When it comes to vacationing on St. Barths, the journey can often be as glamorous as the destination. St. Barths’ famously short 650-meter runway is the only place for aircraft to land, so major airlines are not able to access the island. This means traveling by small plane or boat is your only means of transportation—and these options truly reawaken the romance of travel.
From luxury comfort to speedboat style, here are four ways you can get to St. Barths:
Rediscover the splendor of flying with a charter flight to the island. The planes that land at Gustaf III Airport (SBH) have a capacity of about 20 passengers and are piloted by expertly trained pilots who can navigate the short runway. And really, the impressive landing is just as remarkable to watch from the ground. Visitors tend to gather on the hillside overlooking the runway to watch the planes touch down.
Most visitors making their way to St. Barths via plane choose to connect at the Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM) on St. Maarten, just a 10-minute flight away from St. Barths. You can transfer from a major airline to Winair, St Barth Commuter, or AirStMaarten for the short shuttle flight.
You can also connect via San Juan airport (SJU), Antigua airport (ANU), or St. Thomas airport (STT). Tradewind Aviation operates charter flights from all three to St. Barths, both private and shared, and St. Barth Commuter operates flights from Antigua and St. Thomas. Additionally, Tradewind flies to many beautiful Caribbean islands nearby, so it is possible to hop between beaches before or after your time on St. Barths.
Then, of course, privately owned planes are welcome to land on St. Barths. Keep in mind that aircraft may not fly onto St. Barths at night because there are no lights at the airport, and pilots will need a special permit to land because of the short runway.
Not quite as glamorous but just as enjoyable is traveling to the island by ferry. On a longer journey, you have to opportunity to see the lovely coast of St. Maarten in addition to the open sea between the islands, and you may spot whales and other marine life during your ride.
From St. Maarten, there are multiple ferry trips each day run by Voyager (75 – 90 minutes) and Great Bay Express (40 minutes). The ferry docks are about 20 minutes by shuttle or taxi from the St. Maarten airport, so plan your travel accordingly.
For a swifter and more personal experience, reserve a private boat charter from St. Maarten to St. Barths. Yannis Marine maintains a magnificent fleet of boats that offer travelers both speed and style while crossing the sea, and booking a private charter will allow for more flexibility than a large passenger boat.
The most stylish form of travel to St. Barths will always be aboard a luxury yacht. Celebrities have been known to vacation offshore of St. Barths on the sumptuous pleasure boats that can exceed 500 feet in length.
In Gustavia Harbor, there are 60 berths dockside for yachts no longer than 200 feet—as well as anchorage in the inner harbor for 14 yachts no longer than 80 feet and anchorage in the outer harbor for 100 plus yachts of any size. Inbound vessels will want to contact the Harbor Master prior to arrival in St. Barths.