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-   -   St. Bart's Expert's (https://www.fodors.com/community/caribbean-islands/st-barts-experts-861908/)

StanKase Oct 4th, 2010 07:29 PM

St. Bart's Expert's
 
We will be making our first cruise stop in St. barts on Dec. 28 and will be in port from 11:30-4:30. assuming the weather is pleasant we would NOT want to visit any museums or similar. Our interrests are in natures beauty. Though we know there is some snorkeling there we are leaving that for Tobago, etc. I rather not rent a car and will not go on a ship offering.
If you had four hours tops what would be a a great schedule without spending more than $200 USD.Thanks.

RoamsAround Oct 5th, 2010 07:38 AM

When we take friends or relatives to St. Bart's for a day trip we always hire a taxi "for the day". We engage the driver in friendly conversation about the island and have him drive us around to all the scenic spots around the island. Along the way we make a stop for lunch (either at a place we know or one recommended by the taxi driver). Afterwards there's more touring or perhaps a stop in town for some shopping. At the end of the day the driveR drops us off at the airport for the trip back to our home (in your case at the dock so you can get back to the ship). It works out quite well as we travel at our own pace, stopping at each location for as long or short as we want.

We do this on lots of islands and find it works out very well - the driver knows his way around the island and we don't have to concern ourselves about any specific route of march as we manage to many places of interest. We find that by letting the driver know what types of things interest the people in our party we manage to see/do something for everyone. You certainly should be able to hire the taxi for well under $200 for the time you are in port.

BellaClaire Oct 5th, 2010 06:47 PM

I would rent a mini-moke - drive to the grocery store near the airport and St. Jeans - grab a bagette, some wine and cheese - then head to St. Jean's beach - have a picnic- then drive to governeurs beach(sp?) finish your wine- then to Saline beach -enjoy the waves - then drive back to gustavia -drop off your car - and have a beer at Cheesburger in Paradise.....

Odin Oct 6th, 2010 01:07 AM

We rented a small car for the day, drove around the island stopping at various beaches and lunch at a place on St Jean's beach. If you don't want to rent a car the idea of hiring a taxi for the duration is a good one.

StanKase Oct 6th, 2010 09:40 AM

Does any one know what a taxi might cost for 3 hours and might that be enough time to circumnavigate the island? Since gas is not inexpensive might it be besrt I tell the driver 3-4 places I want to see at a minimum so that we just not riding around one part of the island. I am trusting but at the equivalent of $5USD/gallon it would not be surprising.

RoamsAround Oct 6th, 2010 11:59 AM

First the island is small (only 8 sq. miles) so regardless of whether you use a rental car or taxi the cost for gas will be minimal. No need to worry about "riding around just one part of the island, in three hours you'll be able to cover the entire island with plenty of time for stopping at various points of interest. I'd be real surprised if you used more than 2 gallons of gas in a day's worth of driving.

Second, for a multi-hour tour you probably will pay somewhere between $25 and $30US per hour for a taxi.

StanKase Oct 7th, 2010 07:32 AM

Roamaround; I was not concerned about my gas expense but that of the taxi drivers. From what you said and others a 2-3 hour trip would do nicely.I think we will have an early lunch on board the ship and venture out ffrom 1:30-4 or so. I could not seem to find places of particular interest. Considering we will visit 9 Caribbean islands plus 8 days in the Amazon to see a beach is not high on my list of oints of interest and as I said museums are neirther if the weather is lovely. Therefore can you share with me 4-5 areas I should make sure we vist and which ones are worth a walk-around.
Thanks.

RoamsAround Oct 7th, 2010 09:11 AM

There are numerous "scenic overlooks" around St. Bart's - on a general tour of the island you'll pass them all and your driver will stop so you can enjoy the view and take pictures if that's what you'd like to do. The driver will probably take you past several of the beaches, a few of the more upscale hotels and numerous small shops.

Personally, I wouldn't have lunch on board your ship (Yes, i know meals are included in your cruise package). St. Bart's has some of the best restaurants (especially French cusine) so if you or any members of your group are foodies you would be doing yourselves a disservice not dining on St. Bart's. We've always taken our house guests to Isle de France for lunch - great food, terrific beachside setting - a really great way to spend a lunch break. But, the choice is yours.

No trip to St. Bart's is complete (at least for the ladies) without spending some time browsing the shops in Gustavia or other villages around the island. Whle the ladies are enjoying the shops the men can stroll along the dock while admiring the vast collection of mega-yachts tied up to the piers as well as scores of sailboats moored in the harbor.

We find our friends always enjoy spending a bit of time near the airport watching the planes swoop in over the mountain as they approach the runway for landing. It's like watching a wild roller coaster ride. Don't worry, stopping there is part of every taxi driver's itinerary.

Remember, the island is small and geared toward tourism so there are not alot of "things" that don't revolve around the islands natural beauty, beaches, shops, restaurants and hotels/resorts. Go to www.sbhonline.com and click on the "Activities & Shopping" link for more information.

RoamsAround Oct 7th, 2010 09:23 AM

Let me add this regarding lunch on the island. Leave your ship around 10:00 to 10:30AM. Have the driver guide show you some sights for about 1.5 to 2 hours then drop you someplace for lunch (I highly recommend the aforementioned Isle De France (a boutique hotel on a picturesque beach) or perhaps at Eden Rock Resort or simply ask your driver to recommend a place.

Ask the driver to come back for your party n a hour or so (that will free him up to take other short fares while you are at lunch). He'll be back at the appointed time to resume your tour before taking you into Gustavia for the ladies' shopping fix. You'll have plenty of time to get back to your ship before it leaves port.

You'll see all the interesting points of interest on the island, enjoy a fabulous meal and experience the vibrant European flair of Gustavia making your stop on St. bart's one you'll remember for a lifetime.

welch Oct 7th, 2010 11:04 AM

RoamsAround obviously knows St. Barths well. The lunch suggestions are spot on, as is the rest of the advice.
I think renting a moke or jeep IS part of the experience but I'm sure it's not for everyone.

TPAYT Oct 11th, 2010 09:21 AM

Do they still have "minimokes" on St. Barth's? We rented one a few times and then the last time we were there we didn't see any, but rented a "Smart Car" which we also enjoyed.

StanKase Oct 11th, 2010 10:07 AM

TPAYT; I assume the Smart Car is mabnual transmission? If not how much was it and what firm did you use and did you take the $20 of supplemental and were the roads such that you felt it was wise to have the coverage. I am tempted to sig-up for it when outside the US.

TPAYT Oct 11th, 2010 02:58 PM

http://www.wimco.com/villa-rentals/c...r-rentals.aspx

Here's a place that looks like it has automatic Smart Cars. I really don't remember the agencies we rented from or the price we paid, but they were right in Gustavia for easy access because we were off of a sailboat every time we've been there. Sometimes price isn't the issue---like lunch at Eden Rock----pricy, but fabulous and what a view. You can rent a Chevy or Toyota in Chicago. Try something fun for a change. It's only for 1 day, it can't cost that much.

As far as extra insurance, it depends what your credit card covers. For us it doesn't cover jeep-like vehicles in the Caribbean but it did cover the Smart Car. The roads are hilly, but in good shape. The only place we tend to take every bit of coverage we can get is in Ireland, otherwise our credit card coverage has been enough.

As far as the Smart Car goes, after driving one on St. Barth's, in Italy, and France, we bought one here in the states (Wisconsin) 2 years ago. You can drive it in either automatic or manual drive and we love it.

Maybe RoamsAround can give you a heads up on where to get a Smart Car and at what cost. The idea of a driver is a good one. We just prefer to be on our own.

Good Luck!

RoamsAround Oct 11th, 2010 05:43 PM

For a list of rental car companies go to www.sbhonline.com

Use the "Before you go" or "Trip Planning" dropdown menu to select "Car Rentals". You'll find several companies listed that offer Smart Cars.

StanKase Oct 13th, 2010 06:02 AM

Thanks for all the information. The AMEX card covers the first $1000 so insurance is wise and a Smart Car it will be for the fun of it. We will email the Ened Rock for a lunch reservation to insure a table with a view and then take a 2-3 hour drive around the island. I assume from what I read it is a good deal more attractive than St. Maartin.

RoamsAround Oct 13th, 2010 08:11 AM

The "covered deck" area where lunch is served at the Eden Rock is relatively small and you'll generally have a "view" no matter which table you are seated at.

TPAYT Oct 13th, 2010 10:54 AM

IMO, driving around St. Martin has an islandy feel with lots of properties, bays, and beaches, similar to many other islands. St. Barth's has that, but in a more European, classy, not so crowded way. It reminds us of parts of France in many ways, but with better beaches.

I'll be interested in your take on it when you return as well as the rest of the places you will visit.

Bon Voyage!

dimitrios Oct 28th, 2010 04:06 PM

If your interest is nature's beauty, I would not spend any money on a rental car and just walk around the island. It is super tranquil, just as previously mentioned buy a bagette (french loaf bread, some cheese, a bottle of wine and some water) and have a great picnic in nature. Almost anyware you stop is breathtaking. I am saying this since you are not interested in museums etc, why not enjoy nature. Check out some cool pictures of St. Barths to warm up on a great blog: http://www.rentvillastbarth.com


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