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Maybe it was the $20 hamburgers or the price tag of $117 (110€) for renting an umbrella on Shell Beach for an afternoon, but it quickly became clear during my Caribbean cruise on Wind Surf that I wouldn't be opening my wallet a lot on the shopping mecca of St. Barts (or St. Barths or St. Barthelemy, if you prefer).
Unlike other destinations on our itinerary — Dominica, St. Kitts, Les Saintes in Guadeloupe — I decided to go without a shore excursion, so I spent the morning checking out the harbor and downtown area, headed back to the ship to interview the mixologist on board about Caribbean cocktail recipes, then returned to the island for a taxi ride to St. Jean Beach ($35 US for the short ride), then another $35 ride to Shell Beach. (Warm and fuzzy do not come naturally to the St. Barts cab driver, it seems.)
It's a small island (10,000 residents, 8 square miles), but it has an outsize reputation for its shopping, with its status as a duty-free port and elegant, marble-lined stores. And here's a fun fact: The island was discovered by Columbus in 1493 and he named it for his brother, Bartolomeo. And a second fun fact: There's a $10,000 fine for flying a drone here.
So I'll need to return to St. Barts for a fuller picture of all the island has to offer. Above is my Visual List of what to expect during a port day in St. Barts.