St. Lucia Trip: Part 2
Continued from my St. Lucia trip, part 1!
I didn’t try out too many activities to review for you all this time (sorry. I think my tailbone is still traumatized from the Jamaica horseback riding adventure), but I did do some SNUBA-ing. Let me tell you how cool SNUBA is: it is so cool. We took a five-minute boat ride to the nearby Pigeon Island, which I will also just let you know used to be a military base and a pirate hideout, because I like to mention pirates whenever possible. Now it’s the location for the St. Lucia Jazz Festival in May, which I think is far less badass but we’re not talking about me here, are we. We’re talking about SNUBA. Right. So we took the quick SNUBA course, suited up in our flippers and weight belts and masks and regulators, and took an underwater tour of the gorgeous reef just offshore. We saw tons of brightly-colored fish, spiny lobsters, sea urchins, “feather-dusters” that shoot back into their little hideouts in a hilarious way if you poke at them which I would never do because I totally respect nature (wink wink), trumpetfish, starfish, and I even got to hold a seahorse. Kids as young as age 8 can participate in SNUBA tours, and kids ages 4-7 can do the surface “SNUBA-DOO” tours. Definitely try it out and don’t let the kids have all the fun with this one. After the first couple of disconcerting underwater breaths, it’s just like breathing air, and you can go up to 20 feet deep without being SCUBA certified.
I did, however, do my sightseeing homework for you. The capital city of Castries, in the north, welcomes cruise ships and has tons of craft and food markets as well as duty-free shopping, along with the nearby white sand beaches. We made the two-hour drive to the south of the island to visit the laid-back city of Soufriere, where we saw the steaming, bubbling sulfur springs at the nearby semi-dormant volcano (relax, it hasn’t erupted since 1600-something). Close by are gorgeous botanical gardens and the Diamond Falls, where there are also mineral baths that you can bathe in that local
marketing legend says will make you look ten years younger.
Then we headed over to the famous luxury resort Jade Mountain (once featured on The Bachelor) and its sister resort Anse Chastanet. I’ll confess that I’ve sat here staring at the screen for quite awhile trying to figure out how to put the beauty of these places into words that even halfway do them justice. Anse Chastanet is easier: the villas are all completely open-air, and are constructed with open floor plans around key pieces of the landscape like boulders and trees. Gorgeous pieces of modern artwork hang on the walls.
Jade Mountain is a place that you honestly have to see for yourself to truly appreciate. The resort is built on the side of the mountain, and the sanctuaries (as they appropriately call the rooms) are all open-air and built on open floor plans as well. Each sanctuary features an infinity pool tiled with brilliant blues, greens, or reds that forms the outside wall, where it abruptly falls off into a breathtaking view of the twin peaks of the Piton mountains across the Caribbean Sea.
There is no artwork needed for the walls here. The Pitons are the artwork. The service here is exquisite also. This is a place where celebrities stay, and the prices reflect that. Probably even my marriage would have worked out if we’d have honeymooned in a stunning place like this one. (Ha ha! Just kidding. It wouldn’t have.) I think it goes without saying that you’ll want to leave the kids at home to come here… Under age 15, they are not allowed anyway. But I had to include it in my write-up because a) it’s one of the most incredible places I have ever seen, and I have been around a bit, and b) if you’re looking for a kid-free resort at which to soothe your frayed nerves, and have a lot of money saved up to do so, this would certainly be the place to do it.
You can go pretty much anywhere in the Caribbean for sun, sand, and beautiful views, but I would say the difference in St. Lucia is that the island is cleaner, more unspoiled and less crowded, and the people don’t have that manic, exhausting, you’re on vacation let’s do this thing frenzied enthusiasm that you’ll find elsewhere– they are laid-back, accommodating of any request from the trivial to the critical, and on the whole, the most genuinely friendly people I think I have ever met on vacation. We were all sorry to say goodbye, and I hope I’ll go back soon.
What to know before you go:
- Direct flights are available from JFK, ATL, and MIA.
- Electrical outlet converters (European-to-American) are handy but not necessary, as most hotels have a few American outlets.
- American dollars are widely accepted across the island, but you’ll get the much-more-expensive “tourist price” if you use them. Do your currency exchange at a bank rather than at your hotel or on the street for the best rates.
- Tap water is safe to drink.
- If you tend to get carsick, bring Dramamine for the roads. This is a requirement, not a suggestion.
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