Click a picture to see a larger view.
In the spring of 2004, we visited St. Lucia as part of a 7-day Caribbean cruise. We liked the island and promised each other that we'd come back to spend a little more time there and see more of the sights.
We got to St. Lucia without any travel hassles. I had done my research and found that most flights at UVF land from west to east, so I picked our seats on the left of the plane, to ensure that we got a good view of Les Pitons as we approached the airport. Getting thru the airport baggage claim and customs was easy compared to pushing our way thru the gauntlet of baggage handlers & taxi drivers, out to 'Meeting Place' where our pre-arranged driver with St. Lucia Taxi & Tours was waiting for us.
The road up the east coast was in very good share, but there weren't a lot of spots where there was space to pull off the road for a view. So one of the best parts of the trip was our stop just outside Dennery Bay and having our first [but definitely not our last] cold Piton -- locally brewed beer.
We arrived late on a Tuesday afternoon. On Wednesday, the resort had their weekly beach party, which included a bonfire, lots of food, and entertainment in the form a stilted dancers with a fire display on the beach.
We had scheduled an island tour. We started by going back thru Castries [and experiencing morning rush hour traffic] and continuing down the west coast road past several fishing villages down to Soufrière. The west coast road was in much worse shape than the one from the airport, with a lot more twists and turns.
Not to say that we were eating all the time, it's just that we both have a penchant for taking food pictures.
Our snorkel cruise was on the Calypso Cat, the resort's boat. We boarded the boat right on the beach and then took approximately a 45 minutes ride to the area between Les Pitons. Our first snorkeling site was Anse des Piton Marine Reserve. It was cloudy on the way down, and our first view of the Les Pitons showed them shrouded in clouds. The fish were plentiful, although there were also a few little jelly fish. Our second snorkel site was at Anse Chastanet Marine Reserve. Not as many fish here, but I was very happy find a flounder. There were plenty of tube sponges as well. On our return to the boat, the crew broke out sandwiches, beer, and wine. We were all ready for a little nourishment. On the trip back to the resort, the boat hugged the coast, giving us a great view of the mostly undeveloped shoreline.
And a few more food shots scattered here, just in case you hadn't seen enough!
Castries is the capital city of St. Lucia. It is just a few miles south of the resort, but a little too far to walk. Rather than hiring a regular taxi, we opted to use the local mini-bus service and ride into town for $1 each. Peace Corps experience put to good use, once again! We got to 'enjoy' the morning rush hour traffic, then did our own walking tour of the city, stopping to see several cultural sites and the Cathedral Bascilica of the Immaculate Conception. St. Lucia alternated between French and English control during colonial times. The cathedral definitely shows a strong French influence.
And what stop in a big city would be complete without a visit to the local market. Sonia had an opportunity to hone her bargaining skills while I explored the more esoteric areas of the market and took pictures.
We'd learned long ago that part of any vacation is just sitting back, relaxing, and realizing that the world will continue on it's merry way quite well without your active participation. We did a lot of relaxing, reading, and drinking [got to keep up your fluids !] alternating between the beach and one of the three main pools.
Here are several links of places we enjoyed.