By now most of you have likely caught on to the fact that I was raised on this tiny slice of French paradise. If you didn’t know, now you do! I know what you’re thinking: “what was that like growing up?”. The answer is mostly carefree. To say it was an easy childhood would be an understatement. And yes, all the sunny, beachy perks too!
There is plenty that has been written about St Barths, so this is by no means an attempt to do it better, but simply my own perspective on a place that has shaped me in so many ways. So consider this your guide to ‘How to do St Barths like a local – in one perfect day’. Now that I consider myself a New Yorker, spending a few days in St Barths is first and foremost a way for me to reconnect with nature. What that means is, you should absolutely get on local time while you’re there and follow the sun. And I mean that literally: wake up early to catch the sunrise and celebrate every sunset.
One of my favorite things to do is to go for an early morning swim at Saline, a beautiful beach located on the leeward side, as the sun comes up. That likely means you will be on your own and can walk up and down the beach, take a (skinny) dip and run back to your car – all that before most people consider rolling out of bed while on vacation. I like to follow that invigorating swim with a coffee and croissant at La Boulangerie Choisy in Lorient – my fave! I dare you to have a bad day starting out that way. And if you feel like chasing one beach with another, stop by JoJo supermarket, buy a guava Goya juice – for an old school taste of the tropics – and head to Lorient beach to peer at the surfers riding the waves effortlessly. Lay on the sand, or camp out under the colorful hut.
Lunch: Eat. Local. Fish. No matter where, and whether you eat it raw (hello, tartare!), barely seared, or as a simple fillet with minimal fanfare, here is the fish you should be looking for: mahi mahi, redeye snapper, and yes the lobster is local! While we’re on the eat local topic, these are the fruits you should exclusively binge on while on the island: mango, papaya, and passion fruit. They’re some of my all-time favorites. If you’re not in the mood for seafood, consider a quick Italian trattoria to break up two beach adventures. You’re probably thinking, why would I do Italian on a French island?? Trust me on this one. Head to Isoletta in the heart of Gustavia and hide out from the midday heat.
Afternoon: find your perfect combination of beach, nap, nap, beach. Aside from Saline, some of my favorite beaches are Gouverneur, St Jean, and Colombier.
As you’ve come to realize, we’re absolute sun worshipers at Golden Edit. And there is one specific place on the island that was made for it at sunset: Shell Beach. I suggest you do this in one of three ways. You could either 1: Stop by Maya’s to Go for a slice of her notorious chocolate cake to be savored beachside; 2: Grab a couple of frosty bottles of Carib, a local beer; 3: Sub that beer for a tall bottle of rosé (which you might want to enjoy while floating on the sea). Whichever way you choose to enjoy it, promise me you’ll be present for that moment. Nature is the real star here. You’ll thank me later.
Pro tip: To make this day unforgettable, consider driving a mini Moke around the island.