ST. BARTHELEMY

Duty-free shopping, designer boutiques, luxury hotels and villas dotting hillsides. No wonder Saint Barthélemy — St. Barths, as it is affectionately called — is known the world over as a playground for the rich and famous. This petite French isle just southeast of St. Maarten / St. Martin seamlessly blends local charm with sleek sophistication, making it a gem of a day-trip destination. The main harbor town of Gustavia is known for its French elegance and Caribbean gingerbread houses. It’s the island’s shopping hub, where you can easily 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 offer open-air dining, relaxing lounge chairs and, of course, iconic tropical cocktails. 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. If you’re not in the mood to hobnob with the stars, relax at one of the island’s many restaurants. Almost all boast stunning ocean views and that sweet Caribbean charm that makes this region so appealing. You may have the chance to see the island in bloom, depending on what time of year you visit. 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. In addition, many species of birds are found here. It takes just 45 minutes to reach St. Barths aboard the Edge. The high-speed ferry departs from Aqua Mania Adventures at Simpson Bay. Great Bay Express also offers a high-speed ferry to St. Barths from Bobby’s Marina. You can book your trip online or, if you prefer, board a plane from Princess Juliana International Airport.

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