The tropical and chic St Bart’s is located near to Anguilla and St Martin and proudly presents a typically French feel. It has stunning red brick buildings, an impressive harbour filled with elegant yachts and its clear Caribbean waters remain a warm 27 degrees all year round. The main tax free capital Gustavia with its striking port attracts the rich and famous and its luxurious hotels and beautiful boutiques appeal to a variety of tourists. A car is recommended for those wishing to explore this unique island while sailing, swimming, snorkelling and diving remain firm favourites.
Things to see & do in St Barths:
Attractions: St Bart’s sublime beaches are an attraction in themselves. Some of the most beautiful spots include Anse du Gouverneur, Anse de Colombier and Grand Galet but it’s hard to go wrong in St Barths. If you can, hire a car and do a bit of beach-hopping to explore for yourself. The small capital of Gustavia is a wonderfully picturesque town. Here you will find mega-yachts lining the harbour, chic designer shops and pretty red-roofed buildings. Fort Gustaf, built in 1787 by the Swedish, with its lighthouse and cannons is well worth a visit, if not at least for the far-reaching view from its historic ruins which sit alongside a steep hillside. At the north end of the harbour sits another fort, Fort Karl. Other interesting spots to visit include: Columbier lookout point, the Old Bell Tower in Gustavia and the Wall House Museum.
Events/festivals: The island goes into full carnival-mode during the Mardi Gras celebrations (usually in early March) The celebrations, which last for several days, include a parade which starts at the commercial dock in the capital of Gustavia. Over 3 days in March, the ‘St Barths Bucket Race’ takes place – an invitation-only Regatta featuring some of the most impressive super yachts in the world, culminating in a big party at the finish line! Les Voiles de St Barth in April is also a big sailing event with a line-up of competitors from classic sloops to mega yachts. In the evenings there is live music to enjoy as the day’s results are posted in the events tent on the harbour in Gustavia. Bastille Day on the 14th July is celebrated on the island with fireworks, music and dancing.
Sports: St Barths is known as a haven for yachting, with many events being held in and around the harbour at Gustavia each year. There is some great scuba diving around the island with a great mix of wrecks and reefs to explore (one of the best sites is Anse de Chauvettes) Other popular pursuits include snorkelling, deep-sea fishing, surfing, water-skiing, windsurfing and kite-surfing.
Nightlife: Whilst staying on St Barths, the most popular leisure activity in the evenings involves eating at one of the island’s fine dining, gourmet restaurants. Some of the restaurants do have separate cocktail bars, which can get quite lively in peak season, but St Barths is definitely no Ibiza!
Eating/Drinking: St Barths is a foodie’s heaven. Expect everything from French Haute Cuisine (with many of the speciality ingredients delivered to the island directly from France) to local Creole cooking served in exquisite restaurants with simply stunning panoramas. The waters around the island provide Caribbean lobsters which you can often choose from a tank and are then served grilled or in a casserole. Popular Creole food includes stuffed crab, fish or blood sausage and ‘accras’, which are small deep-fried codfish.
Shopping: If designer brands are your thing, St Barths has the best shopping in the Caribbean by a country mile. In the small elegant capital of Gustavia, chic boutiques line the three main shopping streets, and here you will find designer labels such as Bulgari, Chopard, Louis Vuitton, Hermes and Cartier…to name but a few. Also, as an added bonus, St Barths it is a duty-free port, so your spending money goes further!
When to go
There is no bad time to go to St Barths. St Barths enjoys a warm, dry sunny climate with average temperatures in the 80s F all year round which are made more comfortable by the trade winds which bring refreshing breezes from the northeast. The dry season is considered to be December to May while June to November is considered the ‘rainy’ season, however, there is not that much difference between the seasons and if it does rain, the clouds usually pass pretty quickly and return to bright blue sunny skies. The official hurricane season lasts from June to November but the odds of a direct hit are relatively low.
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