From everything that you might have heard about St. Bart’s (short for Saint-Barthélemy), you’d half expect a red velvet rope to be strung up at the airport. The Caribbean’s most elite, most expensive island lives up to its reputation as an adult sandbox, where the rich and famous air-kiss over glasses of rosé. But it still has charms that make it attractive to regular folk, from its uncrowded white-sand beaches to its distinctly Gallic ﬂair. The tidy capital of Gustavia, with its gingerbread-trimmed cases (cottages) and designer shops, surrounds a yacht-ﬁlled harbor. On the opposite side of the island, near the airport, St.-Jean is a diminutive strip of colorful boutiques and beach bars that has been compared to St.-Tropez.
Gorgeous, white-sand beaches—22, to be exact—are the trump card of St. Bart's, the Caribbean's most elite (read: most expensive) island. It's got a French vibe, gingerbread-style cottages in the pint-size capital of Gustavia, and the kind of sun great vacations are made of.
Things Not to Miss on St. Bart's
This respite of the rich and famous offers all kinds of activities, all at a relaxed pace.
• Sunbathe on one of 22 postcard-perfect beaches, all open to the public
• Shop for designer digs in gingerbread-cute Gustavia
• Watch the sunset in Lurin from one of the hilltop cafes
• Dine at one of the excellent French-inspired restaurants
• Charter a wood sailing yacht for a morning or afternoon excursion
When to Visit St. Bart's
May through June is the best time to visit St. Bart's. The weather is nearly perfect. From December through April, the sun is especially scorching. December is considered peak season and requires bookings six months in advance. Clouds and showers sometimes interrupt the warm weather, especially during the fall. Avoid the rainy season in September, October, and November.
Shopping for high-end designer pieces and one-of-a-kind boho finds at Calypso in Gustavia, the famous boutique’s original location.
Playing with the rich and famous on Baie de St.-John, a beach ringed with the island’s top hotels and clubs.
Watching the sun set in Lurin from Café Santa Fe, perched atop a high peak with a stunning island panorama.