(00 33) 2 98 39 62 25
Fax (by appointment) :
(00 33) 9 50 04 32 70
Headquarters : 5 Hent Meneyer, 29 950 Gouesnac'h, France.
Postal address : 2 impasse de Kervégant, 29 350 Moëlan sur mer, France.

Sporting and leisure activities on St Barts

Shopping for luxury brands and bronzing oneself on one of Saint-Barthélemy’s magnificent white sand beaches are not the only things to do on the island. Indeed, you will find numerous sporting and leisure activities here, especially nautical sports which are offered by over thirty companies. Activities are run by qualified professionals who will ably guide you and lead you to discover the secrets of the island…


Nautical and sub-aquatic sports:


Diving


Whether you wish to go scuba diving or stick to snorkelling with mask and fins, St Barts’ rich and wondrous submarine world is exceptional in the Caribbean. In these waters, which are never very deep, you will discover superb corals, some endemic to the island or very special because they are very rare in the Antilles. There is also a multitude of colourful fish, some of them very large specimens, as well as magnificent turtles, whose capture has been prohibited since 1991.




                     plongée à Saint Barth
                                              photo © Laurent Benoit
 
 

Every bay has a coral reef, and you can visit the drop-offs and caves of each offshore islet. The most spectacular dives are around Pain du Sucre, an islet off Gustavia, around the Ane Rouge headland near Colombier, and around the Coco islet… Also, a little way out from the port of Gustavia, a fabulous 75 metre shipwreck which went down in 1991 is an enticing prospect for curious divers… looking for Caribbean treasure perhaps!

In fact, there are numerous and varied diving sites in St Barts. The shallows which surround the islets off the north coast, such as Ile Fourche, are well known for it. Another good spot, almost completely untouched but only accessible in good weather, is Groopers island between St Martin and St Barts. Off Gustavia, you can admire coral reefs about 15 metres down around the Gros Ilets and Les Saintes islets. At a similar depth, and to see a wonderful array of multi-coloured fish around the reef, you could dive at the islets off the north-east coast of the island which are known as La Tortue (the turtle) and Les Grenadines.




Tortue, Tony Duarte
Copyright Tony Duarte


It should be noted that anyone who dives in the protected waters of the island’s marine nature reserve must contribute one euro per dive to the reserve, which goes to finance the upkeep of mooring stations used by boats who wish to anchor within the reserve, subject to authorisation. Furthermore, due to concerns around conservation and respect of the environment, certain protected sites in the reserve are only accessible to certified divers.


Surfing and Windsurfing


The beaches of St Jean and Grand Cul de Sac lend themselves perfectly to windsurfing and kitesurfing, whilst Anse des Cayes and Lorient are more known for surfing. You can hire windsurf equipment and sport catamarans at St Jean beach.



La Cata Cup St Barth
photo © Laurent Benoit



Whether you are a complete beginner, or already have some experience, or even for those who compete at a high level, the island has many schools and specialist shops who will be able to guide you in your chosen water-based boardsport.



Comité territorial de tourisme de Saint Barthélemy




Yachting and Sailing


Whether you want to devote a whole day or a half day, or just take a sunset cruise, you will be able to find many boat hire companies, offering crewed or uncrewed excursions around St Barts or the surrounding islands, such as Fourchue, Tintamarre, St Martin, and Anguilla. Don your snorkel, mask and fins and you will be able to swim amongst a multitude of the most varied and colourful fish. Let yourself be lulled by the breeze whilst enjoying an apéritif, like a local ‘planteur’, followed by a marvellous dinner just after the sun sets, around 6pm.



Les voiles de St Barth
photo © comité territorial du tourisme de Saint Barth




If you fancy a longer spell at sea, you could cast off for a crewed mini-cruise of the surrounding islands lasting three days, or a week or longer if you like, whether purely to enjoy the calm and the turquoise waters or maybe to take part in a regatta. Hiring a boat allows you to see St Barts from a different perspective, to admire its craggy coastline and wide white-sand bays from the water.

Small sport catamarans – mainly the 13-20 foot ‘Hobbycat’ type, either one-man or two-man – are available from St Jean where you will also find tuition and advice by sailing professionals on offer.

The sailing school based on the Plage de Public have Optimist boats for the youngest participants, but also dinghies, Lasers and small catamarans. They organise regattas for all of these categories throughout the year.


Fishing

St Barthélemy’s reputation as a deep-sea fishing destination has continued to grow and grow over the last few years. Principally focussed on tuna fishing, several companies offer day or half-day trips, with all the necessary equipment provided for you.



Comité territorial de tourisme de Saint Barthélemy




Other activities on the island:


Tennis


Tennis is practised on the island, despite the heat, although because of this consideration games are often played early morning or as the sun sets. A good number of tennis courts are available on St Barts, some private some public, and with a variety of surfaces.

Some hotels have their own courts, and can recommend professional instructors to visitors who wish to take lessons to perfect their game. The main clubs on the island are those based at the Guanahani hotel and the Manapany Cottages & Spa hotel, the St Barth Tennis Club in St Jean, the Tennis Club at Flamboyant, and ASCCO at Colombier.


Pétanque

This quintessential French ‘sport’ is played a lot in St Barts, not only by the locals, young and old alike, but also by tourists who want to try their hand at this traditional bowling game, which is also known as ‘boules’.


Horse riding

Why not take a voyage of discovery on horseback on one of the largest private estates on St Barts – in the bosom of nature, on the lookout for flora and fauna, being wowed by breathtaking views… Contact: Galop des îles, in Gouverneur.



And taking to the air…


Leisure aviation

Only 640 metres long and ending directly on the beach of St Jean, a literal stone’s throw from the shore, St Barts’ runway is only accessible to small aircraft with a maximum of 20 seats, and is one of the most extraordinary places on the island.

Private aviation on St Barts is provided for by two flying clubs, Les Ailes de St Barth and AASB, who offer everything from introductory flights to flying lessons to aircraft hire. A truly original way to discover the island and its landscape, and a sure-fire winner with any amateur aviators.

A helicopter tour of the island is also available.


Paragliding


In the time it takes to glide down to the ground, you will have the chance to admire St Barts from above, and the multi-coloured tropical waters which surround the island. The club Ascendance Cactus will be able to provide further information regarding this unique experience.