OFF THE TOURIST MAP
an Insiders Guide
When one thinks of an idyllic island in the French West Indies surrounded by
luscious turquoise waters you expect to find some world-renowned white sandy
beaches so that you may go for a swim, snorkel or for the more adventurous scuba
diving and or sailing. Or perhaps you like to go for a good jog or play some tennis all
fantastic activities that keep the heart beating and your body in shape but for the
more adventurous souls we have a few more activities off the tourist map for you to
Multiple different reasons bring professionals here from mainland France, USA, UK
and South Africa for there careers or for something as simple as following a cute girl
across the seas but what they do bring with them is artillery of action filled
sports that they are passionate about. There are some new kids on the block and
there are some new adventure filled activities that can be done on this tiny 8 square
mile piece of Caribbean rock.It is now commonplace to find a group of guys on a windy day on the hillside of Grand Fond practicing a sport called Speed flying which is a hybrid of parachuting and paragliding.
Speed flying was invented by the French in the Alps as an alternative way to ski big
mountains with extremely high vertical cliff jumps. The main purpose of speed
flying is that speed flying is meant to create a fast, thrilling ride close to the slope.
You launch yourself off the top of the mountain with your overhead ‘wing’ already
inflated and fly down at fast speeds but yet getting a great aerial view of the
paradise of St Barths and perhaps next time you are lounging in the pool at Le Toiny
look to your right you may just see a few of the guys such as Rodolophe Mackeene
part owner of the men store Mackeene in Gustavia flying overhead.
Almost everyone who comes to St Barths has a passionate love affair for the
Caribbean waters surrounding us and for those of us who like to surf, stand up
paddle surf, wind surf or kite surf this is one of our favorite past times. We are lucky
as these sports have developed a new concept knows internationally as Foiling.
Foiling or Hydro foiling as it is commonly known now is becoming a common site in
the waters of St Barths. How it works is thus that there is a foil attached underneath
the persons board of choice and they are able to harness the ocean swell much
better as once the rider is up and riding out of the water with just the foil in the
water there is less board in the water therefore reducing friction and they are able
to have a smoother ride and generate more speed elevated above the water.
With St Barths being a rather mountainous island is it very easy to give in to the
attraction of climbing and exploring the mountains dotted around the island such as
Mt Vitet or Morne Rouge. For experienced visitors of St Barths you may be aware of
the world famous hike to Colombier beach but what about hiking and mountain
climbing up to the top of Morne Rouge which is an advanced hike (a guide is
necessary) which takes around 1 hour and the exceptional view on top of the
mountain gives you a 270 degree view of the island where you are able to gaze all
the way down to the far end of Toiny point or turn around and you will now see the
iconic runway and the Colombier hill in the distance with the exquisite Saline beach
almost directly below you.
There is of course too the incredibly infamous ‘secret pools’ that have appeared on many magazines cover over the years… These mind-blowing natural pools are fed by the Caribbean ocean into a rock pool that is aquamarine in color and surrounded by towering 120ft cliffs above you. The hike is a guarded secret of sorts and we recommend the best way to find them is to ask a friendly local or go explore the northwest points of St Barths on your own or if perhaps you pass Jimmy Buffett ask him as he has been there too. It is the perfect place to go for an adventurous swim
with some close friends and why not enjoy a little picnic and sunbathing on the rocks surrounding the pool.
Definitely moving further off the tourist map we have some hike-able caves that are
underground and very well hidden. Once you find the path to the caves and hike in
for 20 minutes and climb down a 20-foot rope you will be greeted by what appears
to be a tiny small cavern filled with stalactites and stalagmites every few feet. Once
you have had the courage to explore further into the bowels of the earth you will be
greeted by a 2ft by 1ft opening that you are expected to climb through which is the
entry door into an incredible larger cavern that is about 250 yards in length and in
places almost 20feet in height and filled with variable shaped stalactites and
stalagmites. Make sure to bring some water with you as you are going deeper
underground and the heat and humidity can rapidly increase. Don’t forget to leave a
candle to light the path for the next group that gets to wander down there.
These are just tasters of what you can find on and around St Barths for those with the mindset of exploring their home or favorite holiday destination or just plain love doing new exciting activities and getting out there and doing something adventurous in there life today. Make your heart beat a little faster and sweat a little more and you will be rewarded by a view that only a few have had the pleasure to lay there eyes upon and be proud of yourself for exploring more than some, well done you.