(also called St. Barts or St. Barths)
is an island of only 8 square miles and approximately
7,000 residents. Steep and dramatic (highest point is
938 ft, Morne du Vitet) in the middle, the hills create
valleys, which in turn create the numerous coves and
22 beautiful beaches. There are no casinos on the island,
nightlife is mostly limited to some hangouts in Gustavia
(e.g. Bar de l'Oubli and Le Select). Excellent restaurants
are plentiful, mostly French, Creole and Italian.
The island is a free port and is part of an overseas
department of France. Arid, hilly, and rocky, St. Barths
was unsuited to sugar production and thus never developed
an extensive slave base. Most of the 3,000 current residents
are descendants of the tough Norman and Breton settlers
of three centuries ago. They are feisty, industrious,
and friendly -- but insular. However, you will find
many new, young French arrivals, predominantly from
northwestern France and Provence, who speak English
An air of affluence permeates St. Barths and the high
season brings an influx of the wealthy and powerful
trying to get away from it all...although some people
just have to be "seen" here. Despite all that,
St. Barths maintains a casual and happy atmosphere where
you can be as relaxed or active...as "seen"
or "unseen" as you wish. Please, do remember
that St.Barts is not cheap, but with some planning ahead
of time, you can make St. Barths more reasonable and
a vacation to remember.
is easy to reach Saint Barthélemy as several
airlnes fly t the island from Saint Martin (the airport
in Grand Case or Princess Juliana Airport) as well as
from Anguilla or San Juan.
are several options to arrive in St. Barthelemy by boat.
citizens of the European Union must have a valid passport
foreigners who are required to have the Schengen visa
for Europe, must also get the visa extension for French
Overseas Departments and Overseas Territories. It will
be requested upon arrival along with other necessary
documents (return ticket, proof of lodging, etc)
American and Canadian citizens arriving in Saint Barth
must have a valid passport, as well a round-trip ticket
or proof of continuation of travel. A visa is not necessary
if the intended stay on the island is inferior to, or
equal to, 30 days.However, the passport must be valid
and not expire for at least three months from the date
of entry to the territory of St Barthélemy.
There are two taxi stations on the island, one at the
airport and one in Gustavia on the public dock.
While the island is very small, a car is always nice
to have. There are a number of rental agencies available
offering a veriety of cars, compact SUV's and even scooters.
You must have a valid driver's license.
There are only two gas stations on the island, and both
are closed on Sunday. The one near the airport is open
Monday through Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to noon and 2
to 5 p.m. The one in Lorient is open from 7:30 a.m.
to 5 p.m., except on Thursday and Saturday afternoons.
There is an all-night automatic credit card gas pump
at the airport station.
St. Barths has a year round tropical climate. Comfortable,
casual clothes are the order of the day. Formal dress,
coats or ties are never required. Swimsuits should never
be worn in town.
Voltage is 220 AC, 60 cycles. American-made appliances
often require French plug converters and transformers.
St. Barths has one Post Office with two branches. The
main Post Office, on rue du Centenaire in Gustavia,
opens daily 8 AM to 3 PM, and closes on Wednesday and
Saturday afternoons. The branch in Lorient is open from
7 to 11 AM weekdays and from 8 to 10 AM on Saturday.
The branch at the St. Jean Commercial Center, near the
airport, opens daily from 8 AM to 2 PM, as well as Wednesday
and Saturday morning 8-11 AM. Both are closed on Sunday
UPS, Federal Express and DHL all have agents on the
Banks--The two main banks are both
in Gustavia. The Banque Francaise Commerciale, rue du
General-de-Gaulle (tel. 590/27-62-62), is open Monday
through Friday from 8am to 12:30pm and 2 to 4:30pm;
it's closed Wednesday afternoon. The Banque Nationale
de Paris, rue du Bord-de-Mer (tel. 590/27-63-70), is
open Monday through Friday from 8am to noon and 2 to
3:30pm; closes at noon on Wednesday.
2002, St. Barts, as a political part of mainland France,
abandoned its historic French franc and joined the Euro
tel. 16 for police or medical emergencies, tel. 18 for
Barts is not the greatest place to find yourself in
a medical emergency. Except for vacationing doctors
escaping their own practices in other parts of the world,
it has only seven resident doctors and about a dozen
on-call specialists. The island's only hospital, with
the only emergency facilities, is the Hopital de Bruyn,
rue Jean-Bart (tel. 590/27-60-35), about a 1/4 mile
(.4km) north of Gustavia. Serious medical cases are
often flown out to St. Maarten, Martinique, Miami, or
wherever the accident victim or his/her family specifies.
official language is French, but English is widely spoken.
Pharmacie de Saint-Barth is on quai de la Republique,
Gustavia (tel. 590/27-61-82). Its only competitor is
the Pharmacie de l'Aeroport, adjacent to the airport
(tel. 590/27-66-61). Both are open Monday through Saturday
from 8am to 8pm; on Sunday, one or the other remains
open for at least part of the day.
crime is rare here, it would be wise to protect your
valuables. Don't leave them unguarded on the beach or
in parked cars, even if locked in the trunk.
an airport departure tax of 4.55 Euro ($4.05), but no
Barts is linked to the Guadeloupe telephone system.
To call St. Barts from the United States, dial 011 (the
international access code), then 590 (the country code
for Guadeloupe), then 590 again (the area code for St.
Barths), and finally the 6-digit local number. To make
a call to anywhere in St. Barts from within St. Barts,
dial only the 6-digit local number, and ignore the prefix
590. To reach an AT&T operator from anywhere on
the island, dial tel. 0800-99-00-11. To reach MCI, dial
tel. 0800-99-00-19, and to reach Sprint, dial tel. 0800-99-0087.
standard time is in effect in the United States and
Canada, St. Barts is 1 hour ahead of the U.S. east coast.
Thus, when it's 7pm on St. Barts, it's 6pm in New York.
When daylight saving time is in effect in the United
States (April through October), clocks in New York and
St. Barts show the same time.
usually add a service charge of 10% to 15%; always ask
if this is included in the price you're quoted. Restaurants
typically add a service charge, too. Taxi drivers expect
a tip of 10% of the fare.
water on St. Barts is generally safe to drink.
Barths is a duty free port and most of the shopping
is done in Gustavia and St. Jean. Local arts and crafts,
designer French and Italian clothing, jewelry, watches
and perfumes top the shopping list - all duty free.
could visit St. Barths again and again, and never run
out of new restaurants or dishes to try. American to
Italian, French to Mexican, Asian to Creole... well,
you get the picture, it's all here.
for outrageous nightlife, party til morning? Sorry,
that's not St. Barths. Some of the restaurants and hotels
offer entertainment and there are several notable nighspots
are a number of trails that allow you to discover St.
Barths, including several beaches that can be reached
only on foot. Climb to the top of Mount Vitet, 938 feet
(286 meters) high and experience a breathtaking view
of the countryside and surounding waters.
great way to relax and have fun. Ride the trails and
along the beach with the wind in your hair.
diving, there is great snorkeling off the beaches, windsurfing,
surfing, jet skiing, sailing, and kayaking.
game abounds offshore. Marlin, wahoo, blackfin and yellowfin
tuna and sailfish top the charts.
are several gyms in St. Barths, plus some of the hotels
offer fitness rooms.