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St. Barthelemy: Tourist Beaches

More often referred to as St. Barts, the island of St. Barthelemy is located in the French West Indies, which also includes the islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique. Popular as a winter travel destination, St. Barthelemy holiday homes allow Americans to enjoy French culture and cuisine without leaving the Western Hemisphere.

Beaches on St. Barts

Tourists will soon come to appreciate two terms that are heavily used on the island: leeward and windward. Beaches on the leeward side of the island feature calm waters that tend to be protected from wind and current by geographic features of the island itself. Noted tourist beaches in the leeward zone include Anse du Gouverneur, Anse du Colombier, and Anse des Flamands, which features a nearby salt pond that provides an excellent habitat for a variety of tropical birds.

The windward side of the island features beaches that have heavier winds and currents; many of these beaches are ideal for water sports such as windsurfing. An example of a windward side beach is Ile islet, which has a sandy white beach.

In total, St. Barts has 22 public beaches, but not all of these are suitable for swimming; some are appropriate for sunbathing only. However, at least 15 beaches feature excellent swimming prospects. Some also provide tourists with activities such as gathering tropical shells. This is particularly popular at Anse de Grand Galet, nicknamed "Shell Beach" because of the quantity of sea shells that wash up on shore.

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