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An Introduction to St Bart’s—St Martin’s Island Neighbor

Many of our guest come to Grand Case to relax and avoid doing much of anything at all. Our resort on St. Martin features a beautiful pool (which receives frequent recognition and praise) and an even more beautiful semi-private beach.

Last Minute Deals St. Martin

The pool at Grand Case Beach Club, on St. Martin.

Add a fantastic and romantic little restaurant on-site at our resort with a view of the sunset, and it’s no mystery that our guests never want to leave!

However, some of our guests have an itch to explore the Caribbean. We have some sample island-hopping itineraries on our website. Traveling to nearby St. Barts is always a popular choice.

Exploring St. Barts

Like Saint Martin, Saint Barthelemy (aka “St. Barts”) is a French-speaking Caribbean island that is known for its white-sand beaches. It’s also a favorite port-of-call for the superrich, so there are always megayachts moored in the harbors and off the coast—it’s no wonder St. Barts is called the ‘French Riviera of the Caribbean.’

It’s a quick jaunt for a yacht, and a fun day trip from St. Martin.

St. Barts lies about thirty minutes by ferry to the south of St. Martin. Just 9,000 people live on this small and hilly island, with the majority living in Gustavia, the main town on the island.

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Like many Caribbean islands, St. Barts has a complicated history.

Saint Barthelemy was first claimed by France in 1648. The island was given to Sweden in 1784, and became a base for the Swedish West India Company operating in the Caribbean. While St. Bart’s prospered during the Napoleonic Wars, the island was sold back to France in 1878.

St. Barth with friends !!! #bythepool #stbarts #stbarth

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Originally part of nearby Guadaloupe, today St. Barts is a French territorial collectivity. This means the island enjoys more local autonomy, including a local governor and territorial council.

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While popular with the megarich, St. Barts is somewhat isolated.

In fact, many megayacht owners fly into St. Martin’s international airport and then are shuttled by helicopter to their waiting yachts. The trip to St. Barts takes about thirty minutes by boat.

Roman Abramovich’s Eclipse is a true megayacht. Costing at least $1 billion, the Eclipse stretches over 600 feet, accommodating at least 25 guest rooms, two swimming pools, several hot tubs, two launch boats, and two helicopters pads.

The red roofs of Gustavia and the island are an unmistakable symbol of St. Barts, along with the luxury yachts in the harbor.

Forts and other relics of the colonial era line Gustavia’s harbor. Fort Karl stands at the north end of the harbor, while Fort Gustaf, with its lighthouse and cannons, guards the south. All of these sites can be easily seen on a daytrip to St. Barts, with plenty of time to hit the beach.

st barts caribbean

St Barts Caribbean. Image by Bruce Tuten. Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Near Fort Gustaf is the popular Shell Beach, where visitors can easily discover exotic Caribbean seashells. On your way home, Gustavia’s many duty-free shops offer deals on French wine and local crafts. Cozy French-style cafes offer views over the harbor and a place to sip a cool drink.

Getting to St Barts

There is no international airport on St Barts, so if you want to fly you’ll have to fly in from another Caribbean island first.

St. Martin has the closest air hub, Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM). Princess Juliana International Airport is big enough to handle long-haul flights from both Europe and the continental United States. SXM also has connecting flights to St Barts.

In fact, the small regional airport in Grand Case, just a short taxi ride from our resort, also offers flights to St. Barts.

st barts flights

Flying into St Barths, by Flickr user alljengi. Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0).

St Barth Commuter offers two services between St Barthelemy and the two airports of Saint-Martin:

SXM-St Barts

St. Bar COMMUTER accepts only passengers in transit at Princess Juliana Airport (no SBCommuter desk in the public area).

L’Espérance Airport (SFG)-St. Barts

If you have already checked into our resort on St. Martin and want to fly to St Barths, you have to fly out of St Martin Grand Case Airport (L’Espérance Airport (SFG).

Ferry Service

There is also ferry service between St. Martin and St. Barts, leaving from Phillipsburg on the “Dutch side” of the island. While there is a variety of daily ferry services available, most leave St. Martin at mid-morning and return in late-afternoon. It makes for a pleasant day-trip, but be sure to check ferry times to ensure you don’t get stranded on St. Barth’s overnight.