st. lucia exploration
What can say...St. Lucia was really what started it all. It lit the fire. So be forewarned this trip can really get the travel bug going. Until St. Lucia it was local wanders around Southern California and short trips up the west coast and into Mexico. I approached my visit like I now replicate on any island exploration. Grab a rental and round the island to get as much in as possible. Keep in mind you'll be driving on the right side of the car. Was my first.
There are two airports to fly into: George F.L. Charles or Hewanorra. George provides you quick access to the hot spot of the island. I went with Hewanorra because it provides the perfect placement to round and see the entire island with little retracing. Most would take the left out of the airport here but I was heading right for the first leg of the drive on the backside of the island. It was already later in the day when arrived so I planned for a BnB. There isn't much on this side of the island, so if you want more of a hotel then stay right at the airport and start the drive early in the morning. Although BnB's can be slightly awkward I really enjoyed the access to local conversation and advice. And most of all a great local dinner first night.
I awoke to the sound of pounding rain and had a light breakfast waiting for me on the deck. After a couple cups I was off. And my first stop worked out perfect for the rain. The Treetop Adventure Park. The lush jungle canopy provided refuge from the heavy rain and made the experience even more enjoyably fresh. This is a touristy stop but a great way to grab some jungle. After that I headed on and because of the weather just calmly drove and viewed. Again, there's not a whole lot in this area but if the weather were nicer there's some small beach front towns you could stop and enjoy. I headed on and the drive soon takes a left off the coast to cross the island. At the turn there's some great small local lunch spots to hit after the mornings adventure. Then its just country cruising through the hills to cross the island to your first hot spot stay in Marigot Bay.
Ahhh...time for some much earned relaxing. Not a beach stop but a small cove with a price range of options hugging the water. A fantastic stop with some great seaside dinning. But other than relaxing the key here was to personally hire one of many locals offering their boats up for a ride down the coast. I had a skiff to myself with Bob Marley blasting and cold beers. A snorkel stop at Anse Chastanet Beach point. And lastly a lunch stop around the corner, with the Pitons in ocean view, as you dock in Soufriere. Really a fantastic day. In the morning I'd be heading north to Rodney Bay. Beach time.
This section of the trip is the only part you will be retracing. And its the only section that any "mild" concern with driving there is. When you head north you drive through the main city of Castries and it can get a little congested. But its really nothing. Arriving in the Rodney Bay is a much anticipated part of the trip. An epic beach cove with a lively night area and high rolling exclusive areas. I went with the Reduit Beach area off the beach in one of several great deals with cozy quarters, friendly bar and pool. And the lively little town at night and of course the beach is always just a walk away. The next morning I drove a short distance north to Gros Islet to walk the colorfully rustic town for lunch. A wild scene on Fridays. After lunch I headed just a bit further to Pigeon Point providing a great photo-op of the entire cove. I finished the day/evening back on the beach by my hotel with ceviche and cocktails. Headed south in the morning.
Up early for the last day of the adventure. Retracing my steps south and extending further past Marigot Bay and back to Soufriere by land. Here you'll granfanally the trip with a hike around the Pitons and an evening stay and dinner overlooking the area. There's several price options for this area. Regardless of what you choose stay up above the town on the hillside. It provides a perfect overlooking view to relax in your leather slip ons, have dinner and end the trip on. Having already walked during the seaside visit to Soufriere this stop would be about the hillside sunset dinner. What an ending. From here you're just a short drive, a bit further south, to the airport in the morning.
Pro Tip: If you're looking to splurge for a special occasion the last evening stay
in Soufriere is the place to do it. There is several high end hotels or rentals viewing the Pitions. An unforgettable setting for a special occasion.
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