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8 Best St. Barts Tourist Attractions

St. Jean beach, St. Barts
St. Jean beach. Credit: Wikimedia Creative Commons license

The best St. Barts tourist attractions mostly consist of beautiful beaches on this small eastern Caribbean island near St. Maarten.

The small island of Saint Barthélemy near St. Maarten is more famous for its celebrity visitors than any major attractions. But it does have some great beaches.

Also known as St. Barts, the island attracts day and overnight visitors from nearby islands such as St. Maarten as well as longer-term visitors who like the quiet.

After all, the island receives no major cruise ships, is only 10 square miles in size and has a population of less than 10,000 people. Cruise visitors who arrive at nearby St. Maarten take a ferry or shore excursion boat to reach it for a day trip. St. Maarten hotel visitors also may fly into the nearby Gustaf III airport.

Arrivals may tour the small town of Gustavia, with a population of about 2,300 people, and spend time at the nearby beaches.

1. Gustavia Shopping

Shopping is a major pastime in the capital city of Gustavia as the island is duty-free. Moreover, the stores stock quality product that can easily compete on the world market.

In fact, billionaire yachts anchor at the ports to check out the latest trends from French and Italian designers, which may not have made it to America yet.

Some of the bestselling merchants/brands include Louis Vuitton, Tod’s, Bulgari along with several luxury boutiques. A lot of shopping is done in Gustavia, a small town on the island that is especially popular for this activity. 

2. Forts Karl and Gustav

St. Barts Map

The views of Gustavia and the harbor may be a better reason to visit what is left of forts Karl and Gustav than their remains.

The hike to the top requires quite a few steps. Fort Karl sits at the southern end of Gustavia while Fort Gustav is north of town. A round red and white lighthouse marks the spot of Gustav.

3. Saline Beach

Many beaches line the island coast. But Saline is one of the most popular and accessible.

Saline, known on the island as Anse de Grande Saline, has been called one of the best in the Caribbean. It is a little less than three miles from Gustavia.

4. Shell Beach

Shell Beach wins the award for being nearest to Gustavia. It is only a few hundred yards south of Fort Karl at the southern end of the town. Like its name suggests, the beach is known for seashells that wash ashore.

5. Flamands Beach

Flamands Beach, the island’s largest beach, is three miles or 11 minutes by car north of Gustavia. The sand is fine and its waters mostly calm.

It gets busier during the summer because returning students meet there to play football and volleyball.

6. St. Jean

St. Jean is a small village two miles northeast of Gustavia and home to shopping, restaurants and St. Jean Beach.

7. Catamaran Sailing

Catamaran sailing is quite popular in St. Barts. Destinations for this activity include Saline Beach, Gouverneur Beach, Fourchue Island, Tintamarre Island, Pinel Island, and Coco Island.

Most operators offer various gear and services as part of their sailing package. In fact, visitors can get a full range of gears needed for the entire day. This will include snorkeling gear and floating hammocks.

8. Colombier Beach

The remote Colombier Beach at the northwest corner of the island gets rave reviews for its beauty. It also is known for being difficult to reach.

The beach is a three-mile drive from Gustavia followed by a somewhat challenging hike. An easier option for visitors is a hired boat ride out of Gustavia.

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

 > Category: Attractions   

November 24, 2021