1.07.2014

St. Barth Vacation {Part 1}

Happy Tuesday! As I mentioned yesterday, C and I just got back from an amazing ten day vacation with my parents, brother and sister-in-law in St. Barth (St. Barthelemy), which is a tiny, very hilly, gorgeous island in the middle of the Caribbean. Before the memories (and my slightly tanner skin) start to fade, I wanted to take some time to share a few photos of our time there for the next couple of days, so please excuse my slight detour away from my normal types of posts. I don't want to forget what our time was like there!

Today I want to share some favorite highlights from the trip, and tomorrow I'll show you a few photos of the pretty villa we stayed in and a few other homes and sites around the island. Here we go!

We arrived on the evening of December 26th after a long day of travel. I couldn't. wait. to get there and leave the winter weather behind! We stayed in an area called Vitet in a villa near the top of a steep hill (hills in St. Barth are no joke!). It was dark by the time we got there, so we couldn't see much, but the next morning when we looked out from the villa's deck area, we were greeted with the most gorgeous views: rolling green hills dotted with red and white roofs and a beach/lagoon area called Grand Cul-de-Sac. Breathtaking. I spend a lot of time just taking in this view:


We spend the first day hanging out, reading, and resting. It was just what I think we all needed after a very busy season from Thanksgiving to Christmas.

The most exciting moment of the day (don't worry, I won't be giving a play by play of each day of the entire trip...but I do have to tell this story!) came when we picked up our dinner for that night - freshly-caught lobster! And I mean fresh. When went down to a mini seafood market near our house and asked for two lobsters, and the guy hopped on a moped, went down to his lobster pots at the end of the road and brought us back two spiny lobsters. He put them in a plastic bag and handed them to us. It was a hilarious sequence of events.


I think we had a little too much fun with these guys while they were still alive (RIP little lobsters...you were quite tasty). We woke my mom up from her nap with them (yep, we're that mature) and tried our best to hold them up in the air for photos while they flapped that tails at us. They're called spiny lobsters for a reason, and they are sharp! Yikes!




We certainly had our fill of fun adventures the following days. I'll start with one of my favorite lunches we had at a restaurant called Do Brazil at Shell Beach. We ate in a little cabana with our toes in the sand and then hunted for pretty shells on the beach, which is one of my favorite things to do at the beach. I brought a bunch back from there and have plans for a fun way to commemorate our trip with them. Details to come!




So many shells! I guess that's why they call it Shell Beach, huh?

Speaking of beaches, there are just over a dozen on the island and we thoroughly enjoyed going to nearly all of them. Each one is unique, and each is almost overwhelmingly beautiful with its white sand and turquoise water. Some, such as Grand Cul-de-Sac (the one we can see from our villa) are great for water sports because they're calm, shallow and protected from major waves, others are wild and windy making them perfect for surfing, boogie boarding and body surfing and others are just great for hanging out and reading a book while trying not to get toasted by the strong sun.

Here we are at Gouverneur beach - can you tell how excited we were to jump in? :) 


I couldn't get over how green the island was. It was like we were in the hills of Scotland, but with pretty beaches and perfect sunny days, ha!


I pretty much lived in my bathing suit and this pink cover up every day - what a change from the down jackets, hats and scarves I was sporting at home! I highly recommend a beach vacation this time of year :). It's good for the soul.

Here we were at St. Jean beach...


The St. Jean beach area also has some of the best shopping on the island, especially beachwear. Oh, and here's a fun fact: the runway of the St. Barth airport (which is so short it can only have little 10 seater prop planes land there) runs straight out to the beach...and therefore the water. It's reportedly the third most dangerous airport in the world, and after seeing a number of planes land and take off there (including one we were on!), I think I believe it. 

No zoom here. This is how short it is/how close we could get to the runway on the beach!


We spent a couple of days playing in the calm waters at Grand Cul-de-Sac trying our best to learn how to do things like windsurf and stand up paddle board. I think all of us would say that our skills could use a little bit of work. There were some ridiculously talented water sports-loving people there!



If you made me pick my two favorite beaches, I think I'd have to go with Saline and Colombier. My mom has the photos of Saline on her camera, but I snapped this one of the path to the beach as we were leaving. I love the painted tile sign. They have these at all the beaches on the island. There's a short hike over a rocky hill to get to Saline, but no need for running shoes or anything. I thought it had the best waves for body surfing and boogie boarding. Warning though - this beach is also historically known as the nude beach, so watch out, haha! I most definitely caught a few glimpses. You've gotta have serious confidence to do that, yikes! No thanks.


Colombier is on only accessible by a fairly significant hike, but MAN is it worth it. We wore out bathing suits and running shoes, and that was definitely the right choice :). The sunset was spectacular, water was lovely, and it had amazing views along the way. It's also a popular place for people to anchor their yachts (St. Barth attracts a lot of those), which was fun to see.






Told you I lived in that pink cover up!

Hikes were definitely a fun part of our trip. In addition to the hike to Colombier beach, we also LOVED hiking and exploring the Toiny point area. It really felt like we were in the hills of Scotland or something there. There were windy, rocky cliffs, amazing water views, and lots of places to explore.




My other favorite hike was to a natural pool called the "Washing Machine." You get a little bit of everything on this hike - rocky beach, rolling hills, steep cliffs, booming waves, and then at the end, a pool! Watch out for sea urchins though. Those spiny little black things are all over the rocks there. We had to be really careful when swam around.







Alright, I think it's time to wrap this up for today...so many photos! I'll pick back up tomorrow with some others of our villa and a few fun sights!

If you have any plans to go to St. Barth, feel free to ask me questions. I'm no expert, but we explored a TON and I feel like I got to know the island pretty well since it's so small :). Can I go back now?

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4 comments:

  1. Well. That looks heavenly! I just looked up flights and had a hard time figuring out how you'd get there. It looks like you have to go through Miami. Correct?

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    Replies
    1. It is a tricky place to get to, that's for sure! You pretty much have to connect through a neighboring Caribbean island to get there. We flew through St. Maarten and took a ferry over and a tiny plane back. Since the airport is so small, you have to get to a place that you can either take a ferry or a small plane. Only a couple of local airlines fly there (St. Barth Commuter and Win Air) and you have to book separately since they're independent from the major airlines. Hope that helps!

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  2. Oh my gosh! No way my family didn't see yours there, even if just in passing. We just got back after spending December 21-January 4 there. It is my favorite place in the world. Each year we try a different area and ended up in Petit Cul de Sac this year. Our villa was the second furthest point on the island! Our go to beach is always Gouverner, but that is in part because we have become good friends with the owner and staff of Santa Fe (the restaurant at the top of the hill right where you turn down to the beach). We even invited the owner to our wedding. We flew PHL->CLT->SXM. I know Charlotte is a major hub for St. Maarten flights. We did WinAir both ways this year for the first time. In the past we had tried a charter boat (roughest hour and 15 minutes of our lives), the ferry (our ride back entailed dozens of sick people and waves crashing over the top of the boat), charter flights (not necessary) and now WinAir (fan favorite). I would love to talk more about St. Barths with you! Love the photos even though they make me sad right now. Happy New Year!

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