St Barts Travel Guide
Officially Saint Barthélemy, the island is an overseas territory of France and is located southeast of St Maarten.
Believed to have been discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1493, the island was named in honor of his brother Bartolomeo. During the 1600s, the French arrived and took control from the Indigenous East Indians and in 1784 the island was sold to Sweden. France bought the island back in 1878. Among other remaining Swedish influences is the name of its capital, Gustavia. Gustavia, unlike many, is a duty-free port. A little Caribbean, a little European, you’ll find elegant boutiques, a yacht-filled harbor, and a tranquil lifestyle.
Approximately 9 square miles, this intimate charm remains a natural haven and has approximately 8,000 residents. The island has a fusion of beautiful beaches, breathtaking villas, amazing restaurants and chic resorts.
St Barts did you know?
- St Barts is rich and famous in the Caribbean. Famous for the numerous celebrities that frequent the island for that perfect Caribbean getaway! Throughout the year you’ll find visitors such as Jimmy Buffet, Kate Moss, Beyoncé and Jay-Z.
- The island is also a great place to practice your French! Most persons on the island speak English as well, and are delighted to help visitors struggle through their explanations en français.
- You’ll find ethnic restaurants such as Creole, Italian or Asian as your stroll through the streets. You’ll also find butcher shops with French cuts of meat, vegetable markets, pastry shops and grocery store shelves stocked with products exclusive from France.
- With temperatures ranging from 20-30 degrees Celsius, pristine white sand beaches, crystal clear waters, lagoons and lush green landscapes, St. Barts is a stunning Caribbean vacation getaway rated one of the top ten beach destinations in the world by Travel Channel!
How to get to St Barts
There are no direct flights to St Barts from any major international airports in mainland USA, Canada or Europe. In fact, most travelers book a flight to St Maarten’s SXM Airport and make a convenient flight connection with either Winair of St Barth Commuter – a short, less than 10 minute flight. While booking a flight to St Barts from St Maarten will get you here quickly, there’s also two St Barts ferry services from St Maarten. Book a ferry ride to St Barts with either Great Bay Express from Philipsburg or The Edge from Simpsonbay, St Maarten or connect via San Juan, Puerto Rico with Tradewind Aviation’s 1-hour flight over to St Barts.
When to go to St Barts
The best time to go to St Barts is November through June, do keep in mind December through April the sun is especially hot but perfect if you’re escaping the cold! December is also considered peak travel season for the island and so you should be sure to book several months in advance with many hotels in St Barts requiring a minimum 7-10 day stay! Book a trip to St Barts in January and enjoy the St Barts Music Festival, it’s Carnaval in February or the St Barth Bucket Regatta sailing race later in March.
While June is the start of hurricane season, many hotels and restaurants in St Barts also close for what is considered “low season” and will work on renovations. However, July 14th is Bastille Day, and the locals know how to celebrate in true French fashion with epic firework displays in Gustavia and incredible day parties around the island. Be sure to book a table at Nikki Beach in advance!
While temperatures don’t vary much, in September and October the island experiences much more rainfall. November is the end of hurricane season and the skies begin to clear just I time for the next high season.