5 days exploring St Barths and St Martin on a superyacht

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Gustavia to Colombier via St Jean

St Barths and St Martin are two overseas collectivities of the French West Indies, the territories under French sovereignty in the Caribbean Antilles.

With a total land area of 21 square kilometres, the volcanic island of St Barts is one of the most unusual of the French West Indies. It has some of the best beaches in the Caribbean complemented by lush rolling hills and charming villages. A favourite retreat for the rich and famous, St Barts is renowned for its quiet and scenic beauty, chic boutiques and fabulous French cuisine.

The bustling island of St Martin/Saint Maarten is situated 25 miles to the northwest of St Barts. The north side of the island, St Martin, captures the essence of the French Caribbean with its open markets, French bakeries and seaside cafes.

There is a quieter appeal to St Martin as well, which can be found in the 3060-hectare National Nature Reserve. Whether on a private yacht or enjoying a l uxury yacht charter in the Caribbean both islands have plenty to offer.

Day 1 - Gustavia to Colombier via St Jean

St Barts’ capital Gustavia owes its name to the brief time the island was in Swedish hands, rather than French, and this is a great place to shop before you head to more remote shores. Heading round to the windward side of the island the wide bay at St Jean is protected by a reef and is an ideal place for kite-or wind-surfing.

The fine white sand beach is overlooked by the island’s well-known first hotel Eden Rock. Anchoring is only possible when weather permits, so head to Colombier for safe overnight anchorage.

Picture courtesy of Leonard Zhukovsky/Shutterstock.com

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Colombier

This small beach is only accessible by boat or on foot, and offers excellent snorkelling and diving. It’s a popular Sunday picnic spot with locals, and is also known as Rockefeller’s beach as David Rockefeller owned the land that surrounded it for some years. Those with extra energy can hike the 30 minutes or so over to Anse des Flamands – with panoramic ocean views over both sides of the island.

Spend some time beachcombing along the golden crescent of Flamands beach, and maybe have lunch at the renowned Cheval Blanc Isle de France hotel, before returning to Colombier.

Picture courtesy of Vilainecrevette/Shutterstock.com

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Île Fourche

This deserted island of Fourche lies just a few miles northwest of St Barths. Once tucked into the bay, you can explore ashore by kayak and on foot (with just the goats for company.) The snorkelling is good, with rays and turtles adding to the usual reef fish (this is a part of the St Barths Marine Reserve after all.)

The dive site found off the southwest tip of the island is a must do dive before you die but make sure the current or swells are not too strong.

Picture courtesy of bcampbell65/shutterstock.com

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Tintamarre

Once more you can enjoy the privileged access that a yacht offers by sailing to yet another uninhabited isle – Tintamarre off the northeast corner of St Martin. The most common word that seems to crop up when people talk about Tintamarre is ‘paradise’.

This is what people imagine when you use the phrase ‘desert island’, there is no habitation, just turquoise water, white sand and palm trees. Your only company will be a handful of other yachts, making it a perfect place to simply unwind.

Picture courtesy of World Wide/Shutterstock.com

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Marigot

Long Bay Beach (sometimes known as Longue Bay or Baie Longue) lies on the opposite corner of St Martin to Tintamarre, so a cruise there gives you a good chance to check out the rest of the Island. The Bay is true to its name, being the longest stretch of sand on the island, yet it is still one of the quietest, and it’s possible to find a secluded spot all to yourself.

In calm conditions it’s good for snorkelling, otherwise you can have fun playing in the surf. The Eastern end of the bay is home to the exclusive La Samanna resort, but otherwise the beach is undeveloped. Lastly, sail back to Marigot for a comfortable night.

Picture courtesy of John Wollwerth/Shutterstock.com

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