My Day Trip to St. Bart’s

I know there’s a speedboat in my future. I just love to be on the water and going fast. (Part of the joy of every journey is in how you get there, right?) On my recent trip to Divi Little Bay in St. Maarten, I learned about the fast ferry over to St. Bart’s. Zipping around the beautiful blue Caribbean Sea – that’s for me.

The fast ferry trip from St. Maarten to St. Bart’s is a fun way to spend a day while vacationing on St. Maarten. Dock to dock in less than an hour means you will have a full six hours to make like you’re a celeb in this ooh-so-French playground of the Caribbean. You’ve read about it in People and heard about it on Entertainment Tonight. Now, you know what the fuss is about. Entering the harbor in the capital of Gustavia and you know: it’s gorgeous. Red tiled roofs, exquisite shop facades, stunning fashion inside the windows, cafes, a landscaped esplanade around the U-shaped harbor, towering hillsides enveloping the town, and croissants aplenty. I came prepared to spend time soaking up the ambiance of this beachy bit of France, rather than dishing out cash in the pricey shops. But, window shopping is affordable and fun in St. Bart’s.

Here’s a tip: Hit the shops as soon as you dock, because most close for a leisurely French lunch from noon until 3 (some close at 1 instead). So, after eying the fashions and jewelry, I headed over to Shell Beach, an easy, 10 minute stroll away. True to character and name, it was a wide swatch of sand, beautiful with big boulders and laden with shells. There’s even a little bistro and beachwear shop. Chaise lounges can be rented from the restaurant for a more comfortable angle for people watching.

After heading into the surf, relaxing on the beach or even a little snooze on a chaise, head back to town for lunch. Remember where you are: meals are not rushed here. The fast ferry returns to St. Maarten at precisely 4pm.

If you want to check out all of St. Bart’s, another option for the day is to take a taxi for an all-around-the-island tour. Next time, I’ll do that.

The day I went, it was a smooth ride over under a gorgeous blue sky with pillowy puffs of clouds, the kind that give pictures a little contrast from all that gorgeous blue.

If the wind in your hair is not your thing, sit inside in the smooth comfort of the cabin and enjoy a beverage, chat with the hostess and scan the horizon for St. Bart’s up ahead and Saba to your right. You’ll get a nice view of St. Maarten as you leave it behind or approach it on the return.

The lovely and amiable Eugene at Divi Little Bay will make the arrangements for a trip from Divi.

I did mention that the fast ferry leaves St. Bart’s precisely at 4, didn’t I? And that’s a good thing. You’ll be back at the marina in St. Maarten at 4:45. Which means you can do the slow sunset sail offered by Passaat, departing nearby. It’s a tranquil antidote to the fast life you’ve just lived in a day in St. Bart’s.

The fast ferry operates year-round, but here’s a deal you should hop on now: Divi Little Bay has a 4-night $499 for two special that includes the fast ferry trip to St. Bart’s, (the trip alone is a value of $130), plus the transportation over to the marina from Divi Little Bay. It’s all included in the $499. Book by June 30. Travel until December 16th. Get on it fast!

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