Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A tropical French paradise called St Barth's

St Barth's; Whether one calls it by its English name “St Barts” or by its French name “Saint Barthélemy”, this is a truly beautiful tropical island retreat with some of the most beautiful Caribbean beaches and turquoise waters anywhere.

Though few can pinpoint it on a map, its name is often name dropped via celebrities and the jet set types. Celebrities are often seen gracing its sugar like beaches in the celeb magazines showing off their perfectly tanned bodies. St Barth's is a French island approximately 8.5 square miles with 8500 citizens and is located 150 miles west of Puerto Rico. Though part of the overseas collectivity of France today, it was originally a Swedish colony for a century up until 1885. The Swedes are long gone but St Barth's still maintains a real European flavor, more so than anywhere else in the Caribbean.

Old colonial Swedish and French stone buildings line its inland harbor while luxury super yachts dock along the waterfront and are serviced by many high end designer stores and French wine bistros. All the amenities and services one would expect in France can be found here. There is no drop in standard of living from here to the mother land; from a fine selection of French wines, pastries, baguettes, cheeses and ocean view restaurants. One will eat as well here as they would in France. I found St Barth's to be very tranquil, friendly and very culturally enlightening. The people are really spiritually alive and passionate, its a zen-like utopia in an otherwise world of vast uncertainty.

Getting There: Small commuter planes out of St Martin and Sint Maarten service the islands quaint little landing strip. A ferry service from the Dutch side of Sint Maarten also makes daily trips. Though the sea can be quite rough.

see more photos at: my website www.thetimetraveler.net