Category Archives: Travel

Saint Barthélemy 2016: Nikki Beach

Gustaf III Airport

 

 

 

Our last day in St. Barth’s. We lounged around the villa pool until noon and then drove to Nikki Beach, next door to Eden Rock, for lunch. We had just ordered when the couple from Beaune entered the restaurant. “We meet again,” they said. We continued our conversation about the Burgundy wine region as though it had never ended when we parted company at Bonito the night before http://patkrapf.com/hardwired/2018/11/08/saint-barthelemy-2016-anse-de-colombier/

We bid the Beaune couple goodbye and left the restaurant. Pleasantly full on sushi, sashimi, and dessert, we made a final sweep of the shops and went back to our villa to pack for the flights home. We hope the island will bounce back from hurricane damage soon, and we would gladly vacation in St. Barth’s again.

For the plane ride from St. Barth’s to St. Maarten, we had booked a charter flight on St. Barth Commuter. At the airport in St. Jean, a representative from Welcome Car Rental greeted us and wheeled our roller bags to the charter desk. Our pilot introduced himself, and soon we were soaring out of Gustaf III Airport on our way to Princess Juliana International.

I asked our pilot how long he had been flying. Needless to say, the airport on St. Barth’s requires special training for landings and takeoffs. He answered, “Six months.” Six months? He went on to specify six months with St. Barth Commuter. Prior to that, he flew as a bush pilot in the Congo. That impressed me and I relaxed, even though he put the plane on autopilot and checked the Garmin on his dashboard. Really? You need GPS for a ten-minute flight? He overshot the runway and immediately explained that he had to line up the aircraft for the right approach; landing at Princess Juliana International takes as much skill as landing on St. Barth’s.

We arrived early in St. Maarten, only to be notified that our plane needed a part from Puerto Rico and the aircraft was en route. The forty-five-minute delay passed quickly and we boarded, but once we arrived in Miami we had to practically run to our gate. Customs had cost us precious time, but we made it, and three and half hours later, we touched down at DFW right on schedule. Interested in seeing what landing in St. Barth’s is like? Check out this YouTube video by pilotdynan: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7PTzJE8l9BEhttps:// 

November 29, 2018: Love Your Photoblog. Great Travel Blog.

Saint Barthélemy 2016: L’Anse de Colombier

Photo taken from Bonito restaurant

The day dawned overcast and cloudy, but the clouds soon burned off and we packed the Suzuki for our morning trip to L’Anse de Colombier, a secluded white sand beach only accessible by boat or on foot. Some folks still refer to it as “Rockefeller’s Beach” because David Rockefeller used to own the property that surrounds the beach.

We could’ve taken a boat or the footpath at the end of Anse des Flamands, but we chose the more challenging route. We drove to the lookout point, parked, and from there continued on foot. The trailhead is to the left of the lookout point. The first part of the walk was fairly easy but is rocky in sections and has loose dirt. Toward the end of the hike, the path narrows, single file only, with a steep drop-off to the ocean, and there is no guardrail to hold on to.

We were surprised to see people hiking in flip-flops and/or with small children. They appeared to be struggling to maintain their balance. The return hike is where the real challenge comes in. If you are fit, then the climb uphill will be a heart-pumping twenty minutes but nothing more. If you’re a couch potato, it can be an endurance test.

Take what you want and need for your beach trip. Be sure to pack water and sunscreen and wear sneakers for the climb down and the hike up. L’Anse de Colombier is scattered with palm trees, but they don’t offer much shade from the hot, midday sun, and there is no place to buy food or drinks—no shops period. And there are no restaurants or hotels, as the area is part of a natural preserve for turtles and other marine life.

On the return hike, we took what we thought was a shortcut. The dirt path ended in what appeared to be a private drive. We aren’t ones to trespass and we were retracing our steps when a man shouted to us. Before we said anything, he explained that the road was closed due to “spring washouts” and pointed to a huge crack in the pavement—at least three feet wide and running from one end of the shoulder to the other. He told us we could continue up the road until we came to the padlocked entrance. Then we’d have to skirt the gates to get out. He also suggested we take advantage of the view and snap some photos before we left. So we did.

We reached the Suzuki and paused for a water break. I overheard a couple comment that the GPS in their rental car was wrong and they had to resort to their map. I’m not sure what they were referring to, but the comment made me smile.

We spent the afternoon in St. Jean, browsing the shops, and afterward took a short walk along the shoreline of St. Jean Bay to work off our tapas lunch at Le Piment.

We headed back to our villa and changed clothes. Dinner was two hours away, but we wanted to spend some time in Gustavia. David had spotted some T-shirts he planned to buy as souvenirs and I had my sights set on, of all things, beach towels.

Our dinner spot for the evening was Bonito—“a large, cozy lounge-bar overlooking the bay of Gustavia.” Seated by the windows, all of them open to an inviting, balmy breeze, we watched the sunset and chatted with the couple at the next table, who were visiting from Beaune, France. We had vacationed in the Burgundy region in 2013. (give links to past posts)

As for our dinner selections, I translated them into English, I hope. Excellent service and food.
Our starters were “Bonito” Ceviche; and a degustation of ceviche and carpaccio of raw fish. For mains, we enjoyed filet of tuna with eggplant mousse, chilled cucumber, and basil and soy butter; and grilled mahimahi with mango and tomato salsa in a cilantro cream sauce, and twice-grilled plantain slices. Dessert was chocolate molten cake and espresso.

November 15, 2018: Saint Barthélemy 2016—Nikki Beach.