St. Barts, a small French island of volcanic origin of only 21 sqm nestled in the north of the West Indies, has everything you could wish for in terms of relaxation, sunshine and privacy. Renowned today for being a popular destination for the jet-set, Saint-Barthélemy is also a favourite spot for families looking for ultra-chic holidays. Head for the best addresses on the island!
Saint-Barthélemy is a combination of tradition and modernity, festivities and luxury. With its pretty, typical neighbourhoods, Creole houses and upscale establishments, the pearl of the Caribbean is a dream come true. Its anchor point? Gustavia and its mythical port, where many opulent boats and yachts dock every day, perfect for exploring the surrounding islands, like Christopher Columbus conquering the New World.
Saint-Barthélemy in a nutshell
- Main town: Gustavia
- Country: France (Overseas Community, French West Indies)
- Political system: Constitutional Republic
- Official Language: French
- Currency: Euro (US$ accepted)
- Entry to the territory: Identity card and/or passport
- The island’s hilly landscapes, made up of hills and bays, depict a delicious picture in an explosion of natural colours. The viewer’s gaze knows not where to rest, between the flamboyant red of the coastal cliffs and the monochrome blue of the Caribbean waters. A pleasure for the eyes that children will not soon forget.
- Saint-Barthélemy has a tropical maritime climate. This means that the year is divided into two seasons: the dry season (from December to April) and the rainy season (from May to November) which ends with the cyclone season. It is therefore in St. Barts that people come to get the sun in winter for a good dose of vitamin D!
- Rightly called « la plus française des îles caribéennes » (the most France-like of the Caribbean islands), the island enjoys a population of Breton, Norman and Vendean descent, thanks to the settlers who came to settle in the 15th century, after Christopher Columbus discovered the island in 1493.
- The pearl of the Caribbean is a prosperous island, renowned for attracting the jet-set. Luxury yachts, grandiose villas, luxury brands, gourmet restaurants, everything has been designed to satisfy the desires of the most demanding visitors.
- Although there is no direct flight from Paris to Gustavia or Brussels-Gustavia, it is quite easy to get there with a stopover in Guadeloupe. Situated 226 kilometres away, the island of zouk and rum is an island to discover with the whole family. Little Guest has put together a complete travel guide and takes you on a wave of happiness in the heart of the West Indies.
To find out more about accommodation options on the island, please contact our wonderful team of Travel Designers!
What to do in Saint-Barthélemy?
- Saint-Barthélemy is made up of several small islands which are all equally precious. Île Chevreau, in particular, seduces with its rocky relief and peaceful beaches, as do Ile La Tortue and Frégate Island, which are easily accessible by boat. Will you be lucky enough to see a herd of dolphins dancing to the rhythm of the waves?
- The island’s rugged relief is due to its numerous hills that stand proudly on the territory. The Morne du Vitet, which is the highest point on the island, is worth mentioning. Indeed, the courageous families used to hiking who venture there may be lucky enough, after a nice walk, to see the sunrise over the island and colour the sea with golden shades.
- But before embarking on these activities, Little Guest warmly recommends to let yourself be tempted by a paragliding or micro lighting session. Accompanied by a certified instructor, discover the island from above, in all its magnificence. Will you be able to spot the different areas mentioned in our guide?
Enjoy the coastline
- Saint-Barthélemy is an ultra-rated address, particularly for its diving spots where you can come face to face with an exceptional marine fauna and flora. Your best sessions will take place for sure in the heart of the national nature reserve RNN 132, spread over 1,200 hectares. Turtles, humpback whales, bottlenose dolphins… head for Gros Islets and Pain de Sucre to offer your toddlers one of the richest experiences of their childhood. To discover the most beautiful diving spots in the world, it’s this way!
- When we think of the West Indies, the image of endless beaches and coconut trees as far as the eye can see comes directly to mind… and it’s not a myth! Among the most beautiful beaches of the island, Grand Cul de Sac, Grand-Galet (Shell Beach) and Anse Colombier make up the TOP 3. Particularly suitable for very young children, the beaches of Anse Marigot and Lorient effortlessly take 4th and 5th place on our podium.
- The sports tribes are not to be outdone, on the contrary! Surfing, kite surfing, water skiing, paddle or windsurfing, whatever your preference, Saint-Barthélemy will meet your requirements. Thanks to its gentle wind and shallow crystal-clear waters, the east coast of the island remains the best place to introduce your little surfers to the joys of water sports.
- Do you have a sweet desire for laziness? The pearl of the Caribbean will take you on a long, wide and cross-country ride. In order to relax on the waves, we opt for a sailing or catamaran trip to explore the coast and the lagoon. Back on dry land, head to Corossol, an adorable fishing village where you can learn about local crafts. Take the opportunity to visit the International Shell Museum, one of the only museums on the island, but not the least. Itinerary
Events not to be missed
- In order to welcome the new year with joy and class, the St. Barts Music Festival takes place in January. Jazz and classical music concerts enliven the town of Gustavia and thrill thousands of participants to the sound of the instruments. Practical information: from 4 to 20 January 2020
- In January, it is of course summer in Saint-Barthélemy. To make the most of the sunshine and the mild weather, the very festive Carnival of St. Barts imposes its good atmosphere from the first Sunday in January to Mardi Gras day, when a big parade is organized. The next day, as is the tradition, the King of the Carnival is burnt on the beach of Grand-Galet. Practical information: parade on 25 February 2020
- Although the inhabitants are mainly descended from French families, Creole culture is far from being sidelined. Every year, in April-May, the Film Festival pays tribute to Caribbean cinema. Numerous screenings and workshops are organized.
- You understood it, the inhabitants of Saint-Barthélemy love to party and share simple moments. In mid-August, two days are dedicated to the celebration of Gustavia, on the Quai Général de Gaule. On the programme: games, competitions, sport and, of course, an incredible fireworks display!
- If you set sail for St. Barts in March or April, you will have the immense privilege of attending the St. Barts Regatta (from 19 to 22 March 2020) and the Voiles de Saint-Barth (from 12 to 18 April 2020). These events are a source of great pride for the island and are the subject of numerous gatherings of regatta fans.
- Christmas in the tropics, what do you say? Then let’s meet on the 1st Sunday of December at the Christmas Market in Saint-Barthélemy. Mulled wine, food stalls, pancakes for the kids, everything is there!
- As mentioned above, Saint-Barthélemy is undoubtedly « the most French-like of the Caribbean islands ». Hence, the local gastronomy is very much inspired by the Metropolis, but also by international cuisine. It is always possible to discover or rediscover typical Creole or Caribbean dishes in some restaurants. For a touch of exoticism and an explosion of flavours in the mouth, order a stuffed crab, a grilled lobster, or a Creole blood sausage.
- But of course, to maintain its image as a chic destination, the island hosts many internationally renowned Chefs in restaurants mainly dedicated to international cuisine, all in a very chic atmosphere. This is the case of Nikky Beach Saint Barth (nestled on the Bay of Saint John) and of the L’Esprit (whose brigade is led by Chef Jean Claude Dufour) which offer their guests dishes prepared with love and precision. No wonder the biggest celebrities count them among their favourites… To make a reservation at Nikky Beach, click here here, call +33 5 90 52 46 10 to make a reservation at L’Esprit.
Did you know?
- The island is so small… that there is no nursery or high school! To give birth to a baby, future mothers have to go to Guadeloupe. Once they reach high school age, the children return to their country of birth or come to metropolitan France to continue their studies. A whole organization…
- It was in Saint-Barthélemy that the late Johnny Halliday chose to take his eternal rest. The greatest fans of the French rock singer can thus pay homage to his grave, which is in bloom and pampered, at the Lorient marine cemetery.
- The island has its own free newspaper, Le News Saint Barth. This local daily gazette full of good ideas gives the best addresses and spots to go out and eat.
Have a nice trip!
Pernell, 23 years old, travel lover, from Angers, France