Style / April 29, 2024

The Best Vacation Spot for 2024: St. Barth’s Travel Guide*contains affiliate links

For those who adore the Caribbean and France (who doesn’t!), St. Barth’s is the ultimate vacation spot.

I find myself daydreaming about returning at least once a week. I honestly believe my vacation to St. Barth’s was my best vacation ever. I look forward to the emails I get from a St. Barth’s real estate company showcasing beautiful homes on the island I could only dream of affording. Each glimpse of those photos keeps the island alive in my mind throughout the week.

So, what is so amazing about St. Barth’s? What makes it the best vacation spot? Let’s get into it. Here are all my best tips for planning your trip to St. Barth’s.

How to Travel to St. Barth’s

Traveling to St. Barth’s from the States can be complicated since it is a small island without a major airport.

First, you’ll likely fly to Miami, then fly to a larger Caribbean island like St. Martin. Lastly, you’ll need to arrange a private charter to the small airport runway at the Gustaf III Airport.

The charter flight to St. Barth can cost more than $1,000 per person, even in the off-season. I’ll be honest; this last part was a bit harrowing, as the takeoff and landing on this island are experiences you will NEVER forget, but are well worth it.

Once on the island, you’ll need to rent a car to get anywhere. The roads are very narrow, so I recommend renting a small car, such as a Smart Car to get around safely.

Sidewalks are limited to certain areas of the island, so it is not very walkable. However, it only takes about 20 minutes to get from one side of the island to the other by car.

Pros and Cons of a St. Barth’s Vacation

I recommend everyone experience a St. Barth vacation in their lifetime. However, there are some key things to know before you go.

Why St. Barth is the Best Vacation Spot

Fine Cuisine

Some of the best food in the world is found in St. Barth’s, including several first-class restaurants with world-renowned and Michelin-star chefs.

Unique Wildlife

Wild tortoises roam the island, and sometimes, you even have to move them out of the road to keep them safe. Wild goats also visited our villa some days, and they loved to drink out of our pool. The many beautiful creatures on this island add to the sense of fun and wonder.

Celebrity Sightings

The rich and famous frequent St. Barth’s, so there are often great opportunities for people-watching. The yachts that pull into the Gustavia port are incredible to walk past.

Pristine Beaches

One of the reasons why St. Barth is the best vacation spot is because of its beautiful, clean beaches with white sand and crystal-clear water.

Convenient Size

St. Barth’s is a small island, so everything is just a short drive away. Trips to stores and services are quick and convenient, and places are always fully stocked with groceries, medicine, toiletries, and anything else you might need for your stay.

Things to Know Before Vacationing on St. Barth’s

High Costs

While St. Barth is the best vacation spot, especially for families, it is a more expensive place to travel to. The lodging and flights alone can be almost as much as three vacations to a cheaper destination. Everything from restaurants to groceries can be pricey, but planning ahead can help you stay on budget. And, as I mentioned, it is all well worth it.

Plan Ahead

It is hard to go to St. Barth’s on a whim. You need to plan your vacation at least 6–8 months in advance to secure the best prices and locations to stay.

Long Travel Day

Since it is a small island, it can take almost a full day of travel to get to St. Barth’s. The small airport is stressful for most travelers. However, once you arrive, there will be no more worries.

where to stay in St. Barth's

Where to Stay on St. Barth’s

Choosing where to stay is an important part of your vacation planning, but honestly, anywhere on the island of St. Barth’s will be an incredible experience.

The most important thing to decide is whether you want to be on the scene or have a private experience. We opted for a private villa over a resort. Since we live in a larger city, we enjoy staying in private villas or smaller resorts to escape the hustle and bustle.

We opted for a hillside private home named Lataniers in the St. Jean area, located above Eden Rock Hotel. Lataniers has stunning views of the island.

where to stay in St. Barth's

St. Barth’s is the Best Vacation Spot Offering Various Adventures

We spent our week exploring the island’s stunning beaches.

My favorite beach day was at Le Gouverneur. The water was so warm and lapped perfectly against the white sand. If you put your beach blanket near the foliage, you will hear turtles passing by your spot. This beach is quiet and secluded.

Right up the road from Le Gouverneur, we had the best lunch at Santa Fe. You MUST go here for lunch when you visit. When making a reservation, ask to sit on the rail, overlooking the tropical forest and ocean. This place has the most amazing lobster tail on the island.

My second favorite day was at the beach club, where the GypSea Sunday beach party was held. We danced and drank fruity cocktails straight from a coconut. You can dress in a bathing suit and sunbathe on the loungers, or dress beachy cool and grab a table to watch people, dance, and party.

Hike to Petite Cul De Sac

Another great adventure is the hike to Petite Cul De Sac. This hike has many mixed reviews, but it is doable even for a beginner hiker like me. The hike is easy but very long, so take lots and lots of water and a meal to be safe. I wore open-toe water shoes with some tread, a bikini, and denim shorts for the hike, and it was perfect. There are two natural pools you can swim in, and the scenery is fantastic. The pools can be hard to find, but other people will be around to help you find your way and share in the adventure.

The Best Places to Eat in St. Barth’s

  • La Isola has great Italian food with a beautiful interior and romantic vibe; request a corner booth table
  • Maya’s is outside along the waterfront and has great energy and delicious seafood options
  • Black Ginger has incredible Thai food; I wasn’t sure I was in the mood for Thai food when we booked this reservation, but this place did not disappoint
  • Jojo Burger is great for a quick and affordable lunch option
  • Isoletta is casual dining; get the pizza and salads here
  • Le Tamarin has excellent food, but the highlight is the secluded garden atmosphere with twinkle lights and the fact that they give you a stool for your handbag to sit on
  • Le Bonito has classic French food with a Caribbean twist, creating a melting pot of cuisine in this open kitchen beach house setting — don’t miss eating here on your trip!

Best Nightlife in St. Barth’s

We found the nightlife in St. Barth’s to be a little lacking. It is great place to party if you are traveling with a big group that makes its own party. However, we traveled as a couple and struggled to find satisfactory dancing or entertainment at night. If you want to try and find a party, I recommend these places:

  • La Petite Plage is not a great place for fine dining, but the techno beats and party atmosphere make it a great place for drinks at the bar and people-watching later in the evening
  • Le Ti has a fun cabaret show every night, but be prepared because you are required to spend a certain amount at the show. It was a little cheesy, but you know we left with the $75 photo they took of us in weird hats
  • Bar at Eden Rock has the most beautiful décor, and the drinks are incredible. It is a super popular spot for lodging on the island, so you might be able to find a group of people who are up late and ready to mingle

Best Beaches in St. Barth’s

There are many fabulous beaches to explore on St. Barth’s, which makes it the best vacation spot.

Saline and Gouverneur Beaches

Saline and Gouverneur Beaches are a must-see, with white sands, blue water, and a perfect swimming temperature. I recommend taking an umbrella, beach chairs, a picnic, or anything else you may need because there are no restaurants, bathrooms, or cabanas on these beaches.

Shell Beach

Shell Beach is a great place for happy hour or snorkeling. As its name suggests, Shell Beach has the best shelling on the island. Shellona has a party vibe, so you can order drinks, walk down to your beach blanket, and drink while snorkeling.

Nikki Beach/St. Jean Beach

Nikki Beach/St. Jean Beach is small and crowded, but it’s where the action is. This is the iconic spot where you’ll find those picturesque harbor views and the lively party scene. People-watching here is top-notch. Don’t feel pressured to dine at fancy resorts; grab your beach blanket and settle in on the public beach. Plus, this beach offers fantastic water sports rentals. Whether you’re into jet snorkeling at high speeds or renting boats, paddleboards, or jet skis, there’s something extraordinary for everyone here.

Grand Cul De Sac Beach

Grand Cul De Sac is where Le Serrano, Le Guanahani, and Le Barthélemy Hotels are located. There is a little beach rental near Le Barthélemy, where you can rent paddleboards or kayaks to paddle with sea turtles.

Flamands Beach

Flamands Beach has beautiful white sand and great hotels nearby. You can eat lunch at Ile De France or La Langouste, swim afterward, or have a beach picnic.

Beaches to Avoid on St. Barth’s

Le Toiny Beach, Anse de Cays Beach, and Lorient Beach were not my favorites because they are typically very windy and have little to do.

The Best Shopping in St. Barth’s

We are not big breakfast people, but we can’t resist an amazing cappuccino. So, every morning, we would wander down the road to a bakery, try all the pastries, and spend the morning shopping around in the island’s different areas. There are lots of great shopping options to explore, especially in Gustavia—just make sure you don’t try to go during their Siesta times!

  • There is a French pharmacy by the airport called Saint Barth Beauté Santé that has amazing face products and other bath and body items for very cheap
  • Pan de Sucre in St. John is a little swim shop that I adore — their suits fit like a glove and are very flattering
  • Sea Spice in St. John is a cooking store tucked behind Modjo Club — their salts and spices are amazing and make for great gifts to take home
  • St. Barth Stock Exchange, hidden at the end of the marina in Gustavia, has inexpensive resale items from amazing French brands, including beautiful and comfortable day dresses, pants, tops, and coverups; their in-house label is so inexpensive and beautiful, and they also sell kids sizes
  • Poupette St. Barth in Gustavia has cute dresses and beach stuff
  • Gustavia General Store/gift shop on the corner sells fun random trinkets and stuff to take home to kids
  • Pearl Store in Gustavia has beautiful, inexpensive earrings and simple jewelry
  • Monbarth is a small store in Gypsea with fabulous hats and comfy beach clothes
La Petite Place in St. Barth’s

Key Takeaways: Planning a Trip to the Best Vacation Spot, aka St. Barth’s

We have traveled to many places around the world, but so far, there are only two places that I would consider returning to: Costa Rica (Read more about our most magical family vacation here!) and St. Barth’s. Most places that we travel to are great, but not necessarily places I dream of returning to.

If you can afford a trip to St. Barth’s, then I absolutely recommend booking a 10-day stay on this island. You won’t regret it!
But if you want a different type of vacation, say an RV roadtrip, here’s the perfect post to read next!