There are moments in life when you need to unplug, forget about the daily grind, and get away. Everyone dreams of exotic locales or far-off lands where you can find sanctuary. Yet for those who have been to Saint Barthelemy—or Saint Barts, to the regulars—they find it hard to leave. We’re not talking about a deserted island or an unspoiled paradise, but rather a place in the northeastern Caribbean whose nine square miles offer everything you could ever want.
You can arrive here by boat, leaving from one of the larger nearby islands like Saint Martin, or aboard a small airplane operated by one of the local commuter airlines. Arriving by air is an experience you won’t forget anytime soon. Flying over the cobalt blue waters, you’ll spot the outline of the hills. Then, without warning, you suddenly drop onto the runway. It’s a true shot of adrenaline. Having just arrived, you already sense that this is no ordinary vacation.
You bump into people who are elegant yet at the same time down-to-earth. The way of life here makes it a favorite destination for celebrities from around the world. If you can’t resist the call of the jet set, there are trendy hangouts and luxury shopping all within easy reach. If you’re looking for peace and quiet, just find the right beach. From Shell Beach, also known as “seashell beach,” the harbor in Gustavia is close by, and you can climb the rocks and dive into the calm waters at Gouverneur Beach. Being on the shore at sunrise is a mystical experience. Saline is a long strip of golden sand that, when the wind isn’t blowing too hard, offers a memorable spot for swimming.
Many visitors arrange to meet up at Saint Jean, while the wide beach at Flamands is an inviting spot for walks along the seashore. Also well worth your time is nearby Colombier, reachable by boat or by walking along the steep trails.
One of the best times of day to enjoy Saint Barts is at dawn, when the first rays of sun chase away the darkness and make room for the intense colors of the early daylight hours. Whether you’re in a hotel or a private home, don’t miss out on an invigorating morning walk to take in the scenery as the sun comes up. Admire the unique setting in which you find yourself, as this is the moment when you feel like you have the whole island to yourself. From the city of Gustavia, which still slumbers, to the beaches, where the only sound is the undertow, the light, stillness, and serenity that surrounds you is truly unique.