SBHonline and it's members have been providing insider advice and information about St Barts Island for almost 10 years.
We have kept many of the more frequently asked questions and answers about the island and listed them below.
If you want more information you can visit the
St Barts Island is in the (Atlantic Time Zone) and maintains Atlantic Time Zone year round.
There is one hour difference between St Barts and the East Coast of the United States when Standard Time is in effect during the winter months.
So, when it is 9am in St. Barts, it is only 8am in New York.
During daylight savings time, (summer months) there is no difference in time between St. Barts and the east coast of the USA.
Visit the SBHonline Getting To St Barts information page.
We list the airlines, ferry schedules, and rental car companies that service St Barts.
Getting to St Barts by Air
To Fly to St Barts you will have to first get a flight to either San Juan, Puerto Rico (SJU), or St Martin airport (SXM)
From there you will take connector flights to St Barts (SBH).
- The flight to St Barts from San Juan Puerto Rico takes about one-hour
- The flight to St Barts from St Martin or St Thomas Airport take 15 minutes
Scheduled Flights leave regularly for St Barts with these providers
St. Barth Commuter | WINAIR | Air Caraibes
You can also schedule a private charter flight with
Getting to St Barts By Ferry
From St Martin you can also take a ferry to St Barts. There are multiple daily trips, the ferry service from St Martin takes about 45 minutes.
St Barts Ferry Schedules
If this is your first trip to St Barts here are a few visuals to help you get an idea of what to expect when you arrive at the airport.
It is a small convenient airport.
Car rental booths are located right in the airport and the cars are parked in the lot just outside the door.
If you are renting a villa through WIMCO, their office is right across the street.
Here is a picture from the airport at the WIMCO office.
Across the street from the airport there is a grocery store, pharmacy, and a few shops if you need to pickup anything before heading to your villa.
St Barts uses the Euro € as it's official currency.
Here is a link to a Dollar to Euro Currency Converter It is a good idea to know the approximate Euro to US dollar exchange
rate before you leave for your vacation.
Currency Conversion Sheet
ATM's Cash Machines On St Barts
There are quite a few ATM's on the island. One directly across the street from the airport.
There a several in Gustavia. I can confirm that the ATM by the post office in Gustavia did not even charge a transaction fee.
Banks On St Barts
Bank hours are generally Monday through Friday, 8am - 12p (noon) and 2pm to 3:30pm
Banks are Closed on weekends and French holidays. Banks may also Close afternoon sessions on the day before holidays.
American Express Office
Phone - 0590 52 97 06
Banque Francoise Commerciale (B.F.C.)
Gustavia - 0590 27 62 62
St. Jean - 0590 27 87 75
Gustavia across from the Post Office
Phone - 0590 29 68 30
B.N.P (Banque Nationale de Paris)
Gustavia - 0590 27 63 70
Bred, La Savane
St. Jean - 0590 52 06 00
Caraibe Exchange Office
Gustavia - 0590 27 57 57
It is a good idea to get some Euros for your wallet after you arrive on the island.
If you want to arrive on St. Barts with euros in hand, there are ATM machines inside of the St. Maarten airport terminal.
There is also an ATM machine located directly across the street from the St Barts Airport.
It is a good idea to contact your credit card company before you leave the US and advise them of your trip
dates and destination so your use of the credit card on the island does not trigger security shut down.
Visa and Master Card are widely accepted on St Barts. AMEX is accepted at some but not all places.
Discover Cards are not accepted on St Barts at this time but likely to change.
A post from the SBHonline forum offering some island photography tips.
1- The Horizon Many of our beach photos involve the horizon. I see 2 major problems in many of the photos I see. The first is an angled horizon. I often find myself, when seeing an angled horizon, tilting my head, to straighten it. Second, when the image is photographed using a wide angle lens, the horizon will bow. To minimize the effect keep the horizon in the center of the image.
2-Distance to Subject More than half the photos I see, at Art Festivals (and elsewhere) would be improved if the photographer moved closer to the subject. After setting up my camera, and focusing, I examine the edges of the image. More often than not, I end up moving closer. Sometimes it?s only a foot, or two. A small adjustment will eliminate superfluous elements, and make the image more successful.
3-Watch the Edges of the Frame For most amateur photographers it is normal to look at the subject only, in the viewfinder. Attention to the other areas, in the photo, is extremely important. We?ve all seen outdoor portraits where a tree appears to be growing out of the subject?s head. By looking carefully, this sort of mistake can be eliminated.
4- Sunrise & Sunset The most dramatic lighting is at Sunrise and sunset. I regularly shoot at both times, but prefer sunset. Over the years I?ve found that, at sunrise, I have about a 15 minute window of ?magic light?. At sunset, the window expands to 30-45 minutes. The extra time allows me to capture more images.
5- Successful Portraiture It is almost always beneficial to use fill flash, when shooting portraits, in sunlight. The lighting is usually harsh, creating shadows in the face. Using fill flash will open up the shadows, creating a more pleasing portrait. I also like doing this for sunset portraits. The subject?s face will be well lit, and the sunset hues will be muted. A beautiful pastel background will result.Most cameras will allow you to override the auto setting, and use fill flash. Alternatively, try shooting the portrait in diffused light (under a tree canopy, for example). This will also tame the harsh contrast.
For photos of children, get down to their level. It will create a more satisfying image than shooting down on them.
6- Inclement Weather Many people don?t shoot when the sun isn?t out. For me, it?s often the best time to create images. Overcast skies will lower contrast but increase color saturation. If I get an overcast day, I usually decide to shoot plant life. I also like to shoot flora after a rain. The wet leaves, and flowers, will also saturate the colors. Beads of water, on the leaves, will act like a magnifying glass, making for interesting compositional possibilities.
Visit The Photo Tips Thread Here
Most St Barts restaurants do accept credit cards. There are a few places on the island that do not "Le Select - no credit cards"
many establishments do not accept AMEX or Discover so bring your Visa or Master Card.
Since restaurant policies are subject to frequent changes this is a good question to ask in the
St Barts Forums
and get the latest information.
Is tipping in restaurants expected? encouraged?
Is gratuity usually included? A few replies from some people who operate establishments on the island.
"Service is included by law.
Tipping is discretionary -- some people tip nothing because of their reading of the service component.
Most tip 5-10% (maybe more) if service is good."
"A service fee is included in the bill, it's not a tip, its their wages.
I may not be French, but have lived in France or SBH all my adult life.
It is polite to leave something, and offensive to leave nothing.
It is not an "extra tip" it is a tip.
Car rentals are recommended when visiting St Barts. It is possible to schedule taxis and shuttle service's but having your own rental car
will make your trip a lot easier and provide you with the freedom to explore the island without time and scheduling constraints.
Here is a list of Car Rental Companies on St Barts
Automobiles drive on the right side of the road,
and any valid drivers license is accepted on St Barts.
If you plan to use a taxi while on the island here are the phone numbers of a few providers:
St Barts Taxi's
If this is your first trip to St Barts you might be a bit surprised at the roads and driving conditions.
The roads are quite narrow and winding with many very steep hills.
Rent A Small Car
You will find that getting around is a lot easier with a small sized car. Parking on a busy night in Gustavia
can be tight and tricky. A big car will limit your options when looking for a parking space.
A convertible top will help make your smaller car feel roomy. A drive around the island in a convertible top car is very enjoyable.
Highly advise getting an automatic. A manual transmission can be fun but you better be very very comfortable with shifting.
4 Wheel Drive
Seems odd to think 4 wheel drive would be needed but it is not a bad idea. The island has many steep hills and when they are wet it can be very slippery.
Yes. The ocean air is wonderful but a nice steady stream of A/C will make your travels much more comfortable.
Car Rental Companies
There are six or seven rental companies with booths located right across the street from the airport. It is a small airport and this is very convenient.
Here our the SBHonline car rental agencies on St Barts
Here are several St Barts maps with locations of the regions, hotels, and beaches.
There is also an excellent map of the island showing the locations of many of the St Barts restaurants.(courtesy of SBHonline members)
St Barts Maps
This is a popular question especially for first-time St Barts visitors
An SBHonline forum post provides some helpful information comparing St Barts hotels vs. St Barts villas
St Barts Villa vs. St Barts Hotel?
St Barts Island does not have the traditional "all inclusive" "mega resorts" that are common at most Caribbean vacation destinations.
There are a couple of hotels on St Barts that can be considered resorts,
Certainly The Guanahani Hotel & Spa with 69 guest rooms,
beachfront location, multiple pools, restaurants, and on-site activities.
There are several St Barts hotels that have great high and low season special package deals that include room, activities, spa services, transportation, and even some on-site dining options.
Check the St Barts Hotels Directory
and look through the package deals. There are some good ones.
You can also create your own "All Inclusive St Barts Vacation". It requires a little more effort but in the end you will find that you end up actually producing a more personalized package and
spend less money than buying a traditional all-inclusive vacation.
Visit the St Barts villa rentals directory
St Barts villa rentals from owners
page, choose a villa, and plan and price your lodging costs and activities.
The SBHonline forums
are full of vacation planning information and you will find a very
friendly group of people who can help answer any questions you have about the island and fun activities.
St Barts on island Villa agencies
are another great source to plan
a semi all inclusive vacation
. They all have reservation experts that know the island well and these companies are more than happy to help you pick a villa/hotel and plan reservations for
dining, activities, and transportation.
A valid passport is required to enter St. Barths (as opposed to a certified copy of a birth certificate and a photo id). This policy has been in place for some time (see State Department Information Sheet - FWI. A visa is not required for US citizens until you plan to stay for more than 90 days. NO visa needed for citizens of the European Union, USA, Canada, Mexico, Brazil and Israel.
More Information: St Barts Visa & Passport Information
During the high season it is a good idea to make a reservation at any restaurant that will take them. You can review several of the restaurant
reservation and dress policies in the SBHonline St Barts Restaurants Guide
or you can go to the SBHonline forums and ask some of the members. During the off season reservations are not necessarily needed but still a good idea.
It is pretty casual dress on St Barts. Breakfast/ lunch short pants and sandels are fine at almost any restaurant... for dinner there are
a few restaurants that you might want to step up one notch from beach attire.
Here is a forum thread discussing this topic.
Dress attire St Barts restaurants
St Barts Restaurants Guide
This guide has photos, hours of service, and reservation policies for many of the islands restaurants.
Is it better to fly or take ferry when going to St Barts?
This decision is really personal preference but here are a few things to consider:
- The flight to St Barts from San Juan Puerto Rico takes about one-hour
- The flight to St Barts from St Maartin or St Martin Airport take 15 minutes
- The ferry service from St Martin takes about 45 minutes.
There are several ferry departures daily so this can make things a little more convenient based on your schedule.
The airport on St Barts is famous for its steep decline and short runway... this can make some air travelers a little nervous so flying might be a concern.
If you read through the SBHonline forums
you will find that most visitors do fly
with one of the St Barts airline services.
Flying will be more expensive than taking a ferry. Flights during peak season fill up so plan ahead.
Visit the SBHonline Getting To St Barts
We list the options and schedules of the transportation service providers.
Scheduled Flight Airlines
Private Charter Flights
St Barts Ferry Schedules
Voltage Requirements in St Barts
When traveling to SBH from the United States, you will need to account for both a different electrical socket and a different voltage level. Electricity on SBH operates
at 220 volts. As such, to run U.S. appliances you will need a plug converter.
Most villas will have converters available but you should ask prior to arrival so you can use your US electronics (phone chargers, laptops, camera chargers, etc.)
You may find it handy to bring an extra outlet adapter as some villas may only have one adapter and you might have multiple accessories to use at the same time.
WiFi is found in most villas and free WiFi is found in many island establishments.
If you will need WiFi on your trip ask your rental agency or owner beforehand.
If your cell service plan does cover international calling and data (most don't) then Wifi at your villa is very handy way for you to send and receive text messages,
and use the internet SKYPE.
We have a section of SBHonline listing many fun and memorable activities you can do while on the island.
You can also read through the forums to see what many visitors do while on their vacations.
St Barts Activities
What are some fun St Barts bars to hang out at night for music and dancing?
BAZ (Bete a Zailes) bar in Gustavia is a very enjoyable evening.
The music is live and mellow, the crowd is fun, and the service is very good.
La Plage on St. Jean is another good venue for live music.
We've enjoyed seeing Papagayo there on a few occasions. Keep an eye on Le News for other live music acts.
Le Ti St. Barth in Pointe Milou is a popular spot later in the evening. You may choose to have a late dinner and stick around for the festivities,
or dine elsewhere, have a drink or two at BAZ, and dance it all off later at Le Ti.
Le Hot Spot in Lurin is another choice for late night.
Bear in mind a recent visitor wrote that he was denied entry because he was not wearing long pants.
Le Yacht Club in Gustavia is another night spot owned by the owner of Le Ti (Carole) that seems to attract an even later crowd.
Here are some tips for kids... from an SBHonline forum member
Clothes and Sun Protection!
The sun is strong in the Caribbean so keep kids covered with light clothes and good sunscreen.
A blistering sunburn on a child will take the fun out of your vacation.
Beach/Pool Toys The beaches are the big attraction and you can find pails & shovels,
boogie boards and other beach toys as well as noodles, floats and pool toys at several stores.
In St. Jean: Casarina Surf Shop located across the road from Le Pelican Plage and in Lorient: the
toy shop located in Marche de LOasis Centre.. Some of the stores in Public also have beach toys.
Activities for/with Children - some options:
Renting a boat for a tour of the harbor and around the island, Snorkeling to look
at sea turtles in Lorient. Hiking at La Pointe Toiny with older kids. Collecting shells and
sea glass at Shell Beach & other places. Horseback Riding arranged
through Saint Barth Equitation at the Ranch des Flamands.
Making pottery at the Blue Gecko Studio in St. Jean is a great
rainy-day activity. Tel. 0590-27-97-31.
Children under 7 must be accompanied by an adult.
The Museum in Gustavia is of interest to older kids.
Here is a Museum that suits all ages: Interoceans Museum -
Tel: 0590-27-62-97. Hours tend to be flexible but are published as:
Mon-Sat 9:00a.m.-12:30 p.m. and 3:00 to 5:00 p.m.
Entry fee: 3 Euros This marvelous little museum is in the home of Ingenu Magras in Corossol. Monsieur Magras is
fascinating & personally describes the wonders of his collection of shells from all over the world,
from every ocean and the seven seas. Approximately 9000 shells and examples of sea life are displayed here.
Kids and animals are a natural combination and taking an inventory of animal and bird life in St. Barth is a nice diversion.
St. Barth as an Animal Fair -
oh, yes, the birds and the beasts are there.
There are many examples in the Photo Gallery, especially some of the photos entered
in the Flora & Fauna contest. A fun game for kids is to name the different animals and birds, etc.
and even to count them as you explore the island. There are lizards, iguanas, cattle, horses in Flamands,
pelicans, peacocks, roosters, chickens, egrets, mourning doves, sugar birds, parrots, pipers and, of course, goatsmany goats.
Children Watching Children on Parade - If you are on the island around the time of
Carnaval, the Childrens Parade is a must-see. It is usually held on the Friday before Carnaval, starts about 2 p.m.
Location: The staging area is at the school near Shell Beach; the parade winds around the street at the back of the harbor and then finishes near the Goldfinger store. Good vantage points are near the Anglican Church or along the quay opposite Kudeta & La Cantina. The schools on the island participate, with each class selecting a theme (Knights, French chefs, Pirates, Indians, countries such as Japan, China, Greece have been celebrated---there is no limit to the imagination that these colorful outfits demonstrate).. The kids are all in costume---sometimes their mothers are, too. There is music and much merriment. Very informal and fun.
Children-Friendly Restaurants - Beyond the cook-at-your-villa option and take-out,
the most-frequently-asked question is: Where can we take the kids to eat?
Most restaurants in St. Barts are fine for well-behaved children
with the exception of expensive places such as Carl Gustav, Le Gaiac and On the Rocks. I have seen children
at these restaurants at times. And if your children are used to dining-out with adults, the Wall House very welcoming.
However, if the children are little and you are concerned about the kid-friendliness of the atmosphere,
here are some suggestions. Most of these restaurants either have childrens menus or will prepare dishes
such as pasta or a hamburger for kids who are finicky eaters (if you have any concerns, stop by and ask them ahead of time):
Le Bistro, La Creperie, Do Brazil, Eddy's, Kudeta, L'Oubli, The Palace, Le Repaire, Route des Boucaniers, La Saladerie, Le Select, Le Vietnam, Ti Zouk K'fe
In St. Jean:
Andy's Hideaway, Le Piment, La Plage,
In other areas
Le Bouchon, L'Espirit de, Le Grain de Sel, K'fe Massai, PaCri, Le Tamarin
Favorites, from the childrens perspective, La Saladerie and the Hideaway .
Kids love the ice cream & sorbet at La Creperie, Petit Deauville and Route des Boucaniers .
So, by all means bring the children and encourage them to become the St. Barth clientele of the future.
Just keep in mind and be respectful of the fact that, for many adults, the island is a romantic getaway place for two.
Read Full Post In The SBHonline Forums Click Here
Babysitting Services on St Barts
If you have the kids with you on your trip to St Barts you will may want a babysitter for an afternoon or evening.
Obviously this is a decision that you want to review. We list a couple of services that have been recommended by SBH members.
St Barts Babysitting Services
Some insider information to help you make calls back to the home while you are on your trip. Calling to St Barts, Using mobile phones on St Barts, Pre-paid phone cards.
SBHonline members and St Barts travelers share their top 10 lists, and favorite things about the island.
Get the insider information about where the best diving and snorkeling spots are, and the best guides to take you there.
- Island Diving St Barts Snorkel and Scuba
- Featured Dive Company: Plongee Caraibes
Another fun underwater viewing activity is to take the semi-submersible
St Barts Yellow Submarine Tour
This tour departs from the ferry dock in Gustavia 11am and 2pm daily, and brings you through the Marine Park and around
Gros Ilets, towards "Les Petits Saints" were you will see schools of tropical fish, turtles, and the shipwreck of the fishing boat "Marignan".
St Barts Travel Tip
Villas on St Barts are almost all priced by the week and by the amount of bedrooms needed. You can often find excellent deals on
larger villas even though you may only need one or two bedrooms.
Have A Question About Traveling To St Barts?
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and we will get you an answer.