Gustavia, St. Barths church and town skyline.


Visiting nearby islands is a great way to extend your vacation in St. Maarten/St. Martin.



By Debby Lind-Steyn and Jeffrey Laign



St. Barthélemy


This petite French isle just southeast of St. Maarten/St. Martin seamlessly blends local charm with sleek sophistication. Here you’ll find duty-free shopping, designer boutiques, luxury hotels, and hillsides dotted with stunning villas. No wonder Saint Barthélemy — St. Barths, as it is affectionately called — is known the world over as a playground for the rich and famous.


St. Barths is a short flight or ferry ride from St. Maarten/St. Martin. It takes just 55 minutes to reach St. Barths aboard the Edge. The high-speed ferry departs from Aqua Mania Adventures at Simpson Bay Resort. Great Bay Express also offers a high-speed ferry to St. Barths from Bobby’s Marina in Philipsburg. You can book your trip online or, if you prefer, board a plane from Princess Juliana International Airport.


The main harbor town of Gustavia is known for its French elegance and Caribbean gingerbread houses. Here you can rent a car or hire a taxi to take you on an island tour. Make your way through narrow streets while perusing name-brand boutiques and eclectic shops as you savor the smell of baguettes wafting from distinctly French bakeries.


St. Jean Beach and Shell Beach are popular spots for dining and relaxing, and you must stop at Nikki Beach, where you can feast on some of the island’s most delectable bites while rubbing shoulders with celebrities and enjoying that sweet Caribbean charm that makes this region so appealing.


Depending on what time of year you visit, you may have a chance to see the island in bloom. Frangipani and flamboyant trees color the hillsides and can be found in gardens and along the roads. The brilliant colors of the flowers stand out against the muted greens of the low brush that lines the hills and valleys.


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