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Saint-Barthelemy, or "Saint Barts," is a French tropical island in the Caribbean where the rich and famous go to relax - but this does not mean you cannot enjoy it as well! With white sandy beaches and warm weather, Saint-Barthelemy is the ideal vacation destination.
Before you start planning your vacation to Saint-Barthelemy, you should know a few things:
First of all, you must see whether or not you need a visa. Saint-Barthelemy is a French overseas territory and is thus a part of the European Union (EU). As a result, there are a lot of different nationalities that can enter the island and stay indefinitely. At the same time, many nationalities are visa-exempt for periods of time varying from 3 to 6 months. You'll need to read the French overseas territories visa policy so that you know your country's visa limitations. There are few restrictions for travel to Saint Barts, so chances are that you'll just need a valid passport for your trip.
If you do not find your country of origin on the French territory visa-exempt lists, your only choice is to go to the nearest French embassy and submit a visa application in-person. Our advice is to give them a call ahead of time so that you can learn more about the visa requirements. There is a lot of available information online, but iVisa recommends that you should use it for reference only.
As to how you can get in Saint-Barthelemy, you can reach the island by plane, but not a big commercial one. The aircrafts that fly to the island are small so that they can land on the short runway. Plane tickets are available from the United States, Europe, and many other locations in the Caribbean. Ships can also reach Saint-Barthelemy, but passenger ferries do not go there year-round because of cyclones.
Getting around on the island is far simpler. Since Saint-Barthelemy is so small, everything can be reached by car in about half an hour. Many vacation packages include a 4X4 truck that you can use to reach all the places you so desire.
The official language in Saint-Barthelemy is French, but English is quite standard. Creole is also spoken on some parts of the island, but it is losing ground to English.
Some people like to get married in Saint-Barthelemy because indeed, the scenery is quite dreamy. It is the perfect place for a beachside wedding. Wedding rites from several faiths can be organized. There is, however, one condition: for a wedding to happen on Saint-Barthelemy, at least one of the future spouses must be a resident there for at least one month.
As you can expect from any French territory, the food and drink are incredibly good in Saint-Barthelemy. The cuisine is French and French Creole and can get pricey. Cheaper alternatives can be found, but it would be a pity to visit Saint-Barthelemy and not try their fine dining. As for drinking, wine is widely available, and the prices are not as high as one may expect.
When it comes to accommodation, there is a wide variety. Luxury hotels and villas are available, but it is also possible to go to Saint-Barthelemy on a budget. You do not have to spend hundreds of dollars per night for a place to sleep. And, if you make a reservation far ahead of time, you may even get a discount.
As far as safety is concerned, crime is essentially non-existent in Saint Barts. There may be some petty thieves, but that is about it. And regarding health concerns, you do not require any vaccinations before departure.
The bottom line is that Saint-Barthelemy is a dream location. The beaches are pristine, the sights are amazing, the food exquisite, and you can relax and enjoy your whole trip. The prices may be steep, to be sure, but if you can afford it, you won't regret it.