A break in Saint Lucia

We’ve said this before in a previous blog but this has been some crazy year with work and travel. Rob and I have been travelling so much that for the month of February we only saw each other for four days. Our dogs got to see us more often than we saw each other and that is one of the main reasons why we have not worked on our blog as much as we wished. But getting back to the fun stuff….

We were invited to attend a Bat Mitzvah in Naples, Florida and decided to take advantage of being down in Florida to visit Saint Lucia for a week.

Naples, Florida

Naples, Florida

The Bat Mitzvah was for our friends’ daughter and she did a great job at the ceremony. And of course, the party afterwards was wonderful – everyone had a great time and I think everyone spent the next day either at the pool or at the beach recuperating from all the dancing.

Following the Bat Mitzvah, we spent a few more days down in Naples visiting and then rented a vehicle to drive to Miami to catch our flight to Saint Lucia. Even though there is an airport closer to Naples (Fort Myers), we found the best way to get to Saint Lucia was from the Miami International airport. All other options would have taken almost a day of travelling with us going back to Toronto or New York!

We spent the night at the Miami International Airport Hotel and I would not recommend it unless you have no other choice or you have a very early flight. The hotel is right inside the airport, it is expensive, the rooms are tiny and I seriously thought the bed had bedbugs though Rob didn’t share my concerns.

We left the next morning and arrived early in the afternoon in Vieux Fort, Hewanorra International Airport. We decided that with our wonderful experience of driving around Ireland on the left hand side that we would rent a small vehicle for this trip as well. It couldn’t be that bad, could it? We were mistaken in thinking that driving in Ireland was anywhere near difficult. When driving in Saint Lucia, think small, windy roads while driving through mountainous terrain with vehicles honking at you for no reason at all. Actually, by the end of the trip we figured out what all the honking was about. People honk at each other to tell each other that they are passing, to say hello to each other or to tell you that you are driving too slow, but there never was any angry honking.

Saint Lucia is a constitutional monarchy with the British monarch and is an island nation in the eastern Caribbean. It has two distinctive mountains called the Gros Piton and the Petit Piton located on its west coast. Saint Lucia has dense rain forests, fertile valleys, and acres of banana plantations, yet it is only 27 miles long and 14 miles wide.

View from Vieux Fort

View from Vieux Fort

We picked up our rental vehicle from Cool Breeze Car rental and drove from Vieux Fort to Stonefield Estate Resort located just outside of Soufriere. It took us less than two hours to get there after a few wrong turns, a couple of stops to ask for directions and going in circles in Soufriere. We quickly learned that there are not many road signs indicating where resorts or beaches are.

Stonefield is a luxury resort located in the lush rainforest of Saint Lucia’s west coast with wonderful views of the Pitons and the Caribbean Sea. Each secluded private villa is rustically chic with a private plunge pool, a hammock on the deck and an outdoor shower. We really enjoyed our three-day stay at this resort, it was awesome! It was very romantic and relaxing with nothing to distract us but the sounds of the rainforest and the hummingbirds in the morning! Every night we would enjoy a dip in our own private pool followed by hanging out in the hammock on the deck with a glass of wine or a Piton beer. Breakfast was wonderful too where we had a selection of variety of food so that we hardly ever had lunch for that day.

While staying in the southwestern part of Saint Lucia, we visited the town of Soufriere, the Diamond Falls Botanical gardens, Sugar Beach at the Viceroy Resort, and the Anse Chastanet beach at the Anse Chastanet Resort.

The Diamond Falls waters are laced with minerals as its stream emanated from rainwater mixed with volcanism which gives the 50 foot tall falls an interesting appearance and it is rumoured that Mademoiselle Tascher de La Pagerie, better known as Empress Josephine and wife to Napoleon swam in these same falls during the time her family owned the nearby plantation in the 1700’s.  The garden at the plantation was awesome too and showcased many of the plants grown on the island.

The beaches we visited in this area of Saint Lucia were very interesting to get to as we had to travel up and through the mountains, park either on the top of the mountain and walk down to the beach or walk through a resort to get to the beach. All beaches on Saint Lucia are public and any private party cannot deny access so we are able to walk through the resorts to get to the beach. Some of the resorts have rules such as non-guests are not allowed to use resort facilities while others are quiet happy if you rent their equipment or eat at their restaurants.

Sugar Beach

Anse Chastanet

After spending three short days in the southwestern part of the island, we travelled north to Castries Quarter, the capital of St. Lucia. We rented a small apartment through VRBO, a site similar to AirBnB, for our last four days. The Morne Seaview Apartments are located in Mont Fortune and they are wonderfully located with great views of the Caribbean Sea and far enough away from the Castries Quarter and all of the city noises. We spent each morning on the balcony having breakfast and coffee while watching the cruise ships come and go through the bay to Castries. On very clear nights we could even see the island of Martinique.

View from Morne Seaview

View from Morne Seaview

We drove down from the apartment to Castries on our first day and of course got lost.  We decided to walk through the large central market in Castries, admiring the local baskets and bowls, smelling all the wonderful spices and drooling over all the fresh fruits and vegetables; Saint Lucia has five different varieties of bananas alone.  We then just kept on strolling until we find a nice little restaurant called “Barb’s Place” that served good rotis.

While in the northwestern part of Saint Lucia, we visited the remains of an 18th century fort and Fort Rodney on Pigeon Island, which included a 20 minute hike up to the lookout point on one of the hottest day. We also visited the marina in Rodney Bay (to look at the sailboats, of course), ate traditional food in Gros Islet (Flavours of the Grill), marveled at the beauty of Marigot Bay, described by American Novelist, James A. Michener, as “the Most Beautiful Bay in The Caribbean” (probably changed a bit since his time), tasted some more traditional food at a little restaurant across Marigot Bay and watch kite surfers and cricket players in Cas-en-bas on the northeastern coast, all the while looking for the perfect roti and the occasional rum punch. We finally found the best roti’s at Prudee’s House of Roti just slightly north of the Rodney Bay marina; Rob loves roti’s!

Pigeon Island

Rodney Bay

Gros Islet

Marigot Bay

Cas-en-bas

Of course we also took time to swim in the wonderful blue Caribbean Sea, walked along the beaches and rented a seadoo. Rob had a lot of fun trying to throw me off the seadoo with very little success. We even came across a couple from the United States that spent six months out of the year on their 43 foot Westsail (not many Westsails of this size were produced).

On our last day, we had a late flight from Vieux Fort back to Winnipeg so we took the opportunity to drive back to the airport on the eastern side of the island. We got to see the rough Atlantic side of the island and visited a few more places. We stopped at an old estate called Fond D’Or Nature Reserve  & Heritage Park, drove through Dennery, stopped at the Mamiku Botanical Gardens and visited the Latille waterfalls. We made one final stop at the beach to dip our toes in the Atlantic Ocean and discovered the most beautiful beach of the island right across from the airport.

Fond D’Or Nature

Surrounding Dennery

Mamiku Botanical Gardens

Latille Waterfalls

We had a wonderful and relaxing time in Saint Lucia. It was hot and sunny most days with very few bugs. The island is stunning and the people are wonderful and friendly. ~ Sophia & Rob

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Our favourite snack

Our favourite snack

St. Lucia rum

St. Lucia rum

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