The Girlfriends’ Guide to

St. Barths Travel

St. Barths Guide

St. Barths is a very romantic island. Think honeymoons, anniversaries, engagements, and gifted travel for special celebrations. There are dozens of charming boutique hotels that are just intimate enough to shut out the rest of the world if you want to. I’ve visited the island as a couple, and the trip checked every box for a luxurious, private escape for “just the two of us,” and I’m long overdue writing a St Barths Travel Guide.

For this trip, my third to the island, I went with a group of girlfriends to celebrate a milestone birthday. I’ll admit, St. Barths wasn’t the first island on my list when thinking of the logistics required for a group of 11. St. Barths is miniature… from the narrow roads to the scaled-down cafes with only a handful of tables; the destination doesn’t cater to the group travel market. I was nervous about how the trip would unfold; how would we move around easily?  As with every other thing about St Barths, our travel experience as a group surpassed my expectations. Here’s my St Barths Travel Guide detailing how we did it…

Saint Barths Guide

Where to Stay in St. Barths //

Sleep is often the last thing on your mind when you’re vacationing in St. Barths. But let’s start our St Barths travel guide with where to rest your head. For groups, the undeniable best option is a private villa rental. There are hundreds of luxury villas in the rental pool on the island. During most of the year, the problem isn’t finding one, but deciding which one, because each villa is more extraordinary than the next! 

Some villas are located on resort grounds and include access to the hotel’s pools, watersports, and charging privileges at the restaurants and bars. Others are privately owned in quiet residential areas. Ours was the latter; Villa Coco Rock is tucked into the hillside above Petit Cul de Sac on the island’s northeastern corner. (Click here for a list of villas located at resorts in St. Barths.)

The Best Hotels in St. Barths //

Hotels are a great group travel option for St Barths too! Keep in mind most are small, boutique hotels so you’ll need to book far enough in advance to ensure the hotel has enough rooms for your group! Here are a few of our favorites:: Cheval Blanc Isle de France, Eden Rock, Hotel Le Toiny, Hotel Le Barthelemy, and a few more listed here. Want help finding the best St. Barths hotel or villa for your vacation? Click here

Hiring a Private Chef in St. Barths //

A huge part of the St. Barths experience is eating. No other island puts a spotlight on fine dining quite as St. Barths does. There are no bad meals on St. Barths. Even the least expensive simplest of fare is so very good. We’ll get to my shortlist of best restaurants in a minute, but first, here’s what I suggest you do on your first night in the villa; hire a private chef.

Back to the ever-important logistics. When planning group travel, especially to a destination that requires a puddle jumper from another nearby island, trying to line up arrivals for guests from all over the US is not easy. We planned far enough in advance that our arrivals were pretty much in sync, but that isn’t always the case.  Hiring a private chef for your arrival dinner takes the stress out of trying to coordinate your groups’ varying arrival times with a restaurant reservation.

St. Barths Guide

:: birthday girl, travel advisor, chef, culinary assistant ::

We hired the services of a chef + assistant from Fabulous Feasts. This allowed us to relax and enjoy the pool + cocktails on arrival at the villa and eventually make our way to the stunning open-air dining room for dinner. (When you book your St. Barths villa vacation with Caribbean Journey, we will match you with the best chef for your specific culinary needs.)

Another tip to add to the relaxation and ease of your overall vacation experience is to hire a chef for breakfast. No one wants to be fussing over an unfamiliar coffee maker or playing the role of short-order cook on vacation. Many of the villas on the island offer the service of continental breakfast delivery if you don’t want full chef service. At Villa Coco Rock, we woke up to breakfast prepared for us every morning.

Saint Barths Guide

The view brings out your appetite. (So does the hiking, the swimming, the dancing…) Even if you aren’t a breakfast person, I encourage you to rise and shine and enjoy a few delights in homage to the island’s French culture. Continental breakfast in St Barths is a variety of croissants, freshly baked french bread + jam, layers of homemade crepes + fresh berries, and of course, plenty of fresh fruit.

St Barths Guide
St. Barts Guide

The Best Beaches in St. Barths //

The most meaningful decisions you’ll have to make on the island are where to swim and where to eat. After breakfast, you’ll want to find your way to one of the fourteen breath-taking beaches on St. Barths.

The beaches in St. Barths are some of the best in the Caribbean. Soft golden sand, crystal clear water, never crowded, always peaceful. These beaches are why people dream of visiting the Caribbean. The top 3 beaches on St. Barths are Colombier, Gouverneur, and Saline.

Our first stop was Gouverneur Beach, and even though it was high season, we almost had the entire beach to ourselves, minus a few yachts floating offshore.

We didn’t visit Colombier Beach on this trip, but it is almost everyone’s favorite beach in St. Barths. It is a private beach in the sense that it is landlocked by undeveloped land and accessible only by hiking in or swimming ashore (from your private yacht.) I’ve done the 25-minute hike twice, and it is worth the work! Pack a small picnic, wear comfortable shoes, bring a lightweight towel, and you’ll be fine. Want help planning your week in St. Barths? Click here

Saint Barths Guide

Saline Beach also requires a bit of foot travel to reach the sand, but unlike the goat path hike to Colombier Beach, it is primarily flat and effortless.

St Barths Guide

 Where to Eat in St. Barths //

There really should be a 4th beach on my favorites list, Shell Beach. It didn’t make the cut because I simply haven’t spent enough time on the actual sand (or rather, shells) as I can never peel myself away from the beachside restaurant Shellona. This is my favorite place to have lunch on the island. The atmosphere epitomizes vacation. Relaxed dress code, swimsuits + coverups are fine, an eclectic selection of cocktails, chill lounge music pumped out from the DJ booth, constant sea breeze, insane ocean views… and all that goodness is before we even consider the food. I’ll let the photos do the talking where Shellona’s culinary arts are concerned… (you had me at truffle wrapped burrata) Want help booking the best tables in St. Barths? Click here for full trip planning.

St. Barths Guide
St. Barths Guide
St. Barths Guide


It is in a musical atmosphere inspired by Ibiza and Mykonos’s trends that Shellona will enhance your afternoons. Whether summer takes you to Saint-Tropez or Saint Barth, Shellona awaits you for a unique culinary and musical adventure!

St. Barths Guide
St. Barths Guide

There are dozens of fantastic eateries in St. Barths, but the two that I’ve visited on every trip are Bagatelle and Bonito. These are my top restaurant choices for dinner in St. Barths because of their flawless service and consistently impeccable menu items. Bagatelle is the perfect mix of dining + entertainment because after the clock strikes 10, the DJ gets a little louder, and the impromptu nightclub vibes take over. (If you want more nightlife options, you can try Le Ti St. Barths. I’ve only visited once and it was an off night so we didn’t stay but the tales of merriment here are legendary.)

St. Barths Guide
St. Barths Guide
St. Barths Guide
St. Barths Guide
St. Barths Guide


No St Barths travel guide would be complete without a mention of Nikki Beach. Nikki Beach is a St. Barths institution. It’s the place to spend Sunday afternoon at least one time in your life. I’ve been to Nikki Beach in Miami + Cabo, but St Barths is a totally different experience. (I’m sure their St. Tropez + Ibiza locations are in line with SBH.) 

Reservations are required. On Sunday, there are two seatings; noon or 330pm. Book the 330pm slot so you won’t feel rushed to move out of the way for the next revelers. Come ready to drink and dance or at least sway to the sultry notes of the resident saxophone player. Food is noteworthy here, too, with a nice variety of sushi + other small bites to nosh on. (Reservations can be difficult across the island, when you book your travel with Caribbean Journey, we will help you secure hard-to-get tables.) 


In addition to dining in your villa or at a restaurant, there are plenty of fun gourmet markets and French bakeries in St Barths. Mayas To Go, a spinoff of the popular Maya’s Restaurant, prepares fresh + flavorful items for takeaway daily. Go early because they sell out! Pair with a chilled bottle of Rosé, and you’ll have all the ingredients for an ideal beach picnic.

St. Barths Guide
Saint Barths Guide

Why is St. Barths So Popular //

Even though the beaches are a huge draw, they’re not the only reason people come to St. Barths. SBH is the whole package – pristine beaches, gourmet dining, incredible service. As you move around the island, you begin to notice how it feels like one large resort. All of the restaurants, beaches, hotels, and villas blend into the natural elements of the island. Everything “belongs”, nothing looks out of place, so the entire island has a collectively pleasing aesthetic and a rare cohesiveness.

There is a delicate balance of development and conservation on St. Barths, and when you venture out to explore, you’ll likely encounter a few of the island’s four-legged inhabitants. The island’s natural appeal is one reason it is an excellent alternative to the mass-market tourism destinations in the Caribbean.

St. Barths Guide

By now, you probably have an idea of our days on repeat in St. Barths. Delightful breakfast in our villa, a swim or a hike, lunch at a charming beach cafe, another swim, back to the villa for cocktail hour, and a dip in the pool before we head off for our dinner reservation. Our group had a fantastic girlfriends’ getaway in honor of our superstar friend. In hindsight, I can’t think of a better place to celebrate with 10 of your closest friends!

St. Barths Guide


St. Barths is complicated. You need a well-connected travel planner to help ensure you get the best hotel room, restaurant reservations, and inter-island flights. Click here to complete our contact form, and we will reach out to schedule a complimentary 15-minute consultation. During this call, we will help you decide if St. Barths is a good choice for your vacation and explain our planning process. 


W H Y   B O O K   W I T H   U S ::

When you book with Caribbean Journey, you’ll have access to negotiated rates + exclusive perks at all of St. Barths’ best hotels. You’ll have help selecting the perfect villa for your group. We’ll share our first-hand experience with you to ensure you avoid any pitfalls in planning your vacation.

The unhurried pace of the entire island is one of its biggest appeals. Even though St. Barths is an island notorious for power-plays and see-and-be-seen locales, that’s the undercurrent, not the main vibe. I’ve always found St. Barths to be far more laid-back than its glitzy reputation. 

St. Barths is a perfect island for a romantic honeymoon, active vacation, and now I can say that it’s perfect for a girlfriends’ getaway. My team of Caribbean travel specialists and I would love to help plan your St. Barths vacation!




Laura Sangster
P I N   T H I S   F O R   L A T E R ::
st barths travel guide

S T   B A R T H S   T R A V E L   G U I D E   F A S T   F A C T S ::

When is the best time to visit St. Barths?

The high season runs from late December to late April, and the crowds coincide with the best weather of the year. The festive weeks of Christmas-New Years are sold out 12-14 months in advance and competition for hotel + dining reservations will be fierce, so you’ll need to plan far in advance for this timeframe.


What language do they speak in St. Barths?

French is most widely spoken, with English second, but as with any international jet-setting destination, you’ll probably hear a dozen languages during your time on the island.


How to get to St. Barths? 

There are two options for arriving on St. Barths. The most popular route is via St. Maarten with a small plane transfer. The second option is to fly into Puerto Rico and take a slightly larger puddle jumper over to St. Barths. Your travel advisor will help you coordinate your transfer flight.


What is the currency in St. Barths?

St. Barths uses the Euro. Most places accept credit cards, but you might find it interesting that not all businessess take American Express. I always like to travel with some cash on hand and find it helpful to get euros in advance as there are only a few ATMs on the island.

Do you need to rent a car? 

Depends. If you’re staying in a hotel and don’t want to do much exploring, you can get away with taking taxis for all your outings. But if you are staying at a villa with the absence of a concierge to easily call for a taxi, you’ll want a rental car. I always book mine with Turbé Car Rental – after meeting Mr. Turbé in Puerto Rico almost 20 years ago.


Is St. Barths family-friendly? 

Yes. If you are not expecting the big flashy kids’ clubs found at resorts on other islands. St. Barths is a wonderful destination for family vacations! It is safe, easy to get around, and very easy to experience nature up close with few distractions.