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TO0T Saint Barthelemy Island

TO0T Team will be active from Saint Barthelemy Island, IOTA NA - 146, 22 - 29 November 2023.
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Saint-Barthélemy is a paradise place for a luxurious vacation

The small tropical island of Saint-Barthélemy (Saint-Barth), located in the Caribbean Sea, is rightly considered one of the most luxurious resorts in the world. This small piece of land, which is an administrative unit of France, in the middle of the last century fell into the field of vision of the grandson of Rockefeller himself, David. The representative of one of the richest families in the world bought several plots of land here and thus glorified the paradise island in his surroundings.

From year to year the world's wealthiest people began to come here for vacation, gradually turning the island into a luxury resort with appropriate infrastructure and service. Russians were not left out, either - in 2009, Roman Abramovich bought the house of the "pioneer", David Rockefeller, on St. Barthélemy.

TO0T Sunset, Saint Barthelemy IslandSunset, Saint Barthelemy Island. Author - Fredrik Skjellum.

A resort not for everyone

The choice of the elite is understandable - St. Barthélemy is truly mesmerizing with its pristine nature and consistently warm climate that enjoys pleasant days almost all year round. The atmosphere of serenity and bliss, top-class service and endless clean beaches - once in such an environment, you begin to believe that paradise on earth does exist!

However, it is not so easy for a mere mortal to get to St. Barth. On the small territory of the island concentrated expensive resorts, designed for people, to put it mildly, very wealthy. All entertainment on the island is also designed for a certain audience - luxury stores of the most famous brands, expensive spa salons, walks on the sea on expensive yachts, etc. Talk about a budget vacation in the role of the average tourist in the case of St. Barthélemy is not necessary, even taking into account the fact that absolutely all beaches here are public and you can visit them for free.

Island geography and weather conditions

St. Barthélemy is part of the Lesser Antilles, or more specifically, it is part of the Windward Islands, located in the eastern part of the archipelago. The nearest island is St. Maarten, part of which also belongs to France. The other closest territory is an island state under the French protectorate - Guadeloupe, to the shores of which it is necessary to overcome the distance of 200 km.

The island has a slightly elongated shape, resembling a stretched letter "V", in which more romantic natures guess the shape of a heart. The coast of the island, sometimes rocky, mostly has a gentle sandy slope, favorable for recreation. There are a total of 27 sandy beaches. The temperature stays about the same all year round, ranging between 28-30°C.

TO0T Saint Barthelemy Island DX NewsSaint Barthelemy Island. Author - Ben Senior.

Discovery of the island by Europeans

The island was discovered in 1493 by Italian navigator Christopher Columbus as part of his legendary expedition. It was the traveler who came up with the name of the island, naming it after his brother Bartolomeo. However, after the discovery, the island was not immediately settled by Europeans, probably due to the lack of visible prospects. Only since 1648 the first settlements of the French began to appear here, and almost immediately the land was conquered by the knightly Order of Malta.

In the following decades, the island changed hands several times, it could not divide among themselves sailors from France, Normandy, Brittany. At one time on St. Barthélemy even settled French pirates, who turned the island into a staging post. There is a legend among locals that somewhere on the island there is still a treasure of the pirate leader. The untold riches of the robbers, obtained by dishonest means, already at that time significantly boosted the economy of the island. Subsequently, yesterday's pirates turned into traders and entrepreneurs.

At the end of the 18th century the island was sold to the Swedes, who in turn renamed the main port to Gustavia, which is still the name of St. Barthélemy's only town. Among the Swedes' main achievements was the liberation of black slaves previously imported by the French.

During the colonial wars that raged in the 18-19 centuries, the Swedish island had neutrality and served as a kind of trading port, where the ship of any of the warring parties, could sell looted goods and replenish supplies. This factor also contributed to the economic prosperity of St. Barthélemy.

With the advent of peace Sweden became costly to maintain a distant overseas island, which ceased to bring income, and in 1877 it sold it back to the French.
The latter incorporated the island into the colony of Guadeloupe. Since then, St. Barthélemy has been constantly under the control of the French and today has the official status of an overseas community of France.

TO0T Saint Barthelemy Island Tourist attraction spotSaint Barthelemy Island. Author - Craig Brewer.

Local population and the nuances of life on the island

St. Barth, according to the latest census, has a population of just over 9,000 people. Most of the locals are Europeans, but there are mulattoes, descendants of black slaves, and mestizos from Guadeloupe with French and Indian blood in their veins.

The official language is French, but in everyday life locals speak French and Creole. The overwhelming majority of islanders profess Catholicism, in a minority - Protestants and Jehovah's Witnesses.

All able-bodied population is engaged in tourist and trade spheres (duty-free trade operates on the island). Other occupations include fishing, but on a small scale. The lion's share of the island's consumption is imported, including food, fresh water and fuel.

What to see in St. Barthélemy

When talking about the must-see attractions in St. Barth, the island's main town, Gustavia, immediately comes to mind. It is a beautiful, atmospheric and incredibly expensive town where you can easily meet a millionaire or a famous actor. Along with boutiques of famous brands and luxury hotels, the eye is delighted by the old houses of the colonial era, covered with red tiles.

You can diversify your leisure time on the island by visiting the Ingenue-Magras Museum, famous for its largest collection of seashells, totaling more than 7 thousand exhibits.

Fans of unsolved mysteries and fascinating stories about the pirates of the Caribbean Sea will surely enjoy a walk to the famous Montbar Grotto, named in honor of the French pirate. According to legend, this is the harbor where the hidden treasure is still found.

How to get to the island

If you have a Schengen visa, you can visit St. Barthélemy as part of French territory and stay on the island for up to three months. If you do not have a visa, you should apply to the French embassy, where you will be issued a visa with a territorial restriction - the possibility of visiting only this island. Another option - visa DFA, which opens entry to all overseas communities of France, including neighboring islands - Miquelon and St. Pierre, St. Maarten.

On the island there is an airport Gustavia, located in the suburbs of the capital, accepting only small private planes, as it is simply not possible to receive large-sized transport. If you do not have your own airplane, you will have to transfer via Saint-Martin, where yachts and speedboats run regularly.

TO0T. Where is Saint Barthelemy Island located. Map.

TO0T Saint Barthelemy Island. Sunrise 05-17-2024 at 09:36 GMT sunset at 22:38 GMT
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