Cruise and Beach Destinations
in the Caribbean, Mexico & Beyond

5 Top St. Barth Excursion Tips

Gouveneur Beach. Credit: Wikimedia

St. Barths shore excursions are a popular choice for anyone visiting the nearby St. Maarten during either a hotel or cruise visit.

The island is a 30-minute ferry ride from St. Maarten. A typical shore excursion includes four hours on St. Barths, which gives visitors plenty of time to see its famous beaches and wander around. These “on your own” excursions usually cost about $80 to $90 per person for just the ferry depending on the sailing date.

Otherwise, St. Barths excursions also are available for anyone staying at the island’s villas or boutique hotels as well as visitors from some of the smaller cruise ships and cruise lines that come to the island.

One of the more recognizable French islands in the Caribbean, Saint Barthélemy (also known as St. Barths) is a small island totaling only eight square miles. It has a population of less than 10,000 people.

Still, this may be an advantage as the island packs several excellent attractions within the relatively small space. As such, all are easy to reach. 

Ferries from St. Maarten bring visitors to the capital of the island at Gustavia. From there, they can shop and dine in the town and walk over to Shell Beach. Otherwise, they can rent a bike or scooter to see the rest of the island or try some of the following excursions with help from tour operators in Gustavia.

1. Marine Service

Due to the immense diversity of marine life coupled with the splendid beauty of aquamarine waters in St. Barths, marine excursions are extremely popular.

Various marine services can help tourists to discover fishing, sailing, snorkeling, diving, island hopping and even jet skiing.

The popular Kayali shipwreck is also a great site for adventurous divers. Most marine services offer excursions via small boats offering fast sailing upon the open waters and a bath in the warm sun.

2. Cote Mer

Catamaran sailing is popular in St. Barths wherein visitors will get a chance to waft in the winds of the open sea.

Catamaran excursions explore various interesting points along the water including sheltered coves, bays, lagoons and cays. Visitors will get a chance to go swimming and snorkeling among multi-colored tropical fish and other marine life.

Beyond the great atmosphere, most catamarans offer various dining options within their large shaded cockpits. Popular catamaran destinations include Colombier Beach, Saline Beach, Gouverneur Beach, Fourchue Island, Tintamarre Island, Pinel Island, and Coco Island.

3. Galerie Asie

Established all the way back in the 1970s, Galerie Asie houses several enchanting monuments, objects and sceneries that arouse mystery and a sense of historical journey.

On show are various Tibetan ritual and ceremonial objects, a few rare Japanese tansus, Shan kingdom Buddha sculptures, traditional Khmer or Gandhara stone reliefs, Chinese brass locks, intact tribal shields, several ceremonial masks from New Guinea, and ritual objects from Tibet and Nepal.

The original objects were gathered by Jean-Pierre Hennequet who opened the first Galerie Asie after travelling all over the continent of Asia sourcing an eclectic selection of olden day trinkets.

4. Ouanalao Dive

For the ocean lovers, diving and snorkeling opportunities are abundant in St. Baths. Among the best is Ouanalao Dive. There are opportunities for the experienced diver or a beginner to discover the underwater flora and fauna of the enchanting aquatic universe. Divers get a chance to see groupers, tarpons, sharks, turtles, stingrays, eagle-rays and lobsters.

Note however that dives are not generally done within the Caribbean Sea, but on the side of the Atlantic Ocean. On this side, there are volcanic reefs, caves, tunnels, covered by gorgonians, multicolored sponges and even sharks. Ouanalao also offers special private snorkeling excursions and private outings.

5. St. Barth Equitation

A perfect place for outdoor lovers, St. Barth Equitation is about horseback riding at the Ranch des Flamands. The ranch is located at the end of a very rough road high above Flamands in the northwest.

Visitors will find a ring for dressage as well as paths for guided tours through the scrubs along the footpaths of the ranch. Additionally, the ranch caters to children with several small, charming ponies for the little ones to ride. 

One of the advantages of being a small island is that almost all attractions are within close reach of each other. For the traveler, this is simply a wonderful opportunity to see several places even via excursions. As far as St. Barths is concerned, this is the advantage that this small island boasts.

Scott S. Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled widely throughout the Caribbean and the America.
August 16, 2021