How to Get to St. Barts: Flying vs. Ferry?

how to get to st barth

As part of my exhaustive travel guide, I’m giving you a super simple breakdown of how to get to St. Barts (or St. Barths, as it’s sometimes spelled.) I’ve personally experienced all three of these options, so I’ve been able to carefully weigh the pros and cons of each.


Unless you are chartering a yacht or a plane (and if that’s the case I WOULD VERY MUCH LIKE AN INVITATION) there are 3 ways to get to the island, and I’ve ranked them in order of my preference.

ONE TIP: You can now search and book NYC -> SBH (or whatever origin you’re flying from) on Google Flights, Kayak, and other booking websites all in one reservation. This will make your trip more convenient and simplifies the baggage transfer process. Just note that any changes to the itinerary must be done through your travel agency or airline (Tradewind cannot make changes to their flights when booked this way).

St Barths flight gustavia arrival

MORE: How I Fly Business Class for (Basically) Free


  • Book a flight to San Juan. Then book a separate 1-hour flight to St Barths on Tradewind Aviation.
    • I prefer this route because it’s the most efficient. It doesn’t require clearing customs (since San Juan is a US territory). Plus, the Tradewind Aviation planes are nice, and the San Juan airport is more comfortable than Saint Martin. Also: Tradewind has a “lounge” (I use the term loosely) for guests to sit and wait during their layovers before boarding. It has Wifi & a fridge stocked with cold wine and beer. No frills, but what more could you ask for?
    • To browse flight times, you’ll want to go directly to Scroll down to “scheduled shuttles” and then “book by the seat.”
    • Flights are expensive. At the LEAST, you should expect to pay $600 round-trip, if not more.


  • Book a flight to Saint Martin (Princess Juliana Airport). Then book the 10-minute puddle jumper flight to St Barths on either: St Barths Commuter or WinAir.
    • This is what I had been doing before I discovered Tradewind. It’s still a fine option, and if the flight prices are significantly cheaper (which they often are) I’d go this route. Be aware that the planes are SMALL, and some people find the landing to be….a little scary. Personally I don’t mind it—the entire flight is legit 10 minutes! In fact, I think the landing is among the most beautiful I’ve experienced (except for the Maldives.)
    • In my experience, there’s no major difference between St. Barths Commuter and WinAir, which are the two airlines that fly to St Barths from Saint Martin — look up the schedules for each at their respective websites, and go based on pricing/timing/availability.


  • Book a flight to Saint Martin. Then take a 30-45 minute ferry from Saint Martin to St. Barths. 
    • This is what I would like to describe as my “last resort” option. You should choose the ferry if:
      • A) You’re deathly terrified of small planes (and I don’t mean ‘slightly scared.’ I mean…you physically can’t bring yourself to get on a small plane without having a panic attack.)
      • B) You’re trying to do St Barths on the “cheap” (good luck)
      • C) You booked last minute and all the flights are full.
    • There are two ferry companies—Voyager and Great Bay Express—and as far as I know, there’s no major difference between them.
    • Matt & I took the ferry once as a result of option C. It wasn’t the worst 45 minutes of my life (I’m not THAT much of a diva) but I think we both agreed we would prefer not to do it again. It can be VERY choppy and very uncomfortable. For some reason I have memories of sitting on the floor and getting soaked by waves. Or maybe I’m making that up. Either way…the ferry should be your last resort option.

That’s pretty much it! I hope you found this helpful. If you’re ready to start packing for your trip, I highly recommend checking out my “What to Wear” guide here.

Questions? Leave them in the comments below!


  • Amoni
    May 14, 2019 at 9:32 pm

    Hi! I’m going to st Barth’s next month! When you booked the ferry did you do it online or when you got there? Not sure is sites like Great Bay Express are secure. Any advice??

    • Lindsay Silberman
      May 14, 2019 at 11:27 pm

      From my recollection we booked it online through their websites (which look shady I know!)

  • Pam Jeff
    January 6, 2020 at 10:12 pm

    How much time should I allow between flights from St. Martin and St Barth flying WinAir?

    • Lindsay Silberman
      January 6, 2020 at 10:39 pm

      That’s a tough one! Theoretically if your flight into SXM lands on time you could be on your way to your WinAir flight within 30 mins. But it’s a bit risky bc if you get delayed you’re kind of screwed. I usually try to give myself at least an hour (if not more) to transfer between flights

  • Jen
    February 13, 2020 at 8:59 pm

    We’re heading to St Kitts and wanted to stop at St Barths along the way. Not the easiest to figure out (coming from Boston). The flights into San Juan are much easier for us as they’re direct. Just trying to coordinate the timing, ha. Would you say it’s worth it to go through all the hassle to be in St Barths for 1 night? We would be leaving later so we would have a whole day there to just relax.

    • Lindsay Silberman
      February 17, 2020 at 8:57 pm

      Hmm from St Barths it’s about an hour flight on Tradewind (and pretty pricey) but if you’re set on making it happen it’s totally doable! You could then take St Barths commuter directly from St barths to St Kitts. So if you did it it would just add two short flights to your trip. Not impossible!

  • Katie
    February 17, 2020 at 8:26 am

    How long a layover is safe in San Juan if you are checking luggage?

  • Mag
    June 27, 2020 at 2:01 pm


    What properties do you recommend? Great nightlife and romantic.

  • Kara
    December 22, 2021 at 1:54 pm

    I’m planning a trip and came across your guides and this is super helpful! One question – for the return from SBH to San Juan…do you have to go through customs when you arrive in San Juan? How much time should I leave myself in between landing in San Juan and flight back to US?

    • Lindsay Silberman
      January 29, 2022 at 9:57 pm

      Great question! Yes you do. If you have Global Entry it’s usually VERY fast. I would say to leave yourself 2 hours. I just got back from the exact trip a few days ago, and we only had an hour between flights… almost missed the window to check our bags. I won’t do that again!

  • Lei
    May 4, 2022 at 5:32 am

    This was very helpful. Do you have any recommendations for dinner on a Sunday?

  • VC
    July 27, 2022 at 4:56 am

    This post is super helpful, thank you. If I fly from NYC to SXM to SBH with the second leg on Winair and book the two flights together, would my checked bagged go through to SBH? Or do I need to get my checked bags when I go through immigration at SXM? I have Global Entry if that makes a difference. Thanks!

  • Brenna
    March 27, 2023 at 3:40 pm

    Booked a trip to St. Barths late May. I am following your 6 day trip guide (even though we will be there 7 days). I am wanting to make a couple lunch reservations and based on your reviews, it sounds like Le Tiony Beach Club and GypSea are the two we don’t want to miss. Do you agree? Also, making a Friday eve reservation at Bonita (o). What is the typical dress code for evening? Is more cocktail dresses and heels or still long flowy dresses and sandals for most evening restaurants. Trying to not overpack:). Did you ever book a private charter /yacht (more yacht vs. catamaran) for the day? There is just two of us but would like to get out on the water one of the days we are there. We booked a Villa with pool, will have the beaches to explore but thinking day at sea would be fun. Any suggestions?

    • Lindsay Silberman
      April 12, 2023 at 9:56 pm

      So glad to hear you found it helpful! I think those are great lunch reservation options. I also would recommend Nao Beach (which is brand new and I haven’t added to the blog yet.) In terms of eveningwear… anything goes. You’ll see some people in mini-dresses and heels, other people in sundresses and flats. You’ll be fine in either! Have not done a boat charter yet!

  • Steve
    August 18, 2023 at 10:29 pm

    Hi There! My partner and I booked a trip to St Barts for early December. We booked a room for 5 nights at Le Toiney and were thriled to see it on your list. We are flying via San Juan and then connecting via Tradewinds as you suggested! We are so looking forward ! Question: we are planning on renting a car. Thoughts on that?

    Kindest regards,
    Steve and Dario

    • Lindsay Silberman
      September 21, 2023 at 10:32 pm

      I would HIGHLY recommend renting a car! We love to be able to explore the island on our own and not worry about getting a taxi (which ends up being very $$$$.)


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