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Saint Barths Facts
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Island name: Saint Barthelemy (TB). Discovered in 1493 by Christopher COLUMBUS who named it for his brother Bartolomeo.

Country: France (overseas collectivity).

Language: French (primary), English and Creole. Two dialects coexist on the island.

Island Capital: Gustavia.

Population: 8,450 (2007).

Climate: Tropical, with practically no variation in temperature; has two seasons (dry and humid).


Area: 21 sq km (8 sq miles).

Coastline: 20 phantastic beaches.

Geographic coordinates: 17 90 N, 62 85 W.

Highest point: Morne du Vitet 286 m (938 ft).

Location: 24 km from Saint Martin, and 230 km North West of Guadeloupe.

Size: 6 km x 5 km, 21 sq km.

Terrain: Hilly, almost completely surrounded by shallow-water reefs. St. Barts is not of volcanic origin.

Tourist Information

Overview: Known as the "Cannes" of the islands for its chic, trendy attitude, deluxe accommodations and the scores of celebrities who frequent her, St. Barth's is a place for people with as much leisure money as time. It was rated one of the top ten beach destinations in the world by the Travel Channel. St. Barth's terrain consists of dramatic hills and valleys encircled by stark white sand. Gustavia, the picture-postcard capital, is an enchanting little harbor town, easy to explore on foot. 

Accommodations: All-inclusive resorts, hotels, villas, apartments, cottages.

Activities: Scuba diving. The diving here is among the best in the Caribbean. Hiking - There are a number of trails that allow you to discover St. Barths, including several beaches that can be reached only on foot. Climb to the top of Mount Vitet, 938 feet (286 meters) high and experience a breathtaking view of the countryside and surounding waters. Horseback Riding - Another great way to relax and have fun. Ride the trails and along the beach with the wind in your hair.Water Sports - Besides diving, there is great snorkeling off the beaches, windsurfing, surfing, jet skiing, sailing, and kayaking. Fishing - Big game abounds offshore. Marlin, wahoo, blackfin and yellowfin tuna and sailfish top the charts. Fitness - There are several gyms in St. Barths, plus some of the hotels offer fitness rooms.

Emergencies: Dial tel. 16 for police or medical emergencies, tel. 18 for fire emergencies. St. Barts is not the greatest place to find yourself in a medical emergency. 

Driving: On the right - a valid foreign or international license is required.

Electricity: 220 volt AC, 60 cycles. 

Telephone: The international country code is 1-590. From U.S. dial 011-590 plus the local number.

Time: The local time is GMT - 4h. There is a 5 hour difference with France in winter and 6 hours in summer. For example, when it's midday in St Barth, it is 5 pm in Paris in December or 6 pm in August. With regard to the United States, in summertime the East coast time is the same as in St Barths, and in winter St Barth "lives" one hour later.


Currency: Since January 01, 2002, the Euro ((EUR), €) has come into effect in the European Union, and St Barths. However the US dollar is widely used and accepted in most of the businesses and prices are often listed in both currencies. Euros per US dollar - 0.7345 (2007). 

Credit cards: Major credit cards are widely accepted. Most car rental companies now take major credit cards, but request a two- or three- day minimum rental. 

Cost of living: high. 

Tipping and Taxes: There's an airport departure tax of 4.55 Euro ($4.05), which is included in the airfare. There are no government taxes. Service is included in the price so tipping on a bill is unnecessary unless you wish to add a few dollars for good service.

Air Transport

Airport: Gustavia III Airport. St. Barthelemy does not have an international airport. Visitors fly into several nearby islands, then commuter flights bring you to St. Barths. St. Barths airstrip is short and narrow and and accommodates a 19 seat plane max. Pilots flying to the island must be specially trained. On a windy day, the landing can be adventurous.  The most convenient gateway to St. Barths is through Juliana Airport in nearby St.Maarten.

Entry Requirements: Nationals of the member countries of the European Union just need an ID card (we are indeed in Europe, although not being "within" the Schengen bounderies). For North American citizens, a valid passport, as well as a return ticket are compulsory. The citizens of some other countries (notably some Caribbean islands) should have a visa. 

Water Transport

Ferry Service: A ferry services is available from St. Martin and St. Maarten.The MV Voyager departs daily from the waterfront in Marigot, St. Martin, bound for Gustavia, at 9:00 AM and at 6:15 PM. 590 590 27 54 10 for reservations.Oyster Line departs daily except Thursdays from Oyster Pond, St. Maarten, for Gustavia, at 8:30 AM and at 4 PM. 590 590 87 46 13 for reservations. There is also a hight speed ferry named The Edge that comes to Gustavia once a day from Tuesday till Saturday. It leaves from Pelican Marina in St. Maarten at 9 AM. 599 544 26 40 for info and reservations.

Ports and harbors: Gustavia.


Legal system: The laws of France, where applicable, apply.

Ethnic groups: White, Creole (mulatto), black, Guadeloupe Mestizo (French-East Asia).

Religions: Roman Catholic, Protestant, Jehovah's Witness.


Agriculture-products: All food must be imported.

GDP per capita: US$ 27,700 (1999). Today about 10 % higher than France.

Industries: High-end tourism. 

Natural resources: has few natural resouces, its beaches being the most important.

Unemployment rate: 4,2 % (2004).