St. Barths Honeymoons
Can't decide between the sophistication of a beach resort in Europe and the laid-back (and in-this-hemisphere) ease of a Caribbean island? Consider St. Barths as your destination. The people, cuisine, shopping and nightlife on this tiny island in the French West Indies are every bit as chic as those of St. Tropez, but the aquamarine water and languorous lifestyle are pure Caribbean.
Before You Go: Need-to-know info
Passport and return ticket
French (English is widely spoken)
4 1/2 hours from NYC, 2 1/2 hours from Miami to the neighboring island of St. Maarten. From there it's a ten minute flight or hour long ferry ride.
Rental car, motorbike or taxi
When To Go: St. Barths at its best
The weather is pretty reliably gorgeous from December to June (highs in the low 80s, lows in the low 70s).
You'll find some deals in May and June, when the high season has ended but the weather is still optimal (highs in the mid 80s, lows in the mid 70s). Rates are even cheaper from July to November, but that period is less desirable because of the hurricane risk.
What To Do
Sun, snorkel and people watch:
St. Barths has 14 beaches, all open to the public and each offering a unique set of pleasures. For snorkeling and swimming, try St. Jean and Grand Cul-de-Sac (which is reef-protected). For privacy, hit Saline. To check out a possibly unparalleled natural collection of sea shells, visit the aptly-named Shell Beach.
Shop for chic treats:
St. Barths offers duty-free shopping, which might help you justify a little sight-seeing of the retail variety (look hon, no tax!). You'll find posh big-name brands (Hermes, Chanel) as well as seaside essentials like straw hats and locally made body lotions with mesmerizing tropical scents. If you're not careful you'll wind up buying more haute boho fashions than your suitcases can hold.
Shed your inhibitions:
Here the relaxed vibe of the islands combines with the Continental emphasis on savoring the good life to create an atmosphere that condones indulgence. Drink wine at lunch and take an afternoon nap before having a long, late dinner of French and Creole-influenced cuisine.
-- Celeste Perron