Top Notch All the Way: Your St. Barthelemy Vacation
By Caitlin Moore
Certain people like to go for the name brand. They like to look good, feel great, and treat themselves like superstars. Sometimes they even travel to places that celebrities frequent, not just to catch a glimpse of mega wattage but to pamper themselves to the utmost degree in a place that would make anyone feel famous, special and lucky to be alive. You don't have to have movie credits to visit St. Barthelemy, but don't be surprised if you end up seeing the world as a shinier, happier place after a few days on this luxurious island in the Caribbean.
St. Barts, as it's often called, was one of the islands Columbus happily stumbled upon and to this day it retains an exotic European flair. White sandy beaches with dramatic views, remote regions that require off road treks to reach, and an occasional lack of concern for remaining fully clothed are a few characteristics of the coastline here, so be forewarned that these beaches aren't typical. If you've made it this far, you most likely think that's a good thing, so forge ahead, you fashionable adventurer.
Citizens of St. Barthelemy admit that their island isn't as physically gorgeous as some of their Caribbean neighbors, but this doesn't stop visitors from being blown away by the leisurely atmosphere, fine dining, shopping and cultural events that give these eight square miles an abundance of flavor. Overworked travelers in desperate need of a break from reality tend not to be too nitpicky anyway, and the scenery of St. Barts is unlikely to disappoint.
Become acquainted with the island by going for a hike from Petit Anse to the Bay of Colombier. Ascend to Mount Vitet for a stunning view of the surroundings, or sign up for a horseback ride at the Ranch de Flamands for a wilder experience certainly different from an average day at the office. Visit any one of the 14 beaches to take a load off, get active or a little of both. Scuba diving, fishing, snorkeling, sailing and windsurfing are a few prime diversions that will whet any appetite for ocean exploration.
Tennis is another activity that'll get your heart pumping, but the truly dominant game of St. Barts is volleyball. Tournaments are frequently held that showcase the talents of nationally recognized stars in the sport, and dozens of officially licensed players call this their home. From beach games to hard-court championship matches, volleyball is everywhere you turn and provides and outlet for amusement and serious competition alike. Feel free to join in a casual session of bumping, setting and spiking or arrange to witness a hard-core match up; either way it's always fun to feel the volleyball vibe.
Yearly music and film festivals as well as a handful of local artists further enhance the scene, as does an array of shops, boutiques, bars and restaurants. French food is definitely available, as is great seafood, Asian fusion, Creole, barbeque, and Mediterranean. Grocery stores stock a wide variety of interesting produce and fresh goods as well, so cooking up a fabulous meal in the kitchen of your rented villa could be the makings of a wonderfully low-key yet high-class evening of your own design.
This duty-free port gives plenty of opportunities for bargains and souvenir shopping. Stop by Gustavia and St-Jean for the biggest selection of stores, but keep your eyes open for roadside tables filled with one-of-a-kind wares, too. French and Italian designer clothing can be found at incredible prices, a plethora of wines, jewelry and perfumes, cigars and all the typical t-shirt and sweets can be found interspersed throughout the island, so bring an empty suitcase just in case and be ready to pick up some great stuff.
From the casually dressed, notably relaxed travelers to the locals speaking their own brand of French, everyone here is pretty happy with the sights and sounds of St. Barthelemy. Even if you don't come across any celebrities, you and your companions will be satisfied with the experiences this island offers and the way it makes you feel removed from the boring old patterns of everyday life.
Take this thought and run with it by booking a vacation rental that will push your trip just a little bit farther into the realm of magnificence. Picture a seaside villa artfully decorated with hand-crafted furnishings and blessed with incredible views, a private pool and all the basic amenities of home. It's not like home though, thank goodness, in that you can lounge and loll all you want, reach the beach in a few short steps, and generally live like royalty without the responsibilities of real life.
St. Barthelemy Vacation Rentals are simply the best way to take advantage of all that the island has to offer. Embrace the spirit of luxury and lavishness for your next trip, and discover the superstar within you by rewarding yourself in the way you know you deserve.
Visit HomeAway.com for all your vacation rental needs.
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Views expressed in the article are those of the author and are not necessarily the opinions of CaribbeanChoice, its staff or members.