Things to do in St. Bart's
This tony tropical island has long been referred to as the St.-Tropez of the Caribbean, but there are plenty of things to do on St. Bart’s, for jet-setters and value-seekers. From retail pilgrimages to Calypso, the island’s most famous boutique, and chic mobile spas to scenic sunset drinks and snorkeling at secluded Anse du Gouverneur beach, activities and attractions abound.
Not surprisingly, travelers look to the rich and famous for what to do on St. Bart’s. Travel + Leisure is on the trail of the well-heeled, guiding you to the best activities and attractions in and around Gustavia, St. Jean, and Corossol—designer “beach chic” shops, markets for gourmet French picnic fixings, and buzzy boîtes where you can rub elbows with champagne in hand. Our St. Bart’s travel guide also has information on more under-the-radar spots—a museum dedicated to shells, a hidden beach accessible only by boat, and more.
Whether you’re ogling the yachts and the One Percent on vacation or in search of a luxurious getaway of your own, look no further for things to do on St. Bart’s, a veritable Paris by the Sea.
With its soft sand and placid water, Flamands gets our vote. Reserve a beachside table at Le Case de l'Isle (590-590/276-181), at tony Hôtel St.-Barth Isle de France.
In the sleek, cementfloored space, you'll find tunics and wrap dresses in crinkled silk that are perfect for travel.
This secluded spot appeals to adventurous types, since you can only get here by boat or on foot. Hint: rather than starting from the hilltop in Columbier (a 20-minute hike), it's easier to take the path that begins just past Flamands Beach, near the Auberge de la Petite Anse.
The shop carries bold pink tops and white Turkish towels edged with multicolored pom-poms.
The island's best-known shop was opened in 1992 by Christiane Celle—but she sold the brand name here and opened another shop. These days, Calypso carries big lines like Missoni and YSL.
The mobile spa uses ingredients sourced from the area, such as roucou oil, a natural sun protectant.
Check out the shells from around the world, collected by a wizened old man who claims he hasn’t found anything on St. Bart’s since tourism took off in the 1970’s.
One of the latest boîtes-with-a-view in Gustavia, the Strand is also great for cocktails in its champagne lounge draped with white curtains, where banquettes line the walls and a DJ spins sultry beats.
Pick up snorkeling gear here and head to secluded Gouverneur Beach, where you’ll spot angelfish, sergeant majors, sea turtles, and the occasional nurse shark.
Affiliated with Sotheby's, this boutique agency's 150 properties are located solely on St. Bart's and, unlike most of its competitors, it has an on-island office.
Check out the scene at this legendary beach club, where the champagne flows freely during Sunday's Tahiti Party. Skip the overpriced (and underwhelming) food and stick with drinks. Tip: reservations are vital.
It's hard to believe Nikki Beach is only steps away from such an elegant waterfront bar, built atop the rock that gives the oldest hotel on the island its name.
On a high peak, this informal restaurant has a small bar and an island panorama—perfect to watch the sunset while you sip Ti punch and Carib beer.
Laguiole knives with the outline of St. Bart's imprinted on the handle, shell-encrusted mirrors, and local spices fill the shelves in this tiny little housewares shop. But the secret weapon is the flavored rums, which the owners make in vanilla, passion fruit, ginger, chocolate, and more.
For a beach picnic, stock up on French delicacies: jambon cru; pork rillettes; Camembert.