THE ART OF BEING AN ISLAND
Bienvenue a St Barth!
We explore each blue, trendy and secret corner of this paradise and present on this platform a curatorship with everything you need to know to enjoy your trip with an exclusive and differentiated content about culture, lifestyle and behavior.
St Barth Connection seeks to be as complete as possible, with all the information, contacts and details that are relevant to your experience in this wonderful destination. However, it is strongly recommended that services such as flight tickets, accommodation, car rental, amongst others are made directly through your travel agency or one of one of the Recommended Virtuoso Agencies that have the necessary knowhow to make you experience an unforgettable journey.
In this area we provide all important data and practical information of your destination, such as the description of the island, how to get there, visa procedures, type of socket, Wi-Fi and even providing a special map.
Jordana Gheler, founding partner
The French Caribbean island of Saint-Barthélémy, worldwide known as St. Barth has lately turned into a celebrity and fashionistas’ playground, a place for those who want distance from the flashes, go out day and night without a bodyguard to relax in a low-profile mode with a five-star service. Marc Jacobs is used to showing off his muscles under the sun;READ MORE
The French Caribbean island of Saint-Barthélémy, worldwide known as St. Barth has lately turned into a celebrity and fashionistas’ playground, a place for those who want distance from the flashes, go out day and night without a bodyguard to relax in a low-profile mode with a five-star service. Marc Jacobs is used to showing off his muscles under the sun; Russian billionaires Dasha Zhukova and Roman Abramovich promote exclusive parties in their villa, featuring Beyoncé as the main attraction; the super-photographer Patrick Demarchelier uses the island as an open-air studio – since the 70s he has been one of the island’s main ambassador.
Enjoying the delicious sensation of becoming practically invisible during the dolce far niente in St. Barth, the members of this "Oscar meets Paris Fashion Week meets Grammy” cast are the protagonists of scenes that would hardly happen elsewhere in the world. On the New Year's Eve, Paul McCartney felt so comfortable at the Taiwana hotel’s party that deep into the night he got the microphone and began singing – in Instagram times, no one can be that invisible. Jetsetter journalist Derek Blasberg also got an invitation to this party and posted an unexpected photo on the social network.
Twenty-two breathtaking beaches - do not miss the reserved Gouverneur, named Abramobeach by the locals for housing the stunning Abramovich villa - and good news every season, you will need a car to unveil St. Barth peacefully. Renting a convertible Mini as you arrive to the airport is a good call, especially between the busy months of December and April. Besides its natural beauty, one of the island’s main attractions is the feeling of safety it offers you. The island’s criminality rate is practically zero, a rare index to the Caribbean islands. You do not need to lock the car because the street souvenir sellers will never bother you. All of that is possible due to the close watch, almost radical of its 8,000 inhabitants. One curiosity is that after a mass migration in the late years, the Portuguese already account almost one third of the population and nowadays, you are able to speak the language at most of the hotels, restaurants and streets of St. Barth. "Too much development will kill development," told me Nils Dufau, vice president of St. Barths Tourism Board Committee. St. Barth was a Swedish territory between 1785 and 1878, before the French domination. The government prohibited the construction of tall buildings to this day, as well as resorts with hundreds of rooms, let alone shopping centers on the island. Locals and high season goers rarely experience misunderstandings since the St. Barth rules are very clear. For example, to get there, even who has a private jet needs to park in the neighbor St. Martin and from there, take a commercial flight or book one of the aircrafts that make charter flights - the trip takes only ten minutes and has an exciting seaside landing in one of the smallest airstrips in the world.
St. Barth’s vibe is 100% European, from the stores to the restaurant’s menus. Euro is the local currency and brands like Cartier, Hermès and Louis Vuitton are all set in the small commercial buildings of Gustavia, the island’s capital. The region is just a charming little center, some sort of Buzio’s Rua das Pedras in a luxurious version, pier and boardwalk included. In the restaurants, the wine list boasts excellent wine labels, lower prices than the ones in the Parisian tables because the taxes are much lower in the island. To sum up: St. Barth is a France without the désolé, grève or manifestation, surrounded by the Caribbean Sea, a place packed with good professionals that are tired of the Old World and moved searching for a more relaxing seaside way of life.
Last year, when I visited the island I knew I would find some super European label boutiques, but I was surprised to come across excellent multi-brandings, prime beauty treatments and renowned gastronomic executives from all around the world. The pleasant Italian restaurateur Fabrizio Bianconi, who owns one of the Hollywood stars’ favorite addresses in Santa Monica, Via Veneto, have also been in charge for the last 1.5 years of L’Isola - a St. Barth sophisticated Italian restaurant and by far the island’s best Italian cuisine.
Silvia Rogar, Vogue Brazil
Christopher Columbus discovered the island in 1493 and the Spanish crown claimed it. It had an indigenous name, Oanalao but Columbus changed it to St. Barthélemy in honor to his brother. Taken by the French and colonized in the mid XVIIth century, the island suffered many years of war uncertainty, piracy and conflicts with the native tribes.READ MORE
Christopher Columbus discovered the island in 1493 and the Spanish crown claimed it. It had an indigenous name, Oanalao but Columbus changed it to St. Barthélemy in honor to his brother.
Taken by the French and colonized in the mid XVIIth century, the island suffered many years of war uncertainty, piracy and conflicts with the native tribes.
In 1785, France ceded the island to Sweden in exchange for commercial rights in other places. The Swedish krona was interested in trade and in the domestic development and thus, the “Swedish Era” went to a period of prosper and growth. You can still see that influence today.
Just over a century later, the island returned to the French government and remained almost unknown for most of the XXth century, until the Rockefeller family acquired some of its land and the American movie stars began visiting, generating a buzz of tourists and jetsetters. Today, the population of St. Barth is of about 9 thousand people. Everybody boasts a special status as part of the "other side of France", which provides great autonomy under the leadership of Bruno Magras, the president of the island and his Territorial Council of 19 members.
From November to August, the island is busy. Some weeks with a more intense flow, according to the schedule of events. The trendiest seasons are during the events “Taste of St. Barth” (November), Réveillon (December and January), Carnaval (February), “Bucket Week” (March), “Les Voiles de St Barth” (April), “Summer Camp” (July), “Summer Sessions” and “Family Music Festival” (both happen in august).
In September and October, part of the facilities close. That is when the island’s inhabitants take time off.
St. Barth has many activities, beaches, stores and restaurants to enjoy. The recommended minimum stay for you to be familiar and fall in love with the island is seven days. If you are willing to rest a little, 15 days will be more than enough. However, if you want the full experience, rent a villa and spend the whole month – you will always have what to do in St. Barth.
This is one of the most commonly asked questions and obviously, there are no rules on that matter. However, if you want to enjoy a cool stay, we suggest at least €500 a day - car, lunch and dinner included. Add to this value your hotel or villa’s daily rate. In YOUR TRIP we show a range of interesting options to you.
St. Barth does not allow private jets. We strongly recommend parking in Anguilla, one of the neighbor islands. Lloyds Aviation is the manager of the modern parking lot, and it offers an outstanding service. To book your landing, email email@example.com.
Fly from NY, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Atlanta, Charlotte and Philadelphia to San Juan usually by American Airlines, United Airlines, USAir, Delta or Continental.
Note: one of the options we love is Fort Lauderdale. How about giving a break of the airport, the queues and the visas to enjoy a good breeze and play some golf?
From San Juan, take 1-hour flight with Tradewind Aviation on a modern and luxurious Pilatus PC-12. There are four daily flights, and rates per passenger vary between U$ 400 to U$ 650 each way. Each passenger has the right to baggage allowance 1 piece of 23 kg (50 lbs). In case of exceeding weight or baggage, the company will make an effort to accommodate your baggage of the best way possible or send it on the next flight.
Arriving in San Juan, a Tradewind employee will be waiting for you before the immigration department. You do not have to worry about anything; he will take you to the plane to St. Barth. If by any chance you do not have anyone waiting for you, go through the immigration department, then go to Tradewind Aviation counter (easy to find, just ask). The employee will take you to the plane. With this company, you should never worry about anything!
To make your reservation, send e-mail to Armandine at firstname.lastname@example.org
Fly from NY, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Atlanta, Charlotte and Philadelphia to St Maarten (Princess Juliana airport) by American Airlines, United Airlines, USAir, Delta or Continental.
Note: one of the options we love is Fort Lauderdale. How about giving a break of the airport, the queues and the visas to enjoy a good breeze and play some golf?
In St. Maarten, you will take off with the company St. Barth Commuter (the flight takes 15 minutes). For this flight there is a baggage allowance of 1 piece of 20 kg per passenger.
Important: St. Maarten airport usually has a great passengers influx, so we suggest:
1) Hire the Meet & Greet service, a VIP service so that you do not take queues and you have the support of a local employee to embark you to St. Barth.
To hire this service, please send an email to email@example.com.
2) If you choose not to hire the Meet & Greet, please have your ticket from St. Maarten to St. Barth already printed. In this case, you will take your baggage at the carousel and return to the place before the immigration department, which contains a small direct passage to the second floor, where you will embark to St. Barth and avoid a second immigration procedure. So avoid the exit after the carousel, take this shortcut and everything will be easier and faster.
3) If you want to start enjoying a bit of the Caribbean sea, there is the option of 45-minute fast boat with Master Ski Pilou. To order your boat, please send an e-mail to Clementine firstname.lastname@example.org
French is the official language in St. Barth, but everyone also speaks English to facilitate the communication with the tourists. However, other traditional languages are still popular between the natives such as French patois and Creole. In addition, there are still some variations - for example, the accent can change from neighborhood to neighborhood.
Almost 94% of the 365 days of the years are sunny in St. Barth. The weather from November to April varies between 27 ºC and 31 ºC and the mix of abundant sunshine with cool breeze coming from the sea, is absolutely pleasant. From May, temperatures reach 35 ºC and it rains more frequently.
Saint-Barthélemy keeps the same time as the rest of the Caribbean (to calculate the proper time in Saint Barth, add or subtract from the local time in your country):
CURRENCY AND ATMS
During many years, the French franc was the island’s official currency, as well as the American dollar, which was essential to do business with St. Thomas, for example, where many residents had family. In 2001, St. Barth and almost all Europe converted to Euro. The US dollar is still the second currency of the island.
You find ATMs:
- Across the street from the airport, at the Galeries du Commerce
- In Gustavia
- In St. Jean (at the supermarket Marché U)
To call St. Barthélémy from Europe: 33 590 590 + (six digit number)
From the USA: 011 590 590 + (six digit number)
There are two mobile operators in St. Barth, Orange and Digicel. If you need, you can buy a local chip or a prepaid phone and use it during the trip, although the American and European carriers work well on the island.
Wi-Fi HOTSPOTS AND CYBER-CAFÉS
Most of the island’s restaurants and establishments have Wi-Fi available for all the costumers. Capitanerie, the port offices in the center also offers Wi-Fi to all the passengers of the boats anchored in the port of Gustavia. The signal is generally good, although it can oscillate on rainy days.
There is no fee to get in or out the island.
ELECTRICITY AND PLUGS
Electricity is 220V and 60Hz for the whole island. However, most of the hotels and villas use transformers to supply 110V power.
And the type of socket is the one illustrated in the picture
There are no rivers or freshwater sources in St. Barth so the rainwater collected in cisterns are very useful during the times of drought. Besides, the island can easily desalinate the ocean water and provide piped water to most of the houses, but it is too expensive. This means that water is still a super valuable resource and each person should use it wisely, moderately and without any waste.
The St. Barth natural reserve embraces 1,200 hectares that breaks into five areas that covers the entire territory. The natural reserve protects the island’s distinguished nature environments and its history. There is a particular interest to the protected areas because they have a wide variety of plants and animals. The reserve also counts with distinguished subaquatic environments, such as seagrass beds and coral reefs, which are the habitat of many species, including endangered animals such as sea turtles. The kids from St. Barth learn early to take care of nature.
It is common to see a turtle crossing the island during a walk. Park your car and help it cross! Be nice.
If you are lucky enough to see one or more whales during your stay on the island, call the Natural Reserve of Saint Bartholomew - +590690317073, - or inform the concierge of your hotel or villa. Try to get as much information as possible like location and direction because you will be consequently supporting the protection of whales and the scientific study of the sanctuary of marine mammals of which St. Barth is now part. And we will be thankful.
The beach has this name because there you will find wide fully covered sand tracks with millions of tiny delicate shells. It welcomes the sun during part of the year, that is why it is a popular place for long lazy afternoons, with an occasional dive to freshen up. Add that to the talented Brazilian bartenders, “Do Brasil”, and a piña colada will make the scene just perfect.
If you are an athletic person, follow the local teens as they swim to the cliffs toward the Gouverneur beach, and see if you are daring enough to try the jump from the highest level. In case you are more of a land person, you can meet one of the island’s favorite bands playing on the rooftop of Do Brazil’s restaurant in the high seasons. When they are not playing in Paris or New York, Papa Guyo and Nungan (chosen interpreters from the 2013 The Voice!), transform “Do Brazil” into one of their regular stages. Get a table and relax overlooking the sea, enjoy the music and you will find yourself staying for dinner. Shell Beach is only a small walk away from the Port of Gustavia, which is why it is also the ideal meeting point for friends with different shopping destinations.
This beach has two sides and is among the most popular and famous of St. Barth. Both offer the "Caribbean Classic" view that makes you feel like you are in the perfect meeting point with friends with different shopping intentions. It is like a postcard. The bigger, known as “Praia do Aeroporto” is popular for windsurfing, kayaking or you can just grab a beach chair and a piña colada at La Plage restaurant. There is a parking lot next to this beach so you can park your car close to it in this municipal lot that is in the street in front of the Tom Beach hotel. You can get to the beach through the pedestrian crossing near the road or by the Tom Beach / La Plage hotel.
On the other side of the rocky peninsula where the “Praia do Aeroporto” ends, you will find a second stretch of sand known as the Pelican Beach, Petite St. Jean, and it is after the Nikki Beach club restaurant. The end of the beach is also a favorite spot for families with children, since the water is still and you easily find a shady spot for your beach mat. If you do not feel like having lunch with the company of a bottle of rosé at the Nikki Beach (which is hard, believe it), you can find the Kiki-é Mo bar at the opposite side of the street and taste a salad and a panini, or you can just picnic on the sand.
Flamands beach is the new “Gold Coast” of St. Barth, fame conquered due to its beautiful white sand and turquoise water beach. Add to that the luxury of two world-class hotels, restaurants, several villas options and is gets easier to understand why the beach is a favorite. The Taiwana and Cheval Blanc hotels offer rooms, bungalows and suites at the eastern end and visitors or anyone can book its restaurants during the high season from all over the island.
Saline beach is a good example of the paradox that St. Barth is. On one hand, a day spent at the Saline means that you will admire the Caribbean blue waters from a completely untouched white sand, as if you just landed on a desert island. On the other, you will meet people you already know and some you do not – movie stars, art dealers, major media barons… If St. Barth is the place to be, Saline is where you should stay while you are here.
Do not forget to bring water since there is no beach bar in Saline. For a meal before, after or while you are in Saline, try the excellent interpretations of traditional or Creole recipes at the Grain de Sel, or you can go to L’esprit to taste French cuisine with a tropical touch.
Gouverneur is the ideal beach for a dive at noon with its soft sand, bright sun and the sea breeze all set in an appropriate place. In contrast to Saline, the Gouverneur parking lot is just a few steps from the beach. The shade of the trees, natural pools and calm waves turned Gouverneur into the favorite place for families with young children.
However, further to the west, you will find larger waves that still attract boogies. The trip back to the city for lunch takes only five minutes or you can stop at the Santa Fe restaurant at the top of the hill for a langouste salad in a table that overlooks the sea.
Colombier was the beach that the Rockerfeller family chose to plant its flag half a century ago and to this day, it is legitimately considered one of the most beautiful and untouched beaches in St. Barth.
Inaccessible by car, you can reach this beach by walking from the lookout at the end of the road for Colombier (20 minutes). The second trail that starts at the end of the road to Flamands takes almost the same time and is less steep.
The best way to reach the Colombier Beach’s white sand is, however, to rent a boat and sail from Gustavia port. Once there, you can spend all afternoon diving and sunbathing before the cruise go back to the harbor. A drink in your hand, a smile on your face and your hiking boots still in your suitcase.
A lovely clear water lagoon. It is famous for hosting the Guanahani resort, the modern Le Sereno, the small and cool hotel Les Ondines and nautical activities by Rodstuffs. We suggest that you go to the beach in the morning for a jet sky tour and when you come back, it is worth eating lunch at Gloriette. Ask the waiter to show you the rum store they have on the back of the restaurant.
Soft breeze, palm trees and turquoise blue water made Lorient beach one of the visitor’s favorite island. At the western end you can surf, while the calm water of the eastern end is perfect for the children.
Families of sea turtles can be found in the sea reefs, so be sure to bring your mask and snorkel.
The village of Lorient offers many conveniences, such as a bakery, numerous restaurants, groceries and a fruit and vegetable market with many fresh products that come straight from Guadalupe on Thursdays.
Walk by the cemetery, try a natural juice at Jojo Burger and then walk to the colored huts that will lead you to the beach. Once there, you will discover that Lorient Beach is the perfect place to get in the Caribbean pace.
A deserted beach next to the wild side of the island. For the surf lovers, that is a spot to meet. The Toiny hotel is worth a visit in this area, plus, they serve a special brunch on Sundays.
The port city of St. Barth will stay alive in your memory forever. Not only because it is the capital, but also because at the peak of the winter season some of the world’s most luxurious yachts dock at night, which resembles something like a shining city on water. The charming streets of Gustavia are perfect for an afternoon of shopping, especially because the island is tax-free and you can find names like Hermès, Cartier and Cavalli. After a shopping day, enjoy the sunset at the Shell Beach or gather with the crowd at Le Select, the oldest bar of the island where locals meet to plan the evening out. You have abundant eating options that vary from traditional creole at Eddy’s, to Italian at LÍsola. Close the night with a golden key dancing under the stars at the First Class club, and make your stay on the island unforgettable!
One of the highest areas of the island and one of the most disputed for house and/or villa rental. Besides the breathtaking view, it is close to the hype restaurant Le Ti St. Barth and have quick access to one of the most desired beaches of St. Barth, Saline.
On rainbow days, go to a privileged observation point on top of Point Milou, and climb up to the top of the stone so you can appreciate a 360º vision for some minutes.
A car ride around the island is a delight, but to drive in this specific area is exceptional. It is a wild zone without buildings, just one lonely house, the famous Villa Maison Nureyev, located at a breaking stone. Open your Mini Cooper’s convertible hood and enjoy the breeze.
It is also a delicious bit for those who like to run.
One of the most precious, sometimes forgotten activities in St. Barth is the walk to the natural pools of the rocky Grand Fond beach. Although it is not safe to swim, it is one of the wildest and most dramatic places of the island, where locals and visitors watch the big waves and exploit its natural pools. A half hour walk to the west of the beach will take you to an even more amazing place, a series of basins naturally protected from the sea and shaped by rocky outcrops. The natural pools are a great place for an offhand photo shoot, so do not forget your camera. The walk is a little hard, so find a local guide, bring water and start early to avoid the midday sun exposure. Tennis for hiking and shoes for walking in the water are a good idea too, for there might be some crustaceous at the bottom of the water.
Take the La Tourmente road (traffic circle above the airport) to Colombier and in less than 10 minutes you will be at the end of the way, at the western end of the island. From here, you will have a 270º Atlantic Ocean view, since the Caribbean towards St. Barth neighbor islands. A ceramic plate that the Blue Gecko studio made together with the kids from St. Barth will help you identify the neighbor islands of Anguilla, St. Maarten, the Bonhomme islet and many more. That belvedere is also the trailhead to the 20-minutes walk to the Colombier beach with its powder white sand, and it is accessible only by foot or by boat. It is a stunning scenario for a picnic in the afternoon, or to just dive and see the starfish!