There is a reason they call St. Barts the Cote d’Azur in miniature. Besides being stunningly beautiful, this French speaking island has a chic French feel with a laid-back Caribbean vibe, which is one of the many reasons why I fell in love with it.
My first view of the paradisiacal island known as St. Barts was 12 years ago from a 32-foot catamaran. I was sailing in the French West Indies with a group of friends, captained by my boyfriend du jour. As we pulled into port, the red roofed buildings of Gustavia came into view and I was at once transported to the charming towns of the French Riviera. The description in the guide books rang true, if the Caribbean and France had a baby, St. Barts was the baby.
Our visit was all too brief. We had other islands to explore. Eight years later, I returned with the captain of our vessel, now my new husband, for our honeymoon. We stayed in an Airbnb which teetered on a lush green hillside, overlooking the 8 square miles of volcanic rock where the Caribbean meets the Atlantic. Riding on the back of a moped, we navigated the twisty turny roads, through plush tropical valleys and coconut palm-fringed bays. A favorite destination among jet-setters, St Barts is ungodly expensive, but we were happy as clams dining on baguettes and sipping bubbly on exquisite white-sand beaches.
Playground For The People
Don’t let the hubbub on the internet deter you from visiting this island paradise. St. Barts is much more than just a playground for the privileged. Sure, there are Mega yachts anchored in its port, posh designer boutiques and expensive French eateries (celebrity sightings too), however, the stunning beauty of St. Barts transcends all the hype. We love the way this little island embraces relaxation and tranquility. With the Caribbean’s trademark turquoise waters and unspoiled white-sand beaches, St. Barts is not to be missed. Visit during low season, (roughly April 15 to Dec. 15) when the island is less crowded and prices are cheaper.
8 Beautiful Beaches to visit
The beaches are by far St Barts most luxurious asset. From cozy community enclaves to desolate stretches of sugar sand, this little island is blessed with some of the most famous and beautiful beaches in the world.
By law, all beaches in St. Barts are public, so don’t be alarmed if you come across scary signs claiming you are on private property. You are permitted to visit any beach on the island, including ones that require you to pass through privately owned resorts.
We recommend that you rent a car so you can freely explore all of the various beaches around the island. Be sure to bring sunscreen and pack a bottle of bubbly to boot! Here are our top 8 favorite beaches to visit.
St. Jean Beach
Among one of the busiest beaches on the island, St. Jeans is one not to be missed. The glamorous Eden Rock divides the beach in half, also making it popular among jet-setters and celebrities (great people watching). Named the Caribbean’s Top 13 “dream beaches” by Steven Birnbaum, St Jeans is perfect for swimming and it boasts several toes-in-the-sand bars and bistros.
Located on the northwestern part of the island, Flamands Beach is long, wide and beautiful. The impressive rolling waves during the winter months make Flamands a popular surfing spot. In the off-season, the tranquil surf and empty shores make it perfect for a romantic picnic.
Known as “Rockefeller’s Beach” (David Rockefeller once owned property nearby) Colombier Beach is one of the best beaches on the island to watch the sunset. If you’re looking for a remote hideaway, you’ve come to the right place. It’s a 30-minute hike downhill from the main road to get to the beach. The reward? Except for catamarans lulling in its bay, you have the place largely to yourself.
Located on the North side of the island, Lorient Beach is reef protected, making it perfect for snorkeling, and is a favored haunt for surfers and visitors wanting to learn. You can rent gear and even hire a guide at the public access point.
My absolute favorite beach on the island is Gouverneur’s Beach. The rocky hillsides on both ends makes it feel secluded and private. Boasting the most beautiful turquoise waters, the glittering white sand and paper-like butterflies are a beach lover’s dream.
Long and secluded, Saline Beach is named for the salt ponds nearby. Undisturbed by any signs of civilization, Saline Beach is remote and serene, giving it an end-of-the-earth feel. It’s also is a popular beach among locals for grain de sel nude sunbathing.
Grand Cul-De-Sac Beach
Shallow and well protected this beautiful bay is wind-worthy for kite surfers. Despite the breeze, the water is warm and relatively calm. There are a number of café’s surrounding the beach, making it a popular lunch stop for families.
Perfect for getting a taste of the local flavor, Shell Beach is only a few streets away from the town of Gustavia. Locals gather here to catch the sunset and enjoy a glass of champagne. You can dine at the popular Shellona restaurant but be sure to make reservations in here in advance.
Have you visited St. Barts? Tell us about your favorite beach below.
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Written by guest blogger Kelly Kerwick