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Travel Guide to Saint Barthelemy or St Bart– How, Where & Frequently Asked Questions

By Two Monkeys Travel - Contributor April 24th, 2021 Posted in Caribbean Travel Blog, Travel Blog No comments

Confused about what to do on the Caribbean island? Why don’t you visit St. Barts? Check this travel guide to Saint Barthelemy that we have for you!

The country blends the respective essences of the Caribbean, France, and Architectural Digest in perfect proportions. An elegant but unstudied approach to relaxation and respite prevails: tourists can spend the day on a beach, catch a gallery exhibition, try the latest on French fashions, and watch the sunset while nibbling tapas over Gustavia Harbor. After that, they can choose from nearly 100 excellent restaurants for an elegant or easy evening meal.

Photo by Torrey Wiley CC BY 2.0

Tourists can putter around the island, scuba dive, windsurf on a quiet cove, or just admire the lovely views. The island blends the sophistication of France’s urban centers and the geniality of the French countryside, with crystal-clear turquoise waters, a tropical setting of craggy mountains, stretches of sun-drenched coastline, and bougainvillea-filled gardens. Make no mistake; this country is more expensive than other Caribbean islands (especially since local currency is the euro). However, there are ways to enjoy St. Barts whether your budget is large or small. I loved its capital the most. When tourists land at St. Barts, most of them explore the capital. In fact, it is not surprising that the capital city is quite lively during the day, despite the fact that common sightseeing attractions are not abundant. Nevertheless, just strolling on Gustavia’s cobblestoned streets is quite pleasant, as you will encounter historical homes, rustic boutiques, and red-tiled roofs.

Photo by Lombardi CC BY 2.0

Questions and Answers about Saint Barthelemy

Where is Saint Barthelemy?

The island, an overseas collectivity of France, is associated with an interesting history, rich culture, and interesting ways of life. The local residents of the island are known as the Ouanalao. St. Barts is about 22miles (35km) to the southeast of St. Martin and north of St. Kitts. Puerto Rico is about 150 miles (240kms) to the west in the Antilles. The island of St. Barthelemy is in the Caribbean and lies between the North Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. The country is located on the leeward side of the northern group of islands and lies to the east of the US Virgin Islands.

Photo by Josh Engroff CC BY 2.0

Is it safe to travel to Saint Barthelemy?

The island of St. Barthelemy is one of the safest places in the world. However, there is petty theft, there is no personal risk whatsoever; no gangs, no guns, no-one has ever been mugged, there are no ‘no go” areas, you can go anywhere on the island night or day without any risk to your personal safety. Children hitch-hike, cars are left unlocked with the keys in the ignition and front doors are left open. Never bother checking over your shoulder at the ATM, the person behind you will be standing a respectable ten feet away. Nobody will hassle you, try and sell you either souvenirs or drugs or offer themselves as guides. Say “bonjour” to everyone you meet, and it will be returned with a smile.

How to Change Money in Saint Barthelemy?

The local currency of the country is Euro. Almost all the restaurant takes credit cards while VISA is the most widely accepted. However, there is no ATM for American Express (AMEX) cards on St. Barth, but AMEX has provided a service for its members. When you present the AMEX Card at an AMEX office, conveniently located across the street from the airport, members in an emergency can cash checks for Euros or USD; receive a replacement of lost, stolen, damaged, mutilated or voided AMEX Traveler’s checks. You can exchange to smaller denominations of AMEX travelers’ checks if available; and provide “Gift Check” and “Check for Two” AMEX Travelers’ checks available upon request. (Authorization will be requested from American Express for all services.)

Photo by Lombardi CC BY 2.0

What is Unique about Saint Barthelemy?

Famous sailor Philippe Poupon and Actress Geraldine Danon, sailed the Arctic to the Atlantic with their young family, exploring the most untouched places on earth. Filante, a 60ft sailing catamaran is available all year round and can accommodate up to 18 people. Besides, it can also be enjoyed for a full day for 80euros per person, complete with a special picnic and a refreshing set of drinks from the onboard bar, at your disposal throughout the whole day. The insect bees have a famous “waggle dance” they perform in order to inform other bees of the distance, direction, quantity, and quality of the source of nectar and pollen that it has discovered. The biodiversity of the island and the surrounding islands have 183 different species of fish, 54 varieties of coral, and 60 types of sea sponges.

What is the culture of Saint Barthelemy?

The Swedish heritage, The Caribbean influences, and the traditions of the French settlers from Brittany, Normandy, and Poitou are all apparent in the cultural life of St. Barth. Apart from that, much of today’s culture also revolves around a love of the sea and an appreciation for the finer things in life. Amazing events throughout the year honor traditional holidays but the island also celebrates with art, music and film festivals as well as fishing contests, boat races, and other sporting events. The traditions, beauty, and vitality of the island can also be seen in the works of numerous local talented artists. The island of St. Barts Music Festival held every January, usually during the 2nd and 3rd weeks.

What is the Geography of Saint Barthelemy?

Situated over 5,000 miles from Paris and over 1,500 miles from New York, a little country that seems to float on the water at 17°55 north and 62°50 west. The country, casually known as Saint Barth, is quite small at just 24 km2 (eight square miles). The last census in 2007 revealed that there are 8,398 inhabitants or a density of 335 inhabitants per km2. One of the things that make the St. Barth seem more mysterious is its rugged shoreline encircled by sparkling white sand.

How to travel to Saint Barthelemy?

If you are planning to travel to Saint Barth, here are some of the airlines that will take you to Saint Barth from these countries.

  • London: British Airways, Tradewind Aviation, Air France, Winair and Air Caraibes offer flights from London to Saint Barthelemy.
  • USA: British Airways, Tradewind Aviation, and Air France offer flights from various US cities to Saint Barthelemy.
  • Dubai: Emirates, KLM, Winair, Gulf Air and Air France offer flights from Dubai to Saint Barthelemy.
  • Singapore: United, Delta, Tradewind Aviation, LOT, Air France, Winair and Lufthansa offer flights from Singapore to Saint Barthelemy.
Photo by Ashley Coates CC BY-SA 2.0

How to travel in Saint Barthelemy-Transport in Saint Barthelemy

The island has a single, small airport located on its north coast called the Gustaf III Airport. Majority of the International and full-sized planes cannot fly directly into Gustaf Airport, so visitors must first fly to another of the Caribbean Islands -such as San Juan, St. Martin, Antigua or Guadeloupe- and then take a smaller plane from there.

  • Taxis: Taxi fares range from pricey to outrageous, even for short distances. There are no set fares, so prices are all over the board.
  • Public buses: There is no public transport in Saint Barthelemy.
  • Private transfers: Traffic is a major problem on Saint Barthelemy and public parking spaces are thin on the ground. The roads are often very narrow and poorly paved; be careful of cars coming in the opposite direction. Taxis are VERY expensive-a car rental (can meet you at the dock) is less expensive.

What’s the food like in Saint Barthelemy?

One of the best things about Saint Barthelemy is the quality and variety of food. Most restaurants in St Barth offer an updated take on traditional French cuisine using the best possible ingredients they can find. Mostly, the beef is imported from Argentina, France, or Canada, guaranteeing tender, delicious cuts of meat. The majority of the fish, from succulent red tuna to mahi-mahi, red snapper, and wahoo, is local and bought from the island’s fishermen the same day it is caught, ensuring freshness. In Saint Barthelemy, desserts are also popular, ranging from French classics such as crème brûlée to chocolate fondant or lemon tart. And a French meal is not complete without a good cup of coffee or espresso, often served with a small square of dark chocolate.

What is the weather like in Saint Barthelemy?

Saint Barthelemy has a tropical maritime climate. The average temperature varies from 80°F in the winter to 86°F in the summer, with highs of 90°F in July and August. The ocean temperature can reach as high as 84°F during the summer.

Photo by Ashley Coates CC BY-SA 2.0

Important things to pack for a trip to Saint Barthelemy

Tourists must always start with the most important items. These include airline tickets, reservation numbers, valid passports, vouchers, ATM cards, itineraries, cash, driver’s licenses, credit cards, prescription drugs, glasses, contact lenses, and any important phone numbers.

  • Clothing: The island is warm all year, so go for lightweight, breathable, flowing items. It is good to bring natural fibers such as cotton, silk or linen is good options. In the country, dresses, rompers, shorts, and mini tops are ideal all year!
  • Swimwear: It is a must, but we’re sure you knew that already!
  • Rain jacket and Umbrella: Bring a lightweight rain jacket or umbrella, especially if you’re traveling in the Wet (May-Nov.).
  • Shoes: Bring 3 pairs of shoes like sandals, sneakers and boat shoes are de rigueur.
  • Toiletries: Bring toiletry bag (and ziplock bag per TSA regulations for any liquids/soaps).
  • Health kit: It is always advised to bring first aid kit and essential medicines with you.

10 Amazing places to see and things to do in Saint Barthelemy

1. Visiting Gustavia

Photo by Ed G CC BY-ND 2.0

Duty-free shops, chic boutiques and art galleries line the streets, luring passengers disembarking from the many cruise ships that call here, and gourmet restaurants serve mouthwatering French-inspired cuisine.

2. Enjoying the Saline Beach (Anse de Grande Saline)

Photo by Ashley Coates CC BY-SA 2.0

Along with Bart’s southern coast, secluded Saline Beach (also known as Grand Saline) is one of the island’s most beautiful stretches of sand and sea and one of the best beaches in the Caribbean.

3. St. Jean trip

Photo by alljengi CC BY-SA 2.0

It is located in the heart of the island. The tiny village of St. Jean is the most popular tourist area outside of Gustavia, with fabulous restaurants, shopping plazas, and boutiques.

4. Visiting the Flamands Beach

Photo by Ashley Coates CC BY-SA 2.0

This is the island’s widest beach and also one of its prettiest. Fishermen often cast their nets here, and it’s a great beach for swimming when the sea is calm.

5. Gouverneur Beach Tour

Photo by Lombardi CC BY 2.0

This pretty beach is an island favorite but still seems pristine and private, and the water is typically calm and great for swimming.

6. Enjoy Picnic on a pretty Beach

Photo by alljengi CC BY-SA 2.0

If you just want to chill and enjoy some food.  Enjoy a picnic on a cool beach.

7. Lorient Tour

It is on the north coast. The charming village of Lorient is the site of the island’s first French settlement. At the moment, the top things to see here include a 19th-century Catholic church, a few shops, and a fantastic surf beach.

8. Colombier Beach Trip

Photo by David Stanley CC BY 2.0

It is Still known as “Rockefeller’s Beach” because, for many years, David Rockefeller owned the surrounding property, it’s a popular picnic spot with locals. You won’t find any facilities here, so take your own food and drinks and wear sturdy shoes if you are tackling the hike.

9. Exploring Corossol

Along the island’s western shores, the two-street fishing village of Corossol is sometimes called the “straw village,” due to the women from established island families who create straw hats and crafts from palm fronds.

10. Kitesurfing at Grand Cul de Sac Beach

Photo by killians_red CC BY 2.0

The clear waters and the shallow bay of Grand Cul de Sac are ideal for water sports. Kitesurfers congregate here, and the nearby kitesurfing school offers lessons for those in need of a few tips.

Final thoughts on Saint Barthelemy

Photo by Lombardi CC BY 2.0

St. Barthélemy, or St. Barth, as its habitués call it, is a paradise-like island that’s just 12 minutes by plane from St. Martin. But once you finished the plunge between two hills and what they know as the world’s shortest runway, you will land somewhere very luxe and elegant. Just 8.5 square miles in area, the island rises out of an azure sea, its beaches are unparalleled not only for their fine white sand and wonderful swimming but also for their uncrowded bliss and naked sunbathing. In its hills, behind the lush foliage and stone walls, awesome homes for celebrity retreats can be found, many of which can also be rented by normal tourists. So much separates St. Barth from every other island in the Caribbean to make it truly unique.

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Written by Two Monkeys Travel - Contributor

Two Monkeys Travel Group – Community Travel Blog is a travel blog and website. We quickly grew into a valuable source of inspiring travel stories, advice, itineraries and travel guides, with the aim of demonstrating how to live a sustainable life of travel, whilst living your own definition of success. If you'd like to contribute and write a guest post, contact us at [email protected]