The heady aromas of sugar, spice and everything nice are St Barts Travel Guidebeautifully melded in a profusion of French flavor and local rhythms. The vibrant street cafes and effortless European glamour are the hallmarks of this glorious little island – still one of the most unique jewels of the Caribbean. A unique destination that amply justifies its reputation as a preferred celebrity vacation hang-out.
Discovered and named by Christopher Columbus on his second voyage, the island of Saint Bathelemy (or St. Bart’s, or St. Barth) was named after Columbus’ brother Bartolomeu. Originally inhabited by the Taino Indians, and occupied later by successive waves of colonial powers, including (surprisingly) Sweden, it was finally settled more or less permanently by French immigrants primarily from Brittany and Normandy. The name of the capital Gustavia and the three crowns on its coat-of-arms remain as testimony of its Swedish heritage.
The atmosphere remains decidedly French however; especially in Gustavia. However, if you take the time to delve a little deeper you will find little fishing villages, secluded beaches and winding roads that take you to places with amazing views of the Caribbean sea.
There is a fine selection of National marine parks with great snorkeling and SCUBA diving and of course the beaches. Who could forget the beaches? They come in all shapes and sizes, like to people watch? Like to be alone on a secluded stretch of sand? Want to go topless? Nudist? There’s something for everyone here.
Here’s your charter vacation check-list:
From a more technical standpoint the harbor at Gustavia can accommodate up to 60 mega-yachts of up to 200’ in the inside harbor and another 100 yachts in the outer harbor. The currency is the Euro, pricing is NOT for the faint-hearted.
Saint-Barthelemy (St. Barts, St. Barth’s or St. Barth) was named by Christopher Columbus in 1493 and since then has become a world-renowned hot spot for VIP travellers attracted to its dazzling beauty and casual elegance. Its strong French influences add a touch of Mediterranean flair and cosmopolitan atmosphere, though delve a little deeper and you will still find charming fishing villages, secluded beaches and steep winding roads to spectacular views on islands tailor made for exploration. The fantastic selection of marine parks offers breath-taking snorkeling and diving opportunities as well as great spots for surfing and other water-sports.
A place to be seen as much as to see, the ultra-chic capital of Gustavia plays host to a number of world-class restaurants and designer boutiques with colourful shop fronts and chilled out cafes lining the main strip of Rue de la Republique. The locals are descendants of the early settlers from Brittany and Normandy so French is the official language but French patois, Creole and English is widely spoken. Known for attracting the highest concentration of superyachts in the Caribbean, the beautiful Gustavia Port can accommodate up to 60 yachts of up to 200ft in its inner harbour and 100 more in the outer waters.
Each year St. Barts plays host to a number of prestigious yachting and sailing events, including the celebrated St. Barts Bucket. The spectacular surroundings are also a hotspot for other coveted events in the social calendar, including Russian tycoon Roman Abramovich’s annual New Year’s Eve party held on board his magnificent superyacht, Eclipse. Every year a plethora of high profile names fly in to both party and perform with the likes of Beyoncé, Prince, Rihanna and Kings of Leon among them. The climax of the night sees the starry skies of St. Barts light up with a dazzling firework display to see in the New Year.