“Beautiful and beguiling” doesn’t even begin to describe the island of Saint Barthélemy, an overseas collectivity of France which is geographically located in a group of islands in the Caribbean known as the Lesser Antilles. Affectionately called St. Barts or St. Barths by locals and travelers, the island and its islets have, over the last few decades, become a favorite getaway destination of the rich and famous.
Surprisingly, St. Barts started out as a poor and undeveloped French commune under the Guadeloupe region before becoming a favored winter retreat of some of the world’s wealthiest people. Today, thanks to international investments and to the riches generated by its high-end tourism industry, the collectivity is now a prosperous tropical island paradise whose people enjoy a standard of living that is even higher than in the French mainland.
Going around St. Barts, it’s easy to understand why celebrities and business magnates come here to have a good time, especially during the Christmas and New Year holidays. The island is not very easy to get to, which means its pristine beaches and the streets of its beautiful capital, Gustavia, are not constantly crowded by hordes of tourists.
Named after the King Gustav III of Sweden, Gustavia features a collection of Swedish-era buildings, red-roofed villas, posh boutiques, luxury resorts, jewelry shops, and swanky restaurants. The town also has a church, a museum, and a marina that harbors the mega yachts and sailboats of visitors and residents.
Outside the port town, there are many other attractions that are worth exploring. These include beaches like the Shell Beach, Gouverneur Cove, the Grand Cul de Sac, Marigot Beach, Saline Beach, Flamands Beach, Colombier Beach, Anse des Cayes, Lorient Beach, St. Jean Beach, Corossol Beach, and the Petit Cul de Sac. Also make sure to visit the ruins of Fort Gustave, which was originally built in 1787 by the Swedish. Situated on a hill, the fort offers spectacular vistas of the islands and the Caribbean Sea.
In terms of activities, St. Barts offers facilities and destinations for scuba diving, jet skiing, yachting, sailing, submarine explorations, and various other water and land-based sports.
If you’re still looking for a place to go to for your next luxury vacation, consider Saint Barthélemy. Book one of Villaway’s luxury resorts or villa rentals, and find out for yourself why this beautiful island is known as the “St. Moritz of the Caribbean.”