Saint Barthélemy, or St Barts (St Barth to the French) is well known for its moniker “the St Moritz of the Caribbean” due to its unique Swedish-French colonial heritage, and is synonymous with glamour, movie stars and designer shopping. However there is so much more to this idyllic island than the luxury boutique resorts and private villas that peek from behind veils of tropical foliage, it also boasts a laid-back charm with vibrant street cafes and endless stretches of platinum sand beaches fringed by warm turquoise waters, making this tiny slice of paradise the perfect destination for a luxury yacht charter.
St Barts is a natural magnet for the SuperyachtSet, where every New Year’s Eve they descend on this tiny island and vie for prime berth spots in the marina and harbour for the annual event. The harbour is a hive of activity as tenders ferry the rich and famous back and forth from their yachts during the festivities. But you needn’t wait until the turn of the year to enjoy everything this astonishing island has to offer.
To help you plan your tour of the island on a yacht charter vacation, take a look at our complete guide on how to spend a day in St Barts.
The only marina in St Barts is Port de Gustavia, which you’ll find on the western side of the island. The marina is set in a beautiful sheltered harbour, characterised by myriad low red-roofed buildings, designer boutiques and restaurants that line the perimeter. The marina has 60 berth slips for yachts up to 61m/200ft LOA, with plenty of space for anchoring out in the harbour.
Due to the favourable trade winds that pick up between March-April, this pretty marina also provides the backdrop for the celebrated annual sailing regattas of Saint Barths Bucket and Les Voiles de Saint Barth Richard Mille, which attracts some of the largest sailing yachts in the world that all come to take part in the exhilarating events put on each day.
Getting around the island is fairly straightforward, however the roads are quite narrow and steep, but there are plenty of local taxis on the island if you wish to travel anywhere outside of the port. The island itself is only 11 miles long and 2.5 miles wide, so it won’t take long to get where you’re going!
Premium, chauffeured services are also available to ensure a smooth and seamless experience for you and your guests.
Named after a Swedish king during the country's brief reign, the town of Gustavia is situated around the duty-free port, laden with designer shops, boutiques and pretty galleries. The town’s architecture echoes influences from its various occupants, including the Swedish, English, French and the Carib; from winding cobbled streets and old Scandinavian style mansions to the Aglo-gothic church and spire.
Take a stroll along the iconic Quai de la Republique, which wraps itself around the U-shaped Port de Gustavia and plays host to a vast array of famous designer Houses, including Hermes, Roberto Cavalli, Ralph Lauren and Prada. For those that adore a bit of bling, you’ll also find Cartier, Chopard and Bulgari nestled along the quay. You may also spot the island’s homegrown beauty brand: Ligne St Barth, renowned for its natural ingredients and clean floral scents that evoke the essence of the Caribbean.
The shops tend to close in the middle of the day, making this the perfect time to restore aching feet and indulge your taste buds. You’ll find a fantastic variety of informal eateries and high-end restaurants lining the quay, which all offer mouthwatering dishes and fantastic service.
There are so many cafes and restaurants, you'll be spoilt for choice. Some of our favourites include classic French cuisine at Bagatelle, Latin-inspired dishes at Bonito St Barth and the newly opened Fish Corner, a tiny restaurant that has aready garenered rave reviews and even boasts its own fishing boat with the menu reflecting that day's catch. Perfect with a glass of chilled white wine.
After a spot of lunch - and quick handover of your morning’s worth of shopping to a crew member who will arrange to get them safely back to the yacht - take a hike uphill to Fort Gustave, located at the mouth of the harbour.
Built in the 18th century it is one of three strongholds built to protect the island from invasion. Today, the site is recognisable by the whitewashed lighthouse that rises majestically at its center, but the biggest draw card is the panoramic vistas across the harbour and out to the glistening Caribbean Sea, where you can just imagine swarthy pirates and square-rigged naval warships doing battle.
For your own little slice of paradise, head to Anse de Grande Saline beach in the south of the island, arguably St Barts’ most beautiful beach, and one of the finest in the Caribbean. Here grass-topped sand dunes provide the backdrop for this tranquil cove of golden sands embraced by waters in shades of turquoise, teal and cobalt-blue.
Protected by the bays and rocky islets that shape the island’s coast, Anse de Grande Saline beach is a secluded haven away from the masses, making it the perfect spot to chill out and catch the late afternoon rays. Prudes be warned, there may be a few bare cheeks around ... this is French territory after all!
There is also an abundance of marine life found in the shallow waters off the coast of St Barts, with coral reefs, colourful fish and other marine fauna a mere flipper-kick away. Just grab a mask and snorkel and dive in.
The award-winning Colombier Beach with its coral-colored sands and the exquisite Gouverneur Beach boasting ivory sands and turquoise waters are also well-worth a visit.
To watch the kaleidoscopic spectacle of a Caribbean sunset, where better than the liveliest beach in all of St Barts, Baie de St Jean. Here, you and your guests can kick-back with a cocktail at the iconic Nikki Beach club, an open-air, casual affair that has been modelled on the same minimalist crisp white aesthetic as its European counterparts, including its trademark teepees.
Relax and indulge your inner voyeur in a spot of celebrity-spotting, as the glitterati regularly flock to this luxurious haven. Sip fruity, rum-based Caribbean cocktails among the comfy futon-style beds in the sand as the infectious steel drum beats of the Caribbean work their joyful magic on your soul.
Conclude your day of lavish luxuries by taking your senses on a culinary journey at Aux Amis, set amid the luxurious grounds of Le Barthélmy Hotel, which has been rated #1 resort in St Barts (and #2 in the whole of the Caribbean!)
Offering sophisticated decor and breathtaking ocean views, you and your guests can savour the flavours of the Mediterranean as you enjoy the Chef’s culinary masterpieces using fresh, natural ingredients that are elevated to bring you sheer joy, finished off with a glass of Champagne.
Dining at Aux Amis is the perfect choice to round off your day in St Barts, before heading back to your yacht with special memories of your time spent on this idyllic island.