Saint Barthélemy, officially the Territorial collectivity of Saint-Barthélemy called Ouanalao by the indigenous people, is an overseas collectivity of France in the West Indies. Often abbreviated to St-Barth in French, and St. Barths or St. Barts in English, the island lies about 35 kilometres (22 mi) southeast of St. Martin and north of St. Kitts. Puerto Rico is 240 kilometres (150 mi) to the west in the Greater Antilles.
Saint Barthélemy, a volcanic island fully encircled by shallow reefs, has an area of 25 square kilometres (9.7 sq mi) and a population of 7,160. Its capital is Gustavia, which also contains the main harbour. It is the only Caribbean island that was a Swedish colony for any significant length of time; Guadeloupe was under Swedish rule only briefly at the end of the Napoleonic Wars. Symbolism from the Swedish national arms, the Three Crowns, still appears in the island’s coat of arms. The language, cuisine, and culture, however, are distinctly French. The island is a popular tourist destination during the winter holiday season, geared towards the high-end, luxury tourist market.
Gustavia – It’s easy to see why Gustavia is seen as the capital of St. Barth. Unique independent boutiques and the world’s most desirable fashion sit cosily next to each other on palm-shaded roads, all surrounded by a glittering, yacht-filled harbour.
Beaches – Lorient Beach is a great place to visit with family, Flamands Beach is favourite with islanders due to its fine white sands and sporting pitches, Flamands is also the largest beach on the island. Shell Beach is studded with (surprise surprise) shells and large sea-smoothed stones, Shell Beach is within easy walking distance of Gustavia and Gouverneur Beach Rumored location of buried pirate treasure, is a great place for families as the short distance between the beach and the sea means it is easy to keep an eye on little ones, both on the sand and in the water.
St. Jean – One of the most popular destinations on St. Barth, and for a good reason. Centred around one of the most famous beaches on the island, the long stretch of white sand is surrounded by a string of popular hotels, restaurants and shops which cater to visitors of all ages.
Lorient – In the village of Lorient you’ll find Jojo Burger, two grocery shops and a bakery all within walking distance of the popular family-friendly beach. Visit the colourful surf hut on the beach itself to book lessons, hire boards and pick up some surfing tips from the experts.
Dining – Creole is possibly the most traditional cooking you can enjoy on St. Barth, but the French influence means the island has a long history of outstanding French cuisine. Despite being a small island, you can dine on cuisine from all over the world without even leaving Gustavia. Thai, Japanese, American, Italian and Vietnamese are just a few of the dining options available in the picturesque red-roofed town.
Scuba Diving – St. Barth is an ideal place to scuba dive. Four shipwrecks and a protected marina ensure that there is plenty to explore for divers of all abilities. There’s a wide variety of underwater life to discover, including pretty little angelfish and parrotfish, stingrays, turtles, barracudas and even the occasional whale.
Discover Unique experiences throughout Saint Barths
St. Barth is an ideal place to scuba dive. Four shipwrecks and a protected marina ensure that there is plenty to explore for divers of all abilities. There’s a wide variety of underwater life to discover, including pretty little angelfish and parrotfish, stingrays, turtles, barracudas and even the occasional whale.
Surfing is one of St. Barth’s most popular water sports. Different spots exist for surfers of all abilities and the warm waters mean even children can surf from sunrise to sunset nearly all year around. It’s no Hawaii, but during hurricane season bigger swells come in from the north-east, and the island’s size means if the waves change you can simply move to another area. In a marked difference to many popular surfing islands, friendly relations between visitors and locals help keep surfing in St. Barth fun and safe for everyone.
A fishing trip is one of the finest days out you can have while visiting St. Barth. Yellow fin tuna, mahi mahi and wahoo are all abundant in the deep waters further away from the coast, while lobster can be trapped closer to the shore.
Frequently Asked Questions
The 650 meters of runway at Saint Barths airport does not allow large aircraft to land. 25 km away, the neighboring island of Saint Martin has an international airport: “Princess Juliana airport” where it is very easy to reach Saint Barthélemy. The Raizet Caribbean Pole Airport (Pointe à Pitre) in Guadeloupe also serves the destination of Saint Barths.
For those who prefer to start their holidays in style, here is a pleasant way to get to Saint Barthelemy: come by ferry to St Barths with a taxi boat. These companies provide you with an agent who welcomes you as soon as you arrive at Juliana airport and takes you to the pier to board a magnificent motor boat, you will be able to glide at full speed over the incredible turquoise waters that surround Saint Barths.
For all visitors, formalities in Saint Barths require a valid passport. And, depending on the country of origin, a French visa valid for France except CTOM or DFA (French departments of America) with the mention COLLECTIVITE TERRITORIALE DE SAINT BARTHELEMY ET SAINT MARTIN must be issued by the French Embassy before departure.
For American and Canadian citizens, you must have a valid passport, obligatorily accompanied by a return or continuation of travel ticket, it is not necessary to have a visa if the stay is shorter or equal to 30 days. On the other hand, the passport must imperatively have a period of validity greater than 3 months at the time of entry into our territory.
The Saint Barths weather is tropical maritime type and varies from 27 ° in winter to 30 ° in summer. See 32 ° in July and August, with a sea which can go up to 29 °. There are not four seasons like in temperate regions. But two periods: From December 1 to May 30, fresh air and mild temperatures for the Lent period. June 1 to November 30, warmer winter period, with risk of hurricanes in September and October. The best time to visit Saint Barths is between December and June.
Saint Barths restaurants and gastronomy are one of the finest food in the world. For example, the Saint Barths island organizes every year the Saint Barths Gourmet festival. The best chiefs cook for you local product such as lobsters or seashells. They are all available in the nature of Saint Barths: sea, ponds and lagoons. You will find in the list below all the Saint Barths restaurants ranging from the small gargotte offering typical dishes of the island to the great gourmet restaurants using the best Caribbean products to satisfy the most delicate taste buds in search of new flavors. Whatever your culinary tastes, the gastronomy of Saint Barths will satisfy and surprise you with its originality and the quality, the freshness of its seafood from the French West Indies.
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