This arid, volcanic rock of just eight square miles is home to an eclectic mix of iguanas, night-blooming cactus, and fabulous beaches as well as luxury yachts, designer boutiques, and VIP’s. Peopled primarily by descendents of the original French settlers and transplanted Europeans, this is an island, officially named Saint Barthélemy, with a strong, independent personality. Through the vagaries of its history it became a duty-free port and more recently liberated itself from the administrative yoke of Guadeloupe. It is certainly the most unusual of the French West Indies islands.
While other Caribbean islands prospered thanks to large sugar cane plantations and slavery, Saint Barths—which became Swedish in 1784—flourished from commerce and contraband. Back under the French flag a century later (1878), the island maintained its penchant for business and also benefitted from the fiscal advantages allowed by Sweden. Saint Barthélemy eventually attracted international investors and tourism became the most important element of the local economy. In spite of their traditional values, the Saint Barths were able to negotiate the rapid transition to a modern lifestyle and the advent of tourism, without abandoning their destiny to strictly foreign development as might be true on other islands in the Antilles.We are very pleased that we could resume flights to St Barts, but the immigration and health authorities have very strict entry requirements and travel regulations in place that travelers must comply with. Make sure you are up to date with these requirements before you travel! click here for the links to the authorities websites
pictures copyright: Comite Territorial de Tourisme www.saintbarth-tourisme.com