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St Barths Travel Information

The Basics

Time

GMT -4

Electricity

Electrical current is 220 volts, 60Hz. Rounded two-pin plugs are standard.

Language

French is the official language. English is also widely spoken.

Travel Health

There are no specific health risks associated with travel to St Barths but a yellow fever vaccination is required for all travellers over the age of one arriving from a yellow-fever-infected country in Africa or the Americas. A hepatitis A vaccination is also recommended. There have been outbreaks of chikungunya fever, a mosquito-borne disease, in recent years in St Barths; there is no vaccine or treatment for chikungunya fever, but visitors to St Barths should take precautions against mosquito bites.

Medical care on St Barths is extremely limited and significant health problems will usually require treatment on nearby islands like St Martin or Guadeloupe. Travellers are advised to have comprehensive health insurance and to take along all necessary medications, accompanied by a signed and dated letter from their doctor detailing what the medication is and why it is needed.

Tipping

Service charges are often included in the bill, as in France, but tipping small amounts for good service has become more common on St Barths. If there is no service charge a tip of about 10 percent is appreciated by waiters, and this tip is usually left in cash. Hotel staff appreciate small tips for service.

Safety Information

St Barths is virtually crime-free and is considered one of the safest destinations in the Caribbean. Travellers should always be alert to the possibility of petty crime but even things like pick-pocketing are rare on the island.

Local Customs

St Barths has a traditional French culture, and it is polite to greet with 'bonjour' in a shop or restaurant or when passing a stranger in an uncrowded environment, and likewise to take leave with 'au revoir'. Men and women may kiss on both cheeks when greeting, starting with the right. While men may greet with a handshake, men and women generally only shake hands in business environments. It is considered rude to honk your horn when driving.

Communications

The country code for St Barths is +590. Cellular service providers on the island have deals in place with some international providers, but cellular coverage should be checked with your provider in advance. There are public pay phones on the island, the majority of which operate with Telecartes that can be purchased at post offices and petrol stations. Internet and wifi are provided by some restaurants and hotels.

Duty Free

Visitors to St Barths may import reasonable quantities of items for personal use without incurring customs duty. The exact amount that constitutes a reasonable quantity is at the discretion of the border officials but generally about four litres of alcohol and a carton of cigarettes or equivalent in tobacco or cigars is acceptable.

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