After a slew ofÂ St. Barths Hotel Features (check them out here, here, & here!) I am ready to pack up and head back to the island! So I’ve put together a little island guide for anyone headed that way. Below, you’ll find insider info on getting to St. Barths, getting around the island, what to bring, what to expect and when to go to this island paradise.
Getting There: St. Barths is home to the second shortest runway in the world. There are no direct flights to the island. The best bet is to fly to one of the larger islands nearby (I recommend St. Marteen) and take a small plane or ferry from there to St. Barths. If you’re not the most confident flyer, I would recommend the ferry option. Landing in St. Barths is a rush, to say the least.
- The Great Bay Express:Â Daily ferries from Bobby’s Marina in St. Marteen to St. Barths.
- Master Ski Pilou: Private boat charters.
- Winair & St. Barth Commuter: These are two popular airlines for shuttle flights from St. Marteen to St. Barths. The flight from St. Marteen is a short 15 minute flight and planes hold no more than 15 passengers. Be sure and tell the gate agent at your starting destination that you are connecting with one of these carriers to see if your bags can be transferred for you, then you won’t have to claim and then recheck your bags in St. Marteen
Getting Around: Only 8 square miles wide, with one “main road,” it’s hard to get lost on St. Barths. I highly recommend renting a car.
- Taxis: two words – scarce & expensive. Taxi fares are 50% higher from 8PM to 6AM nightly, Sundays, holidays, & during high season. They are also pretty difficult to get a hold of.
- Car Rental: Once you get to the island, there are car rental options at the port & the airport. You can also request a rental car at your hotel and they will arrange to have one brought to you (they also sometimes negotiate their own rates that are lower than what you might get if you arrange for the car yourself)
What to Bring & What to Expect: There are a few things that I found pretty necessary for travelers to make sure and bring with them when traveling to St. Barths…For everything else, check out our St. Barths Style Posts (here & here).
- Money: The currency on the island is the Euro. Â You will get the best exchange rate by getting cash from an ATM. ATMs are about as scarce as taxis… so try and get cash while you’re at the port, airport or downtown.
- Electricity: There are European outlets. Â So bring converters with you, or check to see if your hotel provides them.
- Bugs: As with any Caribbean island, there are mosquitoes, so pack some insect repellant. My favorite is Off! Smooth & Dry Insect Repellant- itâ€™s not nearly as greasy as the regular kind and smells better too.
- Tipping: Restaurants will have an automatic 15% service charge added to every bill, so in accordance with common French practice, it’s best to leave an additional 5-10% more in cash, even if you’ve paid by credit card. Most taxi drivers don’t expect a tip.
- Timing:Â The majority of shops and restaurants are closed from around 2-4pm daily. A lot of places are closed on Sundays as well, so be sure to plan accordingly. Also dinner is served much later in European countries, as well as on St. Barths. You will have to ask your server for your check when you have finished your meal.
When to Go: St. Barths has a high and low tourist season and they also have a hurricane season.
- High Season: The highest tourist season in St. Barths is over the holidays (November-January). Â Rates are higher during this time than any other time during the year. Â Book far in advance if you want to visit during these months.
- Hurricane Season: Late August through October.
- Spring & Summer is a great time to visit because it isn’t as crowded and the weather isn’t as unpredictable as it can be during hurricane season. What’s more, prices on the island typically drop quite dramatically after March.
Check back tomorrow for tips on beaches in St. Barths and where to eat! Also, don’t forget to enter our fabulous Secrets Resorts & Spas Giveaway!