When it’s only a 45 minute ferry to St Barths from St Martin it would be rude not to take the journey across and check the infamous island out. I had been pretty excited to get to St Barths. I’ve read about it in trashy magazines for years and seen pictures of the idyllic paradise. Unfortunately our trip wasn’t quite so exciting and didn’t live up to that hype.
We caught the ferry ($110USD) from Simpson Bay (near our hotel) with the Edge ferry line. We checked in at 8am and then had to wait an hour in the heat (approx 30 degrees Celsius already) until we boarded at 9am. Little did we know a storm was going through and we were in for some very rough seas. The 45 minute trip took an extra half an hour trying to manoeuvre the huge waves. People were being sick all around. The crew really had their hands full.
Thankfully I had enjoyed scrambled eggs and some ginger ale before the trip and while I did feel a little average I was fine. The whole boat was rocking, we had to shut all the windows to stop the waves coming in and people had to be escorted (physically held up) by the staff to get out the back to relieve themselves of their brekfasts.
Anyway, we made it! Yay! Island! Ahhhh… no. Our dreams of an idyllic paradise were soon dashed.
Apparently it was the end of the season (thanks for the heads up y’all) so most of the shops and restaurants were shut and the streets were barren. There was nobody around. We walked about the island, had a gelato and ran undercover for a quick passing rain storm.
We negotiated an island tour for an hour with a drop off at a beach and pick up just before our ferry for $80USD (70€ – they mainly use euro there and everything is in French) with one of the many men bartering to take the tourists around, Claude.
Claude showed us around half the island and explained that the island is very safe and clean. They take great pride in a well kept island and somewhere that guests can relax completely.
We had a lunch at little cafe where the menu was in French and euro (luckily I can still read a little) and I ordered a fish cheeseburger. The mahi mahi was fresh and the burger was nice, if a little heavy. Service was very slow though and the table water was a surprise at 5€ (water is not drinkable on St Barths). We gave up waiting for the waiters to bring our bill and then again to collect so got up and paid and left.
The beach where we spent our afternoon was absolutely lovely. Clear, calm and warm turquoise water. We swam for a bit and then napped on the shore. It was very relaxing and some of the only down time we had on the trip.
Claude picked us back up, dropped us at the ferry and it was time to head back. Thankfully it was a much smoother ride this time, I slept most of the way and spent the rest of the time on the back deck.
I’m sure St Barths is great fun during high season when there’s lots of restaurants open, people about and yachts in, but in low season (especially the day before everything closes) I don’t think it’s worth the trip.
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