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St. Barths - Facts and Information



Currency

The local currency is Euros but U.S. dollars, traveler's checks and major credit cards are widely accepted.


Climate

A day without sun is a rarity in St. Barths! With an average of 3,000 hours of sun per year, there is hardly room for a cloudy day. The least sunny months are May, September, October, November, and December, which average less than four days with less then four hours of sunshine. But there are exceptions, and the unlucky tourists who came to St. Barths in February 1976 or December 1998 were subject to six and 15 cloudy days respectively.


Monthly Average Temperatures

In St. Barths, temperatures vary very little, from 20°C/68°F to 33°C/91,4°F. During the coolest time of the year, the temperature might go down to 19°C/66,2°F at night, while the record cold stands at 18°5C/65,3°F. Average temperatures are 21°C/69,8°F in the winter, and 25°5°C/77,9°F in the summer. The highest temperatures hover around 30°C/86°F in February and 33°C/91,4°F in the hottest months, with record highs reaching 35°C/95°F.


Electricity

Voltage is 220 AC, 60 cycles


Time Zone

There is one hour difference between St. Barths and the East Coast of the USA when Standard Time is in effect in the USA and Canada. Thus, when it is seven o'clock in St. Barths, it is only six o'clock in New York or Toronto. The island tells time the French way: 1 p.m., for example, is 13 hours, and midnight is 24 hours. During daylight savings time, there is no difference in time between St. Barths and the east coast of the USA.


Language

French is the official language, but the flavor spoken by local folk is a curious Norman dialect. Much of the populace speaks English.


Health

Gustavia has a small hospital (Tel: 27.60.35), eight resident doctors, dentists, one gynecologist, and specialists in ophthalmology, dermatology, etc. A medical laboratories including an X-ray lab is located in Gustavia. There are pharmacies at La Savane Commercial Center (Tel: 05 90 27 66 61), in St. Jean near La Villa Creole (05 90 29 02 12) and in Gustavia (Tel: 05 90 27 61 82). It is also possible to buy short term medical evacuation insurance from Medicall and have yourself whisked, by air, to the hospital of your choice.


Mobile Phones

If you want to bring your favorite cellular phone along and use it in St.Barths there are some steps you must take after your arrival.

If you have a GSM system phone, you may go to France Telecom's office in St. Jean, or to the electronics shop at the gas station near the airport and have the internal chip replaced. The chip costs about 295FF, and is quickly installed. After a delay of about 24 hours, the new chip will provide you with a local number, and will give you 150FF worth of outgoing phone calls. If you use that up, you can buy a card that will give you additional time. There is no charge for incoming calls. Save your old chip for re-installation when you return.

If you have a digital phone, you can dial "0", and, if you are lucky, after several attempts, someone will answer and offer service from St.Maarten antennas in return for a VISA card number. This service only works in those parts of St.Barths that can see St.Maarten, and is therefore limited.


Shopping Hours

St. Barths has a variety of stores. It is a French and Italian fashion paradise. The selection is great, and the prices are duty free. You will find most of the world's most famous designers represented in local shops, and many of the leading French and European lines, which may or may not have made it yet to America. The most famous names in perfume, jewelry, and watches are represented in the various shops of the island, and local jewelry designers satisfy the tastes of those in search of the unique.

Most Stores in St. Barths open from 9 A.M. to 7 P.M.


Visa Requirements

Visa and passport requirements frequently change. We do our best to keep this information as current as possible; however, we recommend that all visitors check with their embassy or consulate before their departure.

If you are a US citizen, you can stay in St. Barths without a visa for up to 90 days.