Entering St Barts Harbour
We left Puerto Rico for our second Caribbean port on this 21 day cruise. We had visited St Barts on a previous cruise in the Eastern Caribbean. On that first visit, we had an exciting day touring the island by ATV. We travelled along the water and up to the peaks to get a great view of St Barts. On this visit we were taking it easy. We would head to the beach in St Barts.
No matter how many times we saw it, the turquoise blue waters of St Barts entranced us. As we entered the harbour, we could see boats everywhere. These were not small fishing boats. Large yachts towed their little boats. Sailboats lined up with the wind.
St Barts Regatta
We arrived in St Barts on the last day of a big regatta. The last time we visited St Parts, the regatta had finished a few days before. We spent some time on the high deck of the ship watching the yachts line up for a race. It seemed to take forever to assemble and position the group.
But then they were off! Throughout the day we saw the various classes of sailboats racing. Colourful sails billowed in the wind. Sailboats fought for position. Crews filled the deck. It brought back some of the excitement we had enjoyed when we did an excursion in St Maarten to crew the America’s Cup yachts!
Heading Ashore in Gustavia
It was time for us to get closer to the water. We would head to the beach in St Barts. Our cruise ship was anchored in the bay at this port. It was a short 10 minute tender ride to the port in the centre of town.
We followed the familiar path around the harbour. The hill behind the port was colourful and welcomed you to Gustavia.
Every time we wander a town, we find new facets that we had not seen on previous visits. Walking behind St Bartholomew’s Anglican Church down the small path, we found a small garden with statues.
We stopped to admire the boats tied up. The banners featuring Veuve Cliquot champagne could not be passed without taking a picture to share. We saw an interesting statue of a photographer. This must be the spot to take pictures!
It was Good Friday and we were hoping to find the patisserie open. But we had not factored in the afternoon siesta time. It was a good thing we could always find good pastry on the cruise ship!
Head To The Beach In St Barts
If you want to walk to the beach in Gustavia from the harbour, it is easy to find Shell Beach. If you find yourself walking up one of the many hills that surround the harbour, you will know that you have missed a turn somewhere. Of course David had to lead billy goat Linda up at least one hill before we were finished exploring St Barts!
Once you get pointed in the right direction, you will find a series of signs that point you to the “plage” (the beach).
It is not hard to see why it is called Shell Beach. There are little patches of sand but most of the beach into the water is small shells. This was exactly why we packed water shoes when we travel. But of course, they were still back on the ship.
I walked tenderly until I found a spot with sand. Getting in and out of the water might be a bit trickier. The water was cool and relaxing after our hot walk through town.
There were several boats anchored in the bay by Shell Beach. People lazed on the decks or jumped in for a dip. We saw one excursion boat head into the bay, totally unconcerned about people swimming.
The beaches in St Barts are absolutely topless, so be prepared. David thought that some beaches may even be nude beaches but on this beach close to town we only saw topless bathers. If you want to bare all, do your research in advance.
A Good Break in St Barts
It was a great day to head to the beach in St Barts. We had considered renting a boat but boat rentals for two people were very costly. David wanted to splurge on a helicopter ride but that too proved to be too expensive. This island is not known for having great scuba diving, so we were happy to head to the beach in St Barts.
The weather in St Barts ended up being much better than the long range forecast we used to plan our Caribbean island excursions. Checking the weather for our next port in Antigua, we saw that the unsettled weather had finally caught up with us. We were glad to have taken our beach break in St Barts!
Did you head to the beach in St Barts? Did you go to Shell Beach or find one of the other beaches?