St Barts Airport de St Jean
It is really tiny but loud if you are on the beach directly below it.....most folk come by boat I guess, but some arrive by small airplane from other islands nearby. The government is trying to keep major development off the island, so no large carriers allowed. Only 10 minutes by air from St. Maarten.
- Family Travel
- Spa and Resort
Fly In or Ferry In
As with Saba, most tourists’ choices for visiting St. Barts boil down to one of two options: taking a ferry across rough, vomit-inducing waters or flying into one of the world’s shortest commercial runways. Pick your poison.
The Sexy Minivan
Being that it's just an 8 square mile island, you can truly experience St. Barths by car. There are several car companies to choose from and most of them offer convenients services of delivering the car to your door:
Europcar (deliver to your door)
Phone: +590 590 27 74 34
A deposit is required either a credit card receipt, or $500 cash.
Taxis can be very few and very expensive around the island. On the upside, all the taxi drivers we met were very friendly and helpful.....on the downside, none of them wanted to work the nightshift and drag our asses through the wee hours of the morning. Except one.
Jean Claude (or JC as he is known around the island), is a 4th generation St. Barths native and seems to be somewhat of a celebrity around town. He was highly recommended by Emile, who drove us from our hotel for our shopping spree in downtown Gustavia. When Emile found out we were ideally looking for a driver who can take all TEN of us in a van so we can visit the nightlife in St. Barths, he said "JC is your man!"
JC has a night service and for $20USD per person, he was willing to pick us up, drive us ANYWHERE we wanted.....and bring us safely back to our hotel at whatever time we needed. What a bargain!
JC is quite the character and had so many amusing stories. He was actually the personal driver of Jimmy Buffet for several decades and rubs shoulders with all the famous celebrities who frequent the island. Everybody knows JC!
On our departure from St. Barths, we happened to run into him at the airport as he (and his very bright Aloha shirt) we're escaping the island for their annual 2 month jaunt to the Philippines (where JC says, "I have several homes and several girlfriends!") You' da man, JC!!
JC (Jean Claude) Taxi (has night service)
-10 passenger luxury van
- Island Tours
- Hourly or point to point rates
- Local Knowledge
-Fluent in French and English
Phone: 06 90 49 02 97
The Most Expensive 15 minutes of your life!
St. Barths may not be the easiest island to get to----quite a daunting task to finally get there, but once you do, it is so worth it !
The airport, Gustav III-St-Jean is host to several small commuter planes that arrive from neighboring St. Maarten (and other surrounding islands in the Caribbean).
All of the international commercial carriers must fly through St. Maarten first.
From St. Maarten, there are several local carriers that connect you to St Barths:
WINAIR - Probably the most popular airline to fly in between islands.
Winair has the most flights from SXM to SBH that run anywhere between $200USD on up (depending on the season). The flight is a rip-roaring, spine-tingling 15 minutes (See my 'Warnings and Dangers' tip!) and the landing will make you grow chest hair (if you don't have them already!)
You can book your WinAir flights online at www.fly-winair.com but double check the schedules before your trip as well as the day of your flight. Winair has a reputation for having a not-so-reliable flight schedule, and folks have been known to miss their connection upon arrival from an international city. Phone: 011-599-545-4237
The next option?
Air Caraibes - Much fewer flights than WinAir and a bit higher rates
St. Barths Commuter - A good deal if you can fit the flights with your schedule (They only have 1 flight a day (3:30pm to St. Barths) and 12:00am from SBH to SXM
The Ferry from St. Maarten to St. Barths was launched in 2004. From the SXM airport, you can catch a 15 minute cab ride to the dock where the ferry makes several trips to St. Barths. It 60 Euros one way for adults and 89 Euros Round Trip. You can find the schedule at this website:
Note: Many have advised that the ferry ride between St. Maarten and St. Barths is not for those with a weak stomach. They say it's a very rocky ride-----So you can either choose 45 minutes of seasickness or go for that daredevil 15 minute thrill ride of your life!
You will need to rent a car on the island, and this may be one of your choices, the mini-moke. It might be hard getting up the steep hills in this thing, though. These cars are no longer in production, and may soon be a thing of the past.
Puddle-Jumper from St. Martin
You will most likely fly into the island of St. Martin, and take a small plane to St. Barth's. I was warned about that flight, because the approach to St. Barth's is a cautious one. The short airstrip is just over the mountain, and ends in the water, or so it appears from the plane! It's a short 15minute flight, but for me it was slightly scary. It was an 8-passenger plane with one pilot, and we were the only two passengers!
I traveled to the island by ferry, but most tourist prefer to fly. The airport is at 3 kilometers from Gustavia.
- Budget Travel
- Adventure Travel
Another rental car option is the Smartcar, quite common on St. Barth's. There are also Suzuki Samurais and smallish mini-vans. The roads are quite narrow (and winding!), so small vehicles are a must.