Getting to St. Barts, the “Jewel of the Caribbean,” from New York by plane is not quite straightforward. There are, some important things to know upfront.
Still, it’s really quite easy to get to this magical corner of the French West Indies from the Big Apple. Itineraries via gateway islands — most commonly Saint Martin or Puerto Rico — involve very reasonable flight times and only short layovers.
In this article, we’ll explain the best ways to fly to St. Barts from NYC, throwing in plenty of useful tips and details as well.
The unique configuration of the St. Barts airport — Gustaf III Airport, also known as Remy de Haenen or St. Jean Airport — explains why you can’t fly directly to the island.
Your average commercial jet needs a runway more on the order of 6,000 feet long. St. Barts’ airfield, famously adjacent to St. Jean Beach, boasts one of the world’s shortest runways: only about 2,100 feet. Thus, only small propeller planes seating about 18 or fewer passengers can land at Gustaf III Airport.
This makes it necessary to have at least one flight connection to reach St. Barts from New York. For most vacationers, it’s part of the charm, reaching the Jewel of the Caribbean in such a unique way.
Below, we’ll describe the logistics of flying to St Barts via Puerto Rico and Saint Martin, the two major gateways to this fabled island.
We particularly recommend going through Puerto Rico, as many major airlines offer flights from many cities in the US to San Juan’s airport. While less airlines have flights into Saint Martin, it is certainly a viable option as well.
A roughly 3.5 to four-hour flight from John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) or Newark International Airport (EWR) brings you to San Juan, Puerto Rico.
A number of major airlines fly directly from New York to San Juan’s Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport, including United, Spirit, JetBlue, and Delta. Another plus is that there are numerous flights each day.
From San Juan, you can then fly to St. Barts via Tradewind Aviation. This is about a 55-minute flight aboard Tradewind’s luxurious Pilatus PC-12, a single-engine turboprop aircraft. The Pilatus PC-12 has eight forward-facing seats that facilitate greater room for luggage. Onboard, you’ll enjoy complimentary snacks and refreshments — beer and wine included.
While generally pricier than the Saint Martin route, flying through Puerto Rico provides lots of options in scheduling flights and choosing airlines. And a Tradewind flight is a pretty luxe way to arrive in St. Barts!
WIMCO’s Travelers Tip: If you’re considering one of the NYC to St. Barts flights via Puerto Rico, and you aren’t in a rush, we recommend adding a night in San Juan to your itinerary. You might fly into the San Juan in the afternoon, then catch a Tradewind flight to St. Barts the following morning.
Puerto Rico’s capital is packed with amazing history, architecture, and cuisine, so it’s definitely worth setting aside a little time to enjoy it en route to St. Barts…and Old San Juan and a host of hotels are just minutes from the airport.
Tradewind Aviation (flytradewind.com)—Phone: +1 203-267-3305 (International), 800-376-7922 (U.S.)
Contact WIMCO’s Air Department to book your flight.
The most commonly taken itinerary from New York to St. Barts is to travel through Saint Martin.
It’s roughly a four-hour flight from NYC to Saint Martin. Direct flights into St. Maarten’s Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM) are offered from New York by several airlines.
Once you land and clear customs, it’s only about a 15-minute prop-plane flight from Saint Martin to St. Barts via either Winair (Windward Islands Airways) or St. Barth Commuter.
Winair flies passengers from Princess Juliana Airport to Gustaf III Airport via DHC-6 Twin Otters. St. Barth Commuter takes you aboard a Cessna Grand Caravan.
You can only fly St. Barth Commuter out of Princess Juliana Airport if you’re in transit there. Otherwise — or if the company’s Sint Maarten flights are completely booked — you’ll catch your St. Barth Commuter flight out of Grand Case Airport on the French side of Saint Martin. That’s about a 40-minute taxi ride away from Princess Juliana Airport.
Helicopter service is also available from Saint Martin to St. Barts. AirStMaarten (AirSXM) offers flights aboard its twin-engine, 5-seater Eurocopter AS355N.
You’ll have fewer flight options and airlines going to St. Barts via Saint Martin. That said, it’s usually the more affordable route.
WIMCO’s Travelers Tip: Saint Martin offers plenty for a St. Barts-bound traveler to enjoy, so you might consider adding a night here. Attractions are well worth checking out, including “Restaurant Row” in Grand Case. (Remember, if you go this route and stay a night on Saint Martin, your option for a St. Barth Commuter flight to St. Barts will be through Grand Case Airport.)
Winair (fly-winair.sx)—Phone: +1 721-545-4237 (International), +590 590 27 61 01 (St. Barts)
St. Barth Commuter (stbarthcommuter.com)—Phone: +590 590 27 54 54
Contact WIMCO’s Air Department to book your flight.
Another possibility for flights from NYC to St. Barts is a private charter. If you’re looking for a private flight, you’ve got several gateway islands to choose from.
These include not only Puerto Rico and Saint Martin but also Antigua, St. Thomas, Guadeloupe, and Martinique. Connecting via other islands may be a possibility too.
So you can fly aboard a private jet into one of the larger Caribbean airports, then take a private prop plane charter flight to St. Barts.
Tradewind, Winair, and St. Barths Commuter offer private charter flights, and other independent operators are available who exclusively focus on this service. You can also go via private yacht or helicopter charter.
If you’re looking to reach St. Barts via your small plane, remember that every pilot flying into the island needs special Short-Takeoff-and-Landing (STOL) certification.
You don’t need proof of a COVID vaccine or negative test results to enter St. Barts. (You can keep track of the most up-to-date entry requirements here.)
Similarly, Puerto Rico does not require proof of vaccination or test results for inbound U.S. visitors, and Saint Martin has no current COVID-related entry requirements.
You’ll need a valid passport with an expiration date six months or more past your arrival to enter St. Barts. U.S. citizens (as well as citizens of Canada, EU countries, and most Central and South American countries) don’t need a visa if their trip is 30 days or less.
Figuring out your St. Barts flight from NYC couldn’t be easier with WIMCO Villas on your side. WIMCO’s Air Department makes everything as simple as can be, whether we’re booking your flights via international and regional carriers or arranging for private charter air transportation. Learn more right here.