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Beaches of St Barths

Beaches of St. BarthsSt. Barths is the smallest of the islands known as the French West Indies. The island is French with a touch of Swedish and attracts many of the world's rich and famous to its villas and exclusive resorts. Don't come here expecting glitter though - this island exudes casual elegance.

Located 15 miles S.E. of St. Martin and 40 miles N. of St. Kitts, this tiny island named for the brother of Columbus, Bartolomeo, belonged to Sweden for most of the 19th century, but since 1878 has been part of France.

St Barths is a chic and pristine island where rooms under $400 a night are a bargain. For the price however you will discover one of the Caribbean's most magical places.

Few islands can offer visitors the variety of Saint Barth's beaches. St. Barts irregular coastline creates scores of lagoons protected from the coast leeward moors of fine sand, calm inlets, turbulent bays and many golden sand beaches. Beach lovers will feel close to heaven enjoying St. Barths' numerous secluded coves and 22 beautiful beaches (Anse). Some beaches require a ride down an unpaved road, a boat ride, or a short hike, but all are worth the trip.

In St. Barths, the water is clear turquoise, the sand is bright white and the beaches are never crowded. One great thing about St. Barts is that virtually every town and village was established near a beach or marina, so you can sightsee while you head to a new beach. All beaches are open to the public, even those that front a hotel.

Topless bathing is the norm in St. Barths, both on beaches and at poolside. Although nude sun bathing is officially illegal, nobody pays much attention to this and it is common on isolated beaches on the island's rugged south shore.

Below are descriptions of some of the more popular ones:

Anse du Governeur - Located on the island's less developed southern shore, minutes form the capital of Gustavia, Gouverneur Beach is one of the most beautiful and popular beaches on the island. The beach is gorgeous but there's no shade. With total privacy it’s a popular place for nude sunbathing. Waves are often strong here.

Gouverneur Beach can be reached by driving through Gustavia and up to Lurin. Turn at the Santa Fe Restaurant and head down a narrow road.


Saline Beach - Like Governeur, Saline is located on the undeveloped and wide-open southern shore.

Saline is arguably the most beautiful beach in St. Barts. Access to the beach is along a narrow path that is reached by driving up the road from the commercial center in St-Jean; a short walk over the sand dune and you're here.

The walk through the dunes to this unspoiled beauty is a memorable one and you will be stunned by the pristine beauty of the white sand and sparkling waters that extend for as far as the eye can see.

Saline is excellent for swimming and it is also one of the locals favorites. Like Gouverneur, Saline offers some waves but no shade. This beach is full of beautiful sunbathers, all in the nude. There are no facilities on the beach, so bring what you need.


Anse de Chauvette - on the southern coast and perhaps the island’s premier dive site, is accessible only by sea.


Anse des Flamands - on the northern shore has six hundred yards of gentle waves lapping the white-sand beach. Flamands is a beautiful beach with a few small hotels and some areas shaded by lantana palms.

Flamands is an ideal place for lounging or going for a pleasant walk. For swimmers the surf during winter months can be quite rough. Watersports are available on the beach. Migrating whales have been spotted close to shore during late spring.


Anse du Grand Colombier - is known for it's beautiful sunsets. This long and sandy beach nestles in a calm bay that may be reached either by boat or along a picturesque trail. The trail starts at Flamands Beach, at the west end, and is about a 20-minute hike (30 minutes on the way back since you will be walking up-hill). You will want to bring food and drink as the beach is totally uninhabited.

Colombier is difficult to get to but well worth the effort. Shade and snorkeling are found here, and you can pack a lunch and spend the day. Locals call it Rockefeller's Beach, because for many years David Rockefeller owned the property surrounding it.

Gustavia - The island's capital located on the south-western coast is a picturesque town set around a beautiful harbor. Gustavia has boutiques, great restaurants and bars, historic churches, a fort and a luxury hotel.

Hot Spot: Chez Maya, a très chic beachside restaurant in Gustavia with Vietnamese and Caribbean cuisine. A celebrity hangout.

Shell Beach - one of St. Barth's most famous beaches is quite unique and beautiful. Located towards the south end of Gustravia, the whole beach is covered with seashells. Beautiful rocks surround its calm waters and the beach is lulled by an island breeze.

Snorkeling around the rocks, you'll find some wonderful shells, and rocky outcroppings protect this beach from strong waves. It's also the scene of many a weekend party. Shell Beach has calm waters for swimming and is a great spot for sunsets. Shell Beach, aka Anse de Galet, can be reached on foot from Gustavia and has no facilities.


Anse du Grand Cul-de-Sac - Travelling towards the North East shore, the road climbs as it approaches Marigot Bay. At the peak of the hill, you will look out over the gorgeous bay of Grand Cul de Sac. This is where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Caribbean Sea. For a beach with hotels, restaurants, and water sports, Grand Cul-de-Sac, fits the bill. Protected by a reef, this beach is on a calm shallow lagoon, perfect for swimming and watersports. There are several fine resorts and restaurants scattered around the lagoon. This is a dream place for practicing water sports. The beach is shaded by trees though it is somewhat narrow. though it is shaded by trees .


Anse de Saint Jean - possibly the most famous beach on the island is St-Jean, which is actually two beaches divided by the Eden Rock promontory. This beautiful large gold sand beach is lined by hotels and restaurants. Coral reefs protect it from heavy swells and because it is often windy here this is the spot for windsurfers.

There are a variety of cafes and beach bars along the shoreline. This beach has lost some of its size in the last few years due to storms. Located near the airport Baie de Saint-Jean it is wonderful for sunbathing and the water is ideal for swimming and windsurfing. Watersports are available as well as restaurants and snack shacks for a beach-side lunch.


Anse de Lorient - located on the North Shore is an extremely large beach and except for Sundays when local families visit it is very quiet. Anse de Lorient is the kind of beach that makes you feel like going for a stroll. While most of the beach has calm waters, to the west there are strong waves that are appreciated by surfers. Lorient features swimming, body surfing, and surfing. Want to learn to surf? The "Reefer Surf Club", an informal group, meets at Anse de Lorient Beach and offer surfing advice to beginners and experienced surfers.

Marigot, also on the north shore, is narrow but offers good swimming and snorkeling. Marigot like Lorient are secluded and quiet, and are favored by local families on Sundays.

Corossol Beach - Local fishermen in their brightly painted boats arrive at this lovely beach with their daily catch. Located near a small fishing village, Corossol Beach offers a typical glimpse of French life, St. Barts style. This is a calm, protected beach, with a charming little seashell museum.
Public Beach - North of the commercial port at Gustavia, the rather unromantic sounding Public Beach is a combination of sand and pebbles. This beach is more popular with boaters than swimmers, as it's the location of the St. Barts Sailing School. There is no more beautiful place on the island, however, to watch the boats at sunset. Public Beach, is near the commercial pier, but still nice for a dip. Just north is Corossol, whose calm, boat-dotted waters are good for family outings.
Pointe Milou on the north central coast is popular with surfers, as is Anse des Cayes, which is also good for diving.