St Barth’s – Gorgeous People, Pricey Hamburgers

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St. Barth’s is the French Caribbean playground of the yachts and their owners. Prices are high, tourism is limited, and it is going to stay that way.

St Barth's Gustavia 02

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Accommodation is small-scale premium French guesthouses. Access is by yacht, ferry from St Maarten, and regional shot hop flights to St Barth’s Gustaf III Airport (SBH), the world’s second shortest commercial runway and a thrilling approach. The St Maarten ferry may sound appealing, though when adding in rental car or taxis to eastern St Maarten’s port, can be little or no savings over the flight on WinAir or St. Barth Commuter.

St Barth's Airport

St Barth's Gustavia 03

I flew in exhausted and bruised from a rough morning on Saba’s Mt Scenery and was not in a mood to savor the French milieu layered on what was once Sweden’s only colony (1784-1878).

Stubbornly avoiding taxis I made the half-hour walk from airport to the main town, Gustavia, over the hill in the blazing heat, pausing at the scenic overlook under Gustavia Lighthouse. Gustavia harbor is a pretty sight, and winding through the streets of boutiques and sleek eateries, the luxury-clad, stunning men and women lend a sense of glamor. It appears somewhat superficial as many menus, despite the dramatic surroundings, or perhaps because of them, focus on crepes or hamburgers at steep prices. I ended up skipping lunch and walking back to the airport, not finding the kind of locals’ hole in the wall where I like to eat. I felt St Martin was a more authentically a French experience, lacking the glamor of St Barth’s.

St Barth's Gustavia 01

The highlight was the placard at the door to the St Bartholomew Anglican Church, “Enter rest pray.”

St Bartholomew's Anglican Church

I only spent a couple hours, WinAir obligingly put me on an earlier flight. A car is necessary for the island and rental agencies have offerings from conventional cars down to elaborate golf carts. The scenery is stellar, Gustavia is much more upscale and orderly than its island neighbors, and the lack of mass tourism make it is a sunny destination for those looking for an intimate French island experience where the euros flow on out.

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guera
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guera

I had the use of a car there for 1 day, but did much less driving than I intended, because the gas stations there only took chip and pin credit cards ( no cash). Seems like it would have been too hot and sunny for the hike that Alan took, but there would have been some great views.

Alan
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Alan

I took the ferry to Gustavia, and walked spent the day walking in the island.
from Gustavia, airport, to eden rock, then walked the wrong way to Saline beach… and walked back. During the big hike back toward Gustavia, I got picked up by some local to avoid climbing the mountain!

Rapid Travel Chai
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@Alan – a great hike, I wish I had done as much.

GUWonder
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GUWonder

Sweden had colonies in the Americas but St Bart’s is the only one in the Caribbean that lasted for any substantial period. They had Guadeloupe very briefly too. Also there was a Swedish colonial settlement in part of what is now Delaware and some in and near Ghana.

Rapid Travel Chai
Guest

@GUWonder – I should have fact-checked what my Swedish friend was telling me, thanks.

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