Indulge without breaking the bank!
Many may say St. Barts isn’t where budget travelers should go. After spending a few days there during low-season (the first week of December, right before holiday break,) I realized that one can actually indulge in St. Barts without breaking the bank! Here are a few hacks:
1. Go there during low season.
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St. Barts high season starts from mid-December through March. But this also means, if you go right before and after those periods, your expenses will vary drastically. I went there for a wedding during the first week of December, and stayed at a really nice villa hotel that cost $250/room which can be split between 2 people. Not to mention, the villa came with 2 bedrooms, a private pool, an open kitchen, 2 large dining tables, and a whole lot of lounge areas.
2. Hit a public beach!
The best part about pubic beaches in St. Barts is they’re free of charge. Two beaches I highly recommend are Saline and Shell.
Saline Beach requires a semi-hike over a sand dune where you’ll need to take your sandals off. If you love to go bare, you can strip down and tan freely on Saline Beach – hailed by many as the prettiest beach on the island.
Shell Beach is exactly like its name, covered in shells rather than sand. It’s next to Gustavia, making it easy to access. If you can bring your own foldout chair, then you don’t need to spend the extra $47 to rent a chair on the beach. Or, just bring your own beach towel.
3. Grocery shop at the supermarket.
For many, budget traveling doesn’t necessarily mean saving up on dining out. If you don’t splurge at nice restaurants, then the best way to stock up on food is grocery shop at local supermarkets. You can keep your entire daily budget under 100 euros if you cook back at your hotel or Airbnb. Supermarkets also have fabulous choices on wine, so you can drink up at home before going out because cocktails and alcohol at restaurants/bars are costly.
4. If you like to eat out, check out Mayas-To-Go.
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There are some low-cost eateries in St. Barts. Mayas-To-Go is a great example where you can feast on incredibly fresh and tasty French-Caribbean dishes that you can also takeaway. For those who have a sweet tooth, don’t miss Le Petit Deauville for a nice cone of local sorbet.
5. Stay at budget hotels or rent a villa from late Aug – Oct.
Since most luxury hotels close from late August through early October, this is a good time to rent villas on super low rates. Check out WIMCO Villas where you can score prices 50% less than high season prices. If villas are too much of a splurge for you, then check out budget hotels, we’ve heard Sunset Hotel in Gustavia welcomes very happy guests who have loved their stays.
6. Rent a car, rather than cabbing.
Renting a car ($30/day) is a cheaper option than taxis ($30/ride.)
7. Hike up Grand Fond.
Another activity that won’t cost an arm and a leg is a 30-minute hike up to Grand Fond, which is as far away from the image of “St. Barts” as possible. Waves thrashing against bulky rock formations, and rustic views of the off-the-beaten path seashore make this hike a truly authentic experience. The trek can be tricky as some prefer to hire a guide, but definitely wear closed-toe shoes and get up to the highest point on the island at Mount Vitet.