St. Barths Overview
With all the wonderful Caribbean destinations is there any reason to spend your honeymoon in St. Barthélemy? Actually, there’s plenty. St. Barth’s represents the very apex of Caribbean essence mixed with pure French indulgence. Join the sophisticates as you casually explore steep and narrow roads, peruse the latest French fashions, enjoy exceptional French cuisine, admire spectacular views and of course attain new levels of relaxation underneath a flawless sky on some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. While this magnificent island is known to be the playground of the rich and famous, in actuality it is as quaint, warm and inviting to everyone regardless of social status.
St. Barth’s is an overseas collectivity of France, part of the French West Indies, born from volcanic activity into a vaguely V-shape in the northeastern Caribbean Sea just 35 kilometers southeast of St. Maarten and not far from Anguilla. Ringed by shallow reefs, the largest city is Gustavia, home to the small island’s only port and whose name reveals its Swedish beginnings before being governed by the French during the Napoleonic wars. With turquoise waters and a sensational climate, St. Barth’s is a perennial choice for a winter getaway and its relatively low terrain encourages lazy days on sandy beaches making it a prime location for maximum relaxation.
Your honeymoon in St. Barth’s is romance personified—a gorgeous setting with a uniquely French flair that brings to mind the very best of the French Riviera. Beautiful wildlife both plant and animal as well as exciting water sports such as scuba diving, snorkeling and windsurfing are waiting for you to discover. That is, when you’re not delighting in an elegant meal or sampling French perfumes and other duty-free waresat Gustavia’s Quai de la République.
- ENHANCE YOUR WELL-BEING: If you chose a honeymoon on St. Bart's to relax, you definitely found the right place. Many hotels and resorts offer spa services and welcome walk-ins whether you're staying with them or not. The island also has three independent fitness centers and several other locations that offer the chance to keep up with your exercise regimen or relax with yoga.
- SNORKEL IN SPARKLING WATERS: All around the island you'll find hundreds of shallow areas off of many of the best beaches that enables you to experience beautiful marine life up close. Wherever you are, putting on some snorkeling gear and checking out the waters by yourself is always an option. However you may choose to engage in daily snorkeling expeditions and even private snorkeling trips that can take you to the very best spots.
- FEEL THE SAND BETWEEN YOUR TOES: All of the 14 main beaches on St. Bart’s are beautiful spots to luxuriate in the warm sunshine. Many are quite popular, but you may want to find a more secluded and quiet place to enjoy time with your new love. On the North Shore, Lorient Beachis one such spotthat also offers shady areas to relax. On the other end of the spectrum,Grand Cul-de-Sac Beach is a fantastic and fun strand with many hotels, restaurants and opportunities for water sports. In fact, because of its physical and geographic attributes, it's also perfect for windor kite surfing.
- CHARTER A SAILBOAT OR CATAMARAN: Romance hits an all-time high as you admire the sunset from the deck of a sailboat. Chartering a sailboat or catamaran offers much more than just a day on the ocean; you'll explore St. Bart’s coastline, stop to snorkel in the crystal-clear waters and even enjoy a gourmet meal. Sailboats are readily available on the island and Catamaran charters can be found in Saint-Jean and in Grand Cul-de-Sac.
- SHOP LES ARTISANS, Gustavia: A tremendous array of precious metals, gems and pearls are found within Les Artisans, a marvelous mix of jewelry store and art gallery. Select from handcraftedpieces or have something custom-made during your stay.
- HAVE A HELPING HAND AS YOU EXPLORE: Perhaps the best way to see St. Bart’s in all its magnificent glory is through an island tour. Most of the hotels and resorts offer tours by minibus or car, but you can also arrange a tour independently at the airport or through one of the many taxi operators in the main city of Gustavia. In general, a half-day tour costs about $100 U.S. and will provide you a thorough overview of this beautiful destination. If you both are hands-on people that like to set your own pace, the island’s tourist board offers downloadable walking and driving tour itineraries.
- RENT A CAR: With the sheer volume of sensational sunny beaches and phenomenal French restaurants, getting from highlight to highlight and seeing as much as possible is done best by renting a car. Driving, you're never more than 20 minutes from any location, and all you need is a valid driver's license to best experience your honeymoon in St. Bart’s as you see fit.
- GET LOCAL WITH MADE IN ST-BARTH, Villa Creole, St-Jean: If you would like to accentuate your honeymoon in St. Bart (or St-Barth in French), the overwhelming consensus is to visit the chic boutique Made In St-Barth. You'll find a wide selection of gorgeous resort wear in as many vibrant colors and you'll see throughout the island itself. They also offerwide-brim beach hats that you can put to good use during your stay.
Tips and Advice
- AREA CODE: 0590
- CURRENCY: The Euro. The French franc was the main currency on St. Bart’s until 2002 when it was replaced by the Euro. The U.S. dollar also is accepted at most locations.
- LANGUAGE: French. English is spoken a little at many hotels, but knowing a bit of French, even the basics, will do you wonders.
- GETTING AROUND: Renting a car on St. Bart’s is your best way to get out and see the island. You're never more than 20 minutes away from any destination. One thing to consider, however, is that the roads are fairly steep and narrow and can present quite a challenge when you’re not familiar with them.
- WHEN TO GO: Any time of year is the right time to visit St. Bart’s. Peak season is during the northern hemisphere's winter months, but you'll find that the beaches even then are relatively free of crowds and very accessible.
- ELECTRICITY: St. Bart uses the 220-volt system as found in Europe.
- TIME ZONE: St. Bart’s falls under Eastern Standard Time, the same as on the East Coast of the United States. The island does not observe daylight saving times.