St. Bart's Travel Guide
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.
You need to look good at all times on St. Bart's—particularly on the beach. So come here for mix-and-match bathing suits in a rainbow of colors and patterns.
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.
Rarely crowded, Gouverneur is located over a mountain pass and down a steep hill on the island's south end. It's no-frills, so pack snacks.
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.
Down the coast from St.-Jean, this quiet crescent is popular with locals and surfers.
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.
A misnomer, Shell Beach has, sadly, few shells. The sand itself (gray, rough) isn't top-quality, but the placid cove is ideal for kids. For a lunch of lemongrass shrimp, book a table on the second floor of the Asian-influenced Do Brazil (590-590/290-666).
Even if you're not in the market for a 150-year-old wooden Buddha from Mandalay or a $10,880 vintage Vespa, this shop, in an antique former residence, is worth stopping by. It also stocks embroidered Indian bedcovers and bright silk pillows.
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.
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.
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.
This hole-in-the-wall jewelry shop carries sea-themed baubles and antique pieces from around the globe.
A short hike over a rocky path opens onto a wide, white-sand stretch. Depending on the winds, the water can be rough. For lunch, head to the open-air restaurant Le Grain de Sel (Grand Saline Beach; 590-590/524-605; lunch for two $80), a five-minute drive away.
In the sleek, cementfloored space, you'll find tunics and wrap dresses in crinkled silk that are perfect for travel.
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.