Those in the know identify St Barths as the chicest of the Caribbean islands; the alluring French ‘je ne sais quoi’ is resplendent. Some of the most stylish people on the planet, including many celebrities, have made St Barths their haven away from home – and so there are plenty of excellent gourmet restaurants, duty-free jewellery stores and designer boutiques on hand. You’ll find the island’s glamorous side, and French influence, particularly evident in the capital, Gustavia, where there are a wealth of exclusive retail opportunities and stylish places to dine, set against the backdrop of luxury yachts moored off shore – not too dissimilar to Saint-Tropez.
Of course, there is a good helping of tropical natural scenery that adds to St Barths’ appeal, with stunning white-sand beaches, lapped by the warm waters of the Caribbean Sea, and picturesque palm trees offering gentle shade for afternoon naps. This volcanic island is also home to iguanas and the intriguing night-blooming cacti that await your discovery, if you wish to venture from your sun lounger in search of authentic island wildlife St Barths boasts a diverse range of animals and birds, the native iguana, turtles, pelicans – the island's mascot – and the little hummingbirds, as well as quaint fishing villages, lagoons, forts and picturesque churches. The more time you spend here, the more it becomes apparent why French mariners would escape here in search of a better life; St Barths has the best of everything, in abundance.
Stunning St Barths is surrounded by fourteen pristine beaches, each as secluded and picturesque as the last, characterized by dazzling white sand. One of the island’s most beautiful, Flamands Beach on the north western coast is long and deep, showcasing impressive rolling surf during the winter months, whilst still remaining safe for swimming. Pure white sands and calm waters that are unrivalled for snorkeling can be found at the iconic St Jean beaches, separated by Eden Rock, whilst Shell beach is just minutes from the capital of Gustavia – perfect for cooling off after a day of shopping in the town. Ideal for families, the remote Gouverner Beach is particularly striking and peaceful.
Surrounded by the enchanting waters of the Caribbean Sea, St Barths offers an array of glorious water-based activities across the island. Discover a colourful marine kingdom as you scuba dive or snorkel beneath the surface, encountering dazzling fish, reefs and even the charming marine turtles that live around the island. For thrills atop the waves, you can surf, windsurf or kitesurf over the crystal-clear waters, helped along by the amiable temperatures and consistent breeze, or sail in style as you tour the perimeter of stunning St Barths on a catamaran or luxury yacht.
Whilst the tranquil tempo and calm turquoise waters of this island lends itself to a more subdued pace of life, the vibrant floral environment and lush landscape are aching for exploration. Hiking is a popular way to explore the island’s natural beauty, across trails in-keeping with the low-energy living which emanates across St Barths. Scenic walking routes of great variety and length can be chosen from, with the most popular route being a picturesque and gentle stroll between Petite Anse and the stunning bay of Colombier in fifteen minutes. For a greater challenge and utterly breath-taking views over the azure sea and neighbouring islands, why not hike to the top of the island, Mount Vitet?
St Barths’ style is perhaps best described as ‘Riviera chic meets Caribbean beach bohemian’. Home to the big name brands like Hermès, Cartier and Chanel, the island’s shopping district also hides many exclusive boutiques and authentic island ateliers. Everything from jewellery to homeware can be found here, and with duty-free perks around every corner, there’s no better place to indulge in a little retail recreation.
The relaxed yet luxurious atmosphere that engulfs St Barths makes it an ideal destination for your next family break, appealing to children of all ages, as well as mum and dad. Make lifelong memories as you embrace the plethora of watersports, shops and unspoiled stretches of beaches available, or show your family’s competitive streak with a game of volleyball, St Barths’ most popular sport. Much of the shallow, crystal-clear water that surrounds the island is perfect for children to swim or practice their snorkeling skills; they might even find nemo!
Throughout the winter season, October to June, teams from St Barths compete among themselves in a beach volleyball championship, and in two hardtop competitions. This garners much interest with the locals and is definitely worth a watch. The Christmas Tournament in December and The St Barthélemy Cup in July/August are the two most famous competitions and sees the, otherwise peaceful, island enjoy a healthy amount of sporting passion. These tournaments have become infamous in the Caribbean, with as many as 500 spectators cheering their teams. For a taste of St Barths at its best, be sure to seek out a seat in the stands during your stay.
For a taste of ‘The Caribbean does Cannes’, look out for the St Barths annual film festival, which typically takes place in April. Attracting some of the world’s best actors and film aficionados, this popular festival is one of the mainstays of the island’s social calendar.
St Barths enjoys a hot, tropical climate tempered by cooling Trade Winds, with temperatures remaining high year-round. Rain showers are few and far between and non-stop sunshine is the order of most days. When rain does occur it tends to be a short downpour. However, tropical storms and hurricanes can occur between July and November.
From December to June, enjoy relaxing on gorgeous beaches; the beach on which Hotel Saint-Barth Isle de France is set on is one of the island’s most stunning, or enjoy the cooling sea breeze on a sailing trip aboard a luxury boat such as that of Eden Rock.
These figures show monthly average maximum temperatures and monthly average rainfall for St Barths.
British Airways and Virgin Atlantic from London Gatwick (to Antigua), with onward connecting flights to St Barths. Private charter flights available on request.
From London Gatwick to Antigua: 8 hours, 40 minutes.
Onward connecting flight from Antigua to St Barths: 45 minutes
Travelling With Children or Without an Adult
Children travelling without both parents should be aware that some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country (for example, South Africa) or, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country. Please contact the relevant Embassy for the county you are travelling to for further information.
Visa and Advance Passenger Information
All passengers must ensure they have a valid, acceptable passport, any required visa and any other documentation for both the final destination and any stop-off points en route. Please make sure that Advance Passenger Information is submitted in advance to travel for all destinations. Failure to hold correct documentation or submitting incorrect details with Advance Passenger Information or Visa applications may result in refusal of carriage or entry into a country. Please check with the relevant Embassy regarding visa requirements well in advance of your travel date. Charges may apply for some visas.
Passengers not travelling on a British Passport are advised to contact their relevant Foreign & Commonwealth office for individual Visa requirements.
For up-to-date resort information, visit www.fco.gov.uk
Health facilities, hygiene and disease risks vary worldwide and you should take health advice about your specific needs from your general practitioner or a specialist clinic as early as possible before travel. Those planning to become pregnant should discuss their travel plans with their healthcare provider to assess their risk of infection with Zika. For information about Zika, other mosquito-borne diseases (such as Dengue fever and Chikungunya), Lyme Disease (caused by tick bites), and to receive advice on mosquito bite avoidance measures, please visit http://travelhealthpro.org.uk/insect-tick-bite-avoidance/
In addition, we highly recommend that you seek specialist advice from your doctor and, where recommended, obtain vaccinations or tablets for protection against, for example: Malaria, Hepatitis A, Polio and Typhoid. In some cases, treatments for Malaria should begin well in advance of travel. Travellers may also be required to show Yellow Fever Certificates on arrival in certain destinations ie, some African countries. Please note that you are strongly advised against scuba-diving for 24 hours before travelling by air. We would also like to draw your attention to the risk of DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) and recommend that you consult with your doctor before travelling.
Visit the FCO website and select your destination country for the very latest travel advice: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.
Additional sources of information include: www.hpa.org.uk, http://nathnac.net,
www.fco.gov.uk, www.hpa.org.uk and www.nathnac.org, your General Practitioner or a specialised clinic.
The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) has updated its travel advice for a number of Caribbean islands to reflect the health advice of The National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNac) in relation to the Zika Virus.
ZIKV is a dengue-like virus that is transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes. The infection often occurs without symptoms but can also cause an illness similar to dengue. The condition is usually mild and short-lived; severe disease is uncommon and insect bite avoidance measures are recommended. http://travelhealthpro.org.uk/insect-tick-bite-avoidance/
Recently, a possible link between exposure to Zika virus (ZIKV) in pregnancy and microcephaly and other congenital malformations has been identified and investigations are ongoing. Whilst investigations continue,
NaTHNaC advises that it is recommended that pregnant women should postpone non-essential travel to areas with active Zika transmission until after pregnancy. This is a change to the previous advice which encouraged pregnant women to consider avoiding travel and seek travel health advice.
In addition it is recommended that women should avoid becoming pregnant while travelling in an area with active Zika virus transmission, and for 28 days following return home. If a woman develops symptoms compatible with Zika virus infection on her return to the UK, it is recommended she avoids becoming pregnant for a further 28 days following recovery. If travel is unavoidable, or you live in areas where ZIKV is reported, you should take scrupulous insect bite avoidance measures, both during daytime and night time hours.
Symptoms of Zika virus infection may include fever, joint pain, rash, conjunctivitis/red eyes, headache, muscle pain and eye pain. No specific anti-viral treatment is available for Zika virus infection.
Elegant Resorts advises that pregnant women already booked to travel to any of the destinations affected, should seek medical advice from their GP and talk to their travel provider. Where it is necessary to change or cancel their holiday arrangements in light of the NaTHNaC advice, they should request that their GP provides them with a medical certificate in order to assist with them with any possible insurance claim.
Those planning to become pregnant should discuss their travel plans with their healthcare provider to assess their risk of infection with ZIKV and receive advice on mosquito bite avoidance measures. http://travelhealthpro.org.uk/insect-tick-bite-avoidance/
Visit the FCO website and select your destination country for the latest travel advice: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice