These spots, be it a café or pottery shop, offer a glimpse into the culture and energy of the island that St. Barths’ full-time residents experience year-round. Here, you can rub shoulders with the local, French-speaking citizens, but also low-key travelers who have been coming to the island for decades (even celebs are known to frequent these spots). Here is how to live like a local in St. Barths during your next stay at Le Sereno.
Located in St. Jean, Kiki-é Mo is a low-key breakfast and lunch spot offering fresh juices, organic salads, sandwiches, paninis, and other fresh, healthy foods to take away. More affordable than a sit-down lunch, it’s also easy to pick up food before hitting the nearby beach. Be sure to grab a chilled bottle of rosé or other refreshments alongside your food for an indulgent afternoon lunch. Or, we recommend grabbing a seat on the covered patio and enjoying the hustle and bustle of St. Jean. It’s also conveniently located next to Nikki Beach and the wonderful shopping St. Jean has to offer.
Le Papillon Ivre
This charming 30-seat French restaurant is tucked in Les Amandiers and offers both gourmet cuisine (think caviar-topped dishes) but also approachable dishes ideal for sharing. Le Papillon Ivre also has a fabulous wine selection. Instead of choosing a bottle from the menu, your server will ask what type of wine you enjoy and will bring out several options for you to try before picking your bottle. They will also assist you in choosing a bottle that pairs well with the dishes you’ve selected. It has fun music and retains an upscale, yet laid-back ambience.
Le Grain de Sel
If you plan on enjoying the day at Saline Beach, one of St. Barth’s most natural and picturesque beaches, be sure to come with an empty stomach. Just before Saline’s parking lot is the restaurant Le Grain de Sel, which serves Creole cuisine, as well as simple, yet delicious salads and burgers. The indoor-outdoor setting allows you to enjoy the warm Caribbean breeze without baking in the hot sun. Nearly every meal ends with homemade rum shots—typically vanilla or orange flavor.
Blue Gecko Studio
For those rare, rainy St. Barths days or simply a break from the sun, Blue Gecko Studio in St. Jean has been around for more than two decades. It’s a pottery studio that both kids and adults love, where you can make custom plates, mugs, dishes, or decor with the help of the owners. Owner Veronique Vandernoot is one of St. Barths’ most acclaimed local artists and is responsible for the painted ceramic signs you see on each beach.
Surfing in Lorient
On Lorient Beach there is a recognizable surf hut, which is where surfer David Blanchard operates the island’s only surf school, called the Surf Shack. He trains both beginner and professional surfers alike, including St. Barths’ local professional surfing community. He offers lessons, mainly for beginners, who want to try their hand at surfing the turquoise-blue Caribbean waters. There are usually local surfers nearby attempting their latest tricks, who will gladly give you a tip or two for navigating the waters. He can also arrange private one-on-one or group lessons at any other surfable beach in St. Barths with himself or the many instructors or coaches.
Saint-Barth Tennis Club
If you don’t want your forehands to get rusty on vacation, book a private lesson or court time at the Saint-Barth Tennis Club. For those who frequent the island, it’s well worth a membership as there are children’s tournaments, adult tournaments, and many other fun events. There’s even the annual St. Barths Open where you can compete with members. There are also many pros who will gladly give you or your children a lesson.
Pharmacie de Gustavia
It might sound silly, but French drug stores carry some of the most high-quality, sumptuous skincare, haircare, vitamins, and other elixirs for you to look and feel your best. If you’re seeking a one-of-a-kind moisturizer or hair oil that you won’t be able to find anywhere else in the United States, be sure to check out any of the pharmacies on the island. Perched on the beginning of luxury store-filled Rue de la République, you can’t miss Pharmacie de Gustavia with its charming blue-and-yellow facade.