flight from St Martin to St Barths

Oct 4th, 2009, 07:17 PM
  #1  
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flight from St Martin to St Barths

Planning our first trip to St Barths. Flying into St Martin and definitely want to fly on. Is Winair the only option? Most importantly, how much time to allow for the transfer? Is there usually a long wait to get luggage? On the way back, is there customs- e.g. I have an 1:40pm flight out of St martin. Is landing there from St barths at 1pm cutting it too close?
Would love frequent travelers' experiences.
Thanks much
ilasik is offline  
Oct 5th, 2009, 05:43 AM
  #2  
 
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I believe that Winair is the only company offering regular scheduled flights right now from St. Maarten to St. Barths. There are a couple of charter companies that offer flights, but they would require a minimum commitment of 4 people, depending on the plane. St. Barths Commuter may have regularly scheduled flights on some days, but my guess is that they fly out of Esperance airport in Grand Case, and a lot of these smaller airlines are notorious for canceling flights if there aren't enough people. You could check them out, but I don't know what the costs are.

We recommend allow 3 hours between flights because the St. Maarten airport can be very busy sometimes. I don't think you could make a 40-minute connection time even in the best of circumstances, though it's always easier going from St. Barths to St. Maarten than the other direction.
doug_stallings is offline  
Oct 5th, 2009, 06:18 AM
  #3  
 
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I've taken a flight on Winair, and your connection in my opinion is way to tight. They are actually also considered foreign countries from each other, so require more connection time than domestic. (even if you don't go through customs in St. Martin. You'd be better off flying the day before into St. Martin. You can spend the night at Sonesta Resort, which is close to the airport, and go to Sunset Bar at the beach at the end of the airport and watch the airplanes land-it's fun. I know it's only a 15 minute flight, so it seems like a lot of work, but I really don't think 40 minutes is enough.

You could also try the ferry from St. Martin to St. Barth, but I believe it's in the morning, so you'd still have to spend the night. It takes about an hour, and it can be prone to sweels-sea sickness.

Is the flight to St. Martin already booked? I've seen earlier flights into St. Martin.

Another thing that no one told me about before my flight: St. Barth is dramatically hilly, so the airplane "dips" before landing on the airport--it's to be expected, but if you didn't know, can give you a little "rush".
blamona is offline  
Oct 5th, 2009, 06:33 AM
  #4  
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Thanks so much to the previous writers - it is actually causing me to rethink my entire trip. St Barth's is super expensive; i knew it was a pain to get to but is it really worth it? So question to you, doug and blamona - at this point I have tickets to St Martin (did not book Winair yet) and a reservation at Eden Rock (still cancellable) for $900/nite for a regular little room. Is it worth it? Or am I just as good taking the ferry to Anguilla and going to Cuisinart for half the money easy? never been to St B but stayed at Cap Juluca once and loved it.Blamona, you are a Caribbean connaisseur - what do you think?
ilasik is offline  
Oct 5th, 2009, 06:55 AM
  #5  
 
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I think St. Barths is worth it if money is no object to you, or if you can go in the off-season, or even if you plan to stay in a villa. But it's certainly a premium destination, and you are never going to "get" what you pay for there unless what you're looking for is the exclusivity and bragging rights of being able to say you vacationed in St. Barths. Though that's just my opinion.

If you want to check out the island, perhaps you could go on a day-trip but have your vacation in Anguilla. But there's no absolute right answer.
doug_stallings is offline  
Oct 5th, 2009, 06:57 AM
  #6  
 
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another alternative is to take a day trip to St Barth's and see if you like it,and then plan an overnighter for another time.
St Barth's is really lovely but if your connections don't work for you, then just go for the day.
You definitely have to allow about 3 hours between flights, if you want to be sure to make your second flight.
It depend on when you are flying though.. Right now everything at the airport is very slow.
Barbara1 is offline  
Oct 5th, 2009, 04:44 PM
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St. Barths is one of my favorite destinations.
Have you considered a villa?
Perhaps take a look at the board dedicated to St. Barths- sbhonline.com
You'll find lots of die-hard fans happy to answer all your questions!
welch is offline  
Oct 6th, 2009, 08:48 PM
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"but they would require a minimum commitment of 4 people, depending on the plane"

Not so, you can charter a plane to carry a cat, or a box.

That said, 40 minutes is a no no. Simply not enough time. I would leave no later than 1200. There are a number of expediting companies who will help you make the transfer.

Doug is notoriously down on St Barts. No you can't get a beer in a plastic glass for a dollar, or eat reheated barbecue chicken, rice and peas for four while listening to poor Bob Marley covers.

If you appreciate the good things in life, you won't be disappointed. St Barts is the best!
J_R_Hartley is offline  
Oct 7th, 2009, 04:39 AM
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ilasik: thanks for considering me a Caribbean connaisseur, I just like to travel and give my opinions! ;-)

Have you been to Anguilla? If not, again my opinion, the beaches are far superior on Anguilla than St. Barth. Anguilla is a flat dry scrubby looking island, but the sand is bright white and the water neon turquoise, like a giant swimming pool. I have stayed at Cusinart and loved it. Sometimes, depending on demand or season, I have seen Cusinart offer day trips to St. Barth. From Anguilla it's also a much easier day trip to St. Martin (which has excellent shopping, restaurants and casinos) Technically, you could arrange your own day trip to St. Barth if you don't mind getting up early. Some ferries start as early as 6AM, so you can ferry to St. Martin, then ferry to St. Barth. It's about 20 minutes from Anguilla to St. Martin, about 1 hour from St. Martin to St. Barth.

In St. Barth, I spent my nights at Carl Gustav, which was gorgeous, but not on a beach. I rented a mini moke (almost like a glamorized golf cart) which was fun. St. Barth is dramatically hilly and small. So you understand my tastes though (so you can put them in perspective) I'm a beach girl, and once you see the ones in Anguilla, St. Barth doesn't even come close.

So for my tastes, and easier on the budget, Cuisinart would be my choice. Quite frankly, value for money, if it's 1/2 the price, you're getting a lot more for your money at Cuisinart, with stunning amazing beaches. Cuisinart is a gorgeous upscale resort.

With that grouping of islands, you still have the ability to hop around between the 3, (and include Saba too) for whichever one you decide! so you can judge for yourself, then write your opinions, and trip report on this forum! 8-)
blamona is offline  
Oct 7th, 2009, 05:00 AM
  #10  
 
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I don't necessarily think I'm notoriously down on St. Barths. I think it's a beautiful island with great food, but I am totally down on the prices, especially the hotel and restaurant prices. There are quite a few restaurants where the average main course is priced in the $30s or $40s, and the cheapest room at the Carl Gustav is $1,100 per night.

That's just not my style of travel, and it's why I don't know if St. Barths is "worth it" or not. I would never spend $12,000 for a one-week vacation for two ... well, I wouldn't have the money to do that, so it's kind of a moot point. But then again, I'm also not a fan of beer in a plastic cup or reheated bbq chicken with rice and peas while listening to Bob Marley. I'm somewhere in between those two extremes.

But I agree that there are ways to mitigate the costs, though one of them is not staying in a $900 a night room at the Eden Roc.
doug_stallings is offline  
Oct 7th, 2009, 07:25 AM
  #11  
 
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I am totally on the Cuisinart plan. I think you would have so much less hassle and fun if you go to Anguilla. Cuisinart is the best of the best in my opinion and on a fantastic beach. IMO the best on the island. I would really encourage you to go to Anguilla. It has so much to offer and the people are simply the wonderful. So, summing it up, wonderful beaches, people and food-not to mention a top notch resort in Cuisinart.
Anguillagirl is offline  
Oct 8th, 2009, 10:50 AM
  #12  
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Thanks everyone!! I changed my reservation to Cuisinart and used the saved $2000(since we were only going for 4 nights) for a quick getaway to my favorite AI Couples Swept Away a few weeks later. It is a long winter here in CT! I did love Anguilla when I went to Cap Juluca and I think I want to make St barths a day trip.
Now all I have to figure out is the ferry situation from St Martin (public, private charter, etc) - last time I flew from PR straight to Anguilla. Well, there are enough threads about the subject but if any of the previous writers have an opinion on this I'd appreciate it. Thanks again, everyone!
ilasik is offline  
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