When flying into St. Barts, travelers can’t help but marvel at the beautiful blue water decorated with big white yachts and the dozens of villas with little red roofs. A French-speaking Caribbean island, St. Barts (also known as St. Barths or Saint Barthélemy) is known for its calm waters, high-end shops, luxury hotels, and fabulous upscale restaurants. Often frequented by the rich and famous, there are simply so many things to do in St. Barts.
While St. Bart’s isn’t one of the cheapest Caribbean islands to fly to, it’s certainly one of the most beautiful. It’s small, less than 10 square miles, but it packs a lot of punch. Tourists can swim, snorkel or sunbathe on the beautiful beaches, hike to hidden tide pools, visit ruins and museums, and stroll through the streets of the capital, Gustavia. St. Barts is one of many Caribbean destinations said to be the hottest of 2023. Here is our complete travel guide and list of things to see and do in St. Barts.
Top Things To Do in St. Barts
A beach in Gustavia, St. Barts
There are so many fun things to do and beautiful things to see in St. Barts. Here is a list of some of our favorites!
1 Spend The Day At The Beach
Shells on Shell Beach in St. Barts
The main attraction in St. Barts is obviously the beaches. And there are so many to choose from! Just to name a few—Saline Beach is perfect for travelers looking for peace and quiet. Set away from the bars and restaurants, this spot is one of the island’s marquee beaches.
Shell Beach is self-descriptive. It’s covered in shells of different sizes and colors. While it is gorgeous to look at, Shell Beach can be painful to walk on, so beach shoes are recommended.
St. Jean Beach is popular and lively. This beach is home to Nikki Beach and Eden Rock. St. Jean Beach is perfect for travelers who like a party atmosphere; this is where the action is!
Gouverneur Beach is great for privacy and perfect for picnics. The white sand is pristine, and there’s excellent snorkeling by the rocks.
2 Visit Hidden Natural Tide Pools: Petit Cul-de-Sac
Beach and rocky cliffs in St. Barts
From the Petit Cul-de-Sac Beach, travelers can hike to natural tide pools. Located on the eastern end of the island, the beach is quiet, and the water is calm (perfect for snorkeling). There are no beachside restaurants, so either before or after the hike to the tide pools, plan a picnic on the beach and enjoy the bay view.
To reach the tide pools, walk down the beach to the right-hand side and start scaling the rocks. The rocks offer very uneven terrain; this hike is not easy. It usually takes about 30 to 40 minutes. But it’s definitely worth it to find the hidden natural tide pools.
This is a must-see attraction, as any photos online truly will not do it justice. The colors are mesmerizing.
3 Trek To Grand Fond Natural Pools
Aerial view of St. Barts
Another natural tide pool, Grand Fond Natural Pools, is a little easier to get to. It does require a short hike and a steep slope, but it’s also well worth it. The path to the Grand Fond Natural Pools starts near the parking lot by Grand Fond Beach.
When stepping onto the beach, head toward the cliffs on the right. Find the path, which will circumnavigate the cliffs. The trek takes roughly 20 to 30 minutes, and the views of the water below are spectacular.
When the natural pools come into sight, descend a steep rocky slope to reach the destination, Grand Fond Natural Pools.
4 Hit The Trails: Columbier Hike
Aerial view of the Colombier Beach Trail in St. Barts
The Columbier hike is a popular one! It ends at a private beach that’s only accessible by foot or by yacht. There are two ways to hike to Columbier Beach. The Upper Trail is steep and takes about 25 minutes to complete, and the views are spectacular.
The Lower Trail is easier, but hikers miss the dramatic scenery. Whatever route is chosen, the walk is beautiful. And when reaching the beach, travelers can easily spend the entire day swimming, surfing, and picnicking before hiking back.
5 Explore The Ruins Of Fort Karl
View of white yachts and red rooftops at the Gustavia Harbor in St. Barts
One of the most popular things to do in St. Barts, Fort Karl is located on a small hill overlooking Shell Beach. Built in 1789 to protect the town from external attacks, the fort fell into oblivion during the 19th century. In 2007, the Natural Reserve of Saint Barthelemy took over the site, and it’s now officially protected.
There is not much left of the fort, but the views from Fort Karl that look out over Gustavia and the harbor are spectacular.
6 Experience The Wall House Museum
The front exterior of the Wall House Museum in St. Barts
This small stone building is home to a collection of artifacts revealing facts about St. Bart’s history. The building itself is historic too, dating back to the Swedish period (1785-1878). Expect to find farming tools, furniture, oil lamps, fishing boats, a library, and a brick-made bread oven.
Located in Gustavia, the Wall House Museum doesn’t take too long to explore (less than an hour), but it does provide visitors with a pretty cool peek into St. Bart’s past.
- Hours: Monday through Friday, 9:30 AM to 1 PM and 3 PM to 7 PM; Wednesdays, 2 PM to 7 PM; Saturday, 9:30 AM to 1 PM; Sunday, closed.
- Cost: Free!
7 Stroll Through The Capital Of St. Barts: Gustavia
White yachts in Gustavia Harbor in St. Barts
Stroll the beautiful streets of St. Barts’ capital, Gustavia. Pop in and out of art galleries and designer shops, like Cartier, Louis Vuitton, Hermes, and Gaultier. There are also quite a few spots to grab beachwear and accessories. The streets are colorful, with lots of palm trees and potted plants. And nobody’s in a rush.
When it’s time to give those legs a break, pop into one of St. Barts’ many fine eateries. Enjoy a delicious meal and a glass of bubbly at a waterside café while keeping eyes peeled for famous faces.
8 Watch The Sunset In St. Barts
Aerial view of the Colombier Beach Trail in St. Barts
St. Barts has so many stunning spots to watch the sunset, but perhaps the best vantage point is from Hotel Christopher. Whether travelers are hotel guests or not, the bar is open. Grab a cocktail and watch the sun slip out of sight.
The drinks menu is designed by Haydee Otero, an artist from Nice, and features eight signature cocktails inspired by eight magical cities. A sunset nightcap at Hotel Christopher is the perfect way to cheers the end of a fantastic day in St. Barts.
9 Best Time To Go To St. Barts
Waves rolling onto Shell Beach in St. Barts
With warm tropical weather year-round (low-70s to low-90s), there’s no wrong time to go to St. Barts. But, depending on the type of vacation tourists are looking for, there are a few factors to consider.
November through January is peak tourist season, which means higher prices on flights and accommodations. Prices jump again in March and April due to spring break, Easter, and St. Barts Bucket Regatta. May and June are still lively, but prices tend to drop slightly.
It’s also important to note that November through April is the drier season, and the temperatures are mild. Hurricane season starts in June and runs through November. For tourists not worried about an occasional storm, this is a great time to see a less crowded and more affordable St. Barts.
To sum it up, St. Barts is one of the many islands offering a sunny escape to explore the Caribbean, no matter what time of year.
10 Best Ways To Get Around St. Barts
A white yacht in the water near Shell Beach
Renting a car in St. Barts is the best way to get around. It’s easy to navigate the small island; travelers can circle St. Barts in about an hour. Since there’s no public transportation system in St. Barts, alternatives to a car are motorbikes and bicycles.
Taxis are also available but are not easy to come by and can be very expensive.
11 Where To Eat In St. Barts
White umbrellas and chairs on the beach at Nikki Beach Club in St. Barts
Dine out in St. Barts and enjoy great dishes with amazing views.
Maya’s philosophy is freshness. Bread is baked overnight, juice is squeezed every morning, and the menu changes based on which fresh fish was caught that day. Perfect to dine in or take to go, Maya’s is a delicious breakfast option in St. Barts.
- Address: Les Galeries du Commerce, St. Jean, Saint Barthelemy
- Hours: Tuesday through Sunday, 7 AM to 7 PM. Monday, closed.
- Recommended: the delicious pastries are a perfect breakfast to devour on the beach.
Nikki Beach Club
Perfect for a weekend brunch, this popular spot is located on Saint-Jean Beach and is a famous beach club with a festive, glamorous atmosphere and delicious food. Often frequented by celebrities, Nikki Beach offers fresh Caribbean dishes, uninterrupted ocean views, and fun music, which gets more up-tempo as the day goes on.
- Address: W537+2WQ, Gustavia 97133, St. Barthélemy
- Hours: Daily, 11 AM to 7 PM
- Recommended: Sushi and a Peach Spritz
Featuring French-Mediterranean cuisine, Amis is a gourmet restaurant on the water that’s perfect for a celebration. Chic and modern, customers are sure to enjoy a long and delicous leisurely dinner.
- Address: Baie de Grand Cul de Sac 97133, Saint-Barthélemy
- Hours: Daily, 7 AM to 11 PM
- Recommended: ceviche, braised cod, and homemade ice creams and sorbets.
Traveling during peak season? If so, make a reservation. Restaurants are busy, so plan ahead.
12 Where To Stay In St. Barts
View of the Cheval Blanc St. Barth Isle de France Hotel from the beach
St. Barts offers some of the top-rated resorts in the Caribbean. While their specialty is definitely luxury accommodations, there are still great options for the budget traveler.
Cheval Blanc Saint Barth Isle de France
Cheval Blanc Saint Barth Isle de France is only a one-minute drive to the beach. With beautiful gardens, gorgeous ocean views, and a glamorous on-site restaurant, this hotel is the only one on the island with Palace distinction.
Baie Des Flamands, Gustavia
- Amenities: Free Wi-Fi; 24-hour front desk; pool; laundry services.
- Cost: $$$
Tropical Hotel St. Barts
Located just steps from St. Jean Beach, the Tropical Hotel St. Barts is a boutique hotel offering colorful rooms, lush tropical gardens, and a delicious on-site Indonesian restaurant.
- Address: BP 147 Baie de Saint Jean, Gustavia
- Amenities: Free Wi-Fi; bar/lounge; outdoor pool; free airport shuttle; room service; coffee shop; restaurant; free parking.
- Cost: $$
Hotel Le Village
For those island-hopping the Caribbean on a budget, consider Hotel de Village. It’s a three-star accommodation located on a hillside, just a three-to-five-minute walk from St. Jean Beach. The standard rooms and cottages are considered one of the best options for travelers visiting St. Barts on a budget.
- Address: Saint Jean – BP 623, Gustavia
- Amenities: outdoor pool; restaurant; complimentary breakfast (fresh pasties, yogurt and local honey), while full breakfast is available for purchase; fitness center; well-being center; coffee makers.
- Cost: $
13 How To Spend The Perfect Day In St. Barts
Palm trees lining the beach in St. Barts
Start the day with a leisurely stroll through the capital. Soak up the stunning views of white yachts floating in the blue water before stopping at a cute café for a bite to eat. Next up, head to the beach. There are so many to choose from, so travelers really have their pick.
For a quiet afternoon, try Saline Beach. For a livelier affair, try St. Jean Beach. And for travelers looking for a bit of adventure, mix relaxing on the beach with a little hike to a natural tide pool. Either way, the day will be full of sun, surf, and sand.
In the afternoon, head back to the capital to check out the Wall House Museum, a few art galleries, and some designer shops. Enjoy the views and the beautiful cobblestone streets before relaxing with a glass of wine and a plate of ceviche.
For dinner, dine at Amis for French-Mediterranean cuisine before watching the sunset at Hotel Christopher with one of their eight signature cocktails.
Q: What is St. Barts known for?
St. Barts is known as the playground for the rich and famous. This small island boasts many luxury hotels. In fact, St. Barts has some of the top-rated resorts in the Caribbean.
Tourists will also find upscale restaurants and expensive shops. St. Barts offers a laid-back vacation with a lot of style. And the beaches are beautiful, too.
Q: Is it worth it going to St. Barts?
Yes, it definitely is! St. Barts is a very expensive island, but travelers to St. Barts can enjoy the luxury of the Caribbean without breaking the bank.
With adventurous hikes, natural tide pools, pristine beaches, sunsets, art galleries, and museums, there are so many things to do in St. Barts.
Q: What month is St. Barts best?
The winter months (December to May) are the driest. This is the best time to visit for travelers looking to stay out of the rain and avoid hurricane season. Temperatures are warm year-round, though. So any month in St. Barts will be a good one.