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Visiting St. Barths for the First Time

There’s something special about the first time someone visits St. Barths. The first time you step onto the glorious island of St Barthelemy, something changes within you. Ellen had the superb pleasure of visiting St. Barths, and captures the magic of the Caribbean island through a newcomer’s eyes in her story.

 

Flamand Beach

“I have heard many times that St. Barths is a special island, unlike others. Many say it’s the people or the beauty or the privacy that makes it that way. Here is why I thought St. Barths was special. St. Barths is not just a beautiful island, but a clean island where the buildings and homes are well maintained, and it gives you the sense of being in a bit of a utopia. The geography of the island has so much personality and invites you to explore every nook and cranny. The people are so special with their sophistication and kind, friendly nature. The island has SO much to do from beaches to beautiful villas to shopping and dining. On my first night there I knew that there just aren’t enough minutes in a St. Barths day. I hardly wanted to sleep for fear of missing an opportunity to engage in the island.

The Villa Experience

I rented my villa through WIMCO. They take away a lot of the stress of arriving in a new place when you are tired and frustrated, because they lead you through the process from that point forward; directing you to the nearby rental car counter, giving you a packet of information about the island and your villa, and leading you to your villa.

One of my favorite parts of being in a villa is all the space you have. I really noted in all the villas how they have so many unique gathering places. Our villa (WV FUN) had at least 7 areas where you could sit. These areas were both indoor and outdoor, and included dining areas, lounging areas and Gouverneur Beachsitting areas. My favorite was the incredible sunken outdoor seating area with huge chaises, a couch, and tables, all with views of St Jean Bay.

The first thing I did at the villa was to jump into 1 of the 2 pools. It was heavenly, especially with the music coming from my room, and the views of twinkling lights in the mountains. We were lucky enough to have 1 heated pool which was great for nighttime. Either way, having a private pool at your villa is a luxury you get used to very quickly.

Beaches

Just as everyone has said, St. Barths is a beautiful island with its high green mountains, bright blue water, and yellow sand beaches. What I really noticed though is that for a small island, it is really diverse. There is a different feel around every corner from the wild hills of Vitet to the lush valley of Grand Fond. These are 3 of my favorite beaches that I visited:

Flamand beach: The beach was wide and long, with Isle de France hotel at one end and a few houses dotting the beachfront. The water was beautiful, but rough. It just happened that we were visiting during an unusually windy week, someone referred to it as the Christmas Winds.

Saline beach: Parking is easy for Saline, and then there is a semi-easy 5 minute walk to the beach. The beach was really lovely, enclosed by high mountains with not a building in site. If you get hungry at the beach, the restaurant Grain de Sel is right next to the beach parking lot.

Gouverneur BeachGouverneur: Whenever I asked locals and visitors, what their favorite beach is, the answer was Gouverneur. The first thing that struck me about this beach was the incredible turquoise color of the water, more extreme than any other that I had seen on the island. The second thing I noticed was all the nude sunbathers. I had to walk quite a while to find a nice spot with only views of the water. It’s a pretty narrow beach but rather long and the water is really nice for swimming once you make it past the initial drop off and waves.

Leaving

My trip ended by attending Sunday mass at the Anglican Church in Gustavia. It was a great way to experience life on St. Barths. Huge shuttered doors let breezes (as well as birds) cross through the church. We even had a little dog make his way through the pews at one point. It was peaceful and would be an incredible way to start a week on St. Bartjs and get a feel for the people that live on and love the island.

As we flew off later that day, barely clearing the windsurfers below, I was already envisioning future trips with friends and family. A villa is a great vacation option whether you’re a group of 2 or 10. Oh, and I have to come back for the 95 restaurants I wasn’t able to get to on this trip.”

Read Ellen’s full trip-report here.

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