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Thread: I have just heard of Les Saintes (also know as Isles des Saintes) that is part of Guadeloupe. It sounds very much like St. Barth in the 70's. Is anyone familiar with it?Thanks,StBartFan

  1. #1
    StBartFan2 is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Nov 2003 NYC & Berkshires, Ma Posts: 183

    Isles des Saintes

    I have just heard of Les Saintes (also know as Isles des Saintes) that is part of Guadeloupe. It sounds very much like St. Barth in the 70's. Is anyone familiar with it?

    Thanks,

    StBartFan

  2. #2
    MIke R is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: May 2003 Stinson Lake - New Hampshire & Provincetown - Cape Cod Posts: 52,003

    Re: Isles des Saintes

    people who I know who have gone there and know the ol St Barts before it was discovered by the masses say it is very much like the St Barts I first stumbled upon in 82....it's on our list of places to see....I'm afraid if I go there and all I hear is true.....I may never go back ro SBH....and part of me doesnt want that to happen....too many memories....
    "When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace" Jimi Hendrix

  3. #3
    Island Visitor is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Dec 2002 Here for our friends Posts: 9,598

    Re: Isles des Saintes

    Les Saintes and St Barths are the only two islands with longterm economic histories in the caribbean that were not established and run on a predominantly slave economy. As such, much of the "infrastructure" and peoples of these two islands are European, without a history of an abused underclass.

    I dont say any of this to make a political statement, but instead to paint a realistic picture. Many islands in the caribbean had large slave populations supporting an exclusively agrarian economy. And this was a false economy given that only a very small number made fortunes while the workers made nothing. With the end of the slave trade (thank God) many of these plantations and islands ceased to exist as important producers of these products. The islanders were then left with no money, no infrastructure, no education system and nothing to offer except beaches that would not be discovered for generations.

    All in all, many of the islanders and islands - in some cases left to rot economically - have done remarkably well in such a relatively short time (a few generations) if you think about it.

    St Barts and Les Saintes were the two "major" islands that were never based on slave economies (though each may have had a FEW slaves - depending on which history book you read). As such, there was never the same problem of large numbers of people whose economies collapsed with the end of the slave trade.

    I have not been to Les Saintes but would imagine that it shares some of the features of St Barths:

    1. French

    2. Settled by immigrants who CHOSE to be there - hardy, rugged individuals who scratched a living out of those rocks

    3. Never had large plantation economies with the subsequent collapse once the slave trade was outlawed

    4. Built up slowly and piece by piece from within by the early generations

    May be worth a trip. Anyone having any details, please advise.

    Thanks.

  4. #4
    Seles is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Mar 2003 Beach Posts: 1,814

    Re: Isles des Saintes

    Iles des Saintes is beautiful, lush & tropical with each Island different (there are 8 I think with 2 inhabited), Terre de Haut being the largest. Hard to get to, but just simply gorgeous. I am planning a trip back this spring as I am to Vieques to evaluate possibilities. The French in fact do compare Saintes to St. Barths before any of the development.

    There is good info on Saintes, particularly at www.frenchcaribbean.com/AboutLesSaintes.html

    I will be glad to give a detailed report after March/April.

    Ric

  5. #5
    MIke R is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: May 2003 Stinson Lake - New Hampshire & Provincetown - Cape Cod Posts: 52,003

    Re: Isles des Saintes

    Ric....I would be very interested in reading a trip report from there....any opportunity to turn back the hands of time is a welcomed one for us....let us know please?
    "When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace" Jimi Hendrix

  6. #6
    DebTor is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Mar 2003 Toronto, Ontario Canada Posts: 1,367

    Re: Isles des Saintes

    Ric: We'd love a report upon your return. Roger and I have been considering Guadeloupe for a few years and in particular, Terre Haute. Looks absolutely breathtaking !

    DebTor

  7. #7
    MIke R is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: May 2003 Stinson Lake - New Hampshire & Provincetown - Cape Cod Posts: 52,003

    Re: Isles des Saintes

    I saw two things in the link provided by Ric that really increased my appetite to go there....no rental cars at all (scooters and bikes)and no cruise ship visits............
    "When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace" Jimi Hendrix

  8. #8
    Seles is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Mar 2003 Beach Posts: 1,814

    Re: Isles des Saintes

    I'll be sure to get back to everyone. With as many enticements already noted you have to note the opposite as well...it's hard to get there, the vegetation brings more bugs, there is little to do, dining is rare, grocers, etc. even more rare and most travel is by small boat, on foot or scooter at best. BUT it is beautiful and significantly below the majority Hurricane Belt. Land is cheap and rentals inexpensive. More to come.

    Ric

  9. #9
    MIke R is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: May 2003 Stinson Lake - New Hampshire & Provincetown - Cape Cod Posts: 52,003

    Re: Isles des Saintes

    I'll be sure to get back to everyone. With as many enticements already noted you have to note the opposite as well...it's hard to get there, the vegetation brings more bugs, there is little to do, dining is rare, grocers, etc. even more rare and most travel is by small boat, on foot or scooter at best. BUT it is beautiful and significantly below the majority Hurricane Belt. Land is cheap and rentals inexpensive. More to come. Ric
    I dont see any of those "opposites" as a bad thing...but thats me...have a great trip
    "When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace" Jimi Hendrix

  10. #10
    Island Visitor is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Dec 2002 Here for our friends Posts: 9,598

    Re: Isles des Saintes

    In twenty years, which will look more like St Barth - Les Saintes or St Barth?

    That is, we can take it as a given that Les Saintes will develop over time as most nice places do once they make the radar of the travelling world. And so perhaps Les Saintes is now St Barth, circa 1980. Does that mean that in 20 years it will look somewhat like St Barth does today? If so, find me a plot of land and let me puts my money down now.

    I like St Barth today. I guess I am spoiled by not being spoiled. That is, by never having seen The Old St Barth, I really have no concept of what I am missing in The New St Barth. Even so, it seems that The New St Barth is just a lot more of The Old St Barth as opposed to something completely different.

    I realize there are more people, more hotels, more villas, more traffic and all that. Even so, it seems that The Model itself has not changed. And that model is one of relatively quiet and conservative relaxation as opposed to high energy action 24/7.

    Of course, there may be trouble on the horizen. We all glance down at Gustavia for Big Ships on our way to Gouverneur, traffic In Season can be unbearable, and The Saline Beach Golf Club could be a turn toward "civilization" that we all someday regret.

    Even so, until high rise hotels, casinoes and the like go in, I think St Barth will just be more of what it is now, which is pretty special.

    Having said all that, I am intrigued by Les Saintes, particularly the claim of cheap land. I would love to have a little slice of heaven to call my own. At this point, I am feeling a bit of an Euro pinch to own anything on St Barths.

  11. #11
    MIke R is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: May 2003 Stinson Lake - New Hampshire & Provincetown - Cape Cod Posts: 52,003

    Re: Isles des Saintes

    IV

    who knows what will look like what...there are so many variables which could effect that....i.e hurricane damage, global economy, the fickle and cyclical whims of the rich and famous, as well as, to a certain degree, the mainstream public, who are led like sheep around the world by the travel media, global terrorism (imagine the effect a loaded Caribbean bound 757 going down in flames would have)....all that makes it impossible to say what anything will look like.....but for us......whom ,by the time spring comes around, are so sick of tourists and people in general.....Isle De Saintes sounds like heaven...immerse us in nothingness and we are in a blissful state beyond words...... my wife who rarely ever curses, when she read Ric's description called me and said "f**k SBH - lets go there instead!".....and she likes SBH a lot!!!.....as to the differences of then and now.....let me just give you one very small example of how things change and you tell me how you would feel if it were you....there was a time when you could bring a book to Select in the middle of the day, sit in the shade of a banyon tree, read quietly, drink a few beers, and the only sounds you would hear would be the sounds of mellow conversations in the background,a little music perhaps, and the birds in the trees......now you get the non stop droning of cars and scooters roaring by, some without mufflers and loud boisterous conversations of, mostly american men , amounting to what at times seems like a pissing contest of who knows more about whatever the hell insignificant topic they are discussing.....and yes..we ve adjusted to all that change and simply find the quiet eleswhere.....but all the while with a little bit of resentment....anyway, Im thinking Isle De Saintes is in our future at some point in time soon
    "When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace" Jimi Hendrix

  12. #12
    Seles is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Mar 2003 Beach Posts: 1,814

    Re: Isles des Saintes

    Les Saintes is probably more today like SB was in the early seventies. And the locals there have new laws in place protecting them against certain types of development as they are a simple people, mostly fisherman/shoppe owners, etc. and really don't care to see it commercially developed. When I go I will be looking into the safety, real estate, communications, economy, etc. and will gladly pass on what I learn. These land protection easements already prohibit certain developments on the smaller Islands totally...not bad. Ric

  13. #13
    Island Visitor is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Dec 2002 Here for our friends Posts: 9,598

    Re: Isles des Saintes

    Miker: I hear you loud and clear. Having never sat around Select when only St Jimmy, Marius and a few others were throwing them back, I can only read the stories with wistful, though detached, interest.

    Even so, I have seen similar growth along the South Carolina coast. Even in my lifetime the Isle Of Palms has grown from a VERY quiet little place that was "too far away" to get a lot of traffic into a bustling little seaside area. Having said that, it is still about the bestest beach there is, rivalled only by its smaller twin Sullivan's Island which may be even better.

    So I am not unsympathetic to what you are saying. It now appears we have a few SBHOnliners who will pop into Les Saintes and give us all a report back here. Who knows, in a few years Kara may have a companion site, Les Saintes Online, repleat with all the usual suspects we find here arguing about air conditioned cases versus not and bemoaning the arrival of a fifth automobile on the island.

    In any event, I get the impression from a lot of folks in this site that SBH is the best caribbean island they have ever found. If Les Saintes is also well received by Old Regulars from this site, then it is definitely worth a trip.

  14. #14
    Lauren is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Oct 2002 Posts: 1,152

    Re: Isles des Saintes

    In the back of my mind, I am remembering that the Star Clipper and other large sailing ships disgorge their passengers by tender to Terre de Haut....and a quote from a passenger...

    Our favorite anchorage was among the Isles des Saintes, where we tendered into the little town of Terre de Haut. This lovely island boasts a breathtaking hike ("La Trace des Cretes") that concludes at the most beautiful strand of sand (Pompierre Beach) I have ever seen. The sleepy European-flavored town is lovely, and has several unusual (and reasonably priced) shops


  15. #15
    StBartFan2 is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Nov 2003 NYC & Berkshires, Ma Posts: 183

    Re: Isles des Saintes

    Thanks for all of the input re Isles des Saintes. It is now high on my radar screen. Perhaps both islands are in order when we return next January.

    IV: Saline Beach Golf Course?

  16. #16
    KevinS is online now
    Senior Insider Joined: Jul 2003 Boston Posts: 19,703

    Re: Isles des Saintes

    I have been visiting SBH for 19-20 years. For that entire time I have been hearing that Terre de Haute "is just like was 20 years ago".

    I'm now into a range that I understand - my time must just be coming up on the TDH schedule. If I can just pick out which of my early years was the best on SBH then perhaps I can schedule a repeat on TDH. Wishin...

  17. #17
    Guest Posts: n/a

    Re: Isles des Saintes

    Kevin,

    Check with Kate, she knows which of your years were the best on SBH and if a TDH schedule is indicated.

  18. #18
    Island Visitor is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Dec 2002 Here for our friends Posts: 9,598

    Re: Isles des Saintes

    StBartFan: I am referring to the picture posted in the Outrageous and Humorous section of the board showing a man and woman hitting eight irons on Saline Beach.

  19. #19
    GayleR is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Nov 2002 Toronto, Canada Posts: 1,958

    Re: Isles des Saintes

    Visited TDH about 10 years ago. Very sleepy, few restaurants, no luxury villas (well there weren't then anyway). I didn't see the parallel at all, other than it's French.

  20. #20

    Re: Isles des Saintes

    I continue to gather additional information on Les Saintes, Terra de Haut & Terra de Bas. Some interesting pics & older information from Phil Stripling at www.cieux.com/lesSaintes/index.html . Info is from 1996 & 2000.

    More current pics & information being sent to me soon from the Captain of a Yacht headed there now. Will share as I receive.

    Still planning to go there in early April or in June and will report info/pics then. Investigation thus far cautiously optimistic. The progress of Les Saintes parallels the Caribbean majority rather than how St. Barth progressed through the years, ie: lifestyle is more reggae/pirate than ever existed on SB. Just a first observation.
    Rick

  21. #21
    Island Visitor is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Dec 2002 Here for our friends Posts: 9,598

    Re: Isles des Saintes

    I have done some homework as well. While much of the population is french, the islands are no longer a secret to the yachting or small cruise world. There are only a handful of hotels on the island with Bois Joli and Auberge Les Petits Saintes (the former mayor's house) looking to be the best properties. It sounds as though you walk or motor scooter everywhere. Dining is somewhat limitted, pretty high end at a few places (particularly Auberge Petits) and perhaps more creole than St Barts.

    Beaches are casually topless. Clothing optional runs hot or cold. A few years ago, one of the remote beaches was considered the official unofficial nude beach. About three or four years ago they started handing out fines for nudity but now there are reports that those restrictions have been relaxed.

    While I never went to SBH back in the early days, it sounds as though Les Islets may already be more "happening" than SBH 30 years ago. By that I mean they are already on the map of a lot of day boaters and even small ships. To that end, there will be some traffic, though not like Gustavia on New Years Eve.

    From what I have found, it sounds like a fun, laid-back type of place, a little more creole and caribbean than St Barths though I have not heard of reggae bands or steel drums greeting you at the airport.

    I eagerly await your firsthand account.

    Merci.

  22. #22
    Paul is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Nov 2002 New Jersey Posts: 55

    Re: Isles des Saintes

    Right now there on Terre de Haut is not much there except beautiful beaches. Lodging and restos are few and far between. There's Le Bois Joli and Auberge des Petits Saints aux Anacardiers, very popular (and small). Also: no cars allowed, and you won't find English spoken anywhere near the extent you do on SBH. All in all, it's a nice escape and has a lot more going for it than does Guadeloupe itself. Another island of similar stripe is Marie Galante (except there, cars are permitted).

  23. #23
    Brian is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Oct 2002 Posts: 623

    Re: Isles des Saintes

    Ric, did you ever post a report from this trip?

  24. #24
    Seles is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Mar 2003 Beach Posts: 1,814

    Re: Isles des Saintes

    Not yet...more to come late August or in December. I want to be certain before I post too much of an opinion. Thanks for the patience. Ric

  25. #25
    happydad is offline
    SBH New Member Joined: Jul 2004 Posts: 9

    Re: Isles des Saintes - REAL ESTATE

    Hello.
    Does anyone know of a site for Real Estate on Isles des Saintes? Or does any one have a phone number or email for a realtor? I just bought a villa in St Barth - I am a bit worried I could have gotten a MUCH nicer property in Isles des Saintes. I am arriving in St Barth on Friday 9/4. I plan to visit Isles des Sainte ( by boat ) to have a look around. I will post my findings. But in the mean time - any realtor info would be a great help. Thansk, Chris.

  26. #26
    Janice is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Oct 2003 Posts: 66

    Re: Isles des Saintes - REAL ESTATE

    Isle des Saintes is completely different than St. Barths. There are no circumstances where I would think it was a good idea to relocate there with small children. Happydad I wish you the best of luck. If your choice was to live in the Caribbean you have made about the best choice possible.

  27. #27
    MIke R is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: May 2003 Stinson Lake - New Hampshire & Provincetown - Cape Cod Posts: 52,003

    Re: Isles des Saintes - REAL ESTATE

    I know of a few children who were raised in an environment very much like that which exists in Isle de Saintes and they turned out just fine...of course that is depending on what one would describe as "just fine".....I suppose happy dad can just stay in the USA where american children lead the world in diabetes, obesity, drug addiction, leukemia, and clinical depression, while at the same time are falling behind they rest of the industrialized world in math and language skills.....and St Barts is not a bad idea either...but I certainly wouldnt dismiss Isle De Saintes just because it doesnt meet our very subjectively slanted idea of a civilized society, which most of the world doesnt agree with anyway........if Isle de Saintes, or anywhere else for that matter, offers you what, in your mind , you want your children exposed to.....or more importantly, not exposed to.... then go for it
    "When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace" Jimi Hendrix

  28. #28
    happydad is offline
    SBH New Member Joined: Jul 2004 Posts: 9

    Re: Isles des Saintes - REAL ESTATE

    No - please don't worry!
    There is NOWHERE like St. Barth !
    Just looking at my bank account... thinking my god I'm broke!
    But seriously - to give mt kids the chance to grow up in St Barths is the best money ever spent.

  29. #29
    happydad is offline
    SBH New Member Joined: Jul 2004 Posts: 9

    Re: Isles des Saintes - REAL ESTATE

    Dear Mike R ... I think I've opened up a can of worms!
    I don't know if you read my message " Danger In St. Barth". I actually bought a villa in Corossol for myself, my wife, and our three kids. We fell in Love with the simplicity and beauty of St. Barth. I agree - growing up in St Barth away from a multitude of problems is a good thing. My mother always said that children should be happy and free. I hope that I can give my children a happy free life on St Barth - enjoying a wide range of people - enjoying nature - and enjoying a life of being together as a family. I know a great many people who have done very well - and are not very happy. St Barth is a magical place... we all are VERY excited to call it home .... starting Saturday !!! :)

  30. #30
    noel is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jul 2003 St. Louis, MO & Washington, DC Posts: 2,294

    Re: Isles des Saintes - REAL ESTATE

    Sorry MikeR but I would like to offer you a mulligan on that last shot you fired. If you are correct about the litany of sins you attribute to the USA, and presumably all of the USA, can you assure us that life in the islands escapes that list of horribles? Is there no depression, no drug issue, etc.?
    My strongest concern for kids from North America raised in the carefree Carib environment on boats or whatever is that the lifestyle from their perspective has a lot more to do with their parents' view of freedom than their own best interests.
    Put practically, if kids are raised that way, they do not have the interaction with other kids that we think is valuable. Not to mention that they are required by the arrangement to live out their parents' fantasy about life.
    We just don't buy it.
    We would love it if, as you suggest, the USA were totally corrupt and the Caribbean were pure, but you and I know that ain't so. And I repeat, raising kids that way is all about the parents and not much about the kids.

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