by Valerie Bryan
I have not been to St. Barths since the late 70’s and that visit was just a quick day trip from St. Martin, so I was extremely happy to be a true “passenger” on this trip! As a member of the WIMCO Air Department, I will be giving you all the inside information on air travel to St. Barths.
My journey started at Logan Airport where our check-in with JetBlue was very smooth due to the fact that we were all pre-checked in. So, we checked our luggage curbside and had enough time to enjoy a sit down breakfast in the airport before our flight to San Juan where we would meet our Tradewind connection to St. Barths.
Upon arrival in San Juan, there was a slight “nervousness” amongst us all because we had less than 1 hour to claim our luggage and get to Tradewind Aviation in time for our flight to St. Barths. I toyed with the idea of calling Tradewind and adding their VIP service but decided not to. We did not have any JetBlue “hiccups” with our luggage, so the transfer to Tradewind was smooth. (Though I would NOT recommend less than 1 hour connection time to any passenger, especially passengers traveling with a lot of checked luggage.)
We were greeted by 3 Tradewind employees who whisked our luggage away and escorted us all up to their VIP lounge where we enjoyed a cold beverage in the lounge prior to our flight. The transfer was friendly, smooth and very professional, which is why we recommend Tradewind to our clients so often.
The flight from San Juan to St. Barth was on one of their Pilatus planes which was very comfortable. The Pilatus is a pressurized aircraft which means that we landed in St. Barths headache free and relaxed. It was also nice to enjoy a cold beverage in-flight, having the choice of bottled water, beer or wine.
When we arrived on St. Barths, we were graciously greeted by Wimco’s Moe and Antoine. Picking up the 2 car rentals was quick so off to our villa Mango we went!
The VIEW - Mango has a beautiful view of Gustavia harbor!
The POOL AREA - There is a gorgeous heated infinity pool which is large enough for laps, a very small wading pool and a hot tub. There is also a covered cabana with comfortable chairs and sofa, perfect for a small group to enjoy a few cocktails poolside in the shade.
The LAYOUT - I loved the 3 level layout. The top level housed the kitchen, living room, and a large patio area. The second level was a separate bungalow with 2 bedrooms. I stayed in Bedroom #1 which had the best view in the house! The sliding glass doors framed the infinity pool and harbor perfectly, what a site to wake up to! The third level has a single bedroom bungalow. This layout is perfect for 3 couples traveling together or a family with older kids.
The GENERAL FEEL of the property was very Caribbean. The décor was colorful and I immediately felt at home. It was clean and stocked with all the necessities for a fun holiday. There was a huge tortoise that visited one morning too!
On Sunday, we had the day free to relax. I received a grand tour of the island by my coworker who is a more frequent visitor! After a lazy morning and lunch we drove to Saline Beach and went for a swim. The water wasn’t very rough and the scenery was breathtaking. I am a lover of nature, so this beach and area of the island was truly my favorite! Then we visited Gouverneur Beach. Which was just as beautiful as Saline, but in a more public way.
Now time to get down to work...starting with a visit to the WIMCOsbh office where they welcomed me as part of the family. Then meetings with some of the service providers we recommend to our clients.
St. Barth Services provides VIP arrival and departure services for visitors traveling through St. Martin airport, as well as boat charters. Easyway-SBH also offers super convenient VIP arrival and departure services and specializes in air charters. Both companies are wonderful and the WIMCO Air Department can book either the VIP or private charter for you.
We had a meeting with St. Barth Commuter right in their Grand Caravan airplane which I found to be very comfortable. Their flight between SBH and SXM is a 10 minute flight and the plane does not fly high enough to warrant pressurization. The seats are 1 – 1 which means that even if every seat is taken, you do not feel crowded. They have 3 scheduled flights a day and offer a personal experience that feels like a charter service.
We had the pleasure of experiencing the Tradewind Aviation service through San Juan (they also fly to St. Barths through Antigua and St. Thomas), but also got to meet with them quickly and learned that all their flights will now be serviced with the Pilatus aircraft. This means a pressurized flight which is faster and more luxurious.
Our next experience was with Winair which started with a flight aboard their aircraft from St. Barths to St. Martin. Winair has a new President and CEO who has spent the last 2.5 years addressing the major concerns of the airline. As we all know, the biggest problem was luggage, but not anymore! Winair will add a plane just for luggage at least 1 time per day and most often the luggage will arrive prior to the passenger. Winair is more of a commercial airline with 20+ flights a day. What you get from them is a great variety of flight choices, comparable and affordable prices, safe, clean planes and the willingness to go above and beyond to accommodate their passengers and especially WIMCO clients.
And just like that, it was time to head home already. My short 3 day trip to paradise was jam packed with a lot of great things! I am looking forward to my next trip down!