St Barthélemy/St Barth
St Barthélemy, St Barth or St Barts, overseas collectivity of France, is really unique because it is a perfect combination of sweet life, luxury and authenticity ... It’s a real haven of peace where you will find exceptional villas and hotels, luxury shops and gourmet restaurants, alongside white sand beaches and lush vegetation.
St Barth, nestled in the heart of the French west indies (Leeward islands), stands out as the ideal destination for a holiday dedicated to excellence, hedonism, sophistication and serenity.
The island was named by Christopher Columbus after his brother Bartholomeo.
St Barth - General and Useful information :
Location : St Barth is located in the French West Indies (Latitude 17’55 North ; Longitude 62,5 West), about 35 km (21.75 mi) southeast of Sint Maarten/Saint Martin, and north of St. Kitts. Puerto Rico is 240 km (149.1 mi) to its west in the Lesser Antilles.
Some small satellite islets belong to St. Barts including Îlet Chevreau (Îlet Bonhomme), Îlet Frégate, Îlet Toc Vers, Îlet Tortue and Gros Îlets (Îlets Syndare). A much bigger islet, Îlet Fourchue, lies on the north of the island
Capital : Gustavia
Area : 8 square miles / 21 km2.
Population : 7367 (2011)
Language : French but a big part of the population can speak english
The electricity is in 220V and 60Hz. It’s a good idea to bring with you a plug transformer 220V-110V for all your equipments. Equipments in 50HZ, usually from Europe, may not work correctly.
The « Euro » is the currency in St Barth but US Dollars are accepted in many places.
Banks on the island are only french banks but they all offer ATM and change service.
Post office : There is a main post office in Gustavia and another office in St Jean (open from 7.30am to 12am)
Make sure you have a compatible cell phone for St Barts just in case your flight is delayed so that you could reach us.
For any problem encountered in your villa, please contact the manager first. If you don’t manage to reach him or if your problem is not solved don’t hesitate to contact us (+590 690 227020 or +590 34 35 73).
St Barth - History
In the 10th century, the Carib indians who invaded the island called the rocky island « Ouanalao ». They didn’t live there for a long time due to the inhospitable landscape and lack of freshwater.
In 1493, Saint Barthelemy was discovered by Christopher Columbus, who gave him the name of his brother « Bartholomew » in 1496.
In 1648 , the first Europeans who attempted to settle the island were french colonists from the nearby island of St Kitts but they were killed soon by Caribs.
It’s only 25 years later, in 1674, when St Barthelemy was bought by France that the island prospered by setting up a way station for French pirates plundering Spanish galleons.
French mariners from Normandy and Brittany found the place hospitable, and brightened the economy with vast quantities of plunder taken from Spanish galleons.
Gradually the buccaneers became tradesmen, shopkeepers, fishermen, and small farmers.
By the treaty of June 1, 1784 Louis XVI exchanged Saint Barthelemy with the king of Sweden Gustaf III against free port rights for the French ships to the port and storage of Gothenburg in Sweden.
This change of control saw progress and prosperity as the Swedes declared Gustavia a free port, convenient for trading by the Europeans for goods, including contraband material. The Swedish changed the names of the port town from Carenage to Gustavia in recognition of their king.
A century later, by a treaty dated 10 August 1877, Sweden sold Saint Barthelemy back to France after declining trade, disease, devastating hurricanes and fires affected the island. Then it was administered as part of Guadeloupe. Saint Barthelemy’s status of free port remained and was approved by the people of St. Barthelemy consulted by referendum.
At the end of the 1950’s, an american millionaire David Rockefeller is the first to be mesmerized by this brilliant spec of an island in the French Antilles. He bought a property in St Barth and bring with him the jet setters of his era.
The notoriety of the island quickly grew and Saint Barthelemy become an upscale tourist destination.
Since 15 July 2007, Saint-Barthélemy was allowed to secede from Guadeloupe and became an overseas collectivity (COM) of France which meant that the island gained a municipal council rather than having a single islandwide mayor.
A governing territorial council was elected for its administration, which has provided the island with a certain degree of autonomy. The Hotel de Ville, which was the town hall, is now the Hotel de la Collectivité. A senator represents the island in Paris. St. Barts has retained its free port status. As a result of its changed status, Saint Barthélemy left the European Union on January, 1st 2012.
St Barth has enjoyed exceptionnal prosperity over the past few years and become today a unique destination for vacation where serenity and a protected environment shape a discreet and fashionable “art de vivre”.
St Barth - Health facilities
The island has a small hospital in Gustavia with an adjacent diagnostic laboratory, there is also at least one private diagnostic facility. Specialists in cardiology, general medicine, dentists and paediatrics are also available. There are many pharmacies dispensing medicines, in St Jean and Gustavia.
St Barth - Weather
Saint Barthelemy’s weather is quite ideal all year round.
It can be summarized by blue skies with occasional white clouds.
Summer is from May to November which is also the rainy season. But sunshine stays very prominent and brief showers of 10 to 15 minutes are commonplace.
Winter from December to April is the dry season.
Saint Barth has an average temperature of 25°C with day temperatures rising to 32°C.
Swimming in Saint Barthelemy’s clear waters is possible all year round with an average temperature of 29°C, and never less than 26°C.
St Barth - Formalities
All visitors must have a valid passport that does not expire for at least three months from the date of entry to St Barthélemy and a proof of return or on-going ticket.
Some visitors require also a special French visa that must be issued by the French Embassy before your travel, this special visa is required if you’re not from a country on the following list : All Western European countries, US & UK, Guatemala, Honduras , Hungary, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Nicaragua, New Zealand , Panama, Paraguay, Poland, Romania, St. Lucia, El Salvador, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Uruguay, Venezuela, Australia, Bermuda, Bolivia, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada , Czech Republic, Chile, Cyprus, Costa Rica, Croatia, Ecuador, Estonia.
Please double check with the French Consulate regarding your specific situation.
No vaccination is required.
For animals, it is necessary to have an up to date certificate of rabies vaccination and a health certificate issued within 5 days. Animals belonging to French tourists must also be tattooed.
How to get there?
- By air
You can reach St Barth (SBH) from many airports : St Martin (SXM), St Thomas, San Juan and Antigua. St Marteen Juliana Airport is the major and most convenient gateway to St Barts for both USA and Europe.
Many american and european airline companies have regular flights to St Marteen.
From St Marteen, you can take a ten minute shuttle flight to St Barts. There are 2 companies :
- St Barth Commuter
From Guadeloupe, Air Antilles Express offers a 50 minute direct flight to St Barth.
From Antigua, St Barth Commuter and Tradewinds Aviation propose flights to St Barth.
From San Juan, Tradewind Aviation offers their service.
- By sea
St Barth can be reached by sea via Ferries or catamarans from Saint Martin, either from French (Marigot Bay) or Dutch (Oyster Pond) part.
The company « VOYAGER » offers several travels daily.
It takes 1 hour and a half from Marigot and 40 minutes from Oyster Pond.
The company « Great Bay Express » travels as well but from Bobby’s Marina in Dutch St Maarten. Crossing time is approximately 40 minutes.
Private charter companies also organize transfers between Saint Martin and St Barth.
The crossing can take from an hour to an hour and a half depending on the type of boat.
St Barth - Transportation
The island is very hilly so we encourage you to rent a car to discover the island.
Quads and Motorbikes are also available for rent.
According to the villa you rent a 4x4 vehicle may be required.