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St Barths (Gustavia) Port of Call

Gustavia Harbour © Germanramos

Although French in culture, character and cuisine, St Barths was the only Caribbean island to have been a Swedish colony, a fact reflected in the name of the island's harbour, Gustavia. Construction permits are strictly limited so the island retains its quaint charm and picturesque village feel. There are no sprawling resorts or mega-hotels, and only about 9,000 permanent residents. Although not on most cruise itineraries, passengers that disembark here are in for a real treat. St Barth's incredible beaches, superb restaurants, and relative inaccessibility have helped make this a magnet for the rich and famous who come to enjoy the serenity, luxury and privacy that only St Barths can provide.

Ships anchor offshore and tenders ferry passengers into Gustavia harbour, fringed by colourful buildings and moored yachts.


Tourism Office in the centre of Gustavia

Tel: +590 590 27 87 27


Once ferried to the harbour, cruise passengers can easily explore on foot in the main town centre. To explore further afield a car can be rented. Alternatively, there is a designated taxi rank in Gustavia and some taxi operators offer island tours with the driver as guide.


At the northern end of the harbour is Fort Gustav III, which is the best vantage point for photographs of the pretty harbour below and houses an interesting collection of historical artefacts. There are about 14 public beaches within reach, all of them superb, although Shell Beach, with its pink-tinged sand, is one of the best. If travellers manage to exhaust the restaurants and shopping opportunities of Gustavia, they can grab a taxi and head to neighbouring St Jean.


L'Isola - authentic Italian food in a cosy atmosphere.

Le Select - cheap, cheerful and home of legendary cheese burgers.

Bonito St Barth - high-end dining with spectacular views.

Best Dish

Accras - small, deep-fried codfish fritters.


The best shopping is on Quai de la Republique, Rue du General De Gaulle, and Rue Oscar II, all within easy walking distance of the harbour. Goods are duty-free but this perk is somewhat negated by the high prices. Most items are imported from France and there are few indigenous crafts or iconic island purchases.

Best Buy

An original photo of St Barths from Hirschfield Fine Arts


Explore St Jean Beach

Take a fishing charter

Snorkel with turtles at Petit de Anse, Flamands

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