The Complete Guide to a St. Barts Honeymoon
Honeymooners have no shortage of island destinations to choose from for a tropical honeymoon, but perhaps no island is more renowned and exclusive than the celebrity-loved island of Saint Barthelémy—or St. Barts, to those in the know. The island has some of the best beaches in the Caribbean, plus a global food scene dotted with Michelin stars and a European feel more akin to Capri than Cozumel. It's also known for being just as expensive as the Italian Riviera.
But a St. Barts honeymoon isn't just for couples with dual trust funds. While the island is most famous for luxurious (and pricey) resorts, those aren't the only options. And once you're on the island, most of the best activities are totally free, including hitting the beaches, snorkeling, hiking, and more. A St. Barts honeymoon is far easier than you may think.
St. Barts is roughly in the middle of the Caribbean, not too far from the US Virgin Islands. That makes it extremely accessible, especially if you fly to St. Maarten and take the short very ride to St. Barts since that eliminates the small (and expensive) puddle jump flight to the island. It's probably a bit more accessible for those along the East Coast since there are direct flights to Saint Maarten from US cities like Atlanta, GA; Washington, DC; New York, NY; and Boston, MA, to name just a few. But it's fairly easy to get to the island from the Midwest with direct flights from Chicago.
Oh, and if you don't mind small planes or a slightly more expensive flight pattern: you can fly directly to Gustavia, the capital. There are direct flights from San Juan, PR; St. Thomas (USVI), and St. Maarten.
Is St. Barts Good for a Honeymoon?
Pros of a Honeymoon in St. Barts
The pros of a St. Barts honeymoon are too many to count. Because of the island's topography, visitors have access to both stunning beaches and inland jungle hikes and waterfalls. Its popularity with the hoi polloi gives it some of the best restaurants in the Caribbean, and because it lacks the budget-friendly, all-inclusive beach resorts you'd find on larger islands like the Dominican Republic or Jamaica, it attracts fewer tourists. So you'll have more space to yourself at almost every beach.
Cons of a Honeymoon in St. Barts
The downside of a honeymoon in St. Barts is exactly what you'd expect: cost. It's not a large island, and the lack of supply for housing and rental cars can drive prices up, especially during the busy season. That said, there are affordable lodging options, and buying meals from roadside vendors and local supermarkets can be an excellent way to save big on some meals. So it's possible to honeymoon in St. Barts on an average budget, as long as you book a bit far in advance.
The Best Times to Visit St. Barts
The best time to visit St. Barts, unfortunately, is also the busiest time to visit St. Barts: between December and June. The fall (September through November) tends to be rainier, and hurricane season runs through mid-November (though St. Barts hasn't been hit with a hurricane in quite some time). July is very warm but also a common month for businesses to close for a post-busy-season break, so some tours and restaurants may be unavailable.
May and June are probably the best time to visit for reliably good weather (hot with a low chance of rain) and slightly lower prices and smaller crowds. But if you want to visit the island at its busiest, go between January and April. That's when you'll find many of the island's best spectator festivals, like Carnival (end of February) and not one but two regattas: the Bucket Regatta (March) and Les Voiles (April).
St. Barts Tourism Tips for Couples
St. Barts is a French territory, and while French is spoken across the island, nearly everyone in the tourism industry speaks fluent English. Because it's European, the Euro is the primary currency, which means travel expenses will be much lower if you visit during a time when the US dollar is strong against the Euro. (Some places will also accept US Dollars). It also uses the same power plug as Europe—the type "E" plug with two round prongs. Many devices (including most laptops and smartphones) are dual voltage, but if you want to use higher-power devices, such as hair straighteners, you'll need a voltage converter, too.
Wi-Fi and cell service are reliable across the island, and it'd be surprising to find a resort that didn't have a speedy internet connection. This also means you can make hotel and restaurant reservations online very easily, so there's no need to use travel agents or run through third-party booking agents for making reservations.
St. Barts has taxis, but most transportation is arranged through hotels and villas. It's generally advisable to rent a car. Any small car will do on the island's well-maintained roads, and it'll be cheaper than relying on hotel shuttles and sporadic taxis.
Best St. Barts Day Trips and Places to Visit
While you'll want to budget at least a few days of honeymoon in St. Barts for relaxing at your likely luxe resort, it'd be a shame to visit the island and not explore a few of its unique offerings. These are a few of the best places to visit on the island you won't want to miss.
If you're hoping to snorkel on your honeymoon in St. Barts, bring your snorkel set to Colombier Beach. It's generally considered to have the best snorkeling on the island, partially because the shoreline is protected as part of the Nature Reserve of Saint Barthélemy. It's also ideal because it's a bit trickier to access than other beaches, helping to keep the crowds down.
To reach it, you'll need to head to the north part of the island and park at the end of the road close to Petite Anse Beach. Take the Colombier Beach trail from there. It's about 20 minutes on foot each way. You may even see mountain goats on the rocky areas while you hike. It's also reachable via a steeper, more demanding trail from the Colombier Beach overlook.
Nikki Beach Club
Nikki Beach is probably the hippest beach club on St. Barts and often hosts celeb-studded parties. It's also a great place to spend a day on your St. Barts honeymoon, with sun beds on the beach, afternoon DJs and live music, and an all-day ocean-view restaurant regarded as one of the best on the island. You'll need to make reservations in advance. They're free, but be prepared to shell out for food and drinks.
The Grand Fond Natural Pools
For a bit of adventure on your St. Barts honeymoon, hike to the natural saltwater swimming pools, formed near the shore by the island's volcanic rock. Wear water shoes with a strap to protect your feet from rocks on the hike and while in the pools. The trail to the Grand Fond pools, head to Grand Fond Beach and walk toward the volcanic rocks on the right. You'll see a slightly worn path to the pools; the hike takes about 25 minutes and may require a little scrambling. Only go on days when the sea is calm, and ask your hotel concierge for advice if you're not sure.
Best Things to Do in St. Barts for Couples
You'll find plenty of St. Barts honeymoon activities for couples, from affordable snorkeling tours to private sunset sails and couples' wellness treatments. Of course, days can be spent lounging by the beach or the resort pool too.
Go Scuba Diving
One of the most exciting things to do in St. Barts is explore beneath the surface of the island's turquoise-blue water. If you're a certified scuba diver, you have no shortage of scuba diving shops to choose from, such as Island Diving or Serial Divers. However, if you're not certified, you can still do a "Discover Scuba Diving" dive, even if you've never tried it before. The warm, clear water of St. Barts is the perfect place to give it a try in a safe and comfortable setting.
Day Trip to St. Maarten From St. Barts
If you arrive in St. Barts by ferry, you already know it's a quick trip to Sint Maarten. That makes a day trip to the island from St. Barts extremely easy. Take a morning ferry to Philipsburgh, the capital of St. Maarten, and spend the day exploring the island's parrot sanctuary or hiking and ziplining at Loterie Farm. There are also dozens of day tours available of the island, and guides are always happy to meet you at the ferry terminal. (If you happen to be planning a St. Maarten honeymoon, you can take a day trip to St. Barts from St. Maarten instead!)
Take a Seaside Bath for Two
At the Sisley Spa at the Christopher Hotel, newlyweds can choose from four couples treatments. Opt for an ocean-view flower bath for two, or combine it into a three-hour session with additional wraps, massages, or facials.
The Best St. Barts Honeymoon Resorts and Hotels
Unlike most larger Caribbean islands, there are no all-inclusive resorts in St. Barts. There are plenty of St. Barts resorts with on-site restaurants, spas, and activity booking services, but you'll pay à la carte for everything. There aren't any options for booking one package that includes all your activities, hotel rooms, and food and drink as you'd find in more budget-friendly islands.
However, St. Barts hotels are some of the highest-rated and most luxurious in the region, so rest assured that even if your trip is a bit of a splurge, the service and amenities will definitely be some of the highest-end you've ever experienced.
Pearl Beach is proof that you can find somewhat reasonably priced St. Barts resorts without sacrificing luxury. While it's not inexpensive, rooms at the beachfront hotel start under $500 a night and have extremely large patios or decks looking out onto a shared garden. Pickups from the pier are included, and there's an outdoor beach bar (with swinging bar chairs) perfect for a casual breakfast or romantic moonlight dinner.
Rosewood has several ongoing offers that could help you save money on a St. Barts honeymoon. While it doesn't have specific honeymoon packages, it does have deals on its luxury rooms and suites, including one extra night for free when you book at least four. Rooms with private pools are available, and rates start around 750 Euro per night.
Cheva Blanc is one of the most luxurious resorts in the Caribbean and offers one of the most high-end St. Barts honeymoon packages available, which includes a private snorkeling trip aboard the hotel's private yacht or sailboat, followed by a gourmet picnic lunch, an afternoon cocktail or champagne sailing, and an evening couple's spa treatment at the resort's Cheval Blanc Spa. Rooms also start at around 750 Euro per night.
If you're a bit put off by the high prices at the few St. Barts hotels on the island, consider renting a private home for your honeymoon in St. Barts. The one-bedroom "Le Bungalow" exemplifies the best of indoor/outdoor island living and is perfect for couples who want to connect with nature. Better still, it starts at just under $200 a night. For something a little roomier, consider "Villa Rosebud," which offers a private pool and daily housekeeping for around $350 a night (and it's only a 5-minute walk from the beach).
What to Pack for a St. Barts Honeymoon
The basics of packing for a St. Barts honeymoon are similar to what you'd pack for any other Caribbean island: lightweight clothes, several swimsuits, a sun hat, and a light sweater or long-sleeve layer for breezy nights by the ocean. However, St. Barts is a bit more polished and elegant than other Caribbean destinations, so there's no need to pack anything along the lines of nightclub attire.
Dress codes at most restaurants are loose, and best described as smart casual. Men will find boat shoes and a button-down shirt (short-sleeve, if you prefer) to be appropriate nearly everywhere, and women will be fine in sundresses or a blouse and nice shorts. Many of the restaurants in St. Barts attract the "old-money" crowd, so to speak, so there's really no need to try to show off when it comes to fashion.
If you're planning on visiting any of the more remote beaches or coves that require a short walk, you'll likely want a water shoe (along the lives of Tevas or Chacos). St. Barts is a volcanic island, and the rocks can be sharp, so going barefoot or attempting to cross rocks in basic flip-flops will be a little difficult. Having your own snorkel equipment can be a good idea, too.
If you're flying to St. Barts rather than taking a ferry from St. Maarten, you'll have to try hard not to overpack. The small planes that fly to St. Barts have lower max weights for carry-on baggage, so check with your airline on the max weight of your bags before arriving at the airport. Oh, and don't forget to pack your passport.