A practical foreign exchange and currency guide on sending money and travel to Saint Barthelemy
What's in this Saint Barthelemy currency guide?
There’s a reason why celebrities, models, socialites, and the It-crowd consistently retreat to the tropical paradise of St. Barth’s. The island, an overseas collectivity of France, blends the sophistication of St.-Tropez with the laissez-fare Caribbean lifestyle—which means it’s exclusive yet totally unpretentious. Walk into any beachfront restaurant, for instance, and you’ll see well-dressed women with Birkins eating lunch beside sandy, barefoot beachgoers; walk into a club wearing jean cutoffs and no one will raise an eyebrow. It’s a specific brand of laid-back luxury that breeds instant converts. Make one trip, and you’ll find yourself immediately hooked.
With such a dreamlike setting, St-Barth is, unsurprisingly, a destination of choice for the rich, famous and beautiful for its laid-back tempo, luxurious small-scale hotels, designer-label boutiques and outstanding restaurants. But although St-Barth is undeniably an expensive destination, all beaches are accessible, public and free, and activities from surfing, windsurfing and kitesurfing, to sailing, diving and snorkeling are all possible here. If you visit outside of high season, you can score fantastic accommodation deals.
There are no direct flights to St. Barth’s, unless you charter your own plane. If a Puddle Jumper isn’t a possibility, the next best option is flying to Princess Juliana International Airport on the Dutch side of St. Maarten, where, upon landing, you’ll have to choose your own adventure for the final leg: a 15-minute plane ride or a roughly 45-minute ferry crossing. Flying will get you to paradise quickly, but the flight itself—a roughly dozen-seat puddle-jumper—is not for the faint of heart. (The runway in St. Barth’s also happens to be the second shortest in the world). Or there’s the ferry: an incredibly unglamorous but efficient option for nervous flyers.
No cruise ships dock at St-Barth, but a few anchor offshore and launch tenders to Gustavia’s ferry terminal. If you’re arriving by yacht, you must contact the port office on VHF channel 12 two hours prior to arrival.
Once in St. Barth’s there is no public transportation on the island. Many travelers pick up a rental car; there are 20 agents on the island, including Avis and Hertz, though traffic is a major problem on St-Barth and public parking spaces are thin on the ground. There are also 38 licensed taxi drivers. Hotels will be able to call one for you. Taxi fares range from pricey to outrageous, even for short distances. There are no set fares, so prices are all over the board. At minimum, it costs between €15 and €45 from Gustavia to the airport, and between €30 and €60 from Gustavia to Petit Cul-de-Sac. All prices then increase by about 50% between 8pm and 6am and all day on Sunday.
One thing St. Barth’s regulars love about the island is the diversity of its beaches. There are 16 of them in total, each with its own distinct personality. As with most of the Caribbean, there is also something called “Island Time”. This means that things may actually take a lot longer than one expects. The best way to deal with Island Time is to simply relax and enjoy yourself while you are waiting.
The official currency of St. Barthélemy (St. Barts, St. Barth) is the Euro. However, US dollars and major credit cards are widely accepted throughout the island at local exchange rates. Note that although Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted, many merchants do not accept American Express or Discover cards. A valid passport is required to enter St. Bart’s. This policy has been in place for some time. A visa is not required for US citizens unless you plan to stay for more than 90 days. No visa needed for citizens of the European Union, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, and Israel.
November through June is the best time to visit St. Bart’s. From December through April, the sun is especially scorching. December is considered peak season and requires bookings six months in advance. Clouds and showers sometimes interrupt the warm weather, especially during the fall. Avoid the rainy season in September, October, and November, when many establishments close, however during the off-season you can get some great deals for a place that is usually quite expensive.
The below comparison table makes it easy to find the best exchange rates and lowest fees when you want to make a Transfer or Spend Euro.
The euro (ISO: EUR) is involved in slightly more than 30% of all foreign exchange deals, and as such, is the world’s second most traded currency, behind the US dollar.
The euro is the currency of the eurozone (officially called the ‘euro area’), which consists of 19 of the 28 member states of the European Union, and is used by almost 350 million Europeans. It was introduced in January 1999.
Of all the thousands of exchange rates that exist in the world, the euro-to-US dollar exchange rate is the most actively traded, or most ‘liquid’.
Since its introduction, the euro’s lowest value against the dollar came in October 2000 when EUR/USD hit lows of 0.8231. The currency was strongest in July 2008, shortly before the worst stage of the 2007-2009 financial crisis, when EUR/USD reached 1.6038.
There are currently more than twenty nations and territories which peg their currencies to the euro, the largest of which is Denmark.
In September, Olaf Scholz’s Social Democrat Party narrowly won the German election. The longer negotiations and political uncertainty drag on, the greater downward pressure will be felt by the euro.
In addition should risk sentiment remain fragile, there could be continued demand for USD as a safe haven. Therefore, USD/EUR could gain higher.USD-EUR Outlook
Dollar strength and a fourth wave Covid in Germany and Eastern Europe have seen the Eurozone single currency on the decline and at 1 YEAR LOWS versus the greenback. EUR Outlook
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