Insider Tips For St Barts Travelers
SBHonline and it’s members have been providing insider advice and information about St Barts Island for almost 10 years. We have archived many of the frequently asked questions and answers about the island and listed them below. If you want more information you can visit the St Barts discussion forums where you can find almost anything you want to know about St Barts.
The Full list of Questions and Answers was moved to this page St Barts FAQ’s
Getting to St Barths
One of the defining characteristics of St Barths is how mountainous it is. There are few level areas on the island, and the only place a runway could be built is on a sheep grazing meadow in a small valley by the sea.
The 2,170 foot long runway (vs 8,000 ft long at a major airport) is too short for jets, and no plane seating more than 16 people can land on it. So you will want to book a flight to one of the nearby islands that have direct scheduled service into St Barths.
San Juan Fly Tradewind Aviation – 60 mins
St Martin – Fly Win-Air or St Barth Commuter – 15 mins
Antigua – Fly Tradewind Aviation – 40 mins
For Sport / Adventure Types
St Barths doesn’t promote itself as a sporty island, however there are a lot of activities you can plug into to stay active during your vacation. Here are a few of our insiders tips
Jogging – Park at the lot by Saline beach, run along the salt pond, then up the hill to the right to Petite Saline, then back down again. If it’s a hot day, a good alternative is to park at Grand Fond, and jog along the ocean up over to Toiny and back. Another scenic run is the loop that runs through Pointe Milou
Kite Surfing or Wind Surfing – If you are already an expert, rent gear at the shop by Au Corail. If you need lessons, they will set you up with a two day special package. You can also rent wind surfers at Le Plage on St Jean beach
Tennis – St Jean tennis center behind the stadium. There is also a tennis center in Grand cul de Sac. You can book time with a pro at either location. Another option is to book time with a pro at the Guanahani Hotel, then head off to their spa afterwards!
For The Culinary Set
St Barths has long been known as the culinary capital of the Caribbean. Other islands may boast more restaurants, or more genres, but no island can match St Barths for the quality of dining experiences. Our insider tip is to try those restaurants whose owners are also the chef, and which offer an experience that is uniquely St Barth
For lunch – La Gloriette in Grand cul de Sac, La Plage at St Jean beach, Sante Fe in Lurin
For dinner – Mayas in Public, L’Esprit in Saline, and Tamarin in Saline
Top 3 beaches
The powers that be in St Barths have wisely managed development on and around its beaches, and as a result you won’t find condo towers and massive all inclusive resorts with hoards of vacationers spilling out on the beach. In fact, three of our favorite beaches have practically no development, making them our favs.
Saline – half mile long crescent shaped beach with not a single building or business in sight.
Gouverneur – quarter mile long beach tucked into a cove surrounded by mountains, spectacular
Colombier – an unspoiled pennisnsula with a quarter mile long beach that you can only reach via a foot path from Flamands (the low road) or Colombier (the high road). We recommend the low road, which skirts the waterfront and winds down to the beach along a scenic ridge. Pack water and snacks. Good snorkeling can be found to both the left and right sides of the beach.
Best sunset views
During the winter the sun sets in the direction of St Martin and Anguilla, to the northwest. Our insiders recommend going to the Christopher Hotel for cocktails. The bar directly faces the sunset, and offers a tasty array of cocktails. Another option is Shellona on Shell beach where there is often live music at sunset. If you are looking for a more urban experience, head up to Bonito in Gustavia.
Where to surf
Grad your board and head out to Lorient beach for dependable surf. We also love this location as the beach is only a short walk from two local eateries – Patisserie Columbe, and JoJo Burger. Another option is to head out to the “cote sauvage” in Grand Fond. This is a more challenging area, with a rock beach and undertow. Our insiders only recommend this area to experienced surfers and strong swimmers.
Where to snorkel
St Barths offers some good snorkeling right offshore in a few off the beaten track places. Our insiders recommend that the first place to try is the cove at Petite Anse, just past Flamands beach. You’ll find good coral formations and a variety of fish as you work your way along the left side of the cove. Another option is Shell beach in Gustavia. Walk down to the left side of the beach, then snorkel along the rock wall that forms the left side of the cove. You can also find some coral and fish life along the right side of Lorient beach. The bonus here is that you are also likely to see sea turtles here.