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zerokarma
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Joined: 07/14/04
Posts: 537
Loc: Toronto, Canada
St. Lucia Trip Report
      #559396 - 05/30/06 02:49 PM (65.95.145.115)

St. Lucia Vacation - Trip Report

Arrival:
My fiancÚ 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 cost as we came in for a landing in the south side of the island. 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 will crossing the island was very neat to see.

The Hotel:
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.

Activities:
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, so much so that I created a separate more detailed review of it, please check it out here: http://www.stluciaforums.com/showthread.php?t=64
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, 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, worth while to check out in my opinion. The water is a little bit cool and it is shallow there but its 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 go to many of these places as well all of the island

You can find many pictures of these places in my photo album at:
http://www.zerokarma.com/modules.php?name=Photo_Album&file=thumbnails&album=15

Sick:
On the third full day we were going to horseback riding but my fiancÚ fell sick. It wasn't food poisoning but some other kind of bug. The hotel manager at our resort was very helpful and arrange a taxi and setup 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.

Dinner and 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.

Heading home:
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 again.

General Thoughts - Bad:
Taxi's - 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 taxi's. 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 later on. I found the beach peddlers mostly only a problem on Rodney Bay, when were elsewhere it wasn't a problem.
Respect of Woman - Is it just me or is overall respect for woman pretty low on this island?

General Thoughts - 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 were used to it but I thought it was cool at least.
Electricity - Yea 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 breath taking, words and pictures and cannot describe this island, its better for you just to come down there and experience it for yourself :)

Overall:
Overall we had an amazing time down in St. Lucia, even despite my fiancÚ 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 showing everything mentioned about:
http://www.zerokarma.com/modules.php?name=Photo_Album&file=thumbnails&album=15

If you have any questions or want to know anything just let me know.

--------------------
- St. Martin/St.Maarten Vacation - Over 300+ Pictures
- St. Lucia Forums / Message Board - www.stluciaforums.com


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