This French island isn’t the easiest to get to, but it’s worth the trip. The tiny island is a mere 8.1 square miles and home to just 36,000 people. Yet its relative isolation and sandy beaches make it a popular playground for the wealthy and celebrities, alike. Because it’s so small, commercial flights land in neighboring St. Martin, with small commuter flights available to St. Barts. Yachts and boats can also easily reach the island, with many yachts docking in the capital of Gustavia.
The duty-free port has warm, sunny weather most of the year, with the average temperature highs between 82 and 86 degrees and lows around 73 during the winter months. January, February and March are among the least rainy months on the island, with February getting the least rain of the year, on average. February also sees a slight dip in humidity, which stays consistently under 80 percent, year-round.
Photo by Christopher Macsurak
Home to 14 beaches, there are plenty of spots to relax and catch some rays. The island prohibits public nudity, making it mostly family friendly, however, for those with younger children, be warned that topless sunbathing isn’t out of the question.
For those looking for quiet beaches with nary a visitor, check out Marigot, Lorient and Petit Cul de Sac. For those looking for a little adventure with their beach trip, try Toiny or Shell or Colombier.
Marigot Harbor//Photo by Paul Sableman.
Spend an afternoon getting lost in Gustavia, shopping the boutiques and dining in the cafes and restaurants. Search for shells on nearby Shell Beach, visit the ruins of historic Fort Gustave and take in its spectacular harbor views, or meander through one of the museums—Le P’tit Collectionneur with a wide range of antiquities and more modern oddities, or the Musee Territorial, which showcases some of the island’s history.
The pristine beaches and warm weather don’t come without a price tag. St. Barts is consistently considered the most expensive Caribbean island to visit, but it’s certainly worth it.
Where to stay: There are plenty of accommodations scattered around the island ranging predominately from villas to hotels with a myriad of private apartments and homes also available for rent. Hotel Le Toiny is a perfect escape for those seeking a tranquil experience. With just 15 bungalows and villas overlooking the ocean on the southeastern part of the island, it’s an ideal location. Hotel Christopher also offers immaculate views of the ocean, a deck for lounging and a pool for cooling off for guests staying in its varying suites.
Don’t miss: Eastern St. Barthelemy and the beautiful mountains and Flamands, the charming village along a perfect stretch of sandy beach.
Flight time: 4 hours
Airports: St. Jean Airport; Juliana Airport
For more information, visit St. Barts tourism website.