The Ultimate Guide to Exclusive St. Barthelemy
Long known as the playground for the rich and elite, St. Barthelemy, or St. Barths / St. Barts, is the Caribbean's most exclusive island.
With 22 secluded beaches untouched by mass tourism, strips of colorful boutiques, a bustling marina and some of the world's most beautiful people, those who want to experience the best that the Caribbean has to offer make St. Barth's their destination of choice.
A short hop from nearby St. Maarten and the islands of St. Kitts and Nevis, this tiny French archipelago is off the beaten path of the masses.
With a population of just 10,000 year round residents, this St. Barts is simply a playground for water and sun lovers. It is highly sought after for family travel, romantic escapes and beach breaks. St. Barth's offers something for everyone!
For the traveler who wants relaxation, beautiful sunsets are a daily indulgence, and there are gorgeous hilltop cafes that give you a birds eye view. For the more adventurous, bodyboarding, swimming and stand up paddleboarding are the most popular activities on the island.
Where to Stay in St. Barts
St. Barts villas are some of the most popular housing arrangements on the island. From small, cottage-like beachfront accommodations to sprawling estates, complete with private pools, there is a range of villa options that will fit the needs of any traveler.
Villas are popular with groups, families and couples as they provide ample space to stretch out and relax. With bespoke options for every taste, villas are an excellent complement to your Caribbean travel.
St. Barts villas often offer a level of comfort and service that you won't find in a typical hotel. When you book a St. Barth vacation rental, you have all of the comforts of home.
Spacious bedrooms, fully equipped kitchens with new appliances, swimming pools and housekeeping service are all part of the allure of renting a villa. For your St. Barth travel, renting a villa is definitely the best choice for your stay.
Your St. Barth vacation rental comes with a personal St. Barth travel guide that can arrange for private sailing charters, city tours and in-home chefs.
Beaches to Visit in St. Barts
St. Jean Beach
No trip to St. Barth's is complete without a trip to St. Jean beach. The island's "sexiest" beach, St. Jean is the place to go to people watch while enjoying warm surf.
Dotted with trendy restaurants and toes-in-the-sand bars, St. Jean beach is the destination of choice when you want to relax with a cold drink and watch the sea planes come in.
One of the most romantic and secluded beaches on the island, Colombier Beach is the site of many marriage proposals. The beach, which is accessible only by catamaran or a 25 minute hike, boasts sugar sand beaches and sparking azure water.
Known for its spectacular sunsets, Colombier Beach is the perfect spot to spend a romantic evening with that special someone, or just relax and let the waters of the Caribbean wash your cares away.
Shopping in St. Barts
You don't need to go to New York's Fifth Avenue or Paris' Avenue Montaigne to shop designer brands. Gustavia is known for its high-end offerings, with the main strip, Quai de la République drawing in serious shoppers from around the globe.
Find treasures at Chanel, or shop at Louis Vuitton, Richard Mille, Cartier, Bulgari, Chopard and Hermès. St. Barth's is the place to find trendy Italian and French fashions not available in the United States. Vintage wines, Cuban cigars and hand made watches are all on the menu when you shop in St. Barth's.
Dining in St. Barts
When it comes to cuisine on St. Barts, there is no doubting the French tradition of eating well. St. Barth's is a foodie's paradise. With more than 80 restaurants on the island including high-end hotels, sidewalk cafes and beachfront eateries, the biggest problem you will have is deciding where to eat next.
There is no shortage of fine dining on St. Barts, from the island's favorite eatery, Maya's, to French specialties, Thai cuisine and fresh seafood.
In true French tradition, the island is dotted with boulangeries serving French pastries and breads. Indulge in the best cheeses and smoked meats at the local grocer, or pick up a picnic and head to the beach. The best restaurants book up quickly, so make reservations early, especially in the high season.
Experience St. Barts Nightlife
When it comes to nightlife, St. Barth's has a laid-back vibe. Grab a glass of wine at the marina while listening to live jazz or enjoy a dinner show. That being said, St. Barth's does know when to turn up the heat.
Midnight is when the island comes alive, and many restaurants transform into de facto nightclubs that keep the party going until the wee hours of the morning.
Sightseeing & Excursions
St. Barth's has a number of diving schools that will train you for your PADI certification. Scuba here is some of the best in the world, and the island is teeming with coral reef and colorful marine life.
Scuba divers have deep caves to explore, and two ancient wrecks that provide an amazing experience. For the best diving, the islet of Pain de Sucre is a must-see. L'Ane Rouge, a small cape, also provides clear waters perfect for diving.
Sailing and Yachting
The pace of life is slow on land, and the pace on the water is no different. St. Barth's is protected from high winds, making for smooth sailing waters. Trade winds on the island hover at around 10-20 knots, perfect for a day out on a yacht, sailboat or catamaran.
There are many yacht charter companies on the island that accommodate couples and large groups. For family travel, chartering a sailboat offers something for everyone.
Sports, Wellness and Fitness
Visit the charming town of St. Jean for the best tennis courts on the island. Take lessons from a pro and enjoy a few games with your friends. Each year in August, the island hosts a popular tournament and visitors to the island are welcome to join in on the fun.
When you're ready to relax, most of the hotels on the island offer first rate spas. Enjoy a manicure and pedicure, massages and facials at Venus Institut in Gustavia, one of the most exclusive spas. Make reservations because the place fills up quickly.
The island also offers a full-service fitness studio that features yoga classes, personal trainers and top of the line equipment. You can even arrange for the trainer to come to your private villa.
St. Barth's is a water-lover's paradise, but there is plenty to do on dry land when planning your St. Barth travel. With stunning scenery, the island offers some of the best hiking in the Caribbean.
A number of natural pools surround Petit Cul de Sac, and the island's "washing machine" on the southeast side is not to be missed. Stop and take in the views from hilltops overlooking the bay, or enjoy a guided hike and a picnic lunch.
Hire a Private Chef
Train alongside master chefs in test kitchens around the island. Enjoy engaging talks and lectures on a variety of topics from astronomy to geography and world issues. Learn the art of mixology from the island's best bartenders.
When it comes to Caribbean travel, no place rivals St. Barts. One of the Caribbean's most exclusive destinations, this small island packs a punch, offering everything from fine dining to high-end shopping, world-class sports and more. Our St. Barth travel guide details everything there is to see and do, and has hidden gems that are curated by on-island locals.