If you have booked a holiday to St Martin and realized just how close you are to fantastic St Barts, it is likely you will want to pay a visit to one of the most unique destinations in the region. An authentic part of modern-day France, it is a fascinating place to spend even a single day. Noted as the “French Riviera of the Caribbean”, it has 21 gorgeous beaches and lots of sweet little towns.
Of course, if you are enjoying just a day trip, planning is an essential since flight and ferry options are limited, and a handful of hours can run by very quickly. As they say, “time flies when you are having fun,” and everyone agrees that St Barts is a wonderfully fun spot to visit.
Air or Sea?
While it is certainly far faster to take one of the daily flights (they are only ten minutes!), a water journey is a great part of the experience. As one traveler noted, “the 30-minute trip comes with incredible views and a glass of fresh mango juice. What a way to start the morning.”
Additionally, you need to consider getting around on the island, and most visitors opt to do a traditional car rental; located easily from the ferry and boat docking area in Gustavia. Of course, as that same traveler pointed out, “The island is small so you could walk to some of the beaches from Gustavia, but it’s hilly,” with a laid back attitude where street signs are concerned. You don’t want to waste any of your precious time attempting to navigate on foot. Instead, map out your visit ahead of time and hop into a rental to visit the top day trip destinations.
Top Day Trip Destinations
Gustavia is where most visitors arrive, and if a rental car doesn’t appeal, you can hire a guide to drive you elsewhere. However, Gustavia itself could be your focus as it is an utterly charming town. It offers appealing waterfront, several beaches nearby, and lots of fine shops, restaurants and sightseeing.
If you wish to see more than the island’s main town, the next destination would be St Jean and its wonderful beach. This is home to the Baie de Saint Jean where the picturesque Eden Rock Hotel can be seen. The beaches here are very kid-friendly with clear and calm waters, stretches of sand and no seaweed. Don’t forget to enjoy a ham and cheese (jambon et fromage for the French-speaking crowd) at one of the charming beachside grills and food stands.
Nikki Beach might also be your ideal day trip destination when visiting St Barts. It is considered one of the loveliest beaches in the region. It is also home to an array of vendors offering smoothies and tasty local foods.
Saline Beach is on the southern end of the island, and a bit more difficult to find. It requires a brief hike, but is an enormous place often almost empty and offering up great body surfing conditions.
You will, likely, have to return to Gustavia at the end of the day. Many travelers make a point of visiting one of the local bars to savor an island classic – pina colada – before the scenic and brief return to St Martin.
Planning Is Key
You could easily dedicate an entire holiday to St Barts. So, if you have only time for a day trip, be sure you hit at least a few beaches and pay a visit – even just a quick one – to both Gustavia and St Jean to see their charming streets, shops and surroundings. Don’t forget to do a bit of snorkeling if you get the chance!