Often know as St. Barts, this island is hugely popular with celebrities and people with a lot of money to spend, and it’s not hard to see why!
The island’s port is a tender port which means it isn’t large enough for large ships or cruise liners to dock, this means the port is far less touristy and bustly which is a nice change and is probably why so many private and high profile figures enjoy the island. However if you do go on a large cruise liner or ship it does mean that you have to catch a tender from the ship when it is anchored, to the shore. The limited number of tender boats on the cruise liners mean this process can take quite a while especially with a choppy sea and unanchored boarding stage, It makes a very long and difficult task for elderly, disabled, unstable or children/prams to get into the tender boat as it isn’t attached to the boarding platform of the main boat. Having to time your day around when the tender boats are taking and bringing back also cuts your day short and means you can’ vender too far into the island.
St. Barths is expensive. The streets are full of designer stores and there are plenty of luxury chains, restaurants and yacht trips if that floats your boat (no pun intended). Even knick-knack shops or snacks are more expensive. On a budget I opted for a reasonable (but still not cheap) snorkelling trip out to a reef on a catamaran.
I’m a strong swimmer and pretty adventurous when it comes to the sea and exploring so this trip was fairly tame for me but I would completely recommend this for families, those with young children or those that aren’t confident in the water. The trip was run by two French brothers, both experienced snorkelers and divers who live on the island. They provide you with all the equipment as well as water and sandwiches for the trip back to the shore. The actual snorkelling reef area is enclosed by large rocks so although it is a way from the shore, it is largely untouched by currents and is around 2 – 6 metres deep. They give you a feel safety briefing before and your life jacket can be inflated as much or as little as you like depending on your confidence.
It’s the chance to see some beautiful fish and marine life, build confidence swimming in the sea or just float gently on the water and watch the world beneath you, it really does cater for anyone from children to the elderly.
I spent the rest of the day on a beach after the boat trip. There wasn’t enough time to go exploring on the rest of the island so we walked through the town and found an, albeit beautiful, beach (feature picture).
I would say that St. Barth’s didn’t live up the the hype that I’d heard about it, being the exclusive and sought after destination for celebrities to holiday or own property. But then again I’m not a celebrity and I didn’t have the budget to let me experience St. Barth’s like I was one!
- if you’re just there for a day trip, either take food/water with you or plan for it to be an expensive day!
- lots of suncream and a hat, as always.
- booking excursions in advance can be helpful but I found there was plenty to choose from along the port.
- if you’ll be arriving on the island by a tender boat, make sure your whole party is comfortable getting on the tender from the main ship – it can be a unpredictable and choppy experience!
- swimming gear is a must if you don’t want to spend money, the beaches are still free!