Adventures in Saint Lucia
So I'm a bit delayed on this post, life has gotten away with me after catching up after vacation ;) but I'm so excited to share our adventures from the beautiful island of Saint Lucia!
We've been Caribbean island hopping for quite a few years now - we have yet to have a less-than-amazing experience there and are on a mission to hit them all some day! After visiting Grenada in 2014 for our belated honeymoon, we fell in love; during our trip we heard some awesome things about it's neighbor island, Saint Lucia and decided to book our next Sandals venture right then, right there on that same trip.
We stayed at Sandals Grande Saint Lucian, one of three Sandals resorts on the island. We flew into the very southern tip of the island, drove for nearly 3 hours to get to the resort, which was on the very northern tip (Gros Islet) and the traffic was crazy, but well worth the commute. The resort is located on it's very own peninsula and cradled by Rodney bay on the west, making for some of the calmest waters in all of Saint Lucia. We were surrounded by the calm, bright blue waters, the silkiest white sand, panoramic views of volcanic mountains and lush greenery - it was truly one of the most beautiful places I've ever been. The Caribbean water is much calmer but it was pretty cool that the resort boasts views of both the Atlantic and Caribbean sea. Ok one more fun fact about the resort, we also had views of and direct access to Pigeon Island, a historic military ruins; Today, it's a a National Park, has a beautiful public beach, nice view of Rodney bay and the North end of Saint Lucia - you can pay $7 for a quick hike to the top.
I was instantly smitten by this resort because of the focus on the beach; the sand is some of the softest, whitest I've ever felt, the water is crystal clear and the colors are unreal. There is so much beach front at the resort, multiple restaurants on or next to the water (you can eat dinner sitting in a bungalo or with toes in the sand and ocean waves just feet away).
We're normally more beach bums but we really got after it on this trip and did some serious adventuring. I desperately wanted to get down to the southern tip of the island to see the Pitons, volcano and waterfalls; Saint Lucia is only 27 miles long and 14 miles wide but battling through that traffic via car again for 3 hours to get down there seemed like a waste of vacation. Luckily we found an ideal excursion via Exodus Tours on the beach that took us down to Soufriere via a 30 minute speedboat ride down the western Caribbean coast.
Here are a few highlights from the awesome tour!
This natural rock foundation is a sight to see! You may see locals or tourists cliff diving off here. It has a few names, Tunnel of Love, Lady's Slipper or Lady's Shoe (I see the shoe shape but many don't!).
We swung through Marigot Bay; a stunning and secluded part of St Lucia that's only accessible by boat. Here you'll find dive resorts surrounded by lush rainforest, restaurants and bars (many of them named Dolittles after the film, Dr. Dolittle that was filmed there). It's called Hurricane Hole because the inlet serves as a hurricane hole and shelter for boats during storms.
As we cruised down the coast, we snagged some pretty killer views of the Pitons - the locals call them the "lop-sided boobies"... We didn't get the chance to climb them but I have heard it's worth it! They are not terribly tall but still boast some striking views from the top. The Gros Piton is 2,530 ft and the Petit Piton is 2,438 ft high.
We snorkeled in The Marine Preserve at Sugar Beach - It was a small area topping off at about 9 feet but an easy snorkel over a small coral reef.
We also visited the Soufrière Volcano. It is the world's only drive-in volcano! We took a dip in the volcanic mud baths, these were so silky smooth and hot! After you sit in it for a few minutes, you slather buckets of mud all over each other's skin, leaving you feeling "as soft as a baby's bottom" and looking "10 years younger" as they say! I absolutely recommend you take advantage of one of these if you ever have the chance.
Just a hop, step and a jump from the mud baths is the Toraille Waterfall. It's a little guy but a pretty sight to see. I'm not going to tell you it's warm, it's actually quite chilly but definitely a refreshing dip after the hot mud baths. Plus it's pretty cool to have a waterfall falling over your head, a real-life rainshower!
We ended the trip with a local creole lunch at "Whispers Restaurant and Bar". Bring on the hot sauce and plantains!
Speedboat booze cruise all the way back. The local rum punch on the island is to die for (if you find it from the right source of course!)
Island Buggie Tours (Northern Sights)
Later in the week we took a buggie tour around the northern part of the island. We went through Cap Estate, the "Beverly Hills of St Lucia", to the spectacular Point Hardy, which offers breathtaking views of the Atlantic coastline, down to Cas en Bas and then trekked along back roads past the Cricket Stadium into the community of Monchy. Then ventured up to Morne Citron which offers magnificent panoramic views from coast to coast. The last leg of the trip took us on scenic country roads and we caught a glimpse of the local way of life.
Sea Breeze Heights
We trekked up some very narrow, steep, bumpy trails which lead us to this breathtaking overlook at Sea Breeze Hills/Cap Estate - this was one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen! There are natural-growing cactuses, stunning views of the water and you can even see wild horses that come feed in the valley.
Marjorie's Restaurant & Beach Bar
We took a quick pit stop for a few Piton beers at Marjorie's Restaurant and Beach Bar - this is such a fun little local joint! It's tucked away on the beach and only accessible via some "off-roading". It's a simple, quiet hangout with lots of local flare. We didn't have time to try the food but it smelled and sounded amazing!
Anse Chastanet Beach
Our last full day in Saint Lucia was about half excursion and half beach bum day. We got dropped off at Anse Chastanet Beach for the day; it's a black sand/volcanic sand beach on Jade Mountain. There is a very nice, small and intimate resort here (Anse Chastanet Resort) with restaurants and bars (it doesn't look like much from afar but half of the resort is high up into the mountain and much more high end too...) The rooms look amazing; eclectic style with infinity pools and stunning views of the mountain and water. Fun fact for you, if you're familiar with the ABC show The Bachelor, this is where Juan Pablo and Nikki's "final rose" finale was held. This place is considered the third most romantic place in the world, and I can vouch for it's beauty.
The sand here is not only black when the sun and water reflect just right but it feels like sugar, it's amazing! We did some really awesome snorkeling here as well in Turtle Bay (we were not lucky enough to find any turtles but we were on the hunt). The water here is crystal clear and we had a beautiful sunny day for snorkeling which was just beautiful over the reef.
We had lunch at their beach restaurant, The Trou au Diable. We had some delicious conch fritters, the freshest coconut water, ceviche and the most amazing drink in a coconut! (those are always the best kind).
This beach is one of the most relaxing and beautiful places I've ever been, I'd definitely look into staying at this cool, calm and collected resort if we ever make it back to Saint Lucia.
All around, Saint Lucia is a truly beautiful island, I already want to go back! So much serenity and natural beauty to offer. You can choose to be an adventurer or kick back and enjoy the warm sunshine and clear ocean waters but either way, you won't be disappointed. Cheers to the Caribbean!