St Barthelemy (St Barts)

The cary landing strip

is an unforgettable introduction

to a neat little island.

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St. Barths St. Barts Gustavia Harbor copyright M. Timothy O'Keefe - Guide To Caribbean Vacations.com

Postcard-perfect Gustavia Harbor

St. Barts, just 8 square miles, has been a playground of the wealthy and sophisticated for decades. It may be 4,400 miles from Paris but everything about it is decidedly French, friendly French.

With an economy based primarily on tourism, St. Barts (also called St. Barth) is a perfect microcosm of what makes the Caribbean so popular.

Good beaches with gleaming white sands, an almost perfect climate (it's arid here, little rain), hills overlooking a yacht filled harbor, elegant boutiques, duty free shopping with world class imports, small properties with attentive staffs for wealthy shoppers. (See Shopping in St. Barts)

It sounds almost too good to be true: Which is why the rich and famous like to vacation here.

Particularly media celebrities and rock stars, who follow in the paths of the King of Sweden, the French Rothschilds and the Rockefellers. David Rockefeller once owned one of the 14 beaches here; today, they're all public.

The beaches are topless, too, but only two are true nude beaches.

St. Barts' topography of hills and valleys adds to its charm. Each valley is distinctive, with its own architecture and landscape. In all, there are a dozen villages and one major town, Gustavia. They're all a short distance from each other by foot, bike or car. Red-roofed country houses are a mainstay.

The tiny airport runaway is infamous. Some prefer to make the final leg of their journey to St. Barts via a ferry from St. Maarten or St. Martin. A smart thing to do if you have a lot of luggage and want to use it while on vacation.

Arrival Briefing
What you need to know if you go

Ferries to St. Barts
From both St. Martin and St. Maarten

Nude Beaches
Only two on the entire island