Saint Barthélemy is an island in the Caribbean Sea which is believed to be a paradise for millionaires. The island is an oversea territory of France. It is located in the northern part of the Windward Islands, 200 km to the north of Guadeloupe and not far from the Saint Martin island. The capital city is Gustavia.
The climate is tropical marine. The temperature is about +26°C all the year round and the sea temperature is +25°C. The best time for visiting Saint Barthélemy is from December to April.
The official language of the island is French but many people can speak English and Creole.
The majority of the population are the Catholics but some people are the Protestants.
In Saint Barthélemy, there is anything and everything for a good beach holiday. The tourists will find here white sandy beaches and beautiful bays. The most famous is Shell Beach where anyone can go yachting, fishing, try horseback riding, biking and play golf.
There are no historical or architectural sites in Saint Barthélemy which could be interesting for the tourists. The only city on the island Gustavia has some churches and half-ruined forts and one can go around it within 30 minutes provided that you won’t spend much time in boutiques. It is not in vain this island is known as a paradise for millionaires. Shopping here is the main entertainment. In the stores, one will find the latest designer collections, exquisite jewelry by famous brands and expensive watches.
Every year Saint Barthélemy holds bright festivals such as Caribbean Film Festival during which new American and European films are demonstrated and music festival which attracts jazz musicians and international ballet companies.
There are no direct flights to Saint Barthélemy from Russia and other CIS countries.
The tourists can take a transit flight from Moscow, Minsk, Kiev and Almaty with a stop in Paris or Amsterdam.
There are flights from the European countries to one of the neighboring islands (Guadeloupe, Saint Martin, and Puerto Rico). From these islands, the tourists can get to Saint Barthélemy by a small plane.
The tourists can get to Saint Barthélemy from the neighboring islands by ferry or private yacht.
The citizens of Russia and other CIS countries must obtain a visa to travel to Saint Barthélemy. The exception is the tourists with a valid Schengen visa.
The tourists can apply for a visa to the Embassy of France. The processing of the documents usually takes about two weeks.
A short-term visa is valid for 30 days and multiple entry visa is for 90 days.
Planning your trip to Saint Barthélemy, make sure you know the Customs rules of this oversea French territory.
The tourists are allowed to bring in the following goods duty-free:
- alcohol and tobacco;
- a limited amount of coffee and tea;
- perfume according to the limits;
- personal belongings and gifts the total cost of which should not exceed 15 Euros per one person.
There are no restrictions concerning the import and export of currency but the sum of 7.000 Euros and over must be declared.
It is strictly prohibited to import:
- any medications without a doctor’s prescription;
- rare plants and animals.
All the plants and animals the tourists bring in must be shown to the sanitation service. Pets must have a vaccination certificate (the standard EU form) translated into French and issued the day before the flight. Pets must have a microchip and be marked by a vet.
The cuisine of Saint Barthélemy reminds of French cuisine but the chefs make every with a local twist making the cuisine of the islands unique and unusual.
Meat lovers should try Goût Colombo (roasted meat of a wold goat with hot spices), rabbit stew with vegetables and spices and Creole black pudding Boudain.
The most popular chicken dish is Cabri (turkey or chicken roasted with vegetables and rice) and roasted pigeons Fleur.
The local cuisine is very rich in seafood. The tourists should try stuffed crabs, boiled octopus Chatrou, brioches from crawfish, Matutu-de-coabes (crab meat boiled in white wine with spices), a hot broth from the mussels and an authentic Creole fish casserole La Creole. The foodies will enjoy the taste of the red snapper, sea-urchin and turtle soup.
The locals do not produce their own alcoholic drinks but they can offer very good European beverages. On the island, there is a famous wine shop Vinissimo in the Rue de Borda de Mer Street. In the shop, the tourists will find the best Bourgogne, Italian, Australian and Chile wines.
For a dessert, the locals prefer exotic fresh fruits and fresh juices from tangerine, sugar cane, guava, paw paw, passionfruit, pineapple and annona.
The currency in Saint Barthélemy is Euro.
US dollars are also accepted on the island.
The tourists can exchange the currency at banks or in exchange offices. Normally, exchange offices do not charge a commission for a transaction. Such offices have a sign No Commission.
Almost everywhere on the island, the tourists can pay with international credit cards and they can cash traveler’s checks. To avoid additional costs, we recommend taking checks in Euro or US dollars. In some shops, you will be offered a 20% discount if you pay with traveler’s checks.
All the shops in Saint Barthélemy are tax-free. All the tourists can refund the VAT. They can do it in two ways:
- the tourists should show a purchase receipt when crossing the border;
- the tourists can send the receipt to the residence address and convert it into cash at a bank.
Details of interest
Customs and traditions
The residents of the island are always friendly and very hospitable. Saint Barthélemy is subject to the French legislation.
Sightseeing in Saint Barthélemy
Being in Saint Barthélemy, have a walk around the capital and the only city on the island Gustavia. This small port city with luxurious boutiques and tax-free shops offers elegant restaurants with island cuisine and a good shopping. Those who like historical and architectural monuments can visit St. Bartholomew’s Anglican Episcopal Church, the City Museum, Ingenue-Magras Museum, Chez-Pompey Art gallery, Fort Gustav and an open-air market.
The Nature Reserve of Saint Barthélemy is divided into five zones which surround the island. The best places for diving are within this reserve and they are marked with white buoys. The divers can watch the turtles, spotted rays and reef sharks and take a picture of amazingly beautiful corals.
A luxurious Saline Beach is one of the most beautiful places in Saint Barthélemy. The beach attracts the lovers of active sports (surfing, windsurfing, kitesurfing) and the fans of nudism.
On the southern coast of the island, there is a famous Governor’s Beach which is an absolute favorite among the locals and the tourists.
On the northern coast is Lorient village, the place of the first French settlement. In the village, the tourists will find a Catholic church and the best beach on the island which has everything for surfing.
Souvenirs in Saint Barthélemy
In Gustavia, there are three main trading streets which can compete with the famous Bond Street in London and Madison Avenue in New York. In Saint Barthélemy the tourists buy beautiful watches, luxurious clothes by famous designers and jewelry.
On the open-air market, anyone can buy souvenirs, paintings with the landscapes of the island and cute sea shell jewelry.