Things to know about St. Barts

Barths or St. Barts or St. Barthelemy, or St. Barth’s, and any other names used for describing this island is one of the most luxurious islands in the Caribbean islands known for its deluxe and grandeur, It is not a surprise that St. Bart’s is a top choice among many famous and rich tourists, including Billionaires who just love to dive into the beautiful St. Bart’s beaches or cruise the French West Indies in luxury and throw awesome parties on private yachts.

The following are some of the other things to note about ST. Barts, they include;

  • You can get into St. Bart’s by air or by water. Coming into St. Bart’s by air gives you a breath-taking, yet beautiful experience as the plan lands on a rather short landing strip just right by the edge of the endless water. To get into St. Bart’s by water, you can simply take a ferry or like celebrities do, you can cruise into the island in luxury yachts.
  • Once in St. Bart’s, you can choose to stay in a hotel or a villa, it depends on your taste. Villas are designed for individuals or groups who prefer very private environment. The villas are privately owned and solely for the renters, with staff ready to be of service in any way they can.
  • Nikki Beach restaurant and bar is where parties and fun are at their best! This is the place where elaborate and rather wild parties happen, with ladies dancing on tables in their bikinis without being bothered by watching eyes. Fun is unlimited at Nikki Beach restaurant and bar.
  • Celebrities in St. Barth’s is common and frequent and they don’t get bothered by too many fans for autographs or selfies, except by paparazzi and newsmen. Due to frequent celebrity visits in St. Bart’s, tourists get to see their favorite actors in person, partying and having fun having fun as themselves and not as the TV or movie characters they portray on screen.
  • Bart’s currency is Euro, the US Dollar is also accepted on the island.
  • St Bart’s has a population of about 8,400 and Americans often spend a long time on the island, in private villas.
  • The voltage-current on St. Bart’s is 220 volts or 60Hz. You can come to the island with a transformer and an adaptor if you wish, and you can ask what the voltage current Is.
  • St. Barth’s has the same holidays as France but has other holidays such as St. Barthelemy’s Day and Mardi Gras carnival. The Island’s running water is from desalinized sea water. So, If you are not sure of how your body would react to desalinized water, you can bring some bottles of water along or just buy some on the island.
  • There are many religions on the island, although Christianity is the most popular. Catholic, Anglican, and Pentecostals have the most population among the Christians.
  • Also, one other exciting way of getting into St Barth’s is through Luxury Caribbean cruises. However, because these Caribbean cruises only make a stopover in St. Barth’s, and depending on their schedules, you might only spend a short amount of time in St. Bart’s.

Things to do in St. Barts

At St. Barthélemy (St. Barts / St. Barth) visitors discover a wide range of activities available for their vacation enjoyment and adventures. When you are not on the beach relaxing, you can take advantage of the many ways you can explore and enjoy this wonderful island. Please read the list below to discover the fun and amazing choices you will have when you visit the beautiful St. Barts.

Anse de Saline
This is the second largest beach in St. Bart’s and it is absolutely beautiful. Once you are on the southern side of the island, follow the road signs for Saline, then stop at the end of the road. A short hike over a rocky path opens onto a wide, stretch of Anse de Saline’s gorgeous white sand one-third of a mile long. The water can be rough, depending on the winds, but surfers and body surfers love the waves. There are no facilities on this beach so visitors would need to bring chairs, towels, food and every other item they might need. Nudity is illegal on this beach, but be prepared to see/ but do not let your jaws drop when you see/ some tourists relaxing in their “birthday suits” on the far corners of the beach.

Baie de St.-Jean
St.-Jean is home to some of the islands most beautiful hotels and most intense clubs, such as Eden Rock and Nikki Beach respectively. This is a high profile area perfect for visitors who enjoy people-watching. Eden Rock hotel divides St.-Jean into two expanses. The stretch on the right side of the hotel is Nikki Beach, While Eden Rock’s Loungers, including other hotels and popular restaurants, are located on the left stretch. Tourists can rent chairs at these facilities and watch some of the locals swim.

Grand Cul de Sac
This is literally the longest beach on St. Bart’s Island and one of the all time favorites for the owners of mudjacking Edmonton. Grand Cul de Sac is also a suitable place for children to play as it has been protected with reefs, you can walk far out into the water and still feel sand beneath your feet, though walking from one end of the beach to the other may not be possible due to the rocky nature of some parts of the beach. With the right wind, you can go kite boarding on this beach.

Also, there are different casual restaurants, including O’Corail and La Gloriette that line the shore of this beach, as well as three luxury hotels: Le Barthélemy Hotel & Spa, Le Guanahani, Le Sereno. This beach does not have lifeguards on site.

Anse de Colombier
This is a natural and secluded area that adventure seeking visitors would love. Since this spot can only be reached either by on foot or by boat, it is better and easier to go through the path after Flamands Beach, near the Auberge de la Petite Anse, instead of taking the hilltop in Colombier, which is a 20-minute hike down, and a lot harder when coming back up. Anse de Colombier beach has neither lifeguards nor facilities, therefore, when visiting this beach, you will need to pack some food, drinks, umbrellas, chairs and other necessary gear. You’ll also need to wear lots of sunscreens.

Getting around in St. Barts

If you are new to St. Bart’s, You might need ideas on how to get around. Below are some of the best ways to get around in St. Barts.

On arrival

If you had pre-booked a ferry service, Upon arrival at St. Bart’s Gustavia Ferry Terminal,  Car-rental companies can meet you at the island’s ferry terminal.

Gustaf III Also known as Aéroport de St-Barthélemy is St. Barth’s only airport, it has car rental desk for the major car rental companies. The airport also has a taxi rank. Also, some accommodations offer shuttle services.

Taxis

Taxi fares in Gustavia range from pricey to very pricey. There are no set taxi fares, so prices are charged based on the driver’s discretion which is often times overboard. The least fare charged for a taxi ride between Gustavia and the airport at minimum is between €15 and €45 and a ride from Gustavia to Petit Cul-de-Sac could cost between €30 to €60.

Between 8 pm and 6 am daily, and all day on Sundays, taxi fares are increased by about 50%. Booking a taxi in Gustavia is easy, you can book at the taxi stand in Gustavia or contact the drivers directly. To contact a taxi driver directly, you can check the tourist office for a list of drivers and their phone numbers.

Driving

Traffic is quite a problem on St-Barth and public parking spaces are thin on the ground.

The roads are quite narrow and not well paved, visitors driving on the island need to be mindful of cars coming in the opposite direction. Visitors also need to be careful when driving through driveways of hotels and villas as many of them can be extraordinarily steep.

Driver’s License

Your home country’s driver’s license is valid in St-Barth.

Fuel

St. Barth Island has only two gas stations. The one in St-Jean opens from 7.30am to noon and from 2 pm to 7 pm on Mondays to Saturdays. The second one is in Lorient, it opens from 7.30am to 5 pm on Sundays to Wednesdays and Fridays. On Thursdays and Saturdays, it opens at 7.30am to 2 pm

Rental

All major car-rental companies have desks at the airport. Prices vary according to the season. Car rental rates start from about €70 per day for compact cars between December and April. While during low-season, prices per day can start from €40.

Car-rental companies on the island include:

  • Budget
  • Chez Beranger
  • Europcar
  • Gumbs Rental
  • Soleil Caraibes
  • Scooter rental outlets are Barth’Loc and Meca Moto. Barth’Loc also rents ATV quad bikes, while  Meca Moto rents Harley-Davidson motorbikes as well.

Road Rules

Driving in St. Barth’s is on the right-hand side, the speed limit is 45km/h, unless otherwise by the authorities. Also, when driving, visitors have to watch out for Land tortoises as the creatures have right of way on the roads.

Best hotels to stay in St. Barts

If you are looking for serenity, shimmering white sand beaches, peaceful sapphire waters, fabulous luxury accommodation and amazing gourmet restaurants all in place, then St. Bart’s is the place you are looking for! Perhaps the most exquisite and elegant among all Caribbean islands, St. Bart’s is a perfect blend of luxury, style and extremely beautiful beaches, mixed with a distinctly French flavor. It is also a favorite home away from home for millionaires and celebrities with the taste to match its prices in high season.

If you are ever in St. Barts and require a great Hotel to stay in, the following are some of the best choices available.

Eden Rock

Eden Rock along with Hotel Saint-Barth Isle de France is one of the finest accommodations on the island, perhaps in the entire Caribbean. The hotel is a perfect place to stay for art lovers, with its exciting, eye-catching art pieces that ignite curiosity or laughter.

This hotel is completely covered in color and texture. With every room offering a different array of colors to enjoy.Though all the rooms are unique, however, the fabulous thirties styled Garbo Suite is a fascinating sight to behold. The hotel has two different bars, the Sandbar which is designed for lunch while dinner is served at On the Rocks bar.

Hotel Guanahani &Spa

Hotel Guanahani & Spa is an astounding resort on the east of the St Barts, tucked away into serenity away from the hustle bustle on other parts of the island.

Hotel Le Toiny

Hotel Le Toiny is undoubtedly one of the most luxurious hotels in the world, while its restaurant is one of the best on the island. The hotel’s 14 extremely fabulous one-bedroom cottages and one three bedrooms suite make it obvious that getting reservations in this beautiful hotel is not a piece of cake. At Hotel Le Toiny, privacy is everything. This is perhaps why it is located on the not so popular east coast of the island where the beaches are rather dangerous and not frequently visited by tourists, hence the serenity of its environment.

Hotel Saint-Barth Isle De France

The Hotel Saint-Barth De France is a super chic hotel with a fabulous colonial mansion look. Its inner and outer parts are covered in spotless and sparkling white.Its public spaces are decorated with comfy sofas, while the rooms king size beds are finished with super comfortable and luxurious cushions.

The cherry-pink lampshades add just the right amount of color to make the hotel’s glamorous look perfect.Among all the fabulous features of this hotel, the breath-taking view of an endless sapphire ocean through the terrace doors of the rooms is the most indescribable.

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History of St. Barthelemy Island

In the past, many nations fought to own and control the island of Saint Barthélemy, also referred to as St. Barths. Its natural beauty and unforgettable distinct qualities from other Caribbean islands made Saint Barthélemy an island to desire and fight for.

St. Barth’s was first named by the Arawak Indians who gave it the name “Ouanalao” which perhaps referred to the iguanas that once populated the island. Christopher Columbus discovered St. Barth’s island in 1493 and named it Saint Barthélemy after his younger brother whose name was Bartolomeo.

The French were the first to attempt to settle on the island in 1648. Their settlement was unsuccessful and barely two years later, the island was sold to the knights of Malta. The Knights made efforts to grow cotton, indigo and developed breeding practices, fishing and salt farming. This was also their efforts towards the colonization of St. Barth’s, however, their settlements were destroyed by the Carib Indians in 1656.

In 1763, the island was reclaimed by French Mariners from Normandy and Brittany. While French buccaneers helped improve the economy through provision of loots from Spanish galleons.

Stories of piracy grew in St. Barth’s, some of the stories inspired characters such as Red Rackham and Captain Hook, including a famous buccaneer named Monbars the Exterminator who had his headquarters on the Island. His treasures are believed to be hidden somewhere on the island; perhaps in sands of Saline or in the coves of Anse de Gouverneur.

As France continued to fight to regain ownership of the island, Britain took control of it in 1744, and after 20 years, the island was returned to France. However, in 1784, France lost control of the island again, after it was sold to Sweden as a trading possession by King Louis XVI.

Sweden made the port tax free which transformed the port into a trading center. The port was named Gustavia to honor King Gustave lll. Vessels came from different parts of the world to Gustavia, ships captains sold their plunder to St. Barth’s and filled up their cargos as well. Businesses flourished until the island’s economy was brought down by natural disasters.

France eventually reclaimed St. Barth’s in 1878 after buying back the island for 320,000 francs.

Though St. Barth’s Island is still loosely lead by France, parts of the island’s captivating Swedish History, such as castles and the Swedish Capital Gustavia are still present on the island till date.