Secluded St. Barths

With more and more Caribbean islands building large airports to accommodate jets from the United States and abroad and bigger and bigger cruise ship facilities, one island remains unspoiled. That island is St. Barthelemy, affectionately called St. Barths, a French island with Swedish roots located just southeast of St. Martin/Saint Maarten. St. Barths stands out as a bastion of secluded–and relaxed–beaches, fine food, and friendly people.

Getting to St. Barths
The primary reason St. Barths is sure to remain a peaceful island is the island’s topography–there’s just no space for a large airport. And the harbor at Gustavia, the island’s capital city, can only handle yacht-like watercraft.

To arrive at St. Barths via air, you first fly to St. Martin, where you board a 20-seat plane for the 20-minute flight to the island. The landing will give even the most seasoned traveler a start. The final approach takes you over a steep hill and the short runway ends right at the popular St. Jean Beach.

What to Do on St. Barths
You’ll realize the somewhat startling arrival is worth it when you explore the island, best done on a mini-moke, a jeep-like vehicle available to rent all over the island.

St. Barths beaches are uncrowded and lovely, ranging from the “see-and-be-seen” St. Jean Beach to the dramatic Grand Cul-de-Sac Beach on the island’s northwest side. The small island boast 20 beaches in all.

The port city of Gustavia is filled with red-tiled roof buildings, a yacht harbor, and dozens of elegant shops, loaded with French consumer goods and island foodstuffs and crafts. The island also has some of the best food in the Caribbean, with a generous supply of French restaurants that combine the fresh seafood of the region with classic French technique.

Creative Commons License Photo credit: tiarescott