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St. Barts

St. Barts Travel Guide

Why St. Barts?

  • Shopping and fine cuisine!
  • Landing at the airport.
  • La Rivage restaurant at St. Barts Beach Hotel. A local favorite.
  • Windsurfing, sailing and yachting.
  • The villages of Corossol and Colombier where women dress as they did centuries ago.

St. Barts Island Guide

Even as one of the smallest islands in the Caribbean, St. Barts has managed to make a big name for itself. With bragging rights to some of the best and cleanest beaches, the finest restaurants, and the trendiest shops, this is an island worth visiting. If you've decided to rent a villa or book a hotel room in St. Barts, use the information on this page to help you plan an unforgettable vacation.

St. Barts Weather/Climate

Average Temperatures
Highs Lows
January 82.9 ° F 70.9 ° F
February 72.8 ° F 70.6 ° F
March 83.2 ° F 71.3 ° F
April 84.3 ° F 72.4 ° F
May 85.4 ° F 73.8 ° F
June 86.4 ° F 75.8 ° F
July 86.6 ° F 75.9 ° F
August 87.1 ° F 75.7 ° F
September 87.6 ° F 74.7 ° F
October 87.2 ° F 74.4 ° F
November 85.8 ° F 73.3 ° F
December 83.7 ° F 71.1 ° F

Average Rainfall
January 2.28 inches
February 1.83 inches
March 1.99 inches
April 2.29 inches
May 3.60 inches
June 2.15 inches
July 3.13 inches
August 4.00 inches
September 4.38 inches
October 4.95 inches
November 4.26 inches
December 3.87 inches

Overview

Small, pristine and deliberately uncrowded, St. Barts?officially St. Saint Barthelemy?is as European as it gets in the Caribbean. Known as the "Cannes" of the islands for its chic, trendy attitude, deluxe accommodations and the scores of celebrities who frequent her, St. Barths is a place for people with as much leisure money as time.

A tiny island of only eight square miles, St. Barts' terrain consists of dramatic hills and valleys encircled by stark white sand. With little to brag about beyond her spectacular natural beauty, St. Barts centered her focus around her harbor and the island's only town, Gustavia, emerged at her edge. Although discovered by Christopher Columbus (who named the island after his brother Bartholomew), the island today strives to remain undiscovered by the masses. If you're a day tripper or cruise shipper, don't look for the welcome mat to be rolled out for you. St. Barts is determined to maintain its largely affluent, upper crust clientele however that's not to dissuade you from investigating her lovely charms. And there are many.

The island's amenities include terrific diving, snorkeling and sun bathing on beaches that are the Caribbean's finest (and cleanest). The French flair is apparent in the rich, authentic cuisine that you'll enjoy at any number of posh restaurants overlooking fishing villages with harbors full of yachts and sailboats. A favorite pastime is undoubtedly shopping - but not for the thrift shoppers. Don't look for bargains here - look for the best in fashion designs from Milan to New York.

Since the word leaked in the late 1980's of St. Barts' charms, the island has become more accessible than ever to tourists. An island that decidedly will never become a tourism Mecca, St. Barts offers both tranquility and luxury to all who pursue her.

History

When Christopher Columbus sailed past this island in 1493, he named the place for his brother, Bartholomew. When the French took over, the island eventually became ritzy, glitzy St Bartholemy. The Columbian name finally evolved into St Barth in French and Saint Barts in English.

The island never went into the plantation business, so there were never any slaves other than a few domestic ones. Plantation-free, extremely hilly St Barts has valleys and beaches that are among the most unspoiled and gorgeous in the Caribbean. From the island's highest peak, about 930 ft, it is possible to see Sint Eustatius and St Kitts islands.

On July 1, 1784, the King of France, along with King Gustav III of Sweden, traded St Barts for a Swedish warehouse and Baltic Sea trading rights. Thus, St Barts became Sweden's only Caribbean colony. Today, little remains of Swedish rule - other than a waterfront warehouse, several Swedish street names, and the Swedish royal name "Gustavia" for the island's commercial center.

Sweden's monarch made his Caribbean colony a duty-free port. Almost ever since, St Barts and its waterfront capital, Gustavia, have prospered as a shopper's haven. However, trade dropped off in 1847 when Sweden's king freed the slaves, what few there were. Since there were no plantations, most of the freed slaves left to find work in the US Virgin Islands.

In 1878, King Oscar II of Sweden ordered a referendum on sovereignty. Islanders voted to return as part of France, but only if the duty-free status could remain in place.

Top 5 Things To Do

Top 5 Thing to Do

Nikki Beach

Mix and Mingle with the Sexiest People Across the Globe at Nikki Beach

Locals, celebrities, yacht-hopping billionaires and even hedonist flock to Nikki Beach - the sexiest beach club on St. Barts. Jetsetters enjoy non-stop, round-the-clock hip hop while lounging on bamboo beds or in one of Nikki's trademark teepees. With champagne showers, topless dancing, and a little girl-on-girl action, this place screams sexy. This exotic chic hot spot serves delicious entries at lunch and dinner, the most refreshing cocktails and it's really the best people watching anywhere. PLage de St. Jean FW1 97133 St. Barths

Top 5 Thing to Do

Shopping in St. Barths

Gustavia -- A Shopper's Playground

The island of St. Barts is duty-free but you'll find the most stores and best shopping in Gustavia. Billionaire yachts anchor here to check out the latest trends from French and Italian designers, which may not have made it to the states yet. The shopping pit-stop includes merchants such as Dior, Louis Vuitton, Tod's, and Bulgari and a bunch of luxury boutiques. St. Bart's Gustavia is a sure hit for fashionistas traveling from around the globe.

Top 5 Thing to Do

St. Jean Beach

Crystal Blue Waters at St. Jean Beach

St. Barts' 14 stunning beaches draw thousands of travels to this tiny island every year, but St. Jean is where we soak up the sun. This cove is actually 2 beaches split by Eden Rock where you'll find restaurants, hotels, bars, shops and water sports. This northern bay feels like the French Riviera. Relax and enjoy the crystal blue water. It's never very crowded, even during the winter months. Take a stroll down the coast to the airport runway. It's fun to watch, and photograph, take-offs and landings. Nudism is prohibited, but topless sun-bathing is okay.

Top 5 Thing to Do

Marine Service

Discover St. Barth's by Motor Boat

Marine Services can help you discover St. Barths' fishing, sailing, snorkeling, diving, island hopping and jet skiing. They offer all of this, plus several other tours. Divers love exploring the Kayali shipwreck, and anglers always come home with plenty of stories to tell after a day with Marine Services. Big game fishermen catch bonita, dorado, and barracuda. Or maybe just a leisurely tour around the island is more your speed. The gentle rocking of the boat makes for the perfect sun bathe, or find a shaded spot for a relaxing on-board nap. When you wake, refreshing beverages and a light lunch will be waiting. Quai du Yacht Club, Gustavia Open Daily: 8:30 am to 1 pm; 3 pm to 6 pm

Transportation on St. Barts

Getting to St. Barts and getting around. Our transportation tips will help make your trip smoother. More good sand advice.

Entry Documents

From July 1st 2005, all the American and Canadian citizens traveling onto the island will have to have a valid passport to enter the territory. Others must have a valid passport and possibly a visa. EEC citizens must have a National Identity Card.

Airlines Flying Here

WinAir - 599 545 4237, www.fly-winair.com Air Caraibes - 590 82 47 00. www.aircaraibes.com St. Barths Commuter - 590 27 54 54. www.stbarthcommuter.com Tradewind Aviation - 800-376-7922. www.tradewindaviation.com

Airport

Gustavia III Airport

Departure Tax

Included in airfare

Driving

On the right - a valid foreign or international license is required.

Local Transportation

Taxis, rental cars.

St. Barts Weddings and Honeymoons

Vacationers don't just stay in St. Barts villas - they come to paradise to get married and celebrate their honeymoons! In order to get married on St. Barth, the couple needs to fill out a document and submit it to the city hall in person at least 30 days before the wedding. The island has several churches, including Catholic and Anglican, where couples can arrange for a religious ceremony after filling out the appropriate paperwork.

See our favorite villas for weddings.

See our favorite villas for honeymoons.

Know Before You Go...® - St. Barts Travel Tips

Before making their way to St. Barts villas, vacationers like to know a little bit of helpful information to make them feel more at home during their stay. Take a look at our travel tips to make your time in villas in St. Barts even more relaxing.

Capital: Gustavia
Population: 6,848
Size: 15 square miles.
Electric Current: 220
Time: 16:35 pm zone:-4 (GMT/UTC -4)
Official Language: French; English is widely spoken.
Topography: St. Barts' topography of hills and valleys adds to its charm. Each valley is distinctive, with its own architecture and landscape. In all, there are a dozen villages and one major town, Gustavia. They're all a short distance from each other by foot, bike
Telephone: Local area code is 590. From U.S. dial 011-590 plus the local number.

Office Municipal du Tourisme

B.P. 113Gustavia, 97133St. Barthelemy, F.W.I.

011-590-590-2-78727
011-590-590-2-77447
www.st-barths.com

Association Des Hoteliers De St. Barthelemy

+ 590 690 561 003
contact@hotelsofstbarth.org
http://www.hotelsofstbarth.org/
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