A diminutive, volcanic island of just 25 square kilometres, Saint Barthélemy, or St. Barts as it’s often abbreviated, is completely surrounded by shallow reefs, with over 20 beaches featuring crescent shaped spits of white sand and clear blue waters. While the isle is better known as a holiday destination for the wealthy, its appeal is well suited to those beyond the stereotypical visitor, with a simple and rustic lifestyle that’s both inviting and charming.
St. Barts, the only Caribbean island that was a Swedish colony for a considerable period of time, was also a French commune for many years, forming part of Guadeloupe. In 2003, the island voted in favour of secession from Guadeloupe to establish a separate overseas collectivity of France. This chain of history has led to a tropical setting that is reminiscent of the South of France, with freshly baked croissants readily available beachside.
The locals take great pride in their island, reflected in their strict building laws, where the colour of the roofs must be kept to a discerning palette of just red, white, green and grey. Beautifully maintained and culturally interesting, St. Barts is amongst the most alluring of the Caribbean islands.