St. Barthelemy Island, Caribbean
Written by Missy Johnston
St. Barthelemy Island, also known as St. Barths and St. Barts, is located in the French West Indies and, at eight miles long, is one of the tiniest islands in the entire Caribbean. However what this island lacks in size is more than made up for by the chic lifestyle, restaurants and hotels found right here.
St. Barths is a duty free port, and shoppers will be delighted with the range and number of shops. The highest concentration of shops is in Gustavia, followed by St-Jean, with its several shopping centers. It is wise to allocate more than a single afternoon to see what’s what and where’s where. St. Barths is known for little chic boutiques, with the latest in beach and summer clothing from San Tropez.
There are fourteen beaches on St. Barths, all blessed with gleaming white sand. Few are crowded, even in peak season. All are public and free. Nudism is ostensibly prohibited; however, topless is not unusual. Two beaches divided by the Eden Rock promontory are Grand Cul de Sac and St. Jean. Flamands is a huge stretch of white sand fringed with lantier palms. The beaches at Marigot, Lorient, and Petite Cul de Sac are secluded and quiet, Gouverneur is serene; Saline is well worth the hike over the sand dune. Hardest to get to is Colombier, reachable by your yacht tender or by a half- hour hike down a scenic path.
St. Barts offers many fine restaurants, offering just about any type of cuisine you can imagine. In fact, there are nearly one hundred places to get something to eat in St. Barts: from exquisite gastronomic restaurants to humble burger joints and take-away delis.
For those that want to be “in the know”, St. Barts has more chic little secret places to be than any other Caribbean Island.
St. Barths Recommended Restaurants
Nikki Beach: For lunch or dinner. Reservations required. www.saint-barth.nikkibeach.com
The Rocks Restaurant at Eden Rock Hotel: For lunch or dinner. Reservations required. www.oetkercollection.com/hotels/eden-rock-st-barths/restaurant-bar/
Eddy’s Restaurant: For lunch or dinner. Reservations required. www.eddysghetto.com
Wall House: For lunch or dinner. Reservations required. www.wallhouserestaurant.com
Le Select Café: For lunch of dinner. No reservations needed if there is space available. www.facebook.com/pages/Le-Select-Bar-St-Barths
What to See and Do on Yacht Charter on St. Barths Island, Caribbean
Shopping: St. Barths is a Duty Free Island, which makes shopping a better value. The chic shops tend to be in Gustavia, along with jewelry shops, while there are also shopping malls in St. Jean.
Beaches: There are beautiful beaches, 14 in total, many with beach bars and restaurants located in the sand. Nude bathing is technically illegal although may be tolerated on Gouverneur and Salines Beaches.
St. Barths Municipal Museum: Not large, located in Gustavia near the harbor, this museum has interesting exhibits about St. Barths life from the 1700’s to today.
Fort Karl: Perched on the far side of the harbor, the Fort is an excellent lookout for a photo op after a short hike up to the top. Overlooking Shell Beach and Gustavia Harbor.