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St. Barts Visitors Guide

How to Get There, Things to Do & More

Updated May 2022

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

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.

St. Barts Map

Map of St. Barts

Contents

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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.

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.

Best Time to Visit 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.

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. However, some people opt to fly into Princess Juliana International airport on St. Maarten and then take either a shuttle flight or ferry to St. Barts.

  Search for great deals on flights here.

Arrival by Cruise

There are comparatively few cruise lines that stop in St. Barts, but you can find cruises available from Regent Seven Seas, Oceania Cruises, Crystal Cruises, SeaDream Yacht Club, and Star Clippers.

  Search for great deals on cruises here.

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

Getting Around by Taxi

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. Be aware that prices between 8pm to 6am and on holidays can be about 50% more expensive than outside of those dates and hours.

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

Getting Around by Car

The best way to get around the island is by rental car. You can reserve one at your hotel or at the airport. 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.

  Search for great deals on rental cars here.

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.

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. 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.

  ISLAND LIFE TRAVEL TIP : GET TRAVEL INSURANCE

When going on vacation in the time of Covid, Travel Insurance is a must. Most of the current policies cover Covid medical issues as well as vacation delays due to Covid. They will even cover your hotel if you test positive while on vacation and have to extend your trip a few days until you get a negative test. Our site visitors almost unanimously choose a Trawick International Safe Travels plan, which was a Forbes top-rated travel insurance plan of 2021. Easily compare the different Trawick, Generali and other top travel insurance plans here.

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.

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

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

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