Top 10 Things to See and Do
1. Teeming with huge coral and rainbow coloured fish, the crystalline waters of St Barths are a diver’s paradise. Each bay has a reef to be explored; however the most spectacular dive sites are around the small cape of L’Ane Rouge, and Pain de Sucre, an islet off Gustavia harbour.
2. Not only are the beaches of St. Barths blessed with dazzling, soft white sand and clear turquoise waters, they are rarely crowded (even in peak season) and are all public and free. From vast sandy stretches to small fishing harbours and serene hidden coves, this small island has a beach to suit everyone.
3. St Barths is the undisputed gastronomic capital of the French West Indies, and there are almost eighty excellent restaurants across the island offering a vibrant and diverse variety of cuisine. Whether you wish to indulge a passion for gourmet French cuisine, eat a hearty Creole stew or simply sip cocktails and nibble on apeterifs as you look out across the bay, you are certain to find everything you are looking for in the eateries of St Barths.
4. St Barths is nothing if not a shopaholics dream! As a duty free port, the island boasts a range of elegant and designer shops (Louis Vuitton, Bulgari, Hermes and Cartier to name but a few) as well as several shopping centres, and is a haven for those wishing to indulge in a day (or two) of retail therapy
5. The island is home to several excellent spas, which only enhance its reputation as an island where people come to truly relax. A range of treatments and massages are offered at several independent spas, while most hotel spas also welcome outside visitors.
6. The charismatic capital of Gustavia is home not only to abundant designer shops, chic restaurants and elegant boutique hotels, but a picturesque harbour lined with luxurious yachts and the historic Fort Gustave on the outskirts of town. Set aside at least a day or two to explore – you’ll need it!
7. Sailing, sea-scooters, motorboats and jet-skiing are just a few of the water-based activities on offer in St Barths; sailing enthusiasts in particular will be in their element, with several rental companies offering everything from lasers to catamarans. Regattas are frequent events, and are organised for almost any category.
8. Smaller than Gustavia but certainly not to be overlooked, the city of Saint-Jean is home to some excellent shopping opportunities, as well as several of the islands most elegent villas, hotels and restaurants. An abundance of tropical vegetation and colourful flowers are also hidden amongst its rolling hills, topped off with stunning views across the ocean and mountains.
9. With its spectacular landscapes and beautiful coastline, hiking is great way to discover more of the awe-inspiring scenery of St Barths. A famous path will take you on an easy stroll from Petite Anse to the gorgeous bay of Colombier in less than half an hour, while those in the mood for more of a challenge can climb to the peak of Mount Vitet (286 metres high) and admire the island from above.
10. To find out more about the islands rich history, visit the Musee Territorial de St. – Barthélemy (also known as the St. Barts Municipal Museum) in Gustavia, located in an old stone house at the end of La Pointe. Exhibits relate to periods of French, Swedish and British occupation, in addition to displays of antique tools, ancestral costumes, models of Creole houses and boats, and a library.
Culture in St. Barths
The inhabitants of St Barths are all French Citizens, and this is reflected in the customs and traditions of the island which are greatly influenced by French culture. The residents speak a form of French patois, and the numerous boutique shops, restaurants and hotels of the island are distinctly Parisian in feel!