St Barthélemy, called Ouanalao by the indigenous people, is an overseas collectivity of France in the West Indies. Often abbreviated to St-Barth in French, and St. Barths or St. Barts in English.

The St Barthélemy island lies about 22 miles southeast of St. Martin and just north of St. Kitts. Puerto Rico is 150 miles west in the Greater Antilles.

The island’s expensive tourism industry attracts 70,000 visitors every year to its hotels and villas and another 130,000 people arrive by boat. St Barthélemy also attracts a labor force from Brazil and Portugal. Large cruise ships are not permitted to dock near the island.

International investment and the wealth generated by tourists explain the high standard of living on the island. Tourism attracts about 200,000 visitors every year. As a result, there is a boom in house building activity catering to the tourists and also to the permanent residents of the island.

St. Barthélemy has about 25 hotels, most of them with 15 rooms or fewer. The largest has 58 rooms. Hotels are classified in the traditional French manner; 3 Star, 4 Star and 4 Star Luxe. Of particular note are Eden Rock and Cheval Blanc. Hotel Le Toiny, the most expensive hotel on the island, has 12 rooms. Most places of accommodation are in the form of private villas. There are about 400 villas available to rent on the island.

Most of the food is imported from the US or France.