive than outside of those dates and hours.

There are two taxi stations on the island of St Barts, one in the center of Gustavia and one near the airport.

St Barts Visitor's Guide. The Best Things To Do In St Barts
St Barts Visitor's Guide. The Best Things To Do In St Barts

Things to Do in St. Barts

St. Barts Top Highlights

St. Barts has so much to offer from water sports to nature hikes, and from museums to some of the best shopping. No matter what you are into on your vacations, St. Barts has something for everyone.

St Barts Visitor's Guide. The Best Things To Do In St Barts
St Barts Visitor's Guide. The Best Things To Do In St Barts

Try Watersports at Anse de Grand Cul de Sac

Anse de Grand Cul de Sac is one of the best places to enjoy a watersport. The waters are normally very calm, warm, and shallow. Some of the best watersports to enjoy here can be anything from kitesurfing to kayaking or surfing to fly fishing.

The Best Things To Do In St. Barts: Relax At Flamands Beach

Relax at Flamands Beach

Flamands Beach is the largest beach on St. Barts. Tourists and residents alike love this beach for its fine white sand and its perfect conditions for windsurfing. It’s the perfect beach to relax on with a picnic, have a romantic stroll or play with family.

  ISLAND LIFE TRAVEL TIP : GET TRAVEL INSURANCE

Travel Insurance is a must in our opinion. Standard health insurance likely doesn’t cover you while outside of the country so travel insurance will cover any emergency medical needs as well as trip cancellation, lost or stolen luggage (it happens), flight delays, missed connections and more. You can easily compare the top-rated travel insurance plans here.

St Barts Visitor's Guide. The Best Things To Do In St Barts

Go Shopping in Gustavia or St. Jean

St. Barts is one of the best places to shop since all items are tax free. In addition, they have some of the top designer stores and beautiful small boutiques. With over 200 shops on the small island, there is sure to be something for everyone’s taste.

The best places to shop are the towns of Gustavia or St. Jean. Gustavia (pictured above) is the main shopping area with three major shopping streets: Quai Le Republic, Rue de General Charles de Gaule, and Rue de Roi Oscar 11. St. Jean is a smaller shopping area with chic boutiques teeming with the newest beachwear and chicest clothes.

The Best Things To Do In St. Barts: Visit The Nature Reserve

Visit The Nature Reserve

The Nature Reserve of Saint Barthelemy is a protected underwater ecosystem. Visitors that snorkel or dive at this nature reserve can find 45 different coral species and 165 fish species. In addition, they can see urchins, shellfish, crustaceans, and even some sea turtles. Above land, the reserve is home to over 80 species of birds.

Experience divers can also check out some shipwrecks off St. Barts. Kayali is one of the most famous shipwrecks from a trawler that sank in 1994. There is another shipwreck from a luxury yacht that sank during Hurricane Hugo, which is located close to the Gros Ilets.

The Best Things To Do In St. Barts: Take Hike
St Barts Visitor's Guide. The Best Things To Do In St Barts

Take a Hike

There are some great spots in St. Barts to trek and view the beautiful coastline and volcanic rocks. Colombier Beach is a famous hidden beach that can either be accessed by boat or one of two hiking trails.

The upper trail is going to be a bit more advanced with steep mountainsides and a log stairway. The lower trail is easier and starts at Flamands Beach. Both trails finish at the hidden beach, which offers amazing sunset pictures of the Caribbean Sea.

There is another great hike off of Toiny Beach. This trail starts towards the left of the shoreline. This hike winds along the coast. Another hike can be found at Grand Fond Beach (pictured above), which is a coastal hike leading to natural pools. Petit Cul de Sac is a more advanced hike and should only be trekked during nice weather when the ocean is not rough. This hike is a steep uphill and downhill climb that leads to a beautiful hidden natural pool.

St Barts Visitor's Guide. The Best Things To Do In St Barts
St Barts Visitor's Guide. The Best Things To Do In St Barts

Explore Grand Saline and Gouverneur Beaches

There are over fourteen beaches on St. Barts, but Grand Saline (pictured above) and Gouverneur Beach are both known to be two of the top beaches on the island. Anse de Grande Saline, or Saline for short, offers some of the clearest beautiful waters on St. Barts.

From the secluded white sand beach, you will see mountains on each side of the ocean with sand dunes behind. Gouverneur Beach is another great beach that offers visitors white sand and turquoise water. It’s a bit smaller than Saline but offers gorgeous rock mountain views. Both beaches lack shade, so make sure you bring an umbrella to stay cool.

St Barts Visitor's Guide. The Best Things To Do In St Barts
The Best Things To Do In St. Barts: Experience Festivals

Experience The Many Festivals

On any given month, visitors are sure to find some type of festivity going on, but there are a few festivals that are more well-known than others. The St. Bart’s Festival of Caribbean Cinema has become an established and popular event for regional filmmakers and offers a unique glimpse into the arts and culture of the Caribbean. It is the hot ticket of the year.

There are also two famous water events that St. Barth hosts. The Bucket Regatta happens in March and is a three-day competition that spotlights some of the best sailing yachts from around the world.  A month later, in April, the island hosts another event, the Les Voiles Richard Mille, which is a five-day sailing event. For foodies, the St. Barts Gourmet Festival is a must.

This festival takes place in November and has some of the best French Michelin starred chefs serving up some of their best dishes.

The Best Things To Do In St. Barts: Visit Inter Oceans Museum
St Barts Visitor's Guide. The Best Things To Do In St Barts

Visit The Inter Oceans Museum

The Inter Oceans Museum is unique gem near Anse des Flamands. The specialty museum is one man’s collection of over 9,000 seashells. In addition, visitors can see shark jaws, sea themed art and giant conch shells.

Where to Stay in St. Barts

There are all types of accommodations in St. Barts. From all-inclusive resorts to boutique hotels and more. Location and amenities are the two top things to look for. For great hotel info and recommendations, check out our St. Barts Hotel Guide or our St. Barts All-Inclusive Resort Guide.

St. Barts All Inclusive Resorts Guide: The Best All Inclusive Resorts In St Barts

For hotel recommendations for every budget, check out our St. Barts Hotel Guide

What to Eat in St Barts

You can find a wide range of wonderful bites to eat on St. Barts. If you’re looking for a culinary adventure, check out our St. Barts Restaurant Guide.

The Best St. Barts Restaurants: On The Rocks, Gustavia

For great restaurant recommendations, check out our St. Barts Restaurant Guide

What To Pack For Your Trip!

The Caribbean is an enchanting wonderland of relaxation and adventure, one can easily have the trip of a lifetime here. Packing for such a vacation shouldn’t be hard, so we’ve put together a checklist to help you pack and included some of our favorites as well. Check out our What To Pack For Your Trip Guide.

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This Post Has 14 Comments

  1. John and Melinda Harrison says:

    Excellent guide and beautiful pictures!

  2. Thona says:

    I thought St.Barts would be intimidating but with your guide it was a breeze to plan my trip. Thanks.

  3. Suzette says:

    Beautiful website, lovely, lovely, lovely. A friend told me about your site and I am so glad. It has been incredibly useful. Thank you!

    1. Daniel says:

      Glad you like it! Thanks!

  4. Joan says:

    Shopping in Gustavia really is fabulous!

  5. Jacob Robbins says:

    Thanks to your recommendations, I had a great visit to the Nature Reserve and experienced some of the best snorkeling ever.

  6. Gregory K. says:

    I tried multiple water sports here thanks to your suggestion, the conditions were perfect!

  7. Samantha says:

    This is the perfect guide to help plan our vacation to St Barts, thanks!

    1. Daniel says:

      Glad you like it!

  8. Bethany C. says:

    Do you recommend visiting St. Barts as a solo traveler?

    1. Daniel says:

      I think you could find plenty of people to chat with. You’ll have a great time, I’m sure.

  9. Janie L. says:

    This is the best all-inclusive guide to St. Barts that I have ever come across. Thank you for all the tips and information!

    1. Daniel says:

      Gald you found it helpful! Enjoy!

  10. Mitch & Halee says:

    My fiance and I are planning our honeymoon to St. Barts this spring; we love your guide! It has really helped us with our itinerary.

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