5 Reasons to Sail to St. Barths

By: Cruising Tips, Destinations

As if you need another reason to drop anchor in St. Barth we suggest these five reasons to sail your bareboat charter boat to this gem of an island that is the South of France in the heart of the Caribbean. Close your eyes and you’ll hear France all around you, lift a fork and you’ll taste the cuisine and walk through the luxury shopping boutiques and you’ll swear you are on the Champs Elysee. Caribbean vibe meets French culture all with a hint of island style and you get luxurious St. Barth. 

You don’t need a megayacht to have a good time in St. Barth, but it doesn’t hurt.

5 Reasons To Sail To St. Barth

Anse de Saline

I checked the anchor from the trampoline and was not convinced that it had set well. The wind was blowing about 18 knots and the swells were coming in at a good clip. I looked at the chart plotter to see if it was picking up any dragging of the anchor. The water from the bow of the catamaran we had chartered was crystal clear. Even with generous wave energy, you could still spot the anchor chain dropping down toward the white sand. I dove in. The water, warm like a refreshing bath on a hot summer day, but not so warm that you feel as if you are being cooked like a lobster. 

Anse de Saline, St. Barth

The water was perfect and as I hovered over the anchor I could see that it was set exactly as it should be. I wondered to myself if the only reason I was concerned about how it set was that I wanted to swim out in this perfect setting and just float above the anchor to admire my anchoring skills. Soon enough I heard the splash of another sailor in the water and then another – soon my entire family was floating 18 feet above the anchor set on the bright white bottom. 

This was Anse de Saline on the south end of St. Barth and, while the anchorage can be dicey during inclement weather, on this day we were tucked away just right so that a small hill protected us from most of the wind.  We would swim to shore. We would see a couple of nude sunbathers. We would experience a desolate paradise.

This large stretch of white sand beach was empty except for the sunbathers and our 40-foot catamaran anchored just offshore. Paradise found.

Le Select – The Original Cheeseburger in Paradise

If you sail there is a good chance that Jimmy Buffet is on your playlist and if that is the case, well then, Cheeseburger in Paradise is on a regular rotation. Le Select is a small burger joint that closely resembles a dive bar when you walk inside. The outdoor patio is home to a grill where those cheeseburgers are prepared and served under a canopy of umbrellas and trees. Don’t expect much from this spot except nostalgia and cheap food. In  St. Barth there is no place that can compete with these low prices. As for the drinks… it is a dive bar so be prepared for no-frills. This is a must-do in St. Barth.

Baie de St. Jean

Baie de St. Jean

Anchor in Gustavia Harbor and then go out and explore St. Barth. Walk up the hill toward the airport. How will you know where the airport is? Look overhead and you’ll see those low flying airplanes that disappear into the hillside and head in that direction. After you crest the hill the runway will come into full view. Stop, take a picture with an incoming flight and then head down the hill to St. Jean. On the way down the hill, you can stop in at Maya’s To Go for snacks and the items for a proper picnic on the beach or head into Lil Rock Beach Club for a beach bar vibe combined with French-Carribean cuisine. After lunch, find your spot of paradise and enjoy the Caribbean sea. You’ll see some boats anchored off the shore but most charter companies do not recommend using this bay as an anchorage as it is shallow and requires some serious local knowledge when setting an anchor. 

Shell Beach, Gustavia

Discover Gustavia

The small harbor town of Gustavia in St. Barths is luxurious like the south of France with the hospitality of the Caribbean. High-end shopping is in abundance and luxury yachts line the quay.  You should practice your French language skills because you’ll hear more French than English and you should also budget accordingly because St. Barts is not cheap and Gustavia seems to possess a surcharge for being a quaint village.  Restaurants line the waterfront with tantalizing menus of fine French cuisine mixed in with boozy Caribbean inspired cocktails. The champagne flows freely and the upscale atmosphere is more France than island life. Take a walk through town to Shell Beach and discover a small cove with clear water, a boutique beach club and restaurant and spot on the crushed seashells to work on your glow. Gustavia has a market, Le Libre, right next to the dock for provisioning and if you seek good French wine and cheese you can bet they can satisfy your needs 

Anse De Colombier

In a protected cove just a couple of miles from busy Gustavia Harbor you can pick up a mooring in a marine park that is populated with turtles and tropical fish that make the waters around your vessel dazzle with underwater commotion. The beach at Anse de Colombier is long and sunkissed with a few visitors scattered along the shore. The hills that jettison off the sand are home to dozens of goats that freely roam the area above the beach and are in a constant state of communication. You’ll hear the call of a goat and it will always remind you of the protected bay on the west side of St. Barth.  Take a trail away from the beach and you can visit the Bay of Flamands or take your dinghy to the dive sites along the rocks to catch a glimpse of a reef shark or endless schools of fish. This slice of paradise is close enough to Gustavia that if you needed a fix of duck confit you could get there quickly and far enough removed to have a star-filled night in complete silence while at anchor. 

Sunset in Gustavia Harbor

Charter Resources

  • Your First Charter Sailing Vacation Today bareboat chartering is the culmination of your sailing education. When you walk across the deck and get your sailing diploma you step on to the metaphorical boat of your future and you can sail it anywhere you want!
  • Charter Sailboat Resources Whether you have just begun to sail and have recently earned your ASA 101 certification or if you have already mastered ASA 114 and are a veteran of bareboat charters this resource should help you.
  • Bareboat Charter in the BVI Getting aboard your bareboat charter is the goal when you get your ASA sailing certifications. Where do you begin? For many, it is a sailing vacation in the British Virgin Islands.
  • Choosing a Charter Boat Company It’s time for you to set off on your own and explore endless shorelines and secluded coves. You have mapped out your plan and you have reserved your vacation time now all you need is a boat. How do you choose a charter company to rent a boat for a week?
  • Choosing The Right Boat for Your Sailing Charter When you decide to take a sailing vacation aboard a sailing vessel that you will call home for a week or two you’ll be surprised by just how much you think you need.
  • Sailing in Europe? Chartering overseas is on the bucket list of many a sailor, but making it happen comes with a stipulation or two. A sizable number of countries require an International Proficiency Certificate that lets them know the charterer is trained, qualified and prepared to take one of their boats out to sea.