As experienced a Caribbean traveler as I might be, I haven’t seen all that my home region has to offer. Our loose definition of “The Caribbean” encompasses 42 countries and territories. The various passports I’ve carried over the years bear stamps from 31 of them. Among the destinations most conspicuously absent from my list: St. Barts. To cope with continually missing out on St. Barts’ charms, I turn to the Gustavia Harbor Webcam…
The view from the Gustavia Harbor looks south from a perch high above what I think might be Corossol Beach. From here it’s easy to see that Gustavia, the capital of St. Barts, is a preferred port of call for all manner of pleasure boats. It’s also easy to see why.
The natural protection of the harbor tucks snugly into the “elbow” around which the town extends. The natural shelter afforded sailing vessels here is, in fact, so spectacular that the town was originally named Le Carénage, in deference to ease at which careening and ship repair could be carried out here.
That was way back in mid- to late-1600s when France originally claimed St. Barts. In 1784, though, France ceded the island to Sweden. Shortly thereafter, Le Carénage was renamed Gustavia after King Gustav III of Sweden.
Eventually France regained control of St. Barts. The French Tricolour still flies over St. Barts today, though Swedish ties remain, both in Gustavia’s name and, apparently, in her architecture.
Outside of a brief period following the Napoleonic Wars, when Sweden held sway over Guadeloupe, St. Barts stands alone as the sole Swedish colony in the Caribbean. As a lover of history, this fascinates me, of course.
All the more reason to stare endlessly at the Gustavia Harbor webcam and continue looking forward to finally coming ashore here… Hopefully soon…
What destination tops your Caribbean travel bucket list?
*Photo credit: Patrick Bennett