Date of Trip: April 2006
My fiancé and I went down to St. Lucia from April 17th – 24th (yes, I know the trip report is a little late, but better late then never). The flight from Toronto was uneventful, and we were happy to see the island coast as we came in for a landing on the south side. Once we landed and made are way out of the airport, we were taxied north to the Rodney Bay area where our hotel, the Rex Papillion, was located. The drive over was long, but very interesting; going through the rainforest stretch while crossing the island was very neat to see.
The Rex Papillion is an all-inclusive resort which is connected to the Rex St. Lucian and Rex Royal. We were pleasantly surprised when we found out that they had upgraded our room to a beach front room, which was very nice. Had an amazing view of Rodney Bay and the room overall was located in a good place where there wasn’t too much foot traffic.
Pigeon Island – The first day we went to Pigeon Island (which isn’t really an island). We spent a few hours there hiking up to the fort ruins and over to the highest peak. Afterwards, we stopped at the bar/restaurant at the bottom of Pigeon Island for a drink before heading back to the resort.
Smugglers Cove – We went to snorkel at Smugglers Cove, which is a little bit north of Rodney Bay. Smugglers Cove has a nice little beach and the snorkeling is very good here. On both sides of the cove you can see all types of colorful fish around the rocks. I definitely recommend checking this place out.
Gros Piton Nature Hike – The next day we embarked on the Gros Piton Nature Hike. This was quite the adventure for us!
La Soufriere Drive-in Volcano – I suppose this is a place everyone visits when going to St. Lucia, a very neat place to check out, though the smell is not as you may think, at least it didn’t bother me that much. Also check out the natural hot tub which is near the entrance/exit of the Drive-in Volcano area.
Touraille Waterfall – A beautiful little waterfall, worthwhile to check out in my opinion. The water is a little bit cool and it is shallow, but it’s still nice to get close to the waterfall. Makes for some nice pictures. Tour of the Island – We used Philip Tours to see the island and many of the places mentioned here.
On the third full day, we were going to go horseback riding but my fiancé fell sick. It wasn’t food poisoning, but some other kind of bug. The hotel manager at our resort was very helpful, and arranged a taxi and set up a doctors appointment in town. The doctor was friendly and gave her some antibiotics. I was expecting this to cost a lot of money and was starting to seriously regret not getting travel insurance, but luckily the price was reasonable and before long she was feeling better again.
The Next Few Days
Over the next couple days we took it easy a bit so that she could recover. We spent more time on the beach and more snorkeling. The snorkeling in Rodney Bay was actually not that bad. We also did some shopping in this time. On one of the nights we planned to go to a nice restaurant for dinner and decided on the Rainforest Hideaway restaurant in Marigot Bay. We arrived there just before the sun started to set and had an amazing view for dinner. The atmosphere of this place was very romantic. We had an great dinner and were glad we went there.
Before we knew it, it was time to head home, back to Toronto… As a last thing to do in St. Lucia we had decided to take the helicopter shuttle ride back to our flight in the south. We figured it would be a nice way to end the trip and would be a once in a life time kind of experience. We were right! St. Lucia Helicopters is the main and only operator, and is located in the main town of Castries. Although the ride is short, it seems longer and gives you an amazing aerial view of the island. The helicopter pilot even slows down a bit and maneuvers around the Pitons for a minute so you can have a better look. It was definitely worth the $120/person price and we would do it again for sure if we come back to St. Lucia.
General Thoughts – The Bad
Taxis – I think the taxi rates are way too excessive. Personally, I would have rented a car for a few days to get around, but being just slightly under 25 years old, I was out of luck and forced to take the taxis. In my own opinion, I don’t think the rates are reasonable. It left a negative impression about the island to most people I talked with down there. Although most drivers are very friendly and nice, the taxi rates really need to be adjusted otherwise it just turns off tourists a lot.
Currency – Normally I take U.S. traveler checks plus a small amount of cash with me down to the Caribbean and have never had a problem with it. However, in St. Lucia I found that many places and people will not accept U.S. traveler checks or if they do, they will only give you EC change for it. Finding somewhere that will give you actual U.S. dollars for it was difficult. It seems only the banks on the island will exchange the travelers checks for U.S. cash. If I had known this I would have probably brought more cash down rather then mostly all traveler checks.
Beach Peddlers – I found many of the beach peddlers very annoying. Most will leave you alone if you tell them firmly you are not interested, but some are very aggressive and intimidating. One idiot in particular was trying to sell people aloe, which he very clearly just broke off an aloe tree somewhere near by. Normally most people would say no or even laugh at stupidity like this, but he was very intimidating to most people and I did see many people paying just to get the guy to go away. I stood my ground, but afterwards he would give me dirty looks. I found the beach peddlers mostly only a problem on Rodney Bay, when we were elsewhere, it wasn’t a problem.
Respect of Women – Is it just me or is overall respect for woman pretty low on this island?
General Thoughts – The Good
Driving on the left side – I must say, it was fun to be driving around on the left side of the road! First time for me experiencing that so it was fun. All Brits are used to it, but I thought it was cool.
Electricity – Yeah, I was stupid and forgot that St. Lucia was on the European electrical system. Luckily enough, the resort has converters you can use.
Bananas – Got to love the fresh bananas! I think I ate more bananas down there then I have in years!
Piton Beer – I loved the Piton Beer down there, too bad you can’t buy it anywhere here in Canada.
Beauty of the Island – Quite simply the island is beautiful and breathtaking. Words and pictures cannot describe this island. It’s better for you just to come down there and experience it for yourself
We had an amazing time down in St. Lucia. Even despite my fiancé getting sick, we still managed to do quite a lot of stuff. St. Lucia is definitely an island I would like to come back to again. Next time, I think we would probably try another resort, might even stay somewhere closer to the south instead.
Be sure to check out my St. Lucia photo album which has over 500 pictures of St. Lucia, including everything mentioned in this trip report.