All About St.Barts

We love St. Barts and are absolutely sure you will as well. This wonderful island has so much more to offer than sea, sand and sun. From world class dining, to a multitude of local sports and games, there is never a dull moment. With a plethora of exciting activities and an island rich in cultural events year round, we are sure you will fall in love with St. Barts too!

Tropical Pleasure Isle

French West Indian Pearl

Since February 2007, Saint Barthélemy was an overseas collectivity (overseas territory) of France and broke away from Guadeloupe. Nestled in the west is Gustavia, the capital and a bustling port.

Saint Barthélemy or familiarly as St. Barts, is a volcanic island of about 8 square miles, with a profusion of flora and fauna contoured by 14 beautiful beaches and many secluded lagoons. The numerous charms of this sophisticated, tiny island belies its size. Saint Barthélemy is known as a tropical playground for the rich and famous, a mecca for designer shopping and as an international magnet for yachtsmen. It's also renowned for superb cuisine and fine dining. Pleasure seekers and traders would've arrived by boat mainly until 1946 when the first plane landed - opening Saint Barthélemy to the world.

Though the official language is French, when you are transacting business, you’ll find that several people speak English. The currency used is the Euro.

 

History: What’s My Name?

On his 2nd trip in 1493, Italian explorer Christopher Columbus paused in Saint Barthélemy – christened Ouanalao by the indigenous Carib inhabitants - long enough to lend the island his brother's name, Bartholoméo. Centuries later, 17th century Saint Barthélemy developed into a prosperous colony under French rule and became a department of Guadeloupe. Like many Caribbean islands, Saint Barthélemy changed hands a few times. Then French King Louis XVI's swap with Sweden yielded in infrastructural progress, an increase in shipping and trade and notably the current name of the capital, Gustavia – for King Gustav III. Years later, back in France’s hands, it took on the French flavour of Saint Barthélemy.

St. Barthélemy Gastronomie

Saint Barthélemy people love their food. Beyond the wide range of foodstuffs, fresh seafood and produce available from the marchés (markets) and shops, there are more than 80 restaurants on this tiny isle. You certainly can look forward to experiencing Caribbean delights with a French twist with several chefs being classically trained in France but you can also anticipate a variety of cuisines like Asian, Italian, as well as Creole of course.

Being French, it's natural to expect an excellent selection of wines and champagnes to complement each course of your meal. Cellier du Gouverneur is Gustavia's premier wine shop.

 

Creole Delights

Savouring authentic Creole cuisine while in Saint Barthélemy is a must. Sip on a ti'punch, a traditional aperitif of white rum, cane sugar, and lime, accompanied by a West Indian favourite - accras, little deep-fried codfish fritters served with a spicy sauce. Try another traditional option like a Creole platter of stuffed crab, West Indian sausage and cristophine with codfish. Your entrée may be grilled fish with puréed yams, slices of sweet potato or giraumon (pumpkin squash) or avocado. Perhaps a hearty curry of goat, chicken, or pork, or a court bouillon (flavoured stock) made with mahi-mahi or other tropical fish.

 

Restaurants Extraordinaire

Saint Barthélemy – known for its Caribbean delicacies with a French twist - is undoubtedly a gastronomic haven with several choices but there are a few eateries that stand out.

Lunch at the Eden Rock Hotel’s seaside Sand Bar or nibbles from the aperitif snack menu paired with only the finest Alsace wines from the chic On The Rocks bar, prepared by celebrated Chef Jean-Georges, is de rigueur. You must also experience the laid back charm of Restaurant L'Esprit in Salines by the incomparable chef Jean-Claude Dufour, a former chef at Eden Rock. Restaurant Le Gaïac overlooking Toiny Bay offers breakfast through dinner with French cuisine accented by Caribbean flavours by 2 amazing culinary artists. Restaurant Le Santa Fé, a few minutes from Gustavia, serves up a panoramic view of neighbouring islands and some of the best French regional fare blended with local flavours, for lunch and dinner to a discerning clientele.

Luxury Shopping

The capital of Gustavia as a duty-free port since the 18th century, has perfected the art of luxury retail therapy! With dozens of chic boutiques in the capital as well as in St. Jean to feed your designer shopping frenzy, you are spoilt for your choice of beachwear, accessories, jewellery and fashionable clothing. Specialty items direct from France at Louis Vuitton, Bulgari, Dior, Cartier, Prada, Chopard, and Hermès can all be found here.

Giving New York's Madison Avenue or Avenue Montaigne in Paris a run for their money is the uber-trendy Quai de la République, located on the harbour. Other 'must-shop' stops are to be found at elegant Carré d'Or Plaza,  La Savane Commerciale Centre (across from the airport), La Villa Créole (in St. Jean), and Espace Neptune (en route to Lorient).

Take home an authentic piece of Saint Barthélemy with you by buying local art and craft including their pleasing straw work - available from a few galleries and craft shops around Gustavia, Villa Créole, and the larger hotels. The tourist office is also a great resource for helping you to find local artistic treasures.

Fête & Nightlife

While dining is definitely a favoured evening pursuit, drinks at a lively cocktail bar or lounge, is high on the wish list of well-heeled jetsetters.

Nikki Beach

If you're ready to turn up the dial on excitement, you'll be in good company at Nikki Beach – non-stop djays, topless sunbathing, tabletop dancing and more…during the day.

Le TI

For more titillating entertainment after dark, party at glamorous nightspots like Le Ti St Barth or Casa Nikki with theme parties, strip teases and even curtained booths and private bedrooms for VIPs. Don't be surprised if you spot a celebrity unwinding there too!

Nautical Life

Sunworshipping At The Beach

Fourteen gorgeous white sand beaches lapped by turquoise waters surround Saint Barthélemy. Beaches are all open to the public. The irregular coastline creates many secluded coves, which offer calm inlets for sea bathers. Topless sunbathing whether at the beach or poolside, is the norm.

Yachting & Big Game Fishing

For centuries, yachtsmen have enjoyed coming to the island. In addition, several options like crewed luxury yachts, super yachts and catamarans are available for charter. During the year, there are popular large yacht sailing races like the Voiles De Saint Barth, St. Barth Regatta, the International Regatta and the Saint Barth’s Cup.

Several exciting options include surfcasting, shore-fishing and of course chartering a boat for a day on the water in search of the big one!

Scuba Diving

Observe tropical sea life and colourful coral formations undersea while scuba diving.  Some of the best areas for scuba include Pain de Sucre, an islet off Gustavia Harbour and l'Âne Rouge, off Colombier Bay around a small cape.

Surf’s Up

Surfing is popular sport at a number of Saint Barthélemy beaches like Toiny, Lorient, Anse des Cayes and Saint Jean. Windsurfing and kite-surfing are also attractive for adventure seekers, even with moderate winds for those beginners now developing their technique.

More Water Play

If surfing, fishing and snorkeling aren't enough for you thrill seekers, take in other activities like jet-skiing, kayaking and stand up paddle boarding. You can even take a submarine tour!

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