Hotel Taiwana, St. Barths

How to Spend a Day in St. Barths

Have the opportunity to spend a single day in St. Barths? Here’s how to maximize a brief brush with the French island:

How to Spend a Day in St. Barths #Caribbean

Morning | Arrival in St. Barths

The St. Barth Stock Exchange - Shopping in St. Barths

If you’re arriving in St. Barths from St. Martin or Anguilla (or by cruise ship), you’ll generally land on the island in the morning, giving you plenty of time to enjoy a full day. If you arrive by ferry, you’ll get off right in Gustavia, the perfect place to kickstart your morning. If you’re arriving by plane, you’ll want to start by making your way to Gustavia. Taxis are available but are very costly (as an example, it’s around $30 from Anse de Flamands to Gustavia). If you’re comfortable renting a car to get around you can score a standard vehicle for around $30 a day to allow for flexibility.

GUSTAVIA: Gustavia is the hub of St. Barths, a central point for shopping, dining and entertainment. Any time of year, you’ll see boats upon boats in the harbour but during high season be prepared to glimpse some serious mega yachts that have made their way to the tiny island paradise. St. Barths has a famously fabulous shopping scene and that’s not without merit! Your first glimpse will likely be a row of designer shops (Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Buglari) that will either excite or intimidate you (maybe both). You’ll stumble upon some unique finds in Gustavia if you browse: places like M’Bolo, a little shop where a lady has been making her own rums for 20 years; Saint-Barth Stock Exchange, a shop offering some super stylish second-hand goodies; and Baya, an eclectic store with home decor curated from around the globe by the shop owner herself.

In need of a bite? Get your morning fix at a bakery or head to La Creperie, where you can fuel on fabulously French crepes with your choice of fillings.

Afternoon | Lunch + Beach Day at St. Jean Beach

How to Spend a Day in St. Barths #Caribbean

After you’ve had your St. Barths shopping fix while exploring Gustavia, it’s time to head down and explore the other element that makes St. Barths famous: the beach scene. There’s no better place to experience this than at Nikki Beach Saint Barth, located right on St. Jean Beach. With iconic Eden Rock Resort sitting on the point, it’s a stunning stretch with a beautiful contrast of colors; white sand, turquoise waters, peachy-pink rosé and the red-roofed beauty of Eden Rock. You can easily spend hours lazing the afternoon away here, and a bottle of rosé is practically compulsory to complete the St. Barths vibe. The sushi is universally delicious and they offer plenty of bikini-friendly light fare to fuel the afternoon. Plan on around €100 per person between food and drinks but think of it as an experience, not just a meal.

If you’d rather stay close to Gustavia, you can also make your way to Do Brazil at Shell Beach, another ‘beach bar’ (as close as it gets in St. Barths!) where you can experience a drawn-out lunch paired with a dip in the sea. Be forewarned: where you can enjoy Nikki Beach and all if its beachfront beauty for the cost of lunch, Do Brazil charges €50 per chair to use the beach chairs for the day.

How to Spend a Day in St. Barths #CaribbeanAnguilla vs. St. Barths: Which Island is Right for You?

Afternoon {Alternate} | Resort Day

Hotel Christopher, St. Barths
Hotel Christopher at Point Milou offers day passes for non-residents for €80.

If the Nikki Beach/Do Brazil scene isn’t actually your scene at all, there’s an alternative. Head to a resort where you can while away the day with pool access, spa services, lunch and beach chairs. Hotel Christopher, located on Point Milou offers a day pass which includes pool access/chair use, a welcome cocktail and a three-course lunch for €80 per person. They have a Sisley Spa on-site as well for an extra dose of pampering!

Early Evening | Pre-Dinner Cocktails

Isle de France Cheval Blanc, St. Barths

After a quick clean up, grab a pre-dinner drink in Gustavia or take the opportunity to explore some of the stunning hotels in St. Barths. For a super elegant sunset option, head to Cheval Blanc on Anse des Flamands or head to iconic Eden Rock to scope out a high-end hotel scene.

Evening | Dinner or Appetizer Crawl through Gustavia

Anguilla vs. St. Barths: Which Island is Right for You?

Only one night in St. Barths? Picking a single restaurant on and island with exceptional dining can be tough. Instead, follow our lead on this and opt for a dinner and appetizer crawl! With limited time in a destination, this is our absolute favorite way to explore hotels and restaurants that pique our interest without having to choose just one! For a couple it actually ends up being a perfect – and often times more social – way of enjoying the dining scene. If you’re bouncing around Gustavia, mosey on up to the bar at Bonito where you’ll be served some fabulous craft cocktails alongside your choice of fresh fish in ceviche or tiradito form (try the sampler of ceviches – it’s perfect for two). From there, don’t miss Orega, where you can continue the raw fish trend and try their sushi or tataki alongside some wildly inventive cocktails (think green tea and spirulina). If you’re a gin lover, the Yuzu cocktail is a must! You can continue on for a casual bite and a sip at Baz Bar, made better if they’re offering live music to keep the night going.

You’ve done it! That’s arguably a perfectly spent day in St. Barths to soak up some of the elements that make St. Barths iconic: shopping in Gustavia, a day at the beach complete with French-inspired drinks, and an evening enjoying some of the wonderful cuisine on the island.

Share your tips! How would you spend your perfect day in St. Barths?

 Shannon Kircher, The Wanderlust Effect

More about Shannon Kircher

Shannon Kircher is the founder and editor of The Wanderlust Effect, formerly The Traveling Scholar. Founded in 2009, she has continued to document her international escapes as an expat in Europe and the Caribbean. She is a former resident of London and San Francisco and now calls the island of Anguilla home. In addition to The Wanderlust Effect, Shannon is the Director of Marketing for the Frangipani Beach Resort and is on the Board of Directors of the Omololu International School in Anguilla.