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St. Barts
Arrival Briefing
Part 1

You'll probably have to come through St. Maarten to get here.

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St. Barths Travel Info

All travelers to St. Barts need a valid passport. This includes U.S. and Canadian citizens. Some nationalities also need a visa and proof of a return ticket.

8 square miles but large in lots of other ways. St. Barts is part of the French West Indies and along with nearby St. Martin represent a Sous Prefecture of Guadeloupe, which in turn is a department of France.

Language: French but you're not treated like dirt if you speak only English (as in Martinique ). Many people in the tourism sector speak English and don't hide the fact.

Population: About 7,000 especially around the capital of Gustavia.

Rainy Season: As in most of the Caribbean, it tends to be during summer and fall, when tropical depressions and storms are afoot.

Temperatures: They average between 72F in winter and 86F in summer (22C-30C).

Time Zone : Atlantic Standard Time, or Eastern Standard Time plus 1 hour. GMT -4. St. Barts does not observe Daylight Saving Time. In summer, the time period is the same as the U.S. East Coast.

Electricity: 220 volts, 60 cycles. An adapter and plug will be required for most North American visitors.

Currency: The Euro, not the French franc.

Dress: As befits an island, the dress code is informal but realistic. Bathing suits are not fitting for town but shorts and blue jeans are during the day. Sensibly, jackets and ties are not necessary in the evening.

Taxes & Tipping: Many hotels add a 10%-15% service charge. Always ask if this has been added to your bill so you don't tip twice. Taxi drivers expect 10% of their fare.

Getting There: Most travelers fly into St. Maarten and then take a small commuter plane over. Connections are also possible through Guadeloupe, San Juan and St. Thomas. The airport here is known for its small runway and the excitement of landing on a windy day.

Three ferry companies makes the short runs from nearby St. Maarten and St. Martin. The trip takes between 40 and 75 minutes depending on the departure. It's fastest from St. Maarten. See ferry info.

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