Feast your sensory palette with a trip to St. Barth‚lemy, where the sight of white sand sliding into warm salty sea in the pink flush of sunset will nourish your soul, and skilled chefs whip up culinary delights in the sophisticated city of Gustavia to feed your body. Absent the developed resorts and fast pace of many popular island retreats, St. Barth, aka St. Barts, St. Barths or St. Barth‚lemy, is a laid-back favorite amongst those in the Caribbean know.
Silky sand powders small crescent beaches and long stretches of shoreline, where social sand-castle building marks busier beaches but solitude is always easy to find. For the hours not filled with lounge-chair adjustments and languid swims, the world beyond the beach boasts hours of entertainment. Whether you just want to snorkel with sea turtles off Lorient Beach, hike to Petit de Anse for parrotfish or catch a boat out to Forchue Island, the choice is yours. If you're getting island fever, try a sail and snorkel trip.
Local dive operators offer lessons and access to air tanks and offshore dives. Hurricanes did a fair bit of damage to reefs and coral in the 90's, but many of the sites are recovering and are home again to barracuda, sharks, angelfish and flashy colors. Register with St. Barth Natural Marine Reserve before you dive.
Surfers and bodysurfers can find places to ride the waves when the swell is right. Rent surfboards in developed areas, you're responsible for providing your own body. Windsurfers take to the waters around Grand Cul-de-Sac in the northeast for lessons and brisk breezes.
If for some peculiar reason you're keen on catching your own dinner as opposed to savoring impressive restaurant fare, charter trips ply the waters for wahoo, blue marlin and tuna.
However you choose to fill your days, make evenings a festive affair and don't set a foot off of St. Barth without checking out the island's culinary reputation for yourself.