St. Barths Shell Beach
St. Barths Information
Language and Currency
What is St. Barths Like?
What is the Weather Like?
Where Does the Ship Dock?
Where is the Shopping?
What is There to Buy?
What is There To Do?
Is There Anything of a “Don’t Miss Quality?
Are There Any Great Restaurants or Bars?
The official language in St. Barths is French and the currency is the French franc. While U.S. dollars are accepted on a limited basis, you are better off bringing francs with you to spend.
St. Barths Main Street
St. Barths is unusually wonderful. The French have limited the growth on St. Barths by limiting construction permits. As a result, St. Barths offers a unique quality about it. Its homes, restaurants, beaches, and population are simply the best that the Caribbean has to offer. St. Barths (actually named St. Barthélemy) appeals to the rich and famous and has everything available to make you happy.
St. Barths is blessed with excellent weather year around and is much dryer in terms of rainfall (less humidity as well) than neighboring islands.
Silversea's Silver Whisper Anchored at St. Barths
There is no pier in St. Barths and smaller ships anchor off of the main town of Gustavia. Ships then tender into the tender wharf in Gustavia.
Gustavia Harbor, St. Barths
One notes that there are a good number of large private yachts and sailboats anchored in (and around) the small harbor as well. I was on the Star Clipper once, when a huge private yacht anchored up next to us. I had to look up to see the sun deck on it. I never did find out who was on the yacht, but it could have been a small cruise ship given its size....no one ashore even noticed.
Right in Gustavia is some excellent shopping on Quai de la Republique, Rue du General De Gaulle, and Rue Oscar II. The shopping is within easy walking distance of the tender wharf.
St. Barths population is quite wealthy and everything a wealthy person could want is available in Gustavia. While St. Barths enjoys duty free status as a shopping port, you should be prepared for prices that seem higher than they would be back home for similar items. French wines, designer fashions, jewelry, fine china, French chocolates, crystal, cosmetics and French perfumes are just among some of the treats you will enjoy. There is also the "more normal" shopping for tourist items in St. Barts, as well mixed in with the high fashion boutiques. Don't miss the flea market and pastry stores in Gustavia as they are a treat to entertain.
Gustavis'a Shell Beach
Exploring Gustavia is a wonderful experience. The St. Barths museum is small, but somewhat interesting and the fort at the northern end of the harbor ( Fort Gustav III) is also interesting and offers great views of the harbor for photo opportunities. Take a taxi to St-Jean for some more shopping for more fashions (but not as expensive as Gustavia) and a fabulous beach with French cafes and restaurants right along the beach.
The Bar on Shell Beach
Of course, you will find numerous water sports such as SCUBA diving, snorkeling, fishing, sailing, windsailing and so on. There is even some rideable surf at L'Orient.
The Pink Shells of Shell Beach
There is also a small beach within walking distance of Gustavia that features pink seashell sand in a small cove. Note that all of the beaches in St. Barths are topless and some of the more remote are clothing optional.
If you get to St. Barths and stay on the boat, you have missed on of the Caribbean's best island treats.
Yes, if you are a Jimmy Buffet fan. Le Select is the restaurant that served Jimmy Buffet a cheese burger after he was without food on his sailboat for days. This is where the song "Cheese Burgers in Paradise" came from. Be sure to have a cocktail and a cheese burger while you are there.