A Treasure in the Caribbean Sun
The Caribbean island of Saint-Barthelemy (its proper name) but often referred to as St. Barths or St. Barts, lies about 1,250 miles (2,000 km) north of the Equator in the Leeward Island chain. Part of the French départment of Guadeloupe, it is a mere 11 miles (18 km) long and only few miles wide.
St. Barts Island History
The island of St. Barts was claimed by the French in 1648, the island passed into Swedish hands in 1784, and its largest city still bears the very Swedish name of Gustavia. France bought the island back from Sweden (what were those Swedes thinking??) in 1877. —Thus Saint Barts remains distinctly French in manner and custom. French is the native language, though many modern natives speak very good English as well. You don’t need to speak or understand French at all to have an enjoyable visit.
Traveling to and around St. Barts
St. Barts requires visitors to bring some form of government-issued identification (birth certificate, voter registration, or such) for visits of up to three weeks. Longer stays require a passport. Arrival at the airport is an unforgettable experience, as pilots must drop through surrounding mountains on to a runway of only 2,048 ft. (625 m). Ferry services to nearby islands come and go from the harbor at Gustavia, and world-cruising yachts anchor in the harbor as well.
To get around this Caribbean island, you will want to rent a car. Several agencies operate at the airport, and there are others in Gustavia. Island roads are narrow and twisting, with a speed limit of only 45 mph (70 kph), but after all, what’s your hurry?
it’s a small island.
St. Barts Lifestyle
The Caribbean lifestyle, as one might expect in a tropical paradise, is very informal — jacket and tie are never required. Year-round temperatures are remarkably constant, with daytime highs ordinarily between 80 and 85F (28 – 80 C) and nighttime lows around 65F (18C). There are frequent rain showers, and most homes on the island, including these villas, depend on these showers to fill the cisterns which store their only supply of water — so we always ask that guests be conservative in their usage.
Local electrical current is 220-volt 60 hertz, so be sure to bring an adapter for your 120-volt American electronics. The island is in the Atlantic time zone, which is the same as America’s Eastern Daylight Time (it’s one hour ahead of Eastern Standard, and four hours behind GMT).
St. Barts Beaches – Caribbean Sun and Sand
St. Barts is surrounded by wonderful beaches in coves with dazzling white sands and emerald waters. By law beaches are all open to the public, so stop and feel the sand between your toes at any of them — and don’t forget to take your snorkelling gear along for a look under the surface of that clear tropical sea. Like most tropical islands in the West Indies, all of the beaches are clothing optional. Lorient is the closest beach, only a few minutes from each of the villas.