Caribbean Cruising '22: Saint Barthelemy (St Barths)

Suzanna Pinder on 11 March 2023
Saint Barthelemy (St Barths), WOW what an island, oozing chic and money!

Winding our way through the dazzling array of superyachts anchored in the bay, we entered the pretty harbour of Gustavia. A lovely long inlet, with pretty red roof buildings nestled around the harbour and creeping up into the surrounding lush hills.

A favoured hot spot for celebrities, reflected in the shops and facilities. Gustavia is awash with cute alleyways and arcades, filled with wonderful shops and boutiques selling high end clothing, gifts and homewares, mixed with grander known brands, such as Dior, Gucci, Rolex, Cartier and Hermes.

With a great history of smuggling and piracy, having been fought over by the British, French and Spanish and for a time even under Swedish control, the harbour around St Barths is well protected by forts. A stroll up to the top of Fort Gustav rewarded us with wonderful views across the harbour and out to the islands of Saba and St Eustatius soaring out of the sea.

As the sun went down, Gustavia really came to life, with well dressed shoppers taking advantage of the cooler evening temperature and locals parading along the harbour front. Following a fun couple of pre-dinner Caribs and people watching in one of the towns hot spots, Le Select, we dined at the ultra cool Eddy’s - a fabulous restaurant. Simple large wooden doors in a wall lead into a wonderful courtyard restaurant. Very French, yet with an Asian feel with high wooden beams and bedecked with succulent palms and plants. A perfectly formed menu tempted us to delights including codfish fritters, tempura fish tacos, Peking duck ramen, tuna sashimi and mahi mahi in passion sauce. Delicious and somewhere I really hope to one day revisit.

St Barths is not all about glitz and glamour, with many areas under their marine park protection, requiring a permit to enter and rules regulating waste discharge from yachts, no motor powered watersports and a provision of mooring buoys to discourage anchoring to protect the sea bed. One such area we visited was Anse du Colombier, a beautiful large secluded bay, only accessible by boat or a long hike over the hills. With a sweeping sandy beach dotted with palms, thick unspoilt vegetation clinging to the sides of the surrounding hills and turtles regularly popping their heads up, we had a lovely evening enjoying a couple of rounds of cards under uninterrupted stars, and all with our next destination on the horizon, Sint Maarten.

This article was published as part of a series ‘Caribbean Cruising 2023’.

Next article ‘Sint Maarten (Dutch Side)’.