Longing for paradisiac beaches and sunshine? Head to the French Antilles and visit Saint-Barthélemy, a little gem of the Caribbean!
In the last 30 years, the small 25km2 island north of Guadeloupe has become one of the most loved destination for jet setters and billionaires alike. But when you look past this reputation, Saint-Barthélemy – or Saint Barth as some might call it – is still a rather unique destination that escapes mass tourism and deserves to be explored. Here is your guide to a perfect week in St Barths.
The island was discovered in 1493 by Christopher Columbus, who named it “Saint-Barthélemy” in honor of his brother Bartholomew. It was bought by France in 1674 by the Order of Malta, which owned it since 1651. After this jewel of the Caribbean had been ceded to Sweden for a little more than 90 years, it was returned to France and annexed to Guadeloupe. It was not until the wealthy David Rockefeller bought a 27-hectare property that the island became famous and became one of the symbols of upscale tourism.
The fine sandy beaches, the small bays, the mountains, the turquoise sea… A visit to Saint-Barthélemy is a dream and you will soon understand why once you are there! What to see and do in Saint-Barthélemy? Here is our take on the Perfect week in St Barths.
The panoramic views and the cool Caribbean breeze wafting through your villa welcome you to St Barths! Soak in the endless vistas, take a deep breath and turn on vacation mode.
Upon arriving in St Barths you will probably want to head right to the beach, with 22 paradisiac beaches to choose from, you will inevitably find the one that best suits your desires.
First, do not miss Colombier Cove: Believe it or not, Colombier Cove is the very definition of paradise on Earth. This heavenly beach is hidden from view, but is therefore quite difficult to access. You will either have to take the boat or walk for about twenty minutes from Petite-Anse. If you are looking for a diving spot, this is also the ideal place for this kind of activity!
For a diving or a surf session, you could head out to Lorient Beach, where surfers like to tame the wave at Cayes Cove or Toiny Cove.
Snorkelers can also be found at Petite Anse or Gouverneur beach. The latter, with its white sand, turquoise waters and idyllic landscape would conceal a treasure, buried there by the pirate Monbars…everyone to your shovels!
Shell Beach, located a few steps from the centre of Gustavia, owes its name to the many shells that you can find there! It’s also known as one of the best places to watch the sunset so why not head to Shellona and taste one of their cocktails while admiring that beautiful sunset.
As the capital of Saint-Barthélémy, Gustavia has a charm like no other: its red-roofed houses that blend perfectly into the decor, its heavenly beaches (such as Shell Beach or Grand-Galet), its effervescent cafes, but also its marina which animates a whole population. Make sure to plan some time there because there is plenty to keep you busy! The island has some must-see historical monuments and many can be found in Gustavia: Fort Gustav and Fort Karl, the Wall House Museum or Notre Dame Church.
As the sun sets, you’ll find that this pretty island starts to live up to its glamorous reputation. A truly unmissable stop, the exclusive Bonito Saint Barth is a Latin-French restaurant that has a South Beach-meets-St-Barth’s vibe and no shortage of beautiful patrons. Bonito is the quintessential fusion of South America cuisine with French gastronomy that is a “marriage on the plate” of ingredients, flavours and very specific traditions. Try one of their “Ceviches” or “Tiraditos” and you will dream about it long after you have left.
St. Barths is the perfect place to take a day trip on the water, rent a catamaran with or without crew and head out along the island’s coast, moor in one of the beautiful bays, dive with the equipment on board or simply sip a fresh Ti’punch cradled by the wind…
You could also head to Fourchue Island where you can admire the turtle’s aquatic dance. The island, left in the wild, is an excellent diving spot where you can spot rays, barracudas and especially many Caribbean turtles.
Today we suggest you do what you came here to do – relax…and maybe party a little! Perhaps enjoy the day at one of the beach clubs such as Nikki Beach Lil’Rock or Pearl Beach that each have their own flavour and ambiance. Sip a cocktail comfortably installed in the beach chairs, the beach boys are at your disposal for you to enjoy a moment of total relaxation lulled by the sound of the waves and background of music.
If you only do one walk during your stay in Saint Barths, you must climb to the top of Morne de Vitet, the highest point of which is 286 meters. Scattered here and there on its slopes, it is home to charming traditional huts.
In the afternoon, why not indulge in some duty free retail therapy. Fashionistas adore Saint Barth for its luxurious & chic selection of boutiques, especially in Gustavia where the port area is “duty free” and you will find the best deals.
If you come to visit Saint-Barthélemy and you are looking for authenticity, it is towards Corossol and Flamands that you must go! Corossol is a small fishing village where women continue to make handicrafts from latanier leaves such as baskets and hats. It is also in Corossol that you will find the international shell museum, inviting you to discover nearly 9,000 shells!
In this romantic bohemian residence, you will be immersed in an enchanting setting and enjoy a cuisine inspired by the perfumes and colours of the Caribbean. Let yourself be transported by the great classics of French cuisine, an elegant cuisine, elaborated with the best products of French gastronomy. With a nod to local products, François Plantation’s cuisine is also inspired by the best of the Caribbean and revisits ancestral West Indian recipes.
Time to pack up and say “Au revoir” to the Villa, the beaches and the island. Or perhaps “A bientôt” as St Barth is a place to which you’ll surely want to return.