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  1. #1
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    St. Barths on a Budget

    I have had quite a few questions about this over the years and wanted to try and elaborate as best I could. This is about a budgeted trip to St.Barths during the off season for 1 week, many of whom have been on a budget, and many who were honeymooners, etc:

    Here is the plan:

    1~Airfare-if you work hard, you can find airfare roundtrip from the US to St.Barth for $300-400

    2~Car rental-looks like about $200-250/week, insurance not included (be careful)

    3~Scooter rentals save a bunch of money

    4~Meals-here is a list of breakfast, lunch and dinner spots:
    BREAKFAST-varietal bakeries in Lorient, Columbier and Gustavia for $4-7/person OR cook at home for about $4-5/person

    LUNCH-there are a large group of lunch spots all over the Island offering panninis/sandwiches, etc. for about $7-9/person, OR cook at home for about $4-5/person

    DINNER-dinner will cost you about $25-35/person, OR you can cook at home for about half the cost

    NOTE: Wine is expensive no matter where purchased. Alcoholic beverages, by the bottle, etc. are much less than wine.

    PLACES TO STAY-this seems to be the hot topic of recent, wanting to stay at the best/over the top place, but not pay the price-for a budgeted trip, remember you are on ST.BARTHS for awakened hours only between 6-7AM and MIDNIGHT. Therefore, your place to stay needs to be comfortable and convenient. Salines Gardens, etc. during low season can accomodate you for $150-250/night as can others. Spend your days at hotel pools having a drink or at the beach, etc.

    ACTIVITIES-the trip to Columbier is free if you hike and a good one at that, so is the driving and exploring around the Island, checking out every beach, shopping if you don't spend, etc. A favorite activity among many is to choose a day long trip where you can have lunch, visit 2 beaches, take your own wine or spirits, and still return by nightfall to cook your own dinner.

    FLIGHTS-400US/person
    AUTO-250
    HOTEL-1,750 or less
    MEALS-800 approximately with about 100-200 for alchohol/groceries
    MISC-500 (wine, souvenirs, taxes, tips, etc.)

    While this is a real budget, two (2) people can actually go to ST.BARTHS for about $1,900 per person. I have had several to confirm this.

    Hope this helps some and doesn't offend others who spend 5 times this much, but so many have asked this question of me privately, I thought it good info to share.

    Ric

    PS~I think it would be kind of others to offer additional advice. Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Re: St. Barths on a Budget

    good list...off the top of my head,isnt saline gardens only like 60 euros a night off season? that cuts your costs way down,from your price of 1750..my favorite is sunset hotel for a budget...only like 350.00 a week off season...also,ive spent more than one trip,hitching the entire island...not for everyone though.
    The last of the famous international playboys

  3. #3
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    Re: St. Barths on a Budget

    Thank you, Seles, wonderful help!

    I recently did a budget trip with a friend, stayed in a somewhat inexpensive villa, car included in low/value season.

    We did our own cooking almost all the time, and we probably did it in less money than mentioned. Focused on pasta, risotto etc as we blew our budget already the previous weeks on Guadeloupe. Still we had a wonderful journey, and didn't feel deprived. You don't have to buy fresh strawberries and asparagus in November, you don't have to have the best italian rice for the risotto. A nice picnic lunch can be assembled without being ruined.

    Posted "trip report/diary" and "Case a Fofo - review" will tell you more, if anyone is intrested (do a search with those words as topic). St Barth Properties has Case a Fofo listed as 1530 USD (admin fee 12,5 % included) low season, Natanya at same price, car included in both villas. There might be more budget villas where the included car makes it affordable. Note that for wavering a high excess (not sure I translated that right...) the car rental adds 10 EUR per day. You can chose not to have it, but then be expected to pay thousands if you cause an accident.

    The hike to Colombier is free, beaches, sight seeing and window shopping too. Burgers at Le Select affordable. Meeting and talking to Marius and other locals is priceless. If you have the opportunity at the villa/hotel: lying in the jacuzzi/pool for hours, gazing at the ocean/stars, is also free! If activities that may follow causes expenses nine months later - I accept no responsibility :)

    /K

  4. #4
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    Re: St. Barths on a Budget

    Nice help. My only offering would be that on the wine side, you can find some great bottles for cheap. We overprice our wines here and tax the heck out of imports so finding a nice bottle for less is very easy on SBH. Match does have some decent wine at decent prices.
    I don't have a solution but I admire the problem.

  5. #5
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    Re: St. Barths on a Budget

    All true above, especially Sunset and the small villa option over a hotel. Several private emailed me about sharing a villa with another couple, therein cutting costs, sharing cooking, and some come with a free car, etc. Sounds fun and certainly more economical.

    Again, I wanted to do this as USAir and other carriers often 'fire out' last minute deals on airfare, so a person who's flexible can plan a last minute trip.

    One person emailed me last year about he and his girlfriend going to SB, roundtrip and staying in a small villa with a hot tub, eating, driving, partying, etc. for under $2,500 total...that seems difficult to do, but their secret was based on a four factors:

    1~got a last minute rental from owner at a 30% discount by offering to not have maid service until departure
    2~used a scooter for travel + the villa was a convenient walk to St.Jean
    3~they took turns each day choosing the best/least expensive wines and preparing meals
    4~both enjoyed the beaches-one every morning, another every afternoon

    And a couple of others emailed last year to say the budget trip was probably more for the frequent SB traveler than a first timer...I agree with that.

    As an aside, several of the Wine Shops/Caves can recommend wines from smaller, lesser known vineyards that typically carry prices below 10 Euros/bottle.

    Wish I could practice this all the time, but I'd rather not spend money here and throw it in a safe place for use there...got that idea from a friend who all year long says if they decide to buy anything (dinner, lunch, clothes, etc.), they simply ask themselves is it absolutely necessary and if not, the money goes in a beautifully decorated piece of pottery they purchased in Marigot. Then, before their trip they take the money out for their spend money while on SB. Their average in the pottery each year~about $4,000!

    Thanks.

    Ric

  6. #6
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    Re: St. Barths on a Budget

    I love that "stash it in the pottery" idea! It's a great way to focus on that next trip (if you can stay out of the pot)! I have to say that we spend more money on food than anything in SBH and enjoy every minute of it! Usually mix it up during the week going to a variety of places but dinner is what I love to experience in St. Barths...We saved considerably on lunches the first trip by making a fresh salad, bread, cheese and wine by our villa pool...in the evening, we enjoyed the sunset view so much from the terrasse, we had a bottle of wine at home then went out for dinner later...Last year I found some inexpensive wine at Match that was delish...I want to say one was a Buzet? for 5 euros that was great...When we get tired of the beach we take a drive around the island and discover something or some place new...it's free! When you wait till the last minute you can have fewer choices in villas as was our experience this trip and last, but let's face it...how bad can it be in St. Barth in a smaller/less expensive villa...

    bev

  7. #7
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    Re: St. Barths on a Budget

    we stay for 12 days and always do it for less then 1900 a person...but...we dont pay for airfare...we do Commuter over which is less then Win Air....we stay at Auberge which we love to death and dont feel short changed or compromised one bit on.....and we go to St Barts for the beach, which is free.... our car is a well equipped Jimmy....as far as food and drink goes..we drink at least a bottle of wine a day..a few Caribs...a bottle of Grey Goose usually lasts 4 or 5 days...a bottle of cognac the same...we usally eat out every second or third night, depending on our mood, and I cook in on the others....I can assure you that when I cook dinner in we are not saving money...these are all top shelf dinners that I enjoy the hell out of making....we usually go half and half in terms of lunch...half out..half in...we are not big lunch eaters....breakfast is always a baguette and some pastries from Petit Colombe and a pot of coffee...we dont shop at all in St Barts as we are in the retail biz ourselves and see half of the St Barts merchants at the wholesale gift and home decor buyers show in New York anyway, so whats the point of us shopping in their stores, when we can wholesale anything they have in the first place....acception to that is some nice locally made stuff we have purchased i.e pottery, paintings and rhum....we are not fashion addicts...we could care less about all that so we dont clothes shop at all....an occasional sarong for Wendi but thats it

    and with all the above..we are still considerably under 1900 a person....it is one of the least expensive trips we take....we will spend more money this week between Christmas and New Years doing social things and goin out, then we do in in any given week in St Barts.....
    "When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace" Jimi Hendrix

  8. #8
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    Re: St. Barths on a Budget

    Who are you kidding MikeR...1900E is your bar tab:-))
    Eric

  9. #9
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    Re: St. Barths on a Budget

    Thanks
    All good points
    One thing we have found is that the same French wine is generally cheaper in SBH than in Canada
    Resto food may seem expensive, but we always remind ourselves that back home, taxes add 15% (7 federal,8 provincial)and tips another 15-20%. So,generally, a good SBH meal costs about what a good really good meal at home would
    When the US $ was strong, ours was weak- we used to complain- now ours is "roaring", so last year and this coming one promise to be excellent value- not like the heady days of the early '80's , but much better, price wise
    But when you love SBH, you will always find a way- when it was really expensive, we simply walked everywhere ( no car rental)- wouldn't do it now, but if that's what it takes to keep coming back, we were happy to do it !

  10. #10
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    Re: St. Barths on a Budget

    Who are you kidding MikeR...1900E is your bar tab:-))
    Eric

    at one point in time...yes...not anymore :-(((.....according to Wendi I have to be responsible now
    "When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace" Jimi Hendrix

  11. #11
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    Re: St. Barths on a Budget

    Our 7 days in June

    $1450.oo Villa with Car
    $1600.oo Airfare for 2 - Boston / SBH / Phoenix
    $1000.oo Food & Drink - Dinner out every night + food & drink from Match

    Then there's other fun money lost somewhere in the abis boating & snorkeling and whatever....call it $2400/person

    If you live in the southeast you can do better on airfare than we could. If you live on the west coast I don't know how you get there for under $800/head and you have to do a redeye to Dallas, San Juan or Miami if you dont want to loose a day in St Maarten going down.
    "Life is a Journey but Golf is Serious Business"

  12. #12
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    Re: St. Barths on a Budget

    I just did my math, summing up my journey. I travelled with a friend, and split the cost of lodging in half. It's a bit difficult separating the part that belongs on St Barths, so here we go:

    The trip to start with - 2630 USD
    incl air Sweden-Paris-Guadeloupe t/r, 2 weeks french course, shared apartment 15 nights, 1 night in Paris, transferbus

    Expences on Guadeloupe, paid with card - 250 USD
    incl phone & sms, some presents (like t-shirts)

    Expences paid in cash - the whole 3 weeks - 1100 USD
    incl all the groceries, rhum, wine, 1/5 weekend car rental, laundry, pareos, ice cream & snacks, 4 resto dinners, some drinks, 70 EUR overweight flight home

    The St Barth trip - 1050 USD
    incl air Guadeloupe-St Barth t/r, shared villa incl car 6 nights, CDW on car insurance

    Expences on St Barths, paid with card - 280 USD
    incl phone & sms, some presents (like t-shirts)

    My expences - the whole 3 weeks - was 1630 USD. We cooked ourselves a lot, not only to save money, but because we enjoy it! And it did save a lot of money. We didn't shop for designer clothes, jewlery and perfumes. Still we didn't deprive ourselves the little silver linings, like fresh strawberries for Colombier and some very good rhum tr

  13. #13

    Re: St. Barths on a Budget

    I personally think that the cheap villa is the way to go. You save on food, drink and entertainment. We always rent one on the beach so you dont have to get in the car to go for a swim etc.
    My husband is a travel writer and started an article on St Barts for under $100 a day. I dont recall that he ever finished it....
    <a href="http://www.bajabooksandmaps.com" target="_blank">http://www.bajabooksandmaps.com</a>

  14. #14
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    Re: St. Barths on a Budget

    a villa on the beach is an excellent suggestion, and they are usually simple and inexpensive.try st. jean beach,l'orient beach or anse de cayes for cottage options.all come with a weber grill, at least, and have indoor kitchens.less expensive than renting at emeraude plage or les islets and more privacy.

  15. #15
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    Re: St. Barths on a Budget

    My wife and I went to St Barth for the first time last July. Neither extravagant or spartan, a very pleasant week for two was as follows:

    1856.00 - AA redye from SF to NY to St Martin, return though San Juan and Dallas
    394.00 - WinAir to St Barth and back
    1964.00 - 7 nights at Villa Mimosa on the road to Gouverneur
    318.00 - 4 wheel drive automatic Suzuki
    1000.00 - food (no alcohol) and spending money
    5532.00 - total, or 2766.00 each.

    Well above the 1900.00 level, but still about a thousand less than I spent for 5 nights on Bora Bora the previous year. Nevertheless, we're planning on returning this June to St Barth. With FF miles from AA and a less expensive villa that includes a car, we should be able to make the same trip for less than 1500.00 per person. Sounds pretty reasonable to me.

  16. #16
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    Re: St. Barths on a Budget

    This isn't exactly a budget find, but I found it strange that when we were there in Nov., I saw a 1999 bottle of Cristal in Match for 130 euros.....and when my daughter and her boyfriend and I were running through the little grocery store in Gustavia(across from the ferry, anyone know the name?)....we went to grab a beer to drink before we got on the ferry, and I ran past a bottle of Cristal there, stopped to look, and it was a 1997 for 120 euros!!!!
    I think when wqe go back in April, we'll have to check it out more!
    Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we're here we should dance !

  17. #17
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    Re: St. Barths on a Budget

    Thanks. It's gone.

    Actually, that was probably a mistake...or old inventory brought out with an old price.

  18. #18
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    Re: St. Barths on a Budget

    If you two hurry on over to Sweden you might have the last couple of bottles 1997 Cristal for about 132 EUR (1250 SEK). And people say our state monopoly and high taxes on alcohol makes the booze super-expensive?
    On my budget - I'll stick to spanish cava...
    Or, when in St Barth - rhum, with or without vanille!

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