How to Get to St Barthélemy?
The most common way is by air to the Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM) in St Maarten. Then a 12 minute commuter flight (WinAir or St Barth Commuter) to the airport (SBH) in St. Jean, near Gustavia and Colombier. SBH is on the island's longest stretch of flat land, limiting the size of airplanes that can land and thereby the maximum number of visitors per day by air. In our jet age of mass aviation and tourism, this limitation has been a key advantage to the island in trying to maintain an orderly pace of development. SBH closes at dusk, intentionally lacking the necessary night lighting. The landing experience is exhilarating, especially the first time. But depending on the calendar can be expensive, especially for a family or group. Another gateway is San Juan, PR (SJU) and a more expensive connecting flight to SBH on Tradewinds Aviation.
The second option is by high speed ferry - the Voyager, from Oyster Pond Marina in St. Martin, just a thousand feet feet or so into the French side. Take a taxi (often shared vans for about USD10 per passenger) from SXM to Oyster Pond. The passage is quick (30 - 35 minutes), economical and offers a different perspective.
In either case you'll then need a rental car. Numerous global and local rental agencies are present at SBH or will meet you at the ferry marina. The fleet variety and prices vary considerably by agency and season. We can make referrals to local agencies with which we've had good experience and preferential arrangements.
Flight time and frequency to SXM Princess Juliana International Airport from major N. American and Eurpoean gateways:
St. Maarten is within 4 - 5 hrs flying time for a substantial portion of the N. American population and within 9 - 11 hrs of much of Western Europe. Below are approximate flight times as of last August 2016. Many airlines fly the N. American routes 6-7 days per week. Some have multiple flights per day. In Summer, some operate fewer flights per day or week. Tip: off-season flights can be up to 50% cheaper than year-end and mid-winter flights.
Paris (CDG): 9h
London and Frankfurt: by short connection via CDG or AMS
NB: Europeans also fly to SXM via major N. Am. gateways such as NY, Charlotte, Atlanta or Miami since they have direct flights to / from many European cities.
New York (JFK or EWR): 4h15
Montréal (YMQ): 4h50
Atlanta, Charlotte: 4h
Chicago (ORD): 5h15
Dallas: 6h45 (via ATL)
Ft. Lauderdale: 3h05