The best time to go to St.Barts/ Saint Barthélemy is from November through to June were the weather is warm, sunny and tropical. Consider travelling to the region in May or June as prices for hotels, resorts and flights tend to drop allowing you to pick up a good bargain.
With an average temperature of 26°C, the weather in St.Barts is always tropical so anytime of the year is a good time to visit but bear in mind, the rain and hurricane season is usually from August to November and many establishments tend to close during this time.
Make sure to plan your trip at least 6 months in advance if you are visiting in peak season (December – May).
So, lets get to know St.Barts a little better!
St.Barts is a French Caribbean island that is blessed with sun-soaked white sandy beaches, luscious green mountainous landscapes surrounded by colourful turquoise waters that invite you to enjoy the scenery and luxuries it has to offer. No wonder it is one of the more popular Caribbean islands that attracts the rich and wealthy to its shores.
St.Barts is located on the eastern side of the Caribbean in the Leeward Islands, just south of Saint Martin with a population of just under 10,000 that speak predominately French. It is one of the smallest of the islands in the French West Indies but don’t underestimate the size of it as there is so much to do and see on this tropical island.
Capital City: Gustavia
Currency used in St.Barts: The official currency used is the Euro, however, most establishments do accept US Dollars. Major credit cards such as Visa and MasterCard are also widely accepted although some merchants do not accept American Express or Discover.
Airport in St.Barts: Gustaf III Airport
Visa & Entry Requirements: You must hold a valid passport and return ticket. Most countries do not require a Visa.
Average temperature: The climate in St. Barts more or less stays at a constant temperature of 26°C.
There is plenty to do in St.Barts but make sure to check these out!
What to do in St.Barts
St.Barts holds some incredible festivals, look out for these throughout the year!
Culture & Festivities
The majority of the population are of a European descent, either from Sweden and French provinces. The culture is in St. Bart’s is very much like European Normandy with a little Afro-Caribbean influence. St.Barts is the only island in the Caribbean that has a Swedish heritage with the capital of Gustavia being named after the Swedish king, King Gustaf.
The people of St. Bart’s celebrate many festivals throughout the year:
St. Bart Fun Cup
St. Bart’s hosts one of the most anticipated events for professional and amateur windsurfers to compete in a long-distance race around St. Bart’s. The island of St.Barts, is an undeniable asset of this event that offers exceptional conditions attracting many professionals from around the world. It his held during the last week of January and is an incredible friendly atmosphere to even come and spectate. Looking out in the distance, you can see hundreds of windsurfers battle for the St. Bart Fun Cup.
Held during the period between Epiphany and Ash Wednesday. St.Barts comes alive with the sound of steel drums, people singing and colourful parades as they take to the streets in Gustavia to perform one of the most anticipated events on the island. It is said this is the best time to go to St.Barts to join in all of these celebrations.
St.Barts Carnival celebrations include a children’s costume parade, a pajama parade and ends with the burning of (Vaval) the king of Carnival at Shell Beach on Ash Wednesday.
The endless list of activities, dancing, celebrating and excitement continue right through into the night.
St. Barts Bucket Regatta
This three-day invitational regatta gathers the world’s most spectacular super yachts in Gustavia Harbour for the prestigious St.Barts Bucket. Held in March, spectators crowd to the Harbour to get a glimpse of these incredible, towering yachts and see them pull out of the bay to compete for first place.
Here you will see top-notch racing and exclusive shore side social events, all in a breathtaking Caribbean setting.
There is no other regatta of magnitude on the super yacht racing calendar.
St.Barts Music Festival
Held over the month of January, this festival celebrates everything about music and dance. Audiences are treated to intimate concerts by some of the world’s most prominent classical, opera, ballet, and jazz stars with the added advantage of island breezes and the fragrance of flowering hibiscus.
Musicians, singers and dancers come from around the globe to take part in this wonderful event and is certainly something worth checking out during your visit.
Now, when on a getaway to St.Barts you need to check out these incredible beaches!
Best beaches in St.Barts
St. Bart’s is blessed with a number of beautiful, white sandy beaches surrounded by rugged cliffs. There is around 17 beaches in St. Barts, some of them busy, some of them quiet but all are quite breathtaking.
The best time to go to St.Barts’ beaches is generally in the morning, the earlier the better as you will be able to pick your own spot to set up for the day.
Many of the beaches here are located behind private property, however, all beaches are open to the public by law. You may come across a lot of ‘Private Property’ signs but do not be put off, all these resorts have to allow access to the beach, just be mindful and respectful of private property.
I have chosen some of the best so you get the best beach experience on your trip.
You can find this beautiful beach towards the north coast of St.Barts.
It is around a 14-minute drive from the capital of Gustavia.
Colombier beach is totally undeveloped, no signs of civilization and boasts calm translucent warm water with a nice soft, sandy bottom. Once you arrive at the hill overlooking this secluded spot, you’ll notice a handful of people walking up and down the shoreline with a few anchored boats out in the distance. It is a generally a quiet beach so finding your own spot on the sand isn’t difficult by any means.
Travel to the south coast of St.Barts and you will come across the magnificent beach.
It is around a 12-minute drive from Gustavia.
Locally known as one of the main nudist beaches on the island, so if you feel like wearing your birthday suit, by all means.
This beach itself is fairly long, uncrowded with amazing scenery and takes a small hike to reach it but completely worth it once your there. Try to get there before 10am for some easy parking.
Here the water is a stunning turquoise colour with incredible strong waves, perfect for body surfing and boogie boarding.
Make sure to pack a lunch and some drinks as there are no vendors on the beach.
St. Jean Beach
This picturesque beach is located right next to the airport, around a 9-minute drive from Gustavia.
A soft, powdery white sandy beach rolling into beautiful calm, blue water. The beach is usually uncrowded so plenty of space to set up for the day and bathe in the golden sunshine.
The warm, clear water is the perfect spot to swim and frolic. It is ideal for children because it is protected by a sand bar, the water is always calm with rippling waves. There are also turtles if you decide you want to snorkel instead.
The beach also has ample parking across the street just down from the Pearl Beach Hotel.
Travel to the far north-eastern coast of St.Barts and you will discover the breathtaking beach of Marechal.
It is around a 19-minute drive from Gustavia.
Experience fine soft sand, crystal blue waters full of tropical sea life swimming lazily along. An almost deserted beach, peppered with palm trees staring out to the most panoramic views.
The beach is located in the middle of the Guanahani hotel, you literally need to walk through the hotel to get to the beach.
This tiny beach happens to be one of the best places to snorkel. You can watch schools of fish and beautiful sea turtles pass you by for hours so grab your snorkel mask and take to the water.
You can locate Flamands beach you before you arrive at Colombier beach.
It’s around a 14-minute drive from Gustavia.
Flamand is the largest beach on the island with very fine sugary sand leading onto turquoise waters that has a small surf that is perfect for boogie boarding.
It’s an uncrowded beach with plenty of space so ideal for large families where the children can roam around without disturbing other beach goers.
Just down the beach is Cheval Blanc, an upscale resort where you can treat yourself to a luxury tasty lunch.
The restaurants here serve some mouthwatering dishes, be sure to look into these!
Where to dine
The food in St. Barts comes from many cuisines around the world and always exquisite.
There is a certain French flair within much of the cuisine, but some of the top restaurants are either Italian, Thai and Japanese. Many of St Barts best restaurants cleverly combine influences from all over the world.
The seafood is all locally caught from around the island so you can taste fresh fish from sea to plate within 24 hours.
Bagatelle – rue Samuel Fahlberg, Gustavia (French, Vegetarian Friendly)
Orega – 13 Rue Samuel Fahlberg, Gustavia (French, Japanese, Contemporary)
Le Tamarin – Grande, Grande Saline (French, Caribbean, International)
On the Rocks – Hotel Eden Rock – St Barths, St. Jean (French, Seafood, European)
L’Isola – 33 Rue Roi Oscar II, Gustavia (Italian)
Santa Fe – Rte Lurin, Lurin (French, Seafood)
L’ Esprit – Anse de Grande Saline, Salines (French)
Bonito St Barth – Rue Lubin Brin, Gustavia (French, Seafood)
La Langouste – Main Road, Anse des Flamands (French, Caribbean, Seafood)
Case de l’Isle – Flamands Bay | Cheval Blanc Saint-Barth Isle de France, Anse des Flamands (French)
St.Barts was discovered in 1493 by Columbus and named it after his brother Bartolomeo.
It was first settled by French colonists in 1648 from the island of St. Kitts located closely by.
In 1651, after this French colonisation didn’t flourish like they hoped, the island was then sold to the Knights of Malta.
In 1763, the island was settled again, this time by French mariners from Normandy and Brittany. This colony succeeded.
These French buccaneers eventually became tradesmen, shopkeepers, fishermen, and small farmers. The island had too harsh of an environment to become part of the sugar economy of the many other Caribbean islands.
St.Barts remained a French colony until 1784, when it was sold to Sweden in exchange for trading rights in the Swedish port of Gothenburg.
As a free port under Swedish rule, St. Barts served the useful purpose of providing a trade and supply center for the various factions of the colonial wars of the 18th century.
In 1878, France repurchased the island. The free port status remained, and does to this day, along with such Swedish relics such as of architecture, a few street signs, and, of course, the name of the harbor and capital, Gustavia.