Saint Barthélemy Travel Guide
About Saint Barthélemy
Saint Barthélemy, also known as St. Barths, St. Barts or St. Barth, is a dreamy little island in the Caribbean known for its exclusive nature. A retreat for the rich and famous, St. Barths is world-renowned as a vacation hideaway for popular and wealthy celebrities. Designers, singers, actors, politicians, media moguls, old money, and lots of new money can all be seen strolling the shores of this beautiful little island. For a place that is only about 8 square miles, Saint Barthélemy has a lot to offer in luxury and privacy.
Independent, decidedly European, and stylish, St. Barths displays a culture that screams posh. St. Barths has become associated with wealth, and the prices in the designer boutiques and eateries on the island reflect that. The conversation can never be about finding deals in St. Barths – that is not what the island is known for nor what it strives to be. The people of the nation – mostly descendants from French nationals and European expats alike – thrive in a luxurious lifestyle that they maintain for visitors. One step on the island, and you know you’ve landed somewhere entirely different than most of the other places in the Caribbean.
Reservation-only restaurants and private villas are the celebs hang out while the independently though unrecognizable wealthy walk about freely. The residents don’t gawk – they are relatively removed from the media frenzy that surrounds celebrities in the home countries and indeed around much of the world. This makes the freedom to vacation and just be that much more alluring for the people who must always be “on.”
Yachtsmen love to dock on this pristine island. Just a hop, skip, and a jump away from Sint Maarten, Saint Barthélemy is also popular with those who want to take a day trip over to see the sites. Shopping is the order of the day in this duty-free port, and while the prices are steep, the wares are beautiful. If you enjoy beaches, there are 14 on St. Barths. Marigot Beach is one of those beautiful locations in the world where you can swim and snorkel and be relatively exclusive at the same time.
Saint Barthélemy prides itself on the gastronomic experience they give their visitors and, indeed, that they experience in their own homes. St. Barths is an island of foodies – with so many choices available in the markets due to the heavy catering business done on the island, locals have access to many different ingredient types than those form other islands may experience. The result is a gastronomical event with every meal.
St. Barths screams exclusivity. If you want to go somewhere with a slower pace and an heir of anonymity, this is the place for you.
Where To Stay In Saint Barthélemy
Visitors to St Barth’s stay in a wide variety of accommodations, including private rental, guesthouses, and luxurious all-inclusive hotels. Some of the best hotels in Saint Barthélemy include:
- Hotel Le Toiny
- Villa Marie Saint Barth
- Hotel Manapany
- Le Guanahani
- Eden Rock St Barths
- Hotel Christopher Saint-Barth
- Cheval Blanc St-Barth Isle de France
Activities In Saint Barthélemy
Major tourist activities in Saint Barthélemy include:
- Exploring the picture-postcard capital city of Gustavia with Swedish-style architecture; located here is Musee de St. Barthelemy
- Visiting Corossol, the last remaining traditional Barthian village; located here is Inter Oceans Museum with a collection of more than 9,000 shells
- Swimming and relaxing at one of the island’s 22 white sand beaches, including the widest, Flamands Beach
- Snorkeling and diving in the Nature Reserve of Saint Bartholomew (Réserve Naturelle de Saint-Barthélemy)
- Kitesurfing at Grand Cul de Sac Beach
- Duty-free shopping in Gustavia (on Rue de la Republique and Rue due Bord de Mer) and St-Jean with numerous luxury boutiques
Facts About Saint Barthélemy
9.5 square miles
Devolved parliamentary dependency of France
Telephone Country Code:
right side of the road
pancake fried or roasted
Saint Barthélemy Airport
220 V/60 Hz – plugs and sockets are European, type E
Visa Information For Saint Barthélemy
Saint Barthélemy is a French Caribbean island, and as such, immigration rules for France apply. That said, visitors from the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom do not need a visa to visit St Barts.
US and Canadian travelers may stay on the island for up to 30 days. If the intent is to stay longer, they must apply for a visa. All visitors to Saint Barthélemy need to have a valid passport that is valid for at least three months after the date of entry to St. Barths, an onward or return ticket.
How Long Does It Take To Get A Visa For Saint Barthélemy
With a valid passport and supporting documents, it typically takes 15 to 20 business days for a French visa application to be processed by the nearest Embassy of France. An approved visa application grants entry to Saint Barthélemy for three months.
Is It Safe In Saint Barthélemy
Saint Barthélemy is one of the safest islands in the Caribbean. Crime levels in St Barths is extremely low, but visitors should take sensible precautions to secure their possessions.
How To Get To Saint Barthélemy
Most visitors to Saint Barthélemy arrive via the Gustaf III Airport (IATA: SBH, ICAO: TFF). It is sometimes referred to as the St. Jean Airport, Saint Barthélemy Airport and Rémy de Haenen Airport.
That said, there are no nonstop flights from the United States, Canada, or Europe to Saint Barthélemy. Most North American and European visitors to St Barts first fly to the Princess Juliana International Airport (IATA: SXM, ICAO: TNCM) on nearby Sint Maarten and then connect to Saint Barthélemy. Another option is to fly on to the V. C. Bird International Airport (IATA: ANU, ICAO: TAPA) in Antigua and then connect to St Barths.
Within the Caribbean region, book flights to Saint Barthélemy via:
- Air Antilles: Pointe-à-Pitre
- St Barth Commuter: Antigua, Pointe-à-Pitre, Saint Martin, Sint Maarten
- Tradewind Aviation: Antigua, Saint Thomas, San Juan
- Winair: Antigua, Saba, Sint Maarten
When To Go To Saint Barthélemy
The most popular time to visit Saint Barthélemy is from mid-December to mid-April when the weather is warm, sunny, and typically dry. From August to late October is the low season as temperatures are hot and muggy; also, there is an increased risk of tropical storms.
Major events attracting visitors to St Barths include:
- January: St Barth Music Festival
- February: Saint Barthélemy Carnival
- March: Saint Barthélemy Bucket Regatta
- April: St Barth Film Festival
- May: Tour of St Barth
- November: St Barth Gourmet Festival
Weather In Saint Barthélemy
The weather in Saint Barthélemy is warm year-round. The temperature averages between 72°F and 86°F. June through November is the island’s rainy season and hurricanes. The dry season is from December through May.
Getting Married In Saint Barthélemy
Couples wishing to get married in Saint Barthélemy must submit a letter an application for marriage along with a dossier of the required documents at least one month in advance of the wedding.
In addition to the completed application for marriage, both the bride and groom will need their:
- birth certificates along with driver’s licenses or other forms of identification
- certificates of no impediment or single status report
Also, if applicable:
- divorce papers, i.e., decree absolute and/or death certificate of spouse
- proof of parental consent if under 18, stamped and signed by a solicitor
- proof of name change by Deed Poll, stamped and signed by a solicitor
Two witnesses must be present at the ceremony. Details for these witnesses will need to be submitted with a marriage application.
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