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St. Barts

St. Bart?s is a nickname given to the island of St. Barthelemy. This island is known as being the haunt of the rich and famous. There are no historic sites for you to explore ? just sandy beaches and luxurious resorts. That is not to say there is no sightseeing ? just that there are no historic forts or museums. There is plenty to see and do on St. Bart?s.

Since this island is considered part of France, the currency is the Euro. Although the official language is French, English is spoken almost everywhere. This is a very safe island and you won?t have any difficulty using the taxis, which could be very expensive. The taxis are not available between midnight and 7 in the morning. You can also rent a car to let you see the island at your own pace.

St. Bart?s is the island where most of the celebrities have homes. You just might catch a glimpse of Tom Cruise, Harrison Ford or Edmond de Rothchild. Therefore it is a popular destination for the paparazzi looking to take pictures of the stars.
If you choose St. Bart?s as your destination, you need to make your reservations early. In March, especially, everything is booked solid.


Attractions

The main attraction of St. Bart?s is the beaches and there are 14 of them. They are all public beaches with white sand. Nude and topless sunbathing is also permitted here, so you shouldn?t be surprised to find naked people on the beach. This is why St. Bart?s is not usually a place for families with children. However, the beaches are not crowded even in the height of the tourist season.

The most famous beach is St-Jean Beach, which is actually divided into two beaches by a promontory. On Flamands Beach the surf can get quite high in the winter, but it isn?t dangerous. If you like privacy and seclusion in a beach, then L?Orient Beach has those qualities. This is a popular spot for surfers and swimmers. Collect seashells on Shell Beach and Grand Calet and the Columbier Beach can only be reached by boat.

There are delightful villages where it is not uncommon to see women dressed in the traditional bonnets and costumes of Normandy. The only town on the island is Gustavia and has a dollhouse appearance.


Activities

Fishing is very popular around St. Bart?s. March to July is the main season for catching such species as mahimahi and in September the catch is usually Atlantic bonito and wahoo. You might also catch a barracuda or a marlin.

Scuba divers also delight in what St. Bart?s has to offer. The Marine Service is a fully equipped company with all the equipment for rent that you need to explore the reefs, such as the Grouper or the wreck of the Kayali. This operation also runs daily snorkelling expeditions. A 7 hour excursion, for example, includes a picnic, all the equipment and exploration of two main snorkelling sites.

Windsurfing is very popular and if you are new to this sport there are professional instructors available.


Shopping

You don?t have to pay any duty on St. Bart?s, so it is a perfect opportunity to buy cheap liquor and French perfume. You just have to watch the customs regulations when you return home. You can also buy the beautiful straw hats that the islanders wear.

Purchase gems at the Diamond Genesis or cigars at Le Comptoir du Cigare. Designer clothes are available at Laurent Eiffel and beachware by local designers is available at St. Bart?s Style.


Accommodation and Dining

This is where you do have to watch your money in St. Bart?s. If money is no problem for you then you don?t have any worries. However, if you are on a budget, then you have to shop around. Villas here are really expensive ranging from $2500 to $40,000 per week. There are really expensive resorts, but there are also deals available. Some of the smaller hotels and inns have rooms for $75 per night and these are usually the ones that get booked up the fastest. La Normandie is a family run operation, but there are no extra amenities. It is the equivalent of a cheap motel, but when you?re on holiday in St. Bart?s, you don?t really care. You might also like to stay at a hotel that was actually built in Normandy, at Manoir de Marie, which consists of 8 bunglows.

If you want to experience luxury, then the number of expensive resorts and hotels will astound you, but book early here as well.

In dining, you can also choose in various price ranges for your meals. Dine in fine elegance at Au Port, L?Arbre du Voyageur or at a whole host of other establishments. The main cuisine in French Creole , but you can also get Italian, American and International cuisines. The environment at At Pointe Milou is more relaxed and permissive and at Santa Fe, you can experience the comforts of home with a burger.

 

 

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