Go2Guadeloupe > Travel Guide > St Barts  
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Situated 230 Km in the NW of Guadeloupe, Saint Barth for the locals, is a 25km2 rock that is dry and mountainous, atypical in the Caribbean. With no less than 22 beaches, this little paradise is today a haven of peace for the jet-set and other wealthy tourists.

The island is relatively mountainous and offers coasts chipped with white sandy coves. Particularly dry, Saint Barth accomodates rare and essentially spiky vegetation, cierge cactus and « tête à l’anglais » (English heads), due to their resembalnce with the hairy hats of the British royal guards. The only trees on the island are coconut trees, lataniers and mancenilliers.
For some time Saint Barth got its resources from the plantation of pineapples until they ran out of land. With no land left to cultivate, there was no need to turn to the labour of slaves. Anyhow, the inhabitants were too poor. Also the island was only populated with whitemen and didn't experience any community tension. The inhabitants turned to the sea and lived from fishing and sailing navigation.

At the end of the second world war the island was adopted by some rich families like the Rockefellers, or the Rothschilds. The poulation soon understood they needed to take advantage of this success and committed themselves to concerted and elitist tourism. Scarce and expensive land, elegant architecture and well integrated urbanism where it was forbidden to build a building higher than a palm tree, enabled them to keep the authenticity and charm of the island. Today tourism is the first resource of the island. Saint Barthélemy welcomes wealthy clients to its luxury hotels and dream villas. Only a handful of buildings, mainly small hotel units offer affordable prices. It depends on the season because the prices differ by around 40%.

Arriving by plane on Saint Barth is quite impressive and will stay in your memory forever. Indeed, the plane flies over the top of a hill before diving sharply towards the runway below, whihc is not only short but stops near the beach, just a few meters away from the water. As soon as you arrive, Saint Barth will provide wild sensations ! Here you can relax, swim and stroll along whilst window shopping in the luxury boutiques and go shopping in the duty free shops because the island has kept its status of a free port. So basically you can take your time here... Gustavia, the capital, gives shelter to a superb rade away from the wind which accomodates the most sumptuous sailing boats and yachts in the world, especially at the end of December when the jet-set comes and spends New Years' day here. Its little wooden houses are well-kept and colourful, and its luxury boutiques and « trendy » restaurants give it a certain charm.
The central part, from Gustavia to Orient, is the most urban and contains the main shops, hotels and restaurants of the island. The other part is more wild with coasts with white sandy coves dug out. This is where the main attraction of the island is : no less than 22 beaches of which some are the most beautiful in the Caribbean. They offer some priviliged people their magnificent tongues of fine sand, white and soft, soaked in crystal-clear water tinted with turquoise and emerald. With the exception of the Anse du grand cul de sac, the beaches of the island are not closed by a coral barrier which retains the ardour of the waves. This explains the rarety of the vegetation along the beaches. Besides Anse des Cayes and its fringe of coconut trees and gum trees, and the beach of Anse du Colombier with its coconut plantation, the beaches don't have much shade to offer so it's best to take a parasol. Without naming them all, here are the main ones : The Anse des Flamands is classed as one of the most beautiful beaches on the island. Opening onto a superb bay, you must be careful as the sea can be strong sometimes. The Anse de Grande Saline is popular with nudists despite it being forbidden. The beach of St jean bay is one of the most popular beaches especially amongst families because of the tranquillity of its waters. With its superb arch of white sand, it is alongside the airport runway so you can admire the planes taking off. The Anse du Gouverneur is a superb beach which is very quiet, bordered with a latanier. The Anse du grand cul de sac offers an exceptional site where coral barrier outlines a sumptuous lagoon where swimming is protected. The beach is bordered with bungalows and luxury hotels without damaging the beauty of it. The Anse de Grand Galet is also called Shell Beach because it is covered in seashells. This is an ideal place to admire the sunset in the sea on the horizon.

Saint Barth is a priviged area for doing the numerous water sports available to enthusiasts. Diving is very popular. On the surface or under water, the sight of the sea bed around the island is exceptional. Saint Barth is a spot of unusual richness which urged the minister of the environment to transform a part of the coast into a natural sea reserve to ensure its protection.

Town hall:
Tel: +590(0)590 29 80 40

Tourist board of Saint Barts:
Tel : +590(0)590 27 87 27
Fax: +590(0)590 27 74 47