Fodor's Travel Talk Forums

Fodor's Travel Talk Forums (
-   Caribbean Islands (
-   -   Interesting Activity on St. Barts? (

StanKase Jun 20th, 2010 07:57 AM

Interesting Activity on St. Barts?
We are on a cruise ship with a stop in St. Barts in early Dec. from 10-4Pm. The ship excursions sound lame. We do not enjoy hiking and will be snorkeling, sightseeing and sailing in Tobago, Barbados, T&C and St. Lucia as well.
What special activity or sights would be on your 'Must do" list. We like art/sculpture but do not want to go from gallery to gallery unless there is a few block section where they are predomintently. We are not keen on museums after spends many days a year in the NYC and North NJ museums. Thoughts and locations and best mode of transport and cost. Thanks.

RoamsAround Jun 20th, 2010 01:14 PM

We take relatives and friends to St. Bart's for day trips often and usually hire a taxi "for the day". We get a complete tour of the island, stopping at all the scenic overlooks and points of interest as well as having a fabulous lunch at one of the island's gourmet restaurants before heading back to Gustavia for some shopping for the ladies while the men knock back a few cold ones at a local bar. Everyone always seems to enjoy the day, perhaps it will work for you.

If that doesn't appeal to you take a look at the "what to do in St. Bart's" link at

FYI - taxis or rental cars are the best way to navigate around the island. Prices are comparable to what you'll find on the other islands you are visiting.

Barthophile Jun 22nd, 2010 05:45 AM

I would grab a taxi and head to one of the islands fine hotels, have a wonderful lunch, swim a bit, and head back to Gustavia for some shopping and a cocktail before heading to the tender. has a nice package deal for day trippers, and look at Eden Rock, Le Serano, Isle de France for more options. One of my favorite restaurants for lunch is Santa Fe, a short taxi ride and a gorgeous view of the islands during the day. It is at the top of the road to Gouverneur Beach, pop down there for a little R & R after lunch. Note, no bathroom or food/drink available.

TPAYT Jun 22nd, 2010 11:30 AM

We've been in St. Bart's 3 times for the day off a sailboat. Each time we have rented a car and had a lovely day driving around that gorgeous island. Lunch at Eden Rock was a highlight, if expensive.

The other restaurant we enjoyed was "The Wall House" on the harbor, especially if you are there for dinner.

Groveners(sp?) beach was a good stop, but the island is very hilly with so many coves and beaches. It really is one of our favorites.

The shopping is good and the yachts in the harbor are fun to look at.

The link in Roamsaround post above will help you.

StanKase Jun 23rd, 2010 04:23 AM

Thanks for the ideas. Considering we will be spending time on the beach and in the water snorkeling and diving elsewhere a taxi ride-around sounds best.But is a taxi sufficient or do I need a guide/driver. If not what route should I suggest he take for a 2 hour swing to see more of the natural beauty than the structural elements. I assume it's in euro's but how much should I expect to pay for 2 hours? A range + or-10% would be helpful. If we stopped for lunch for an hour is there a method to calculation waiting time such as there is in NYC? Thanks again.

RoamsAround Jun 23rd, 2010 07:12 AM

All right - you don't need a separate "guide" - the taxi driver will be both the driver and guide. Just engage him in a pleasant conversation about the island and he will tell you all about the different points of interest. You can pick & choose where you want to go and how long you'd like to stay at each location. You'll be surprised at how quickly you and the driver will "work as one".

You can usually hire the taxi by the hour (I think the going rate is around $20 to $25US per hour). You'll pay that rate for the time he is driving you or "waiting for you". If you you tell the driver to drop you off for lunch and come back to get you at a pre-determined time (say 90 minutes later) he'll be free to take on other fares and probably won't charge you for waiting time.

StanKase Jun 24th, 2010 04:10 AM

RoamsAround;I am not trying to save a few dollars. If I let the taxi go as I have done on occasion they get a few fares and I found my self waiting longer for the taxi to return and it was less than pleasant. So for $75-$100 I can tour for 3 hours and have lunch. Now to choose where. We like a great hamburger, a good fresh salad with crisp french bread or an out-of this world onion soup. But for some reason we like leisurely settings vs, fancy settings and rather eat where it is cool or with A/C. Based upon that where should we have lunch?

RoamsAround Jun 24th, 2010 05:18 AM

That's what I was trying to point out - if you want the driver to wait for you, you'll have to pay him the going rate. So, if you hire the driver at say 11AM and take the tour including a stop for lunch and arrive back at the cruise ship dock at 3PM then you'll be charged for 4 hours - but the driver will wait for you while you have lunch.

You can get onion soup and salads almost everywhere and burgers are available at most restaurants. We love having lunch at Isle De France (a small boutique hotel right on the beach). Check out their website for the restaurant menu). Eden Roc also has a very popular "beach side" restaurant but it does get crowded and is "tres expensive". Your driver/guide can also make recommendations.

Barthophile Jun 29th, 2010 06:56 AM

Do Brazil on Shell beach is not too far from where your tender will take you, but a good walk uphill, great signature salad and very good bacon cheeseburger (E20). The only onion soup I've had on St. Barths was at La Langouste (Flammands Beach), lots of great lobster bisque available on the island. Probably one of the best values and quality restaurants for lunch is found a stone's throw from your tender, Le Reparie, wonderful cod fritters (E12), lobster salad with a beautiful presentation (E24), meats and fresh fish. And they have a good burger (E 11), too.

J_R_Hartley Jul 1st, 2010 02:52 PM

Uphill to the Do Brazil?

I'd recommend picking up a car for the day, it works out cheaper than a full day taxi.

Top spots would be St Jean Beach, for good moderately priced food, the Tom Beach is great for feet in the sand dining. You get the same location as the Eden Rock without the hit to your wallet.

Alternatively, head over to Grand Cul de Sac. You have the choice of the Sereno or the Guanahani, as well as O'Corail and La Gloriette, both of which are locally owned.

Take a look here (non commercial restaurant guide pages, before I get banned again)

TPAYT Jul 2nd, 2010 09:22 PM

After reading all of these responses here's my take on it.

You're not on a specific budget, St Bart's is definitely high end, soar with eagles for a day, have lunch at Eden Rock. The other islands are typical islands. St. Bart's is "the bomb". Live it up.

OK, maybe I got carried away, but after more than 20 islands, if I had the bucks this is where I would spend time.

StanKase Jul 4th, 2010 04:01 AM

Thanks all. I prefer not to drive so I will try to hook up with another couple who is willing to drive on the left and do a 3 drive around plus lunch at the Eden Rock. If not I will just taxi to the Eden Rock and ask for a scenic route then a leisurely lunch at Eden Riock and return to the Oceania.

Barthophile Jul 4th, 2010 06:08 AM

Sounds like a plan, Stan. Driving is on the right, no worries there, just steep and twisty in spots. Oh, and those annoying little scooters riding you A$$. Just pull over and let 'em scoot by. Have a great time.

TPAYT Jul 4th, 2010 09:37 AM

We'll be waiting for your trip report on St.Bart's and your other stops. Also be interested to hear your take on Oceania cruises. We've been on 4 sailing cruises (Windstar & Star Clipper) but of all the larger ships, the Oceania ships look like a maybe for us. Anything bigger than that is just too many people.

StanKase Jul 5th, 2010 11:55 AM

JPAYT; Now that Barhophile informs me of dring on the right maybe we will rent a car. From those St. Bart fans who have visited the island in the past 12-18 months how much is a Corolla or similar type size 4-door Automatic. I assume rental $ hr. =1 day rental. We still would have another couple join us so we can get lost together. I am not taking my portsable GPS just for St. Barts because elsewhere we have hired guide/drivers i.e. St. Lucia.
TPAYT; Look for the trip report under cruises in late Dec. This criuise is 24 days (dounting to me as well) from Miami to the Amazon (7 days with 4 stops) plus French Guinea, 9 Caribbean Islands on the way down and return and the remainder are days at sea on the Oceania-Regatta. We are no die-hard cruisers but i wanted to spend some time in the Amazon and as avid snorkelers several stops over faily good reef systems so it could be great if I do not go lunny on the days at sea.

Barthophile Jul 6th, 2010 06:15 PM

Sorry can't help you there, usually rent by the week and in high season it's around $500...lots of car rental agencies (biggies and locals) on the island but you can start by checking budget & hertz, they both have agencies on the island. The airport code is SBH.

BellaClaire Jul 8th, 2010 10:45 AM

I've been to St. Barths 15-20 times for day trips. I always rent a car - go to the grocery store - buy some fabulous french wine and cheese - drive to either Saline or Governors beach and have a picnic - drive to St. Jean's beach for lovely calm water and a swim - watch the planes land - nearly on the beach - drive back to Gustavia - shop a little - and definetly stop at Le Select for a cold beverage and people watching! It is not hard to drive on this island - I don't think you need a guided tour at all - just go and take in all the sights!

TPAYT Jul 9th, 2010 10:15 AM

Great article and photos of St.Bart's in Conde Nast Traveler, June issue.

Also June-July issue of Caribbean Travel & Life. Check out the plane landing photo. When you are in a car at the top of that hill or on St. Jean Beach you feel like you could touch the bottom of the plane.

Also Aug.-Sept. issue of CTL has a great satellite photo of St. Bart's.

Your cruise sounds amazing----24 days,fabulous!

tuleppy Jul 16th, 2010 12:48 PM

Have lunch on the beach at Isle de France in Flamonds Bay! Order the Chilled Pea soup! yum! Make a reservation! Shop in Gustavia! Best shopping EVER! Like Sushi? Eat at Baz Bar in the Harbour. Best sushi, fun atmosphere! However not sure if it is open during the day??

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 02:07 PM.