Caribbean Tourism

St. Barthelemy (St. Barts)

Communication

Telephone Services Fax and cablegrams at Landsradio, Van Tonningenweg. Open Mon-Fri, 0730-1930, Sat, Sun 1200-1800, pay phone on the wall for local calls, accepts only US quarters (US$0.25). For operator assisted overseas prepaid and collect calls, telegrams, telex and fax pay at counter when you place your call. Telephone cards of US$10 and US$17 can be...

Getting Around

Car There is no public transport on the island but cars and taxis can be hired. Driving is on the right, but some roads are so narrow you have to pass where you can. To hire a car you need a driving licence from your own country or an international driver’s licence. Watch out for cows, donkeys, goats and sheep roaming around freely. They are a traffic...

Getting There

Air Winair has several daily 20-min flights from St Maarten (US$80 return) connecting with flights from the USA, Europe and other islands. It is possible to get to Statia in a day from many US cities. There are other connecting Winair flights from St Kitts (15 mins) and Saba (10 mins). Golden Rock Airways can arrange charters. All flights are in small...

Festivals

Carnival Another feature common to the two main islands is the pre-Lenten Carnival, said to be more spontaneous and less touristy than most. There are also picturesque Ash Wednesday ceremonies (especially in Martinique), when the population dresses in black and white, and processions take place that combine the seriousness of the first day of the Christian...

History

Both the main islands were sighted by Columbus on his second voyage in 1493, but no colonies were established by the Spanish because the islands were inhabited by the Caribs (who are now virtually extinct); it was not until 1635 that French settlers arrived. Because of their wealth from sugar, the islands became a bone of contention between Britain and...

Food & Drink

Food Restaurants divide fairly neatly into generally very expensive French cuisine or the more moderate créole. There is not much evidence of the plat du jour as there would be in France. Children may find créole food rather spicy. Fast food hamburger bars are not common. Local Cuisines A delightful blend of French, African, and Indian influences is found...

Gustavia

In Gustavia, the capital, there are branches of several well-known French shops (such as Cartier). The small crowd of habitués is mostly young, chic, and French. The food, wine, and aromas are equally Gallic. The harbour or Carénage was renamed Gustavia after the 18th-century Swedish king, Gustavus III, and became a free port, marking the beginning of the...

Shopping

Wide range of goods available from T-shirts to duty-free luxury goods and fine wines. There are five small shopping centres in Saint-Jean: La Savane Les Galeries du Commerce La Villa Créole Centre Commercial de Sain-Jean Centre Commercial de Neptune. Gustavia also has lots of shops. St-Barths is the place to find designer labels such as Gianni Versace,...

History

Although called Ouanalao by the Caribs, the island was renamed after Christopher Columbus’ brother, Saint-Barthélémy when discovered in November 1496. It was first settled by French colonists from Dieppe in 1645. After a brief possession by the Order of the Knights of Malta, and ravaging by the Caribs, it was bought by the Compagnie des Iles and added to...

Government & Economy

St Barts is administered by the sub-prefect in Saint-Martin and is a dependency of Guadeloupe. The island has its own elected mayor, who holds office for seven years. Much the same as Saint-Martin, St Barts relies on its free port status and its anchorages and beaches for the bulk of its revenue. It is popular with both French and North American visitors...

Other Sports

Tennis At several hotels, guests take priority: St-Barth Beach Hotel, Manapany, Flamboyant Restaurant, Isle de France, Guanahani. Also at ASCCO in Colombier, 2 lit courts, T276107, AJOE in Lorient, two courts, one lit court, T276763. Some opportunities for hiking. Horse Riding At Flamands, Laure Nicolas, T278072. Body Building At St Barth Beach Hotel, open...

Food & Drink

Food in St-Barts is expensive. Expect to pay minimum US$25 for dinner per person. There are many excellent restaurants all over the island, mostly French but some Créole and Italian. Very few vegetarian options but nearly all restaurants serve seafood. Several good ones on Saint-Jean beach; the hotel restaurants are generally good. In Gustavia Wall House,...

Festivals

Carnival Carnival is held before Lent, on Mardi Gras and Ash Wed. The Festival of Gustavia The Festival of Gustavia is 20 August, with dragnet fishing contests, dances and parties, while 24 August is the day of the island’s patron saint, St-Barthélémy, when the church bells ring, boats are blessed and there are regattas, fireworks and a public ball. Feast...

Entertainment

Most of the nightlife starts around the bars at Bay Saint Jean In Gustavia at Bar Le Select (closed Sun). In Lurin try Why Not? (open from 2100, disco, billiards, T278867), La Banane Cabaret Show now plays at El Sereno Beach Hotel. There are discos at Le Petit Club in Gustavia, T276633, and Le Feeling, Lurin, T278867. Contact the tourist office for details...

Diving & Marine Life

There is excellent diving all round St Barts, especially out round the offshore rocks, like the Groupers, and islands like Ile Fourche. Sometimes in May the migrating sperm whales pass close by. From April to August female sea turtles come to Colombier, Flamands and Corossol to lay their eggs. Dive Centers There are four dive shops in Gustavia: La Bulle,...