The Best Time to Go to St. Barts
Located in the Lesser Antilles, St. Barts is a French Caribbean Island that is known for its stunning beauty, amazing food, world-class style, and unparalleled luxury. Deciding on the best time to visit, though, depends in part on what your travel priorities and preferences are, such as whether you’re travelling as a family, solo, group, or as a couple (and on that note, St Barts is one of the best honeymoon destinations in the world). Each season has its own pros and cons, so let’s go over each to help you decide the best time to go to St Barts.
What is the Weather Like Year-Round in St Barts?
St Barts has a tropical coastal climate that is relatively stable throughout the year. Locals refer to the dry season from December to April as Lent, which also coincides with peak tourism season. This season has average lows of 23°C (73°F) and average highs of 29°C (84°F). May to November, meanwhile, is called the Wintering (coming from Canada, I can only imagine that this is some kind of joke). This period sees higher rainfall, as well as slightly higher temperatures. Average lows during these months range from 26°C (79°F) from June-October to a low of 24°C (75°F) in December, and average highs range from 27°C (86°F) in December to 32°C (90°F) from June-September. St. Barts also only sees about 1000 millimeters (40 inches) of rainfall all year, which is not very much. The wettest months are from August to November, but even then, you’ll only see precipitation 12-14 days of the month (and mostly in the afternoon). Water temperatures are warm all year round, ranging from 26-28 °C (79-84 °F).
When Is Hurricane Season in St Barts?
Hurricane season in St. Barts is from August to October. That said, hurricanes and tropical storms are a rare occurrence in St Barts. Of course, Hurricane Irma had a significant impact on the island in September 2017, however, prior to that, the island had not been hit by a devastating hurricane since Hurricane Luis in 1995. Because the island is so small, the overall risk of tropical storms and hurricanes hitting the island is low, and these systems can typically be detected at least 5 days in advance. While this means the odds of being affected by a tropical storm are quite low, purchasing travel insurance if you do wish to visit during hurricane season helps further minimize any risks incurred.
When is the Most Popular Time to Visit St Barts?
The most popular time to visit St Barts is during the dry season from December to April, and specifically in December and January. Since this is peak season, all the hotels, resorts, restaurants, bars, clubs, ferries, and excursions will be operating at full capacity. You’ll also get to enjoy some gorgeous weather, with warm trade winds, calm waters, and clear skies.
July and August are also busy months, more so than on other Caribbean islands, due in part to the European clientele that St Barts attracts, as this is when many have their longest annual vacations. And while the water is warm year-round, it is also warmest during these summer months, which some prefer for swimming.
When is the Least Popular Time to Visit St Barts?
The least popular time to visit St Barts is during hurricane season, from August-November. In fact, because the number of tourists goes way down, many shops, hotels, and restaurants may even be closed during this time. That said, this is also the time of year when you can secure the best deals on St Barts luxury villa rentals, and with how gorgeous some of these villas are, that alone is reason enough for many to travel to the island during this time.
The Seasons in St. Barts
While the tropical climate assures good weather all year round, your overall St Barts vacation experience can vary depending on which season you visit. Here is a season-by-season breakdown of what each month has to offer.
Summer is the most popular time for Europeans to travel, so much of St. Barts will be appealing to a European, and especially French, clientele during this time. For the best deals, consider travelling in June.
June 21 sees the Saint Barthelemy “Fete de la Musique,” or Music Festival. In celebration of its French heritage, expect to find some nice celebrations on Bastille Day on July 14th, which corresponds as well to the National Day of Saint Barthelemy. While many shops and even some restaurants may be closed that day, there are usually fireworks and even perhaps an orchestra at the Gustavia Harbor. St Barts Tennis Open also starts on Aug 15th, while the Feast of St Barthelemy is on August 24th, followed by Saint Louis celebrations on Corossolo Beach on August 25th.
Fall sees the lowest prices, as well as the most rainfall, on the island. Many hotels and restaurants will be closed during this time, but locals will still be about and about, and you can find amazing deals on some of the most stunning villas in the Caribbean. Plus, about half the days of the month should see no rain, and the mornings should generally be clear. Tourism starts picking up around November.
Notable Events / Experiences
St Barts Gourmet Festival runs from the 8th to the 13th of November and sees internationally renowned chefs coming down to the island to show off their skills. The St Barth Cata Cup, a catamaran regatta, also takes place from the 14th to the 18th of November, while St. Barth’s Art Week starts November 21st.
Winter sees clear skies and the mildest weather, but also the highest prices and biggest crowds. The holiday season is especially exclusive, and many villas and hotels have 10-night minimums. Travelling in January and February is far more reasonable, though, and no matter the month, the island should be operating at peak capacity, with restaurants, spas, hotels, bars, and clubs all open.
Notable Events / Experiences
The winter season kicks off with the opening of the Christmas Village on December 2nd. New Year’s Eve celebrations on St Barts, meanwhile, start with the New Year’s Eve Regatta during the day, and end with music and fireworks on the quay in Gustavia. The new year kicks off with the Classical Musical Festival, which sees virtuoso musicians, opera singers, and ballet dancers performing from January 9th-16th. It is easily one of the Caribbean’s top cultural experiences. Winter ends with the St Barts Carnival on March 1st, which is topped off by a lavishly costumed street parade.
Spring is considered by many to be the best time to visit. The weather is perfect, with a good mix of warm water and clear, sunny skies, and the island is still running at full capacity. And while there are still plenty of tourists, prices and crowds are much more reasonable compared to the holiday season. Sure, you may see the occasional rainfall, but the lowered rates and the great events more than make up for it.
Notable Events / Experiences
Spring sees the Bucket Regatta from March 16th-19th, the Sail of St. Barts from the April 17th-23rd, the West Indies Regatta from April 29th to May 1st, and the Tour of St Barts on May 1st. These are some of the most well-regarded sailing events in the Caribbean and are not to be missed. Spring also sees the Book and Jazz Festival from March 28th to April 9th, the St Barth Swimrun on April 24th, and the Caribbean Cinema Festival from May 4th-7th.
What are the Best Places to Eat in St Barts?
St Barts has some of the best food and most charming restaurants in the Caribbean. And while there’s tons of delicious French food, as you might expect, there are also plenty of international and Caribbean options as well. From the Creole-inspired Mango in Pointe Milou to the Asian fusion of Black Ginger and the Latin-French Fusion of Bonito, both in Gustavia, chefs in St. Barts know they are dealing with discerning palates, and so they do their very best to surprise and delight at every opportunity. Check out our list of the best restaurants in St. Barts to get some great recommendations.
Where are the Best Places to Stay While in St. Barts?
No matter which season you decide is the best time to go to St Barts, a luxury villa will allow you to experience the best that the island has to offer. Immaculately furnished and often featuring a mix of modern and classical architectural touches, these villas offer the kind of style, privacy, and views that will make you feel like a star. From 1 or 2-bedroom vacation rentals overlooking St-Jean or Gustavia to larger villas in exclusive areas like Flamands, Colombier, or Mont Jean, these really are some of the Caribbean’s very best stays. Our concierge is also happy to help customize every villa stay, including by pre-stocking the villa with all your favorite food and drinks, as well as arranging restaurant reservations and one-of-a-kind excursions like sailing, snorkeling, day trips to nearby islands like St Martin and Anguilla, and much more. Book now with Rental Escapes and we’ll be happy to present you with some of the very best St Barts villas based on your travel needs and preferences.