St Barts – or Saint-Barthélemy officially – is a French island located in the Caribbean. It is renowned for being a playground of the rich and famous and has a reputation as being the most elite destination in the region, as well as one of the premier holiday destinations in the world.
So with all that in mind, I was understandably excited to arrive in St Barts for a 10 day holiday during August. I’ve learned first hand the ins and outs of the island after checking in and out of all the best hotels, taking day excursions, and speaking with many French locals to uncover the inside scoop on everything that is St Barts.
What You Need to Know about St Barts
There are two ways to arrive on the island: by a small prop airplane (preferable) or by ferry/luxury yacht should you have one of those. The small prop airplane will be a short 10 minute flight from St Martin where all international flights arrive into.
The plane lands at a thin strip of runway, leading some to be wary of arriving this way. However there is a 100% safety record and the pilots are highly skilled, plus it’s also a much more attractive way to arrive than by ferry.
Winair offers 22-28 daily flights SXM-SBH-SXM in season using Twin engine DHC-6 AC with twin engines and two pilots, so this is the best and fastest way to arrive!
Nearly all visitors to St Barts hire a rental car as this is the best way of getting around the island and also very inexpensive. Should you not wish to do so, almost all of the hotels offer a round-trip airport pickup and delivery service free of charge, however you will find it difficult to leave the hotel beyond that as taxis are few and far between – though it is possible.
Nearly the entire population of the island is of European ancestry as the island is a collectivity of France. Thus the official language is French, although you will find most people speak good English.
The capital city of Gustavia is a highlight, as well as the various beaches (each with their unique appeal), great restaurants, nightlife, and luxury spas.
If you’re looking for a day activity, look no further than Jicky Marine Catamaran Tours for a fun day outing. Guests can enjoy a group day sailing or charter the boat for a private outing.
The Euro is the official currency, however US dollars are widely accepted. Costs are typically high as this is one of the world’s premier luxury tourism destinations – although prices plummet during the summer season. Peak season is during Christmas/New Years when prices sky rocket and mega-yachts come to town. Every day items are also much more expensive as everything to the island is imported.
There are 6 very exclusive resorts on the island – Eden Rock, Isle de France, Le Toiny, Guanahani, Le Sereno and Hotel Christopher. Luxury villa rentals are also another popular choice.
St Barts is incredibly safe and very little to no crime occurs on the island so it is safe to leave your car and house unlocked – as many locals do! Be sure to stick to normal French customs – a polite “Bonjour” is mandatory! Also honking your horn is considered extremely rude and no one does so on the island.