A Comprehensive Guide to the
Top Attractive Sights in
Saint Barthelemy

Introduction

Saint Barthelemy is the smallest West Indian island in France. One of the most precious commodities in Saint Barthelemy is the opportunity to live life at the pace of nature. When you visit this beautiful island you will swim with turtles, dive from the rocks, sail the turquoise waves and anchor the yacht etc.

West Indian cuisine is popular at Saint Barthelemy, with steamed vegetables and fresh fish. The Creole dishes tend to be more aromatic. Gastronomic activities are hosted throughout the year, including dishes such as fresh grilled lobster, spring roll of shrimp and bacon, coconut-milk with Chinese noodle salad, and grilled beef fillet etc.

Read on to find more about Saint Barthelemy, its top attractive sights, things to do and how to go about preparing for your holiday at Saint Barthelemy. Before then:

Where is Saint Barthelemy Located ?

Saint Barthelemy is situated in the West Indies of France, and is part of the Lesser Antilles in the Leeward Islands. Saint Barthelemy is located at the North-East corner of the Caribbean Sea, 17 ° 55 north and 62 ° 50 west.

It’s only 15 kilometres southeast of Saint Martin and it’s tough to get there which makes it a special place. If you don’t want to make the extra push at Saint Barthelemy, you’re never going to know what you’re missing.

10 Fun and Interesting Facts about St. Barthelemy

  1. Saint Barthelemy flag is made up of Lily flower which is a France and Maltese cross reminder signifying the Order of Malta possession.
  2. Saint Barthelemy biodiversity and its island ecology have 183 distinct fish species, 60 types of sea sponges and 54 coral groups.
  3.  The Arawaks (original inhabitants of the island) first called Saint Barthelemy “Ouanalao” in 1493.
  4. Christopher Columbus discovered and named Saint Barthelemy in 1493 on behalf of Bartolomeo his brother.
  5. The official language in Saint Barthelemy is French but English is widely spoken.
  6. In Saint Barthelemy there is plenty of vegetation despite limited rain.
  7. Tourism took place in Saint Barthelemy following the landing of Dutch aviator Rémy de Haenen on the island. He eventually was the first hotelier, and the mayor of the island.
  8. On average Saint Barthelemy receives over 300 sunny days annually.
  9. Saint Barthelemy Island is among the best beach resorts in the Caribbean.
  10. Even in the absence of any rivers Saint Barthelemy Island compelled it’s people to conform to its rigors so as to survive safely.

What are the Top Attractive Sights in Saint Barthelemy ?

1. Gustavia

Gustavia-saint-bartheleme

Gustavia is the red-roofed capital of Saint Barthelemy and is a small harbour town and the main shopping destination in Saint Barthelemy. The avenues are filled with chic boutiques, duty-free stores and art galleries, luring tourists from the numerous cruise ships that call here, and gourmet restaurants offering mouth-watering French-inspired cuisine.

Visit the remains of Fort Gustave which is the key for spectacular views during the Swedish period. You can also head to the top of the 29-meter hill for Shell Beach views in the middle of Fort Karl’s few remaining stone walls.

2. Corossol

The two-street fishing village of Corossol is often called the “straw village” along the western shores of the island, owing to the women of existing island families who make straw hats and crafts from palm fronds.

One of the major attractions at Corossol is the “Inter Oceans Museum” composed of over 9,000 shells. Corossol Beach’s tranquil waters mark a port of call for local fishermen.

3. Lorient

Lorient

Lorient’s charming village is the site of the first French settlement at Saint Barthelemy.  Shopping and surfing are the main things to do while in Lorient.

 Eglise de Lorient also known as the Lorient Church is made of local stone cut to scale by locals. Lorient Beach’s far end has crashing waves which are popular surfing waters. The rest of this long beach is generally peaceful, quiet and the best place to swim.

4. Saline Beach (Anse de Grande Saline)

Saline Beach which is otherwise known as Grand Saline is one of the most spectacular stretches of sand and sea in Saint Barthelemy. It is also one of the Caribbean’s finest beaches. You walk up and pass a hill from the parking area to reach this protected cove

You should bring an umbrella if you want shade because the sweep of blond sand is important for sunbathing. Body surfers love surfing the waves here, while the wind is up.

5. Grand Cul de Sac Beach

Grand Cul de Sac Beach

Grand Cul de Sac’s shallow harbour and calm waters are perfect for water sports. Kitesurfers meet here and the nearby kitesurfing school gives a few tips for those who need lessons. In the lagoon even windsurfing and kayaking are common. Upon skimming the sea, you can relax at the small beach fringing one of the restaurants.

6. Flamands Beach (Anse des Flamands)

Flamands Beach is the largest beach at Saint Barthelemy. Saint Fishermen sometimes cast their nets here, and when the sea is calm, it’s a great beach to swim. If conditions are right, surfing can be good too. Flamands is one of the few shaded beaches on Saint Barthelemy and you don’t have to drag an umbrella down here.

7. Gouverneur Beach (Anse du Gouverneur)

Gouverneur Beach

Gouverneur Beach is a secluded stretch of soft white sand with green hills behind it. This gorgeous beach is a popular island that also seems untouched and quiet, and the water is typically calm and perfect for swimming.

Unlike other beaches, the parking lot at Gouverneur Beach is near the sand. People that want shade do carry an umbrella to the beach.

8. Saint Jean

The tiny village of Saint Jean, situated in the centre of the island, is the most popular tourist place outside of Gustavia, with beautiful restaurants, shopping plazas and boutiques. In the hillsides luxurious villas gaze out from the lush trees, and nearby is the only airport on the island.

A beautiful crescent of white sand, Saint Jean’s Bay Beach features excellent surfing and a thriving coral reef. It’s a perfect location for parents with children, visited by locals and day-trippers from nearby Saint Maarten.

9. Saline Bay (Anse de Grande)

Saline Bay

Saline Bay is among Saint Barthelemy’s most stunning places. Calm and shallow water provides several opportunities for snorkelers, no matter the level of experience to reach under the waves and witness one of Saint Barthelemy’s most attractive facets of life.

10. Nature Reserve of Saint Barthelemy

Saint Barthelemy Nature Reserve is a coastal reserve separated into five different areas around the island in an effort to protect the delicate aquatic habitats. Some of the best dive spots on the island fall within the limits of the reserve, marked by white buoys.

11. The Toiny Coast

The Toiny Coast

Take a stroll along the wild side of Saint Barthelemy with a visit to the coastal region of Toiny which includes the beaches of L’Anse de Toint and Grand Fond.

Local waters are better for surfing than swimming, but it’s fun to explore the rugged shoreline and cliffs, particularly on the walking trails around the Le Toiny hotel, which circle around an ancient coconut plantation. You can walk to a series of beautiful natural pools from Grand Fond too.

12. Fort Gustave

Fort Gustave’s remains from the 18th century include a sentry box, stone rampart ruins and elements of the ancient brick-floored bakery, powder house and cannons. Recognisable by the white and lighthouse built in 1961 on the site; the fort is one of the best viewpoints of the harbour.

13. Colombier Beach (Anse de Colombier)

Colombier Beach

The unspoiled Colombier Beach is accessible only through boat or a short walk down a goat road. Often named “Rockefeller’s Beach” because the nearby land has been purchased by David Rockefeller for many years, it is a trendy picnic spot for locals.

You cannot find any amenities here so if you are undertaking the walk, take your own food and drinks and wear comfortable shoes. Beach lovers arriving by boat will find free moorings here.

What are the Top Festivals and Cultural Attractions in Saint Barthelemy ?

There’s a packaged calendar of Saint Barthelemy festivals and events. Some of the festivals held annually in Saint Barthelemy are:

  • Saint Barthelemy Music Festival (January)
  • A French Carnival (February / March)
  • Saint Barth Film Festival, (April)
  • Armistice Day (8 May)
  • Abolition of Slavery Day (27 May and 9 October)
  • North Parishes Festival (July)
  • Bastille Day  (14 July)
  • Victor Schoelcher Day (21 July)
  • Assumption Day  (15 August)
  • Feast day of Saint Barthelemy (24 August),
  • Festival of Gustavia (August)
  • Shopping Festival (August)
  • All Saints Day (1 November)
  • Remembrance/Armistice Day
  • Christmas Day (25 December)
  • New Year’s Eve (31 December).

From colonial architecture to ocean sailing, fine French cuisine and stunning national parks, Saint Barthelemy has a variety of cultural attractions. Cultural activities of Saint Barthelemy range from easy sand and sun adventures to more immersive encounters-can keep you occupied on the island all your days.

Take a look at some of the festival and cultural attraction in Saint Barthelemy :

1. Brulé Vaval

You should visit Saint Barthelemy during the Brulé Vaval, a raucous celebration that brings most of the island down to Shell Beach and set fire to the night of the Carnival of Saint Barthelemy.

2. Saint Barthelemy Carnival

Every year the Saint Barthelemy Carnival festivities kick off with the Sunday Parade in Gustavia in mid-January, and run until 20 February. That’s more than a merry-making month, and the fun isn’t ending there. The activities feature parades for youth, a Mardi Gras Fat Tuesday Carnival, float construction and more.

3. Gustavia Bucket Regatta

One of the biggest ocean racing activities in the Caribbean is the annual Bucket Regatta on Saint Barthelemy, which normally transforms quaint remote Gustavia into one big festival venue. And if you’re not running on the lake, you can still enjoy the dry land celebrations that last for the weekend.

4. Transat AG2R Racers

Between April 21 and May 13 the amazing Transat AG2R arrived in Saint Barthelemy, taking some of the world’s most talented ocean racers to the island.

The case triggers a lot of excitement on race-mad Saint Barthelemy, with residents and tourists heading out to catch a view of the Figaro boats heading in from the sea. Take a shell of conch or foghorn and welcome dry land to the vessels.

5. Gustavia Church

Throughout Saint Barthelemy you will find colonial memories, which include a few preserved and entirely renovated churches, including this magnificent church in Gustavia.

What are the interesting things to do in Saint Barthelemy ?

There are plenty of activities to do while in Saint Barthelemy. The major include:

1. Climb Morne de Vitet

If you want to go for a walk in Saint Barthelemy during your visit, you have to ascend to the peak of Morne de Vitet, whose maximum point is 286 metres. Charming traditional Barthélemois huts are scattered along the slopes.

2. Aquatic dance of the turtles

Fourchue's forked island is a dive spot that is very far from Gustavia. It dives to a maximum depth of 15metres, full of uncrowned but thrilling wildness. Barracudas, dance rays, and many of the Caribbean turtles etc. are found here.

3. Surf the waves of Lorient beach

The beach of Lorient, named les petits bassins, helps tourists to swim in comfort due to a safe coral reef. Outside the fence, the offshore waves give surfers a series of more stunning and difficult rolls.

4. Windsurf at Saint-Jean

The winds are for amateur windsurfers in Saint-Jean to get their feet wet. Clubs are selling their equipment and know-how to train beginners or develop the style of windsurfer experience.

5. Take a road trip from Saint-Jean to Lorient

A twisting coastal path provides spectacular views between Saint-Jean and Lorient, a small town settled along a tranquil beach with multicoloured houses topped with red roofs.

6. Revel in fine dining at November’s Gourmet Festival

The Saint Barth Gourmet Festival has been a fascinating event on the world's culinary map since its first edition in Autumn 2013. The Gourmet Festival allows the participants to explore the authenticity and conviviality of Saint Barthelemy through the gastronomic prism.

7. Dive in search of coral reefs around Pain de Sucre

You don't have to be a specialist in deep-sea diving around Sugarloaf, an island off Gustavia. Yet it also requires the guidance of a qualified instructor. The coral massifs and the many schools of technicolour create a majestic and memorable spectacle.

8. Hit the chic boutiques

Saint Barthelemy is a heaven of trendy and glamorous "window shopping". Particularly in Gustavia, where the port area is "duty-free," you will find fantastic best prices. However, the boutiques sell their collections at the end of May and early June.

9. Dive at Coco islet

The Îlet Coco is a must for experienced divers in Saint Barthelemy. Riddled with caves, drop-offs and an abundance of marine life, this popular location in the south of the island has gained its fame. Come and see dolphins, tortoises, fish and the fortunate divers can also see humpback whales.

10. Create great memories by sailing the coast on a catamaran

Rent a catamaran with or without crew for a trip at sea, from half a day up to a week. Tour the island, take a dive in one of its paradisiacal bays or just enjoy a tropical breeze and a cool tie punch taste.

Best Tips on Holidaying in Saint Barthelemy

1. Book a flight

There are no direct flights to Saint Barthelemy except you are chartering a personal plane. Buy your ticket through St. Barth Commuter or Winair beforehand. These are the only Saint Barthelemy commercial airlines operating commuter flights.

To reserve your seat, buy your tickets on either Great Bay Express or the Voyager in advance.

2. Book the best accommodation

3. Locate the best restaurant

Locating the best restaurants at Saint Barthelemy is a key to enjoying your adventure. The following are the best restaurants in Saint Barthelemy:

  • Orega
  • La Petite Colombe
  • Le Tamarin
  • L’ Esprit
  • Black Ginger
  • Santa Fe
  • Creperie St Barth
  • Bonito St Barth
  • La Langouste
  • Sand Bar etc.

Click here to see more accommodations at Saint Barthelemy

4. Morning activities

At Saline Beach, you'll find topless women frolicking between your toes in the transparent azure water and patches of smooth, white sand that tastes like powdered sugar. There are no shops, no stores, no bars, and no restaurants here. Just make sure to pack your own food and drinks.

Another local destination is Colombier, a remote refuge that can only be accessed by boat or a rugged hike of about 30 minutes. Consider leaving early in the morning to escape the heat of the day.

5. Day activities

In the afternoon, Saint Barthelemy is shockingly relaxed so don't even worry about taking your shoes down before dusk. The posh beach club is a table-dancing day party once a week, complete with drink service, model-esque waiters and enormous sushi vessels.

6. Night activities

Saint Barthelemy continues living up to its glamorous image as the sun goes down. Bonito Saint Barth, a Latin-French restaurant that has a South Beach that meets the feel of Saint Barthelemy with no lack of stunning customers, is always the swankiest place to dine.

Travelling in with family or friends? Head to the charming Jean-Georges on Eden Island, and get ready to fall in love again. Far over Saint Jean Cove, the restaurant is situated with views to die for.

7. After-hours activities

When you're going to Saint Barthelemy and don't meet Le Ti St-Barth, then you're mistaken. The gritty, kitschy nightclub is a first-timers rite of passage. Waiters whisk you into a safe back room, dress you up like you head to Burning Man, and carry you out into the flooded dance floor with strobe light. Standard attire includes: matador capes, hot pink mullets, and feather boas.

Conclusion

Saint Barthelemy is an island’s completely laid-back, secret treasure, ideal for getting away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. It has beautiful beaches, almost ideal weather and a constant yacht and sailboat parade to thrill your eyes as you soak up the water. Everything you’re searching for, you’ll find it in Saint Barthelemy on your beach holiday.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The best time to visit Saint Barthelemy is November to May. The sun is especially scorching from December through April.

The island does not have any public transportation. Most travellers pick up a rented vehicle. The island has 20 agents including Hertz and Avis. There are also 38 Taxi drivers authorised.

Euro is Saint Barthelemy official currency but the dollars are also accepted.