St. Barthelemy Directory
St. Barthelemy Overview
Saint Barthélémy is situated at a distance of 200kms from continental Guadeloupe and 25kms from Saint-Martin. It is a mountainous island of 25km², whose only even area is occupied by the airport's runway. Discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1493, he named it after his brother.
St Barthelemy ("St Barths" or "St Barts" in short) is a small island 5 miles long and 2 miles wide. Located in the chain of the Caribbean islands, about 10 miles Southeast of St Maarten, this small "part of France" in the West Indies, renowned for its peace and its beauty, attracts every year many visitors from all over the world. The island depends administratively on Guadeloupe.
Gustavia, the picture-postcard capital, is an enchanting little harbor town, easy to explore on foot. A visit may take a couple of hours, but with a leisurely lunch, it could easily take double that time. "Downtown" consists of three or four dozen boutiques, duty-free shops, an open-air market called the Ti-Marché near the Mairie de St. Barth, or Town Hall, as well as quite a few excellent restaurants and bars housed in buildings that date back to the Swedes and early French settlers.
Twenty white, sandy beaches, all public, most of them sheltered by a coral reef, are awaiting you all around the island, everybody will find his favorite place. The inland is dry and mountainous, nevertheless, the highest peak is at 300m (984ft) only. Stonewalls separating the parcels of land remind of the Brittanic origins of the inhabitants.
Stroll the streets, embrace the ambience. Spend an hour or two in the ocean or a day on it. Go snorkelling, diving, sailing, cruising or fishing. Explore nature. Go shopping. Immerse yourself in the culture. Smell the flowers, listen to the birds and soak up the sunshine. The choice is yours.
There is wonderful snorkeling at about 15 different spots. Snorkels, masks and flippers are available at various shops around the island and at many hotels.
Dining has become one of the stellar attractions of St. Barthélemy. Renowned chefs from France and the U.S. frequently visit the island, many open restaurants, and some even teach classes. Most restaurants are small but each offers something special in food, setting or atmosphere. Some are beach cafés featuring lobster and grilled steaks, some specialize in seafood, and some, particularly in the elegant hotels, present cuisine of the highest quality.
Mid-April to mid-December is the high season St. Barth as travelers flee colder climates to soak up the tropical sunshine. For the peak periods of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years, as well as the entire month of February, virtually all lodging on the island sells out quickly. Smart travelers are beginning to make their reservations for the high season a year or more in advance.
Hurricanes may occur any time from June through November and, historically, the most likely time is during early September. Every year brings more sophisticated storm warning systems. It is unusual for any one island to be severely affected more than once or twice every 10 years and your actual odds of experiencing a hurricane are very low. Some travelers purchase travel insurance as soon as they confirm their travel plans.
There are a few options for getting around St. Barts. There are two taxi stations on the island, one at the airport and one in Gustavia. To fully explore the island, renting a vehicle is highly recommended. Motorbikes, mopeds and scooters are also plentiful.
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Roman Catholic, Protestant.
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