St Barthélemy (St Barts or St Barth for short) is renowned around the world for being a playground for the rich and famous. The capital’s harbour is bursting with superyachts and the island’s hills are dotted with mansions, some of which worth over $14 million.
St Barthélemy is a volcanic island, coated in mountains, with the highest point being 281 metres. Despite receiving very little rainfall, the island is relatively fertile. It’s bound on all sides by shallow reefs and consists of up to 22 public beaches – however, it is only safe to swim at 15 of them.
I am grateful to have been to this gorgeous Caribbean island 3 times now and have fallen for its idyllic coastline.
In this guide I am going to introduce you to my favourite 5 beaches on the island.
1.Anse des Flamands
The iconic Isle de France hotel is located on a beautiful swathe of soft, golden sand, flanked by two majestic, forest-coated hillocks – one on either side of the bay. The beach on which it rests, Anse des Flamands, is a public beach which houses several hotels and houses.
The sand is deep and lustrous. On either side of the large stretch of beach are two mountains, covered in palms and dotted with the odd villa. The water is a deep shade of blue, gradually transitioning to a beautiful turquoise the closer it gets to shore. Out on the horizon are some jagged rocks poking from the carpet of sea.
It’s worth noting that the ocean isn’t super gentle. Some of the waves can get quite large.
There are several restaurants on this beach so you can enjoy some lunch with gorgeous views of the beach and ocean.
2.Anse de Grand Cul-De-Sac & Anse Marechal
Now, I know I have listed two beaches above! But there’s a reason for that.
The largest beach on the entire island is Anse de Grand Cul-De-Sac. Anse de Grand Cul-De-Sac literally translates to ‘Beach of Large Cul-de-Sac’. It was a pretty accurate description. The beach curves round the grand bay like a new moon or cul-de-sac, a headland perched at each end.
The sandy peninsular and surrounding palm forests are part of an 18 acre estate owned by Rosewood Le Guanahani hotel.
A large headland can be found on one side of the beach, a sandbar attaching to it. This is where the two beaches Anse de Grand Cul-De-Sac and Anse Marechal come together. And it’s gorgeous!
Anse Marechal is a far quieter beach, backed by swathes of lush palms and foliage. Anse de Grand Cul-De-Sac however has deck-chairs and a restaurant backing onto it.
Rough waves crash against Anse Marechal. The water is much calmer outside Anse de Grand Cul-De-Sac, making it ideal for swimming.
3. Anse de Grande Saline
The name translates to ‘Large Salt Beach’. Anse de Grande Saline is the first beach in this list that is found along the island’s southern coast. The two coastlines of St Barthélemy’s, the leeward coast (north facing) and Atlantic windward coast (south facing) yielded vastly different ocean temperaments, the Atlantic windward being the rougher of the two.
Not only was the ocean more wild on the southern coastline, but this area of the island is a lot more underdeveloped, making it ideal for a peaceful, scenic getaway.
I pulled up in a sandy carpark surrounded by trees. A narrow, rocky path lead from the carpark, carving between tall, golden sand dunes coated with tangled, green foliage.
I was delighted almost at once by how quiet the area was. There had only been a handful of other cars in the carpark and I only passed a couple of people on the bucolic trail.
The sand dunes suddenly opened up to a vast golden sand beach with large waves crashing rhythmically against the shore. A great strip of glistening sand stretched out before me, curving round the secluded bay that was void of any sign of development.
Rocky cliffs hugged the beach at either end, carved with numerous coves and crevices, and behind the beach itself are rolling hills of sand, dressed in lush, green vines and clumps of dry grass which spreads out on their summits like a carpet.
Without any deckchairs, the beach was a natural spectacle. It was pure, untouched nature. This also means that there is no shade, not unless you bring your own parasol with you.
4. Saint-Jean Beach
This is my favourite beach on the entire island! Saint-Jean Beach houses some of the most iconic restaurants on the island, including Eden Rock and Nikki Beach
The golden sand that stretches out here is jaw-dropping, like it belongs on a postcard. The cyan ocean brushes up against the delicate swathe of sand with slow, rhythmic laps. The water here is far calmer than any of the other beaches I have visited in St Barts and I actually braved a swim here!
Both Eden Rock and Nikki Beach serve fantastic food. But a trip to these beach doesn’t need to be pricey as it is a public beach. You can come with a towel and lie out on the sand, watching as planes take-off and land at the tiny runway which is just past the other end of the beach.
Those are my favourite beaches in St Barts. What are your favourite beaches on the island?