General Info, Travel Info, & FAQs are provided to assist with your vacation.
ATMs Not all ATMs in the Caribbean operate like those in your home country. Some may only accept a four digit PIN number, so if yours is longer you may want to change it before your trip. Ensure you keep your travel money in your primary chequing account as some ATMs default to this account and will not allow you to choose another. Withdrawal fees are generally much higher outside your home country.
ATMs are called GABs (guichet automatique bancaire). Banque des Antilles Françaises/BDAF (tel 05 90 29 68 30) has an ATM on the corner of S Carnot and J d'Arc sts in Gustavia. The other main banks are Banque Française Commerciale/BFC (tel 05 90 27 62 62), Banque Nationale de Paris/BNP (tel 05 90 27 63 70), Bred (tel 05 90 52 06-00) and Credit Agricole (tel 05 90 27 89 90).
BANKING AND BUSINESS HOURS Banks Mon-Fri 8am-12 noon and 2pm-3/3:30pm (generally)
Banque des Antilles Françaises/BDAF closes at noon on Wed
Post Office Main branch on rue du Centenaire, Gustavia: daily 8am-3pm, closed Wed and Sat afternoons
Lorient branch: Mon-Fri 7am-11am, Sat 8-10am
St Jean Commercial Center branch: Mon, Tue, Thurs, Fri 8am-2pm, Wed and Sat 8-11am
CHURCHES/RELIGIONS Roman Catholic and Protestant, including Anglican and Pentecostal, are represented.
CURRENCY AND CREDIT CARDS The local currency is the euro (€ or EUR). Paper money comes in denominations of €5, €10, €20, €50, €100, €200 and €500 bills, and coins in 1¢, 2¢, 5¢, 10¢, 20¢, 50¢, €1 and €2 pieces. Most shops, hotels and restaurants accept US dollars and prices are often quoted in dollars. Major credit cards and traveller's cheques are also accepted.
To ensure hassle-free purchases during your trip, you may want to contact your credit card company and let them know you will be travelling abroad.
EMERGENCY PHONE NUMBERS American Express: lost or stolen card, 336/393-1111 (call collect); lost or stolen cheques or cheque cards, 44 20 7365 4846 (call collect to the UK) Discover Card: 801/902-3100 MasterCard: 800-1561 Visa: 410/902-8022 (call collect) Western Union: no service available
DEPARTURE TAX All visitors must pay a departure tax of €4.5, which is usually included in the price of your ticket.
ENTRY REQUIREMENTS All visitors must have a valid passport and an onward or return ticket.
Resident aliens of Canada and the US, as well as nationals of countries other than the Common Market (EEC) and Japan must also present a visa. For more information contact your nearest France consulate/embassy.
Note: As of January 8, 2007, all persons travelling by air to the Caribbean, Mexico and Bermuda will require a valid passport, Air NEXUS card or US Coast Guard Merchant Mariner Document to enter and/or re-enter the United States in accordance with the US Government's Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative. For more information visit the US Government's Bureau of Consular Affairs website at www.travel.state.gov.
Some countries require single/lone parents or other adults travelling alone with children to provide documents showing evidence of parental/custodial and/or access rights, and/or documents authorizing consent from the parents, legal guardian, and/or the court for the children to travel. Parents of adopted children, particularly those of a different nationality, should carry the proper documents.
NEAREST FOREIGN REPRESENTATION British High Commission: 246/430-7800 (Barbados) High Commission of Canada: 246/429-3550 (Barbados), 613/996-8885 (call collect to Ottawa) US Embassy: 246/436-4950 (Barbados), 596/596-75-6754 (US Consular Agency, Martinique)
As of November 1, 2006
British pound sterling
European Union euro
HEALTH STANDARDS St Barts has a small hospital, Hôpital Local Irenee de Bruyn (tel 05 90 27 60 35), in Gustavia. Serious cases may require transfer to French St Martin or Guadeloupe. The nearest hyperbaric chambers are located in Saba (Netherlands Antilles) at the Saba Marine Park (tel 599-41/6-3295) and in Guadeloupe at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire (CHU) de Pointe-à-Pitre (tel 05 90 89 10 10) in Abymes.
Your home medical program may not provide payment for medical services outside your home country. Obtaining adequate medical/travel insurance, including air ambulance coverage, and consulting a physician or travel medicine specialist six to eight weeks prior to your trip to determine health risks and necessary vaccinations is recommended.
Pharmacies include Island Pharmacie (tel 05 90 29 02 12) and Pharmacie de L'Aéroport (tel 05 90 27 66 61) in St Jean, and Pharmacie de Gustavia Saint-Barth (tel 05 90 27 61 82) in Gustavia.
Do not touch the common manchineel tree or stand under it when it's raining. Its poisonous white sap contains an acid that severely burns skin.
ILLEGAL ITEMS There are harsh penalties for possession, use or trafficking in illegal drugs, and strict regulations for exporting or temporarily importing firearms, medications and certain animal specimens.
For more information call the Customs Infocenter in France (Centre de renseignement des douanes, Direction générale des douanes et droits indirects) at 011 331 55 04 65 10.
LANGUAGE The official language is French, although locals speak a Norman dialect. English is widely spoken.
POSTAGE The main post office, located on rue du Centenaire in Gustavia (tel 05 90 27 62 00), is open daily 8am-3pm (closed Wed and Sat afternoons). Additional branches are located in Lorient (open weekdays Mon-Fri 7am-11am and Sat 8am to 10am) and at the St Jean Commercial Center near the airport (open Mon, Tue, Thurs, Fri 8am-2pm, and Wed and Sat 8-11am).
Airmail to North America can take one to two weeks and to the UK, two to three weeks. Courier service is also available.
PUBLIC HOLIDAYS Jan 1 New Year's Day Mar/Apr (varies) Easter weekend May (varies) Ascension Day May 1 Labour Day May 8 Armistice Day July 14 Bastille Day Aug 14-15 Pitea Day Nov 1 All Saints Day Nov 11 Armistice Day Dec 25 Christmas Day
SHOPPING HOURS In general shops are open weekdays 8:30/9am-12/1pm and 2:30/3pm-6/7pm. On Sat some close around noon. During high season (Dec-Mar) most of the shops in St Jean stay open all day, 9/10am-6/7pm, with no closure during lunch.
TELECOMMUNICATIONS The phone system on St Barts is modern and cellular and Internet services are available.
The country code is 590. Local phone numbers have 10 digits. All phone numbers start with 05 90 (eg. 05 90 XX XX XX), which is separate from the country code, and all cell phone numbers with 06 90 (eg. 06 90 XX XX XX). To make local calls and calls within the French phone system dial all 10 digits. To call St Barts from North America dial 011 + 590 + local nine-digit number (the 0 is omitted for calls originating from overseas). To call North America from St Barts dial 00 + 1 + area code + local phone number.
France Télécom (tel 10 14) provides telecommunications services. Of the three phone booths that accept coins, two are located at the Galeries du Commerce in St Jean. Télécartes prepaid phone cards are available at the Gustavia, St Jean and Lorient post offices and at the gas station near the airport.
For more information see the section in FAQs: Can I use my calling card from here?
France Télécom, Orange Caraïbes (tel 08 10 50 05 55 or 05 90 38 45 55), East Caribbean Cellular (tel 00 59 95 42 41 00, St Maarten) and CellularOne (tel 00 59 95 43 02 22, St Maarten) provide cellular roaming services. CellularOne also rents cell phones. Check with your service provider to see if they have a roaming agreement with one of these companies.
TEMPERATURES The average year-round temperature is 81°F. The wet season is July-Oct.
TIME ZONE The island is on Atlantic Standard Time, which is four hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). During the summer, when daylight savings time is in effect, the time is the same as on the east coast of North America, and during the winter, the time is one hour ahead.
Disclaimer: Information is provided as a service to visitors and is updated regularly. All
information should be verified prior to travel.