13 February 2016
Gustavia, Saint Barts

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

The tiny island of Saint Bart’s is an overseas collectivity, part of France but not fully ruled by the mother country.

It is, though, included in the European Union, and the official currency is the Euro.

That has worked out pretty well for the locals, as Saint Bart’s has become one of the essential party islands of the yachting and jet set. in the company of places like Saint-Tropez, Monte Carlo, and Nantucket.


There are lots of places to spend your Euros. The local merchants are also fully fluent in MasterCard, Visa, and American Express.

You will find all of the usual suspects for jewelry, clothing, and nicknacks. What you’re not likely to find are bargains.

Alas, we are just missing Carnaval on Saint Bart’s, which ran from February 7 to 10. It’s not a huge event, but the island’s unusual mix of cultures makes it a lot of fun; we’ve been here for the burning of Vaval, a straw man who represents–depending on who is doing the telling and how much wine has been consumed–moments to be forgotten from the previous year, or sins to be avoided (or sought) in the coming one.

BLOG Gustavia St Barts Vaval 18Feb2015-0351

BLOG Gustavia St Barts Vaval 18Feb2015-0337

We are arriving in Saint Barts on Silver Wind, which is one of the most luxurious ships afloat. We are, though, not alone.

There are megayachts in the harbor: some of the most magnificent and costly in the world. We have seen floating real estate owned by (among others) Russian oligarchs, Middle Eastern sheikhs, and American car dealership owners.

If you want to see some of them in a hurry, the 2016 Bucket Regatta is scheduled to take place March 17 to March 20. The first Bucket regatta was organized in Nantucket in August 1986.

There are fourteen significant beaches on the island, all free to the public. Nude bathing is prohibited, but your eyes may tell you otherwise. For better or for worse.

We tend to hide out at Shell Beach, within walking distance of town. There are more than enough bistros between the beach and the tender landing if one happens to develop a thirst.

STBARTS (c) Sandler-6

We’re visiting Saint Bart’s three times this season, first on February 3 and again on February 13. I’ll be posting more commentary and photos about Tortola on those days, and you can check back for more details.

Text and images copyright 2016 by Corey Sandler. All rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a high-resolution image, please contact me.


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