St. Lucia has some unique features which other Caribbean islands don't have. In addition to all the usual suspects (snorkeling, diving, rainforest, zip lines, and bird watching) which are also features of many other tropical islands, they advertise that they have the world's only drive-in volcano. I guess this depends on how you define a volcano, as I have driven into the Diamond Head volcano in Hawaii, and most of Yellowstone National Park is in the caldera of a giant volcano.
But the feature which has been listed as a World Heritage site are the Pitons, twin mountains at Soufriere which rise above 2,000 feet from sea level. In climbing, a piton is a metal spike (usually steel) that is driven into a crack or seam in the rock with a hammer, and which aids in climbing. But these Pitons are two volcanic plugs - what remains when the softer outside of a volcano is eroded away and only the middle hardened magma remains.
There are other similar volcanic plugs in other areas of the world such as Hawaii, but these two are exceptionally tall and quite near the water. In fact the best view of them is probably from the water.
It's so lovely to experience your ship moving out of the harbor on your balcony or the top deck of a cruise ship. It's amazing to think of a vessel that size backing out and then turning around.
And you thought backing out of your parking spot was challenging enough?
Fondest memory: You'll want to linger after you leave the port and enjoy the colors of the sunset. Also, this is why you'll also want to be on the top deck for some departures as you can't be on the wrong side of the ship for the sunset like we were here!
Favorite thing: We awoke to this fantastic view as we approached St. Lucia. What a welcome and sign of good things to come. As we approached the dock I could tell what a beauty this island is. My friends raved about it and now I know why!
Imagine having to stand in the Caribbean heat in this outfit and pretend like you're not miserable while having to pose for photo after photo. Well, I just couldn't do it.
So I thought I'd give the poor toucan a quick thrill. I'm a giver.
There is nothing better than doing "nothing" on vacation and truly relaxing. During our vacation to St. Lucia we were able to do just that on our balcony. Our balcony had two lounge chairs that we fully enjoyed relaxing upon while gazing out at the blue of the water below. Whether it was morning, afternoon or evening; having this balcony was so work the extra money.
We loved starting our morning with breakfast or drinks while watching the resort wake up. Afternoons we enjoyed vegging out and being lazy with some cold drinks in hand. Evening was a perfect time for pre or post dinner cocktails with the sun setting or the stars above.
Over the years and through our many travels we have made friends. My wife calls it "collecting" new family members since she treats friends as family.During our trip to St. Lucia we made some incredible new friends; Bob and Cindy. Surprisingly they are also from New York and about an hour away from where we live. Bob is a crack up and has a similar sense of humor as my wife so they were well suited. Cindy is very creative and a jewelry designer.
We had a great time with Bob & cindy especially during our Sunset Cruise of the island.
Fondest memory: My wife's birthday is a big deal; so every year we celebrate with a trip. This year St. Lucia was a part of her actual Birthday. A favorite moment of mine from this year's birthday was when she awoke to breakfast on our terrace complete with a bottle of champagne. She was thrilled to have her breakfast favorites laid out on the table with the beautiful water view in front. It only got better when our Butler Donovan sang her Happy Birthday! What a great begining to a fun Birthday for my baby.
One of the best places for information on what to do in various ports is
Cruise Critic. The Cruise Critic St. Lucia forum board was very useful in planning shore excursions, whether the ones offered by the ship or independent, and there is also St. Lucia port information with hints on where to go, what to do, where the ships dock, where to eat and how to get around.
To find out how many other cruise ships will be in town along with you, check
Cruisett.com. The more ships in town, the more competition for independent guides and tours and the more crowded the main attractions will be.
The cruise ships dock in Castries, we were able to walk to where our guide picked up us, just outside of the duty free cruise center.
The local currency on St. Lucia is the Eastern Caribbean dollar but you can generally use US dollars on the island although you may receive change in local currency. The only place we shopped was at a local grocery store, it took a little work but I finally got someone who could get me change in USD since I only had a $20. ATMs can be found in Castries and other major tourist areas.
I always like to bring small bills with me when we go to the Caribbean, that way you can hand the taxi drivers exact change, have money for tips for guides or buy things at the market without having to get change. If you are coming in by cruise ship, the passenger services desk can break larger bills for you.
Just returned from 12 nights at Sandals Halcyon in St Lucia but also visited The Grand and the Regency with their courtesy bus. The Grand is a lovely hotel, its bigger and busier than Halcyon. Also the Regency, also larger and busier. Had never been to the Caribbean before - the heat caught us out! Even on a cloudy day you can get sunburnt - always put on sunscreen.
We ate at the Grand at barefoot on the beach - serves delicious local cuisine and then had coffee and crepes at Josephine - lovely end to a meal.
We enjoyed the beach at the Grand and the large pool with its swim up bar with array of delicious cocktails to work your way through. The beach here is lovely, but does shelve a a bit steeply after a few inches. The beach at Regency can have stronger currents and can suffer from more red flag days (no swimming) then the other resorts.
The staff are oh so friendly and customer service is superb, nothing is too much trouble. St Lucia is an amazing place for a romantic holiday - we went for our silver wedding.
Visit the other resorts as you stay at one and play at three and make the most of the restaurant choices - esp The Pier and Mario's at Halcyon. La Toc and Pitons and Kimono at the The Regency
Well, actually my second favorite thing, apart from visiting Saint Lucia is preparing to go there. When you plan a trip to St.Lucia consider consulting one of these usefull reference books:
* The Landscape of St Lucia, Alison Brownlie 2004. Great for kids, 32 pages. (GBP 5.99)
* St Lucia - Insight Compact Guide, Lesley Gordon 2004. Lots of info on 120 pages, arranged geographically. Lots of pics, maps, tips. ($8.95)
* St Lucia - Landmark Visitors Guide, Don Philpott 2003. Lots of info on 143 pages, arranged geographically. Lots of facts, addresses, tips and photos. ($13.95)
* The Rough Guide to St Lucia, Karl Luntta 2003. Small size, 245 pages, abundance of information, scarcely illustrated. ($11.95)
* Saint Lucia - Indigo Guides, Barbara Baletto & Debbie Gaiger 2000. Great combination of beautiful photos and text, great lay-out, arranged thematically, 160 pages. ($19.95).
* (New) Footprint St Lucia, Sarah Cameron 2004. Compact size, much information, hardly any photos, arranged thematically and geographically. 208 pages. ($ 12.95).
My favorite aspect of St. Lucia is all the lush vegetation, plants, flowers, trees and fruit that grows so abundantly. It is such a treat for the eyes as well as the nose being tickled by so many fragrances.
Fondest memory: My fondest memory is the absolutely amazing diversity in landscape, terrain and visions of all kinds that treat the senses immensely. Not only on the island but around it as well...the stunning ocean views form every side of St. Lucia....ahhhh...
No, not baseball bats... every night, as the sun set, bats would fly like mad between the palm trees, hunting for mosquitoes and other bugs. We LOVED the sight and sound of these nightly goings on.
One night we realized they also skimmed the pool for a quick drink of water as the sun set -- neat scene!
One night we were finally able to capture the images of some of the bats when they'd roost for a few moments in the rafters of the gym building (photo here).
And on the last night we saw them, well past sunset, skimming the ocean, close to the shore. How cool!
Favorite thing: Every night there were these two tiny, cute frogs hanging out in front of the door to our room. Always the two, and always every night, long after sundown. Loved those little guys and we made sure not to step on them as we returned from late night carousing.
It's great to just walk around town and see what life is like for the locals. Honestly, Castries had a pretty third world feel, with deep, ankle break-inviting gutters with nasty colored fluids sluicing through... tiny storefronts with the employees hanging out on the sidewalks outside their doors. Great to get the flavor. Some of the areas we walked felt very local, with no other apparent tourists about, but we didn't feel unsafe. The only time I felt unsafe was when we were walking through the park that seperates two criminal court buildings and it was filled with what looked like homeless people. "No, honey, I don't think this is a good place to stop for a rest."
Fondest memory: The friendly residents made us feel comfortable as we explored their city.
Used to be called Sandals Regency - I've stayed here twice. Grounds are well-kept, rooms are clean...more
100 Anse Chastanet Rd, PO Box 7000, Soufriere, Caribbean
Good for: Solo
Rodney Bay Lot B, Gros Islet, 9999, LC
Good for: Couples