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St. Barts Travel Guide

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Looking for the ultimate tropical luxury escape? Saint-Barthélemy, long known as a destination for gleaming yachts and international pleasure-seekers, offers pristine beaches, secluded villas and the finest in French-Caribbean cuisine. Read on for a quick tour of this tiny gem in the French West Indies.

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What to See in St. Barts

While it's only eight square miles, St. Bart's offers abundant opportunities to explore. The island boasts 14 white-sand beaches. Toiny Beach is popular with surfers, while Saline Beach attracts sunbathers in various states of undress. Watersports include SCUBA diving, deep-sea fishing, kite surfing, and sailing. For an up-close look at tropical fish and green sea turtles, take an underwater tour aboard the semi-submersible Yellow Submarine.

Duty-free shopping is an irresistible diversion in Gustavia. Maryvonne & Gérard Mignot's Bijoux de la Mer sells exquisite Australian and Tahitian black pearls. Calypso St. Barth offers designer day and evening wear with a breezy sensibility.

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Where to Stay in St. Barts

For toe-tingling luxury and impeccable service, stay in one of the 15 private villas at the Hotel Le Toiny. The hotel is famous for its dedication to privacy, including red-flag "do not disturb" signs. If you want your breakfast to be delivered invisibly to the terrace each morning, just say the word. The Hotel Saint -Barth Isle de France ups the ante with two oceanfront suites that feature infinity pools, private cinemas and private fitness rooms.

Nothing on St. Bart's could be considered cheap, but the Hotel Baie des Anges is popular among vacationers traveling on a budget. The hotel offers 10 charming rooms on beautiful Flamands Bay.

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Where to Eat in St. Barts

French artistry plus Caribbean flair equals some of the finest dining in the Caribbean. Add Venezuelan flavors to the mix and you have Bonito, a favorite spot known for its ceviche tasting menus. Show up at 5:30 for sunset cocktails and music. Diners rave about Hotel Le Toiny's Le Gaiac restaurant, particularly the exquisite Sunday brunch and the Tuesday "Fish Market" menu of local seafood. One tip: People eat late on St. Bart's, and many restaurants don't open until 9 p.m. For fun that continues late into the night, head to Le Ti Saint-Barth for cabaret shows, costumes and dancing on tables.

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Sep 08, 2014