How to Get to the Island of St. Barth's

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Fora Author Henley Vazquez


Henley Vazquez

  • St. Barths

Ask anyone who’s visited and they’ll tell you: St. Barth's has that je ne sais quoi – the particular magic that’s hard to put your finger on, but you know is there. Perhaps it’s the island’s sugar-sand beaches giving way to crystal-clear turquoise waters. Or, it’s St. Barth's unique French flair, from the cobblestone streets of Gustavia to the yacht-filled harbor reminiscent of St. Tropez or Mykonos. But St. Barth's is hardly precious: it’s an island in the Caribbean, after all, and has no shortage of laid-back, tropical ease. In short? This slice of France in the Caribbean is a home-run destination for just about every traveler.

Below, we’re answering some of your burning questions about planning a trip to St. Barth's  (also known as St. Barts or Saint Barthélemy).  Read on for our tips on getting to the island of  St. Barth's, the best time to visit and recommendations for what to see and do on the island.

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When’s the best time to travel to St. Barth's?

The short answer? Almost any time, except June 1st to November 30th. These months are considered hurricane season, when many hotels and restaurants close and the island is dead-quiet (and not in a good way). Like many Caribbean islands, the December holidays are considered “high season,” when hotels are the most expensive. March is a close-second for high season, thanks to the annual Bucket Regatta sailing event that attracts travelers from far and wide. Summertime is technically low season for Americans, but lots of French people visit for a warm-weather holiday.

How do you get to the island of St. Barth's?

A view of lounge chairs, a swimming pool, palm trees and hotel structure with a tree filled hill and blue sky in the background.

Image Courtesy of Rosewood Le Guanahani

The million-dollar question! Getting to the island of St. Barth's can be tricky, but trust me, it’s worth it. From the States, travelers either fly to San Juan, Puerto Rico or to the nearby island of St. Martin (also spelled St. Maarten). From either San Juan and St. Martin, there is a connecting flight (on a small plane) to Gustaf III Airport (SBH). From San Juan, the flight is 45 minutes on Tradewind Aviation (offering upscale flights and private travel); from St. Martin, the flight is 15 minutes on local airlines St. Barths Commuter or Winair. Note that the SBH runway is tiny, which can be a non-starter for those with severe flying anxiety (I see you!). Ferries are also available from St. Martin as a last resort.

So... which way is better?

Our two cents: the Puerto Rico route is more comfortable and convenient. From San Juan, travelers can take Tradewind Aviation, which offers a scheduled private charter with nicer planes and two pilots. In addition, travelers can clear customs on the way home in San Juan (since Puerto Rico is in the US), which avoids long lines at immigration at the final US destination. Here’s the catch: Tradewind is expensive —  around $1,000 for round-trip flights. The St. Maarten route is more budget-friendly, via Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM), on either St. Barths Commuter or Winair. And if you're looking to extend your trip to San Juan, check out more of the best areas to stay in Puerto Rico.

Are there direct flights to St. Barth's?

A view of a red roofed building on the coast of St. Barth's with green foliage in the forefront and crystal clear waters in the distance.

Image courtesy of Eden Rock - St Barths, Oetker Collection

There are no direct flights to St. Barth's (we know, surprising, given the island’s popularity with New York-based travelers).

Is there a ferry to St. Barth's?

From St. Martin, there are ferries to St. Barth's (including the Voyager and Great Bay Express). But we don’t recommend the ferry; the water is rough and the boat ride is longer than the flight is (about 45 minutes, port to port).

What’s the average cost of a St. Barth's honeymoon?

A view of a white bed in a hotel suite next to an open set of doors looking out to the Caribbean sea.

Image courtesy of Rosewood Le Guanahani

Oof, another tough one. Due to the island’s aforementioned je ne sais quoi, St. Barth's is notoriously pricey compared to its Caribbean counterparts like Anguilla and Antigua. For starters, nightly rates at high-touch, French-inspired hotels like Eden Rock or Cheval Blanc begin at about 1,000 euros. Plus, the island’s popular restaurants and beach clubs (like Nikki Beach and Gyp Sea) are about as glamorous as it gets, with the prices match. But worry not, there are some reasonably priced — but equally lovely — hotels, including Fora favorites Hotel Christopher and Rosewood Le Guanahani. Renting a private villa is a great option for those looking for more flexibility on their St. Barth's vacation; the island‘s northeast stretch, known as Pointe Milou, is a particularly gorgeous location for a villa.

Looking for more honeymoon inspiration? Check out this Maui honeymoon itinerary.

What are the best beaches on St. Barths?

An overview of the beach and palm trees in St. Barth's next to the vibrant blue sea.

Image courtesy of Hotel Le Toiny

St. Jean, Saline, Gouverneur and Shell Beach are tried-and-true favorites. Don’t be alarmed if you see visitors sunbathing nude on Saline Beach. Snorkelers love Marigot Bay and diving sites such as Pain de Sucre and Île Coco. Don‘t miss a hike to Colombier Beach, only reachable via hike or private boat.

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Get inspired by our advisor-curated guides like A Long Weekend in St. Barth's and Guide to Beaches & Relaxation on St. Barth's.

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