Ports of Call
- St Barths (Gustavia)
Introducing St Barths
A view of Gustavia Harbour © Kevin Gabbert
Saint Barthelemy, generally known as St Barths, is a tiny and luxuriant Caribbean island famous for its beauty and A-list visitors. It is an overseas dependency of France and has a distinctly French flavour. St Barths was also once a Swedish colony, a curious fact commemorated in the name of the capital, Gustavia. Situated in the northeastern Caribbean, St Barths is close to other tropical gems like Saint Martin and St Kitts.
This lush volcanic island is fully encircled by shallow reefs and home to a number of marinas, making it a fabulous sailing, snorkelling and scuba diving destination. There are 23 beaches on the island, all magnificent and relatively secluded. Overall, St Barths is surprisingly undeveloped, preserving much of its small-town character and natural beauty. Celebrities flock here to enjoy to the seclusion afforded by the private villa-style accommodation, absence of mass tourism and top-quality restaurants.
The period between Christmas and Easter is referred to as 'The Season' and is when the majority of visitors come to enjoy the many attractions of St Barths. Apart from its shopping, dining and reclining, there is wonderful diving, sport fishing and excellent wind-surfing around the island.
Crime is practically unheard of on this paradise island, and people invariably greet strangers and friends alike with a hearty 'bonjour!'.
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