The mythical St Barts beach is a long beach, with no buildings in site; great sand to sink your toes in, beautiful, clear water to swim in…..you couldn’t ask for a better beach to lounge around on.
To got there, drive along the “Salines,” which is the spot where islanders would harvest sea salt, one of the sole natural riches of our island. Park and walk up the hill for about 5 minutes. Be aware that there are some rocks as you go up the hill, although it is not treacherous, you should be paying extra-close attention if you’re wearing flip-flops or other open back sandals.
When you come to the crest of the hill, you will see the path that goes down, delivering you straight into hot, yellow sand. As you slowly make your way down the hill and look in both directions, you will see what I mean about the beach being so long. Now it’s time to pick which side you’ll settle in to. But, just so you know, there are subtles codes about sides on Salines.
First, like every beach on St Barts, a lot of women go topless; but Salines is known for allowing total nudity, which is not a big deal in St Barts. If you want to be nude, you should just go a bit farther down on the left or right side of the beach. Also, gay couples tend to gravitate to the right hand side, but rules are very loose and everybody goes to one side or the other, regardless of nudity / sexual preference. This is St Barts, after all!
Personally, I sit on the right hand side, but not at the farthest point. I have chosen this spot specifically because it allows me to swim all the way from the right to the left of the beach. I do this so the currents are against me on the first lap to the left hand site, but are in back and helping me when I return. Swim it a couple of times and you’ll see what I mean; you’ll want the current at your back on the return lap. Try swimming to the rocks that break the surface on the left hand side, about 300 feet away from the shore. It is a great place to see fish and even turtles. The Salines have nice snorkeling, but not as good as either Colombier or Anse Maréchal. If you like it calm, here is a great tip for you: walk to the farthest point on the left hand side, go up some rocks, get down , and voilà you’ve reached Saline beach’s little sister, right on the same bay, but less crowded.
Saline is very protected by the municipality and from the shore, you can see no buildings, which is great for the serenity of the beach But on the flip side, it also means that you have to bring a bottle of water and any snacks that you think you may need, as there is nothing to buy on the beach itself. When you pack up for the day and head back to the parking lot, you will find a restaurant there called L’Esprit Salines, with amazing food; you can also get a good drink or two there.
I remember watching the US movie, “Along Came Polly,” with Ben Stiller and Jennifer Aniston. You may remember that in the movie, Ben Stiller loses his wife on his honeymoon to a French divemaster they meet in St Barts. The divemaster is in the nude and it is supposed to be located on Saline Beach. It is actually NOT located on Saline Beach as the actual beach looks very different, which you will see when you visit. But is is certainly a testament to the fame of Salines beach among the Hollywood crowd – or at least the writers of Hollywood.
Saline Beach is one beach that you must experience when you visit St Barts.