Archive for March, 2013

St. Barts, a Secluded Caribbean Vacation Destination

Friday, March 1st, 2013

St. Barts travel reservations and hotel accommodations

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St. Barts is a tiny island in the Caribbean just east of the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. It is only eight square miles in size and has been predominantly known as a playground for the rich and famous.   St. Barts is rated one of the top ten beach destinations in the world by the Travel Channel.  Its closest neighbor island is St. Martin (St. Maarten), who offers a 45-minute high speed ferry daily to St. Barts.  Formally called St. Barthelemy, St. Barts is part of the French West Indies. Historically visited by luxury yachts, more vacationers are visiting St. Barts these days.  You don’t need to be rich and famous or win an Oscar in order to visit this tiny island.

Gustavia and St. Jean are the main towns on the island.  These towns are surrounded by many beautiful beaches which provide a perfect and serene environment for relaxation since they aren’t crowded nor built up by resorts.  The uncrowded beaches here are the main attraction of this island.  The most popular beaches to visit are Gouverneur Beach, Columbier Beach, St. Jean Beach, Grande Saline Beach, and Shell Beach.  Because this is a French island, the beaches here are clothing optional (nude beaches).

St. Barts is popular with diving enthusiasts.  You’ll find several diving centers on the island to take you to the best local diving and snorkeling spots.  Also available are guided boating and submarine tours, as well as boat rentals, jet skis, and many other water sports.  You can partake in kayaking, deep sea fishing, surfing and windsurfing, as well as tennis, and beach volleyball. 

On the island, there are several superb five-star dining restaurants managed by internationally recognized chefs.  St. Barth has a long tradition of French chefs relocating to the island for the winter months.  Aside from the fabulous French cuisine, there are several good traditional Creole restaurants on the island serving very authentic Caribbean Creole.  You’ll find plenty of good hilltop, harbor-side and beachfront restaurants to choose from.  There are a few good bars and clubs on the island for those needing a little night life. You’ll also find a few small specialty museums on the island and shopping establishments. The level of shopping goods on this island is world-class and you might be tempted to spend a lot of cash on shopping.  To help you do this there are plenty of banks in town that are open every day.  The currency used in St. Barts is the Euro even though the US dollar is also accepted in most places.

Getting to St. Barts is not overly difficult.  For those who travel from the United States, there are always direct flights to Saint Maarten, from Charlotte, New York, Puerto Rico and Miami. From Saint Maarten you can take a ferry or a commuter plane to St. Barts.  The flights to St. Barts land at the Gustaf Airport in St. Jean. The airport is small, hence large planes can’t land there.  The airport at St. Barts only serves small aircraft and charter flights. The majority of the visiting aircraft come from neighbor islands who have larger airports, and they generally carry a maximum of around twenty passengers. There are some small airlines that carry travelers to St. Barts like Air Antill, WinAir Airlines, Air Caraibes, St. Barth Commuter and Trade Winds Aviation.  Once on the island it’s easy to get around by taxi since the island is small.

St. Barts has some of the best small resort hotels in the Caribbean.  Large-scale development is limited because of the size of the island, and the local government seriously controls the scale and style of building permits for hotels.  These intimate resorts are world class with quality services, entertainment, fine dining, bars and beach front swimming pools. Some of these resort hotels include the 5-Star Carl Gustaf Hotel & Spa, an intimate luxury hotel perched high atop the Gustavia Harbor surrounded by tropical vegetation and offering spectacular views.   The hotel features luxury suites, each suite opening to a private terrace with its own plunge pool.  The Hotel includes a premier French restaurant, cocktail lounge, and a full service spa.  Other top recommended hotels include: Hotel Le Toiny, Eden Rock, the Guanahani Hotel, Le Sereno, Le Manapany Cottages & Spa, and the small and intimate Tom Beach Hotel in the town of St. Jean. Travel offers easy online travel booking to St. Barts, as well as travel consultants to assist you with your plans.