St Barths re-opened its borders on June 22 after successfully eradicating all cases of the coronavirus on the island. The tiny island has had no active cases of Covid-19 since April. In the official press release, President Bruno Magras welcomed tourists to return to the island and shared the government’s plan to keep the island virus-free through testing. Summer is a wonderful time to visit the magical island—the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean waters are so warm.
Before You Go
Travelers must be tested 72 hours or less prior to arrival in Gustavia. You should be prepared to present a negative nasal swab test result upon arrival. Travelers unable to be tested before arrival will be tested at St. Barths Covid-19 drive-through testing center within 24 hours of arrival. These travelers must self-quarantine in their villa until the test results are received. When travelers are confirmed not to be carriers of the virus, they are allowed to move freely about the island, as long as they practice responsible social distancing and preventative behavior in restaurants and shops.
How to Get There from the U.S.
For the best experience, fly to San Juan, Puerto Rico, then connect to St. Barths on a one-hour flight on Tradewind Aviation to Gustavia. Upon arrival into San Juan, Tradewind Aviation concierges will meet you at the gate, escort you to the private Tradewind Lounge, check your bags and walk you through another basic security screening on the way to your comfortable Pilatus aircraft. Travelers are required to wear facemasks in the airport and on the airplane. Since St. Maarten re-opened on 1 July, travelers have access to the 15-minute flight via Winair or St. Barth Commuter into Gustavia.
On the Island
While St. Barths is a luxurious island by all standards, driving on its narrow, slippery and steep roads can be stressful. The most high-end car rental company on the island is St. Barths Defenders, a locally owned boutique car rental company, that offers Defenders, Evoque convertibles, seven-seat Discovery Sports and Range Rover Sport. You can safely drive anywhere on the island following a map or using GPS. Ask for a Defender with a built-in shower (perfect for those sandy feet after a day on the beach), and if you mention booking via Tradewind, you will get a discount and a swag bag.
Opt for Villas
Most of the hotels will stay closed until October or November, so the best way to enjoy the island is to rent a private villa. Wimco Villas, the leading villa rental company on the island has revised their concierge arrivals service per health authority guidelines, with enhanced villa cleaning protocols. Expect a contactless greeting at the airport, with your luggage wiped down before bringing it into the villa and a bottle of hand sanitizer on the kitchen counter. Staff will clean your villa daily, and the housekeepers are instructed to schedule the cleaning for a time when the client is not inside. Housekeepers and any other service providers who step onto the properties wear a mask and gloves.
Where to Dine
Whether you are looking for feet in the sand experience or high-end dining, you will find both options this summer. For lunch on the beach, three in-vogue beach spots are now open: Shellona on Shell Beach, and, in St. Jean, Pearl Beach and Lil Rock. Eden Rock will be closed this summer, but their glamorous private beach club is open.
If you prefer to dine out, head to La Saline to enjoy Tamarin's magical garden or Gustavia for the iconic Isola, Black Ginger (the to-go is convenient) or Quarter Kitchen and Cocktail Lab. The Quarter has received two Gault & Millau awards in 2020: Best Young Chef and Best Bartender. Try one of its award-winning cocktails, or if you are a foodie, grab a seat at the Kitchen Bar for an interactive experience with their chef. Adjacent to the Quarter, Rhum Room owns one of the world’s largest collections of rum (854 varieties and counting) specifically focused on Caribbean rum. Ask your villa concierge to make your reservations daily to ensure the best tables and service.