48 Hours in Saint Barthélemy
How to enjoy the island's decadent and healthy sides
While glamorous Saint Barthélemy can elicit thoughts of wild beach parties, there’s a mellow side to this French island that’s focused on wellness and mindful living. Its 24-square kilometers are home to hiking trails and 16 gorgeous beaches perfect for water sports like kayaking, kitesurfing, and paddle boarding. St. Barth is also a culinary hotspot with more than 70 restaurants ranging in cuisines from classically French to Japanese Peruvian fusion. Here’s how to spend two days on this treasured island.
Kick off a relaxing getaway before even setting foot on St. Barth on Tradewind Aviation’s shuttle flight from San Juan airport. A Tradewind employee handles every detail of the transfer as you unwind in the private lounge with drinks and snacks before boarding a luxury eight-seat prop aircraft to the island.
For a tropical feel, stay at the lush and secluded Le Guanahani resort. Fresh off a $40 million renovation, 67 rooms and suites are housed in colorful cottages with private terraces overlooking two beaches. Nearby on Grand Cul-de-Sac beach, the sleek Le Barthélemy Hotel & Spa is St. Barth’s first newly constructed hotel to open in twenty years. Some rooms include private plunge pools and direct beach access, and the spa is one of the few in the world that features esteemed skincare brand, La Mer. Alternatively, feel transported to a quaint French village at Le Village, perched on a hilltop in bustling St. Jean. The cobblestone walkways surrounded by flowering bushes, infinity pool, and a warm welcome from the charming hotel owner, Catherine, will make you feel like you’re staying at the home of a dear friend.
Start the day with a 7:00 a.m. Pranayama meditation awareness practice at the annual St. Barth Summer Camp Yoga Challenge held in Villa Aqua at Le Barthélemy. Held from July 15 to August 15, yoga instructor and transpersonal therapist (someone who focuses on spiritual health) Diana Bourel conceptualizes daily itineraries packed with diverse yoga classes (such as zen and water yoga), island hikes, workshops, and nutrition labs, all held in a luxurious villa. If you can’t attend yoga camp, you can still enjoy hatha, vinyasa, and ashantaga yoga classes with Diana at Venus Beauty and Health Spa in Gustavia (the lively port town of St. Barth) Monday through Saturday.
After class, drive over to indulge in delicious French pastries at authentic patisserie La Petite Colombe. While there, take a few paninis to go for lunch at Colombier beach. Accessible only by boat or footpath, there’s a great chance you’ll have this stretch of azure water and powdery sand all to yourself. The crystal clear waters make it the perfect place for snorkeling, and from certain spots, you can see the home once owned by David Rockefeller.
In the afternoon, take a guided hike to the natural pools of Grand Fond with personal trainer and guide Geoffrey Pain of Sport and Fit. Not for the faint of heart, the hike to Grand Fond requires a bit of climbing and traversing over loose surfaces near a rather steep coastline and should not be taken alone. After about 30 minutes of walking with sweeping views of the sea, you’ll be rewarded with calm and clear tidal pools ready for a post-hike dip.
For dinner, dress up and head out to Gustavia for drinks and tapas at Peruvian and Japanese fusion open-air restaurant Bo Káo. Start with a refreshing L’huere Verte cocktail of gin, absinthe, pear, apple, lemon, jasmine, and mint, followed by shared plates like soft shell crab salad, Sanguichitos (ciabatta bread stuffed with roasted pork, sweet potatoes, and marinated onion) and salmon tartare with chives and avocado.
To replace yesterday’s decadent breakfast, start this morning at Tom’s Juice Bar in Gustavia. Try the Coco Island juice with coconut water, apple, lime, ginger, and spirulina, followed by an Acaï and banana super bowl topped with either granola, fresh fruit, or gluten-free granola. After breakfast, ease tired muscles with a customized massage at Spa My Blend by Clarins at Le Guanahani. Afterwards, lounge with a cup of tea in the dedicated relaxation areas, or enjoy a steam or a swim in the adults-only spa pool.
Head back to St. Jean for lunch at La Plage, right on the beach. The lobster burger is pretty unique, but you also can’t go wrong with the black truffle cheeseburger. Rosé is the unofficial drink of the island, so take it up a notch with a glass of frozen rosé made with Aperol, Cointreau, and fresh raspberry. After lunch, pop into Nikki Beach for a peek. The storied beach club is known all over the world for their day parties.
End your last night with the quintessential St. Barth experience: dinner at Tamarin. Beloved by both locals and visitors, the chic restaurant is set among thick, green palm trees, elegant wooden walkways and man-made ponds. Start with the tomato and fresh pineapple gazpacho before moving on to a simple-but-delicious French-roasted chicken breast served with mashed potatoes and salted butter. If you're up for it after dinner, dance the night away at Le Ti, a cabaret show turned nightclub when the clock strikes midnight.