Pratical guide

Language

The official language of Saint Barthélemy is French. English is also widely spoken to facilitate communication with tourists. However, certain traditional languages are still popular among the Saint Barth natives, with a French Patois spoken on the leeward side of the island, and Creole spoken on the windward side. Each varies, like a local accent, from neighborhood to neighborhood. In spite of the 100 years under the rule of Sweden, the local population never spoke Swedish.

Money

For many, many years, the French Franc was the official money of the island of Saint Barthélemy, as well as the American Dollar, which was essential for doing business with Saint Thomas, for example, where many locals had family. In 2001, Saint Barth, like the rest of France and Europe, changed to the euro. The US dollar remains the second currency of the island.

Local time - GMT

Saint-Barthélemy keeps the same time as the rest of the Caribbean (to calculate the proper time in Saint Barth, add or subtract from the local time in your country):

  • France -6 hours
  • North America (East Coast) +1 hour (no difference during Daylight Savings Time)
  • Japan -13 hours
  • Australia -14 hours
  • Africa -5 hours
  • Russia -8 hours

Holidays

In keeping with local traditions and customs, there are more holidays here than in France. These include: January 1, Mardi Gras, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Easter Monday, May 1, May 8, Ascension, Pentecost, July 14, Assumption, August 24—St. Barthélemy Day, November 1, November 11, and December 25.

Electricity (voltage)

In St Barthélemy, the electricity is 220 volts and 60 Hz for the entire island. However, most hotels and villas use transformers to supply 100V power.

Water

As there are no rivers or fresh water sources in Saint Barth, rainwater collected in cisterns comes in very handy during periods of drought. In addition, the island has an active facility to desalinate ocean water, and provide city water to most homes, but is very expensive. This means that water remains a precious resource and should be used intelligently, in moderation, without thoughtless waste.

Phone

To call St. Barthélémy from Europe: 33 590 590 + (six digit number)
From the USA: 011 590 590 + (six digit number)

Wifi hotspots and Cyber café

Most of the restaurants on the island have Wi-Fi available for their clients. The Capitainerie (port offices) also offers private Wi-Fi service for all the passengers on the boats anchored in the Gustavia harbor.

While there is no official Cyber café, the island does have the Centre Alizes, a communications center where you can use a computer, send a fax, or make long-distance telephone calls. They also offer a variety of office services:

Centre Alizés
Chamade building, rue de la République, Gustavia
centrealizesbh@yahoo.fr

High-season hours: November-April,
Monday through Saturday: 8:30am-8:00am
Sundays and holidays:3pm-8pm

Low-season hours, May-October:
Monday-Friday from 9am-12pm and 2pm-6pm
Closed Sundays and holidays

Health

A trip to Saint Barthélemy is filled with the excitement of travel and a sense of adventure. Yet all traveling comes with certain risks that can be avoided by following a few simple suggestions.

The image of the “Caribbean” has always evoked the dream of living under the tropical sun all year long, but you must protect yourself!

In order to make the most of your vacation on our island, be sure to dress in lightweight clothing. You should also always wear sunscreen (cream or oil) with a high level of protection (40 + SPF) to protect you as best as possible from the aggressive rays of the sun. A hat or baseball cap is also a good means of protection, because even when you are not on the beach, your face remains exposed to the hot sun.

These simple precautions can help to avoid the risk of sunburn or sunstroke. For those who are more sensitive to the sun, and especially young children, it’s a good idea to protect the eyes with a good pair of sunglasses.

You should also remember to stay hydrated, as this helps you support the heat. Keep a bottle of water with you at all times, especially if you have small children as they can get dehydrated much more quickly than adults.

If you are planning a full day at the beach, think about taking a parasol, as the Caribbean sun is especially strong at noon, and even a large hat may not offer enough protection. In the early afternoon, select a part of the beach where there is shade, either by sitting under a parasol or simply under a tree.

Please remember that access to the beach is prohibited for all animals, for reasons of public health.

 
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