St. Barths is for shopping not sainthood

So, as I mentioned in a previous post, birthday trip 2015 had me visit 3 neighboring islands for some fun in the sun.  One of the islands that I explored was St. Barths, a french territory in the eastern caribbean.  I journeyed to St. Barths by ferry from St. Martin (french side) and it took approximately an hour and fifteen minutes to reach.  The cost for the journey is roughly $80 and it is not necessary to book in advance during low season as plenty of space is available.

Upon arrival in St. Barths (at approximately 10a.m.) I noticed the beautifully colored buildings and to the left of the dock, I noticed the high end stores that would beckon most shopaholics (good thing I am not a shopper).  I set off on foot, with a fellow passenger, to visit one of the local beaches – Shell Beach.  This beach is approximately a 10 minute jaunt from the dock by foot in front of a really nice and cozy local restaurant.  Oh yes, restaurants in St. Barths do not typically open until 12p.m. so that means not as much as a french fry until 12p.m.  My new travel companion didn’t care for this beach as much, so we set out for a new beach location.

Heading back to the dock, we stopped in a few local shops where I was able to get my obligatory souvenir shotglass and converse with some of the locals (je parle un petite français).  The locals advised us to visit Nikki Beach (which sounds like Naked Beach when they say it) as it is a little more lively than Shell Beach.  So, off we go to Nikki beach.

The beach is much larger and less crowed that the other beach, but that is about it.  There is a restaurant which opened about 30 minutes after we arrived, but I must say that I found the staff rather snooty.  Apparently in order for the men to work there, they have to be like 6’6″ or so.  Everyone wears white and, while the staff speak english, they are more comfortable conversing in french.  I order a six-inch plate of spaghetti with shrimp at a cost of $30US (34 euro) and didn’t need water because I traveled with a 1.5l bottle.

Neither my new travel buddy  nor myself are big shoppers so we stayed at the beach and restaurant until 4p.m. (an hour before the boat was due to come pick us up).  At that point, we hailed a taxi for the 5 minute ride to the dock, paid the man the $25 euro fair (paid in US dollars) and walked around on the streets to kill time.  I stopped at a local grocery story to grab a bottle of the local vanilla rum and some snacks for the voyage.  We still had another 30 minutes left so we had a nice refreshing fruit cup at a local restaurant, chatted with a few locals and another couple that we saw on the boat earlier.  5p.m. couldn’t come sooner.

While St. Barths is a nice place, aesthetically, there isn’t a lot to do there by way of tourism.  You can laze at the beach all day if you want, but if you are looking for adventure, pack your patience.  One thing for sure, do not visit without a full wallet as a bottle of water in a restaurant will run you $5 (and I don’t mean the good stuff).  It is definitely not a repeat offender type of place for me, but I am happy that I can cross it off my list and get one country closer to completing my second bucket list.

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