High Season Weather; Low Season Crowds - What to Expect Post-Irma

Our Availability: We are confident as to readiness, and motivated. The pool should be completed and tested by New Year's. We have two paid reservations for January. As well as Easter Week. February and March are prime times to escape the cold back home and enjoy St Bart's. For those in the U.S. Northeast, as of this writing this includes Presidents Week (19 Feb) - consider including both weekends for maximal relaxation. Recharge your batteries for rest of winter. Don't delay.

Island Status (4 December):  All essential infrastructure and utilities are 100% operational. Regular air flights have returned between SBH, St Maarten (SXM) and San Juan. Regular air service from North America to SXM has been restored and the number of flights from both North America and Europe will increase from January 2018.  WinAir and St Barth Commuter operate their regular flights from SXM to SBH. If these schedules are tight or sold-out, both fast water ferry services from St Martin - Voyager and Great Bay - are operating regularly.

Beaches: All are restored and open for sunbathing. Most - the following - also for swimming: Colombier, Anse des Flamands, Anse des Cayes, Corossol, Gouverneur, Petit cul de Sac, Lorient, Shell Beach, St Jean (côté aéroport /western side only) and Public.
Festivals and Regattas: The St. Barts Music Festival (January), Carnival (February), Les Voiles de St Barth and the Bucket Race all are taking place as scheduled.

Current Touristic Capacity (capacité d'acceuil): At this date, the local tourism committee expects that touristic capacity will be 25% (for about 1,500 visitors) for Christmas and New Years, 50% by March 2018, 80% by summer 2018 and 100% by November 2018. Many villas and larger hotels plan to re-open in March. Why so late? Because even where damage is modest, insurance claims and repairs take time, local contractors are at over-capacity and seasonal staff at larger establishments need housing - already a problem pre-Irma.

Importantly, 80% of the restaurants and boutiques in Gustavia, as well as the major grocery stores, are already open or will be by Christmas. This includes La Plage, Shellona, Le Ti, Isola, Bagatelle, Le Village St Jean, La Guerite, Orega, The Hideaway, Isoletta, Le Ti St Barth, Bar de l'Oubli, Le Select, Maya's to Go, Galawi (former Pipiri), Grain de Sel and many others. Both Maya's and Bonito re-open in February. The Wimco agency maintains a excellent readiness report here, including a restaurant and store list.

So should I postpone until late in season or even next year?: Mais non, pas du tout ! This question of course depends on what you value most in a visit to St Bart's. If you require absolute perfection and the full hustle-bustle, you may want to wait. But if you love St Bart's in all its phases and seasons and have a little flexibility, by all means come and be a part of this rebirth. For a few months, St Bart's will be more like the jewel of a decade or two ago:  a slightly simpler offering, life and speed. But ever-so a place and time where reality is briefly suspended - as one of the local slogans states, "La réalité s'arrête ici".   Visiting now may even enhance your visit and deepen your appreciation of this exceptional island and its intrepid residents.  

A bientôt,
Robert DILWORTH

 



 

Sarah Bellum

Sara (b. 1958) is a writer, photographer and amateur web site developer. Her day job is as a lawyer in New York City.  Website creation provides an outlet for a different writing style and use of foreign language skills, as well as an opportunity to showcase photography.