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Trip Report St. Bart's

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I have had the good fortune to visit St. Bart's recently. We were in St. Martin and Anguilla (day trip) in March and St. Bart's in May. I feel like these 3 islands are a great compliment to each other and one of the things I like about visiting St. Martin is that it's offers easy day trips to these other islands.

Our trip to St. Bart's was not a day trip, however, as we spent 5 days on the island. St. Bart's is very beautiful and the hilly and windy roads really offer amazing views as you drive around. It was hard at times to keep an eye on the road as the vistas were so gorgeous. Since we stayed at Hotel Le Village in St. Jean, which was a great hotel, we spent the majority of our time on St. Jean beach which was stunning. Having recently visited Shoal Bay in Anguilla and several beaches on St. Martin then coming to St. Bart's it's hard to pick favorites when they are all beautiful in their own way.

The white sand and crystal clear water of St. Jean was a great contrast to the hilly backdrop surrounding the beach. While there was some activity on St. Jean beach and places to rent paddle boards etc, there was also areas where it was quiet. However, even with the activity it never felt crowded. In contrast to the activity of St. Jean beach, Saline beach is completely undeveloped, it's just nature. The beach is beautiful but there was a seaweed issue on that side of the island that affected the south side beaches while we were there. This included Shell beach too.

St. Bart's is not a cheap place. The restaurant prices are high but luckily the food was consistently good everywhere we ate. We had meals at La Plage, Do Brazil, Andy's Hideaway, La Gloriette and Le Glacier. This last one is more bar and less restaurant but had a decently priced lunch option and it was fun to hang out with the locals as they watched European soccer matches on TV. St. Jean offers several good restaurants and markets right in the town and it is easy to walk from the beach to the markets for a picnic lunch. This was the most affordable option but there are also restaurants and beach bars to have food and drinks. La Plage offered some good food, great drinks and quite a show as the crowd was in full party mode. Andy's Hideaway in the St. Jean Village was a nice restaurant with consistently good food (we ate there 2x) and amazing ice cream sundaes with caramel sauce! La Gloriette in Cul de Sac is on a quiet little beach with warm, shallow water. The food was good but sort of pricey for lunch but we were able to sit and relax under an umbrella while the kids enjoyed some time playing in the water.

The Sunday scene at Nikky Beach was interesting but it was best for us to observe from afar as that really isn't our scene anymore (and we had our kids with us). However, the crowd seemed to enjoy many bottles of rose and champagne while hanging out in the warm water.

St. Bart's is very French and feels more South of France than Caribbean. This is what attracts some people to the island I think as well as the sense of safety, lack of poverty and of course the beautiful scenery. There are no large resorts here and you really need a car to enjoy the island. We did take some taxis at night when we were going to places not within walking distance of our hotel because the roads are dark, narrow and windy and I like to enjoy some wine with dinner. The taxis were expensive but worth it.

I am glad I had the opportunity to visit St. Bart's. I don't think I will be returning any time soon but I definitely see the appeal for the people who return year after year. My preference is definitely St. Martin and Grand Case in particular as I like the funky vibe mixed with the French flavors in a Caribbean atmosphere. However, the nice thing about this part of the Caribbean is it is easy to visit several islands in one trip if you want.

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