Ten days visiting St. Barths

Things to do in St. Barths if you only have ten days.

Landing at St Maarten Airport

Landing at St Maarten Airport

We flew from Washington D.C. (IAD)   to St Maarten (SXM).

Good thing is that we were “mind prepared” to pay for our luggage (we checked four pieces of luggage) but nothing was charged!  Wow! Cool! I had already planned to pay US$ 40.00 for the 1st piece of luggage and US$ 25.00 for the second piece, so …. we would have spent US$ 130.00 for our luggage and we paid zero!  I love United! 🙂

The flight was on time, we were on very good seats (economy plus) in a plane with 3 + 3.

I was at the window, my husband sat in the middle and there was a guy at his side. The guy was “ok”, slept almost all the time.

It is a three and a half hour fly from Washington D.C. to St Maarten International Airport.

Time zone in St Maarten is +1 hour comparing with Washington D.C..

Landing in St Maarten is beautiful, as the airport is very close to the beach (Maho Beach where the three of us _ my husband and my younger son,  went a couple of years ago while cruising the Caribbean within Royal Caribbean.

From the airport we went by taxi to the ferry station (at Oysterpond). The taxi driver was a very friendly  woman.

The airport is located on the Netherlands’ part of the island,  and the ferry terminal  is located on the French’s part of the island. The taxi fare was USD 30.00 and we gave USD 35.00.


We arrived at the Ferry Terminal at 2pm and waited there till 4pm. The weather was great and the temperature around 80F, with a nice breeze.

St Maarten-4

The ferry is excellent! Very comfortable and there were few people traveling,  so we had the upper deck almost for ourselves!

St Maarten-5

Rough Seas from St Maarten to St Barths

The sea………. oh boy………. the sea was MAD! Super big waves, we had to hold the chair where we were sitting otherwise we would “fly”! It was funny to listen some people screaming when a big wave reached the boat!!! 🙂

Thanks LORD we had a “dramamine” 30 minutes before the trip otherwise……. well……. otherwise I don’t know what could have happened! Anyway, we stayed outside the whole trip and it is much better because there is the wind and we can look to the distant horizon!
The wind was so strong that the trip started with the flag and suddenly… the flag flew away!

The travel time between St Maarten and St Barths is approximately 40 minutes, like a roller coaster with big waves!

When we arrived at St Barths I panicked!!! There was no one waiting for us! Where is the person in charge for pick us at the Ferry Terminal?

I must confess that I got nervous…. as everything was reserved and fully paid before, a thought came to my mind: “Maybe there is no house, no one here and my money just flew away?”

Oh boy… it was tough.
To make things worse, the S*** of my t-Mobile had a “no signal” display. I hate t-mobile ! When I come back to the USA I will want to have an ATT line, no more t-mobile for me!

So…. no one waiting for us, a mobile phone that does not work, almost 5pm and DO WHAT???

I went to a kiosk and explained my problem to a girl there. She said: “Your problem. Use your phone” (English with French accent)

I told her that my phone had  “no signal”, so I asked  where I could find a public phone in the island. She replied “No public phones on this island” (with a face as if public phones were some kind of disease…) .

Ahhhh……….. forgive me dear French friends,  but your French compatriots know HOW to be rude !!! The girl had an “attitude” that my desire was to tell her to go to &*^%$  herself.

Then…. I saw a policemen. I asked his help (with my bare French) and he said “Non Non Non” I guess he was thinking I was American. Then I told I was Brazilian and that I had this issue with my phone, and that I needed to contact the person that should have been waiting for me, etc

After the magic words “I am Brazilian” he got his cell phone and called the number I gave him.

Thanks God everything was fine!!! She went to wait for us at the airport instead of at the ferry terminal!  She had an email from the owner of the house (carbon copied to me) telling that I would arrive at 4.40pm at the Ferry Terminal but she forgot I would be arriving by ferry and went to the airport.

The girl advised us to change the date of the rented car. Originally, I made reservations for the “next day” of our arrival, but she said it would be better to go directly to Avis and pick up the car because we can go nowhere on the island without a car. That is, if she dropped us at the house we would not be able to go on the following day to Avis because it is far and there is no public transportation on the island. Smart advice, he?

We went to Avis and picked up the car that was already reserved for us (a Smart convertible). Pretty cool but I must practice driving more because there is the “automatic” but also some gears you can use (6 gears) all pushing forward.

From Avis we followed the girl to the house. I am the driver of the Smart !!! COOL !
The house we rented in St Barths

The house is excellent, with everything we could  possibly need. There was  an air conditioner in our bedroom (split) and the kitchen is an open floor-plan to the living room. There is no air conditioner in the living room but there is no need because we are in front of the beach and there is a permanent wind (with mosquito net).

The girl showed us how everything worked at the house and was she kind enough to let us follow her to the place where the supermarket is located.

We had to buy some groceries  for dinner and WATER because the refrigerator was empty!It would have been nice if the owner povided at least 2 liters of mineral water for guests arriving at his house. The price is not cheap and 2 liters of water would not brake his bank account, I believe. Anyway, there wasn’t any refreshments in the refrigerator.

The supermarket is excellent, they have all kinds of cheese, wine, fruits, vegetables, etc

It is expensive!!!! The same box of strawberries I use to big at Harris Teeter like “2 boxes pay 7 dollars” …here one box cost 9.85 Euros !!! WOW!!

But the wine (Bordeaux) was cheap (5 Euros) and the cheese are not so pricy.

We returned home and had dinner. It was tough to find “where home is” because it was dark and we had been here only once, but we did not get lost because it is pretty easy to find the way as there is only one road that goes along the beach! 🙂

On the next day it was time to get to know St Barth’s beaches!

We started the day crossing the street and going to the beach that is in front of our house:  “Marigot” .

Marigot is a natural  reserve and no boats are allowed here.  We were informed that there are many turtles swimming there.  We did not see  any turtles but we found the beach delicious. The tress give a lot of shadows on the sand so it is kind of difficult to get a tan if you go to this beach.

We stayed at Marigot beach during a while and from there we went to Orient Beach.  Orient Beach’s entrance is at the side of the cemetery. The cemetery is very interesting because it has many flowers _ they use plastic flowers, but, anyway,  it gets a colorful scenery and makes it pretty.

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Orient is an  excellent beach.  One sector of the beach is very calm and the other has waves _ there were a few  teenagers surfing.

After staying in Orient for a while,  we went to Saline Beach.   Saline beach is beautiful but it was windy so we did not stay there for a long time.

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From Salines we went to St Jean beach and I found this one the best of all.

St Jean  is protected from the winds,  we can see the small planes taking off and the water is very calm.

There is also a live bar by the beach with wonderful music  (Lady Gaga,   twist, and even some Brazilian music  as well.

From St Jean beach we went to Gustavia but almost everything was  closed as it is Sunday.

From there we stopped at “Marche U” and bought food including a beautiful sausage to use in our outside grill.

St Barths-8

I found it super cool to drive the smart!  It’s the ideal car for this island,  because the roads are steep and narrow, and it was also always easy to find a parking spot.

On the next day we went to Flamands Beach. Gorgeous day with a bright sun!

Flamands Beach  is very beautiful but  we decided not to stay there because there are no shadows and the sea wasn’t calm due to the winds.   The road that goes there is steep and I didn’t feel comfortable even driving the small Smart.

Flamands Beach-8

Anse des Flamands

We only took some pictures and returned on the steep hill again.  We decided to go to St Jean,  not only the beach is wonderful but because it is protected from the winds.

We carried our cooler with diet coke, beer and two delicious sandwiches made with French cheese_  we bought everything at Marché U,  the best supermarket on the island, located just across to the airport.

I tried to buy a micro sim card to my iPhone 4 and went to the Electronic Store located at the side of the gas station (in front of the airport).  Although  St Barth’s Official Tourism Site says that phone cards are sold there,  they informed they don’t sell them anymore.   They recommended the Orange Store located near St Jean.

We went there but the shop was closed (almost all stores close in St Barths at lunch time, the popular European “Siesta” ).

We went to our villa,  had lunch and returned to Orange Store in the afternoon.

The girl that help me there was nice but the prices were not!   The price to have Internet on my cell phone would be too expensive, and she told me I should remember to cancel it when leaving St Barths otherwise my Credit Card would continue to be charged!  No… thanks!

I decided for a 30 minutes plan that could be used till March 8th.   It cost  15€

The point of doing this was only to call someone in case of an emergency.  For internet I could use the Villa’s wi-fi.

At home we put some sausages at the outside BBQ. They were absolutely delicious! We ate them with salad and green pumpkin.

We decided to wake up early in order to go to buy fresh fish directly from the fishermen !!!

My friend R, who once lived here in St Barths told me by email to buy only “deep sea”   fish.   He recommended the Mahi Mahi.   He also told me that the fishes that stay near the coral reefs can get some kind of disease and we could get sick after eating them.  That’s why the Mahi Mahi is the best option.

We went to Gustavia Harbor where we bough a BEAUTIFUL  super-fresh Mahi Mahi.   The fish was BIG.  More than 3 kg !!!   The guy cut it in two fillets (with skin because we planned to cook it using the gas barbecue).  It is very interesting the quantity of big fishes (looked like sharks) that stay swimming near the harbor. I guess it s because the fishermen throw fish heads and fish viscera into the water!  Next time I will take pictures of the big fishes swimming !

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On Tuesday, February,  28th we woke up at 7am but it was not with my phone alarm.  It was the noise of messages on the iPhone.   Although I did not call anybody with my new cell phone and nobody called me…. my 15 Euros vanished!  There were several messages from Orange Mobile (during the nigh when I was sleeping) and the last one at 6.30AM in the morning was to “inform”  me that I had only TWO EUROS left !!!  How was this possible????

I bought 15 Euros yesterday evening,  didn’t dial one single call;  didn’t receive one single call…. how could my money “evaporate”   during the night????    Oh my Gosh…..  must go to Orange St Barths to ask what is going on…..

Parenthesis:
Later I went to the Orange Store and the girl informed me that this is a “problem”  with the iphone because it keeps looking for Orange even if I have a wi-fi connection at home.  So…although my plan did not give me access to the internet, the iphone connected to Orange Internet (???) and my money vanished.
I had to configure the iphone for not connect to the internet and I had to bought  more 20 € that now, I hope, will last till I left the Caribbean!  🙂
End of Parenthesis.

RAINBOW-8

We had breakfast looking to a beautiful rainbow!

Today we went to know one new beach:  Grand Cul de Sac

Grand Cul-de-Sac  is a beautiful beach, and there were only the two of us there!  A private beach on St Barths Island!  What more could we ask for?  Gorgeous!!!  It was funny to look the seagulls diving into the water and  eating  fishes!!

Grand Cul de Sac-8

Grand Cul-de-Sac, St Barths

Grand Cul-de-Sac is an excellent beach!  I highly recommend it!

One more day staying on this beautiful island!  We went hiking from La Petite Anse to Anse de Colombier,  St Barths.

Colombier-8

Colombier, St Barths —  The trail starts here

 

Colombier is an astonishing beach located on the west side of St Barthélemy.

We drove to Flamands Beach and from there we continued straight till La Petite Anse.    The road is hilly and narrow, as are almost all roads in St Barths.

When we got to La Petite Anse we continue past the hotels and found a nice shadow to park our super small Smart.   I am loving this car, because when you see a really small spot you can know that the car will fit!   The car is not very comfortable (“quicks”  a lot) and I prefer the motor of my Rav4.  Anyway…. for this island it was a smart choice and there is also the appeal of driving a convertible.

The trail to Le Colombier is narrow, almost flat in its majority,  but with three treacherous sections.  I must confess that I was really scared and during some moments I thought I would not be able to walk the way to the beach.

But….  after walking a lot,  it would be worse to go back and not see the beach after all.   After walking almost 20 minutes we were closer to the beach than to the car so….. keep walking…. keep walking!

Colombier-8

The trail is a goat trail with butterflies flying around,  and also  huge cactus along the way.  It’s very scenic!

Colombier-8

The views are astonishing and the beach….oh yes!  It deserves any effort to get there! It is really amazing! The color of the waters is unbelievable and there are many beautiful fishes (like an aquarium) swimming around us!

Colombier-1

The house that belonged to Rockefeller can be seen on the top of the hill

Colombier-2
Colombier-2

There are no shadows from any kind of trees but there are large rocks where we can hide from the strong sun!

We had our cooler with fresh water, fruits and sandwich.  Everyone that goes to this beach must have enough things to eat and drink, plus sun screen, hat, etc.    After reading about this trail, I already knew that  tennis shoes were important, so we were wearing ours.   I don’t think I would be able to complete the trail if I was wearing my flip flops!

We stayed at Colombier Beach for a couple of hours and as soon as we noticed that almost everyone was leaving we left.  We didn’t want to be the last people there  in case we have any problems at the trail there would be nobody to “rescue”  us!  🙂

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Colombier-1

Colombier-1

From Colombier we parked our car and went to Petit San Jean  Beach.   This is our favorite beach on St Barths Island due to super tranquil waters,  shadow from the trees,  beautiful scenery,  music coming from Nikki Nikki, transparent waters and beautiful fishes around us.  The sand is soft and we feel like swimming in a big swimming pool while staying in this marvelous beach.

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We stayed  at St Jean Beach  till 4pm !

On the next day we went to visit Governeur Beach.

Governeur Beach-1

We had a delicious breakfast at our Villa and went to Governeur Beach. Wow… the road to go there is STEEP! We drove from Marigot to St Jean and from  there, there is a road that goes left and after that… up up up…. very close to a huge antenna (higher point of St Barths?) and then it goes down… down… down…

I had to change the automatic driving to the mechanic driving on the Smart because the road was too steep and the car was refusing to go up up up ! OMG!

I am enjoying St Barths a lot, but in my opinion the roads should be in better condition!

The roads are narrow, the asphalt is almost always in poor condition, there are lots of potholes, there is  lack of sidewalks, lack of signalization… etc

St Barths is a rich Island and I can imagine that , with so many expensive hotels and restaurants there could be some money left to improve roads conditions! Where does the money left by tourists go?

The final part of the road that goes to Governeur beach is in excellent condition but it is almost clear that probably the road construction was done by the owners of the mansions that were built there.
Everywhere else on the island we see very bad road conditions.

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Governeur beach is BEAUTIFUL! The water is cobalt blue and there are easy parking space for the car and plenty of shadows of a huge tree at the entrance of the beach.

 

We stayed there for a couple of hours and drunk our cold water (from the cooler) . I also ate plums that were taken inside the cooler as well.  My husband drunk a 1664 beer. I did not drink beer because I don’t want to put on weight!  🙂

Many people nude at this beach. One guy who was naked had his “butt” as red as a tomato! I bet he wasn’t able to sit for dinner that evening!

From Governeur Beach we drove to St Jean (again the scary road) and this time we decided to go to the “bigger” St Jean. Usually we stay at Petit St Jean and haven’t been to “Grand St Jean” yet.

 

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It is cool! The water has the same beautiful turquoise color of Small St Jean but this part has one more attraction: the planes taking off and landing just in front of us!

Only very small planes are allowed in St Barts and it was cool to see many of them landing and departing!

There are several restaurants along St Jean Beach and we stayed close “Restaurant La Plage”.

Almost all beaches have very few people and this is one of the best things in this island! Almost private beaches everywhere you go!

At 3.30pm we left the beach and went to Marché U to buy more fruits and groceries for breakfast.

Another morning, another sunny day!

On Friday, March 2nd, 2012   we parked our car near Orange Store (St Jean) and walked up the hill to see the views from there.
St Barths views-1

We have a very good friend, R,  who once was the owner of that piece of land and some houses there.  It is magically beautiful!  In my opinion, the best views of St Barths are from his previous residence, overlooking St Jean’s Bay and the airport!

We took several pictures, mainly to send to him so he can see how is his former house now.

St Barths views-1

I know about many things that happened on this deck. It’s funny to imagine!

 

St Barths views-1

From the hill we walked directly to St Jean beach where we stayed for a long time.

In my opinion St Jean is the best beach in St Barths because of its calm and transparent waters, easy access, beautiful views and plenty of shadows (just sit near the fence of the houses that are by the sea and there are plenty of coconut thees with generous shadows from the palms!).

He came only to show me the shell and after I saw it (as well as the little crab that lives inside the shell) he returned them to the same place where he found them: at the bottom of the sea

After lunch we went to Gustavia and parked our car near Shell Beach.   The plan was to photograph the sunset!

Shell Beach-1

Shell Beach is really interesting as it is completely covered by small shells!  We had read about this before, so we took our flip flops!

Bar do Brazil is located there but we skeep it!  🙂

Shell Beach-1

The water in Shell Beach is calm and clear but it is hard to walk due to the shells!  We stayed till the sun went down but on the “last moments”  of sunset there were clouds so we went away.  I regret not staying for some minutes more, because probably the water would have been completely yellow.  In fact, we were more than tired so….  back home!!!

Shell Beach-1

 

On Saturday, March 3rd,  we had a delicious breakfast. After our breakfast  we went to Salines Beach where we stayed for a  couple of hours.  Saline Beach is BEAUTIFUL,  the water is cobalt blue but the problem is that it is always TOO WINDY  there!

The wind comes directly and the sand hit us badly!  The chairs fly, the towels fly, caps fly, it is a “fly beach” !!  🙂   Probably on a day with no wind at all  it can be better, but I guess it is hard to find a day with “no winds”  in the Caribbean!

Saline Beach-1

From Salines we went to our favorite St Jean Beach  and stayed there till 4.30pm!

After lunch we went to Gustavia (it was already getting dark) where we walked along the streets admiring the beautiful yachts docked along the Marina.

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We went to “La Creperie”  where we ate delicious crepes. My husband  got the “sucre”  and I got the crepe + ice cram + chantilly + chocolate + caramelized almonds.  WOW !!! Excellent!

We thought about buying a t-shirt written “St Barths”, as we d0 in almost all places we visit,   but  the prices on this island are ultrageous.    32 Euros for a cotton t-shirt ???  NO WAY!  Thank you!

Maybe a billionaire will find it cheap, but I am not going to pay 50 USD for a “no brand” , “no nothing”   t-shirt only because it has “St Barths”  written on it.

We returned home (tough to drive at night in St Barths with so many potholes on the road!!!)

On Sunday, March 4th we stayed the whole day enjoying Petit St Jean Beach!   It is our last “full day” in St Barths, after nine adorable days here!   Tomorrow we will take the Voyager ferry and will go to St Maarten!

St Barths -1

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On Monday, March 6th at 9.30am  an employee from Avis went to our Villa with a big van to take our luggage.  We went in “our” Smart behind him to return our car to Avis office.

Avis is EXCELLENT in St Barths.   From the moment we picked up the car to the moment we returned it, our experience  was wonderful!  I highly recommend Avis as your rental company when going to St Barths!

As the Smart car is really small and has no space for a big piece of luggage, we had this service from Avis: They pick up the luggage, we follow the guy, and we go to Avis office.   At Avis office we close the file of the rental agreement and entered in their big van on our way to the Ferry Terminal.
St Barths -1

While we were waiting for the ferry I took these pictures.

Gustavia-1

Gustavia

 

Gustavia-1

Four big pieces of luggage!

We waited for the Ferry that was scheduled to depart at 11am.   Super punctual! At 11am we departed!

The sea was calmer on our way back to St Maarten than when we came to St Barths,  nine days ago.  There was opportunity for the crew to serve some refreshments, although we didn’t  accept any. We took  dramamine before departing, just in case….  as we didn’t want  to get sick.   Very effective,  we did not have any trouble at all,

Let’s go to our new destination: St Maarten!  🙂

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About CeciliArchitect

World Traveler ~ Photographer ~ Social Media Specialist ~ Tourism Vancouver Certified Specialist ~ Independent Tour Manager and Events Coordinator ~ Blogger ~ Architect & Interior Designer (in my previous life)
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