This section is my favorite shots from a trip to St. Lucia Jan 7-14 2016.
When you click on a menu entry the thumbnails at the top of the screen are replaced with thumbnails for the selected subject in St. Petersburg. Since, I took so many shot when you click on one of these entries it brings up a sub-menu on the right of your screen.
Before I begin let me say that island is simply beautiful and the people are great. I've always said the the Caribbean has the most friendly people around. The people in St. Lucia are delightful.
Maybe my expectations were to high, maybe the nightmare with the maggots on the service desk for my cell phone colored my experience, whatever the reason I was a little disappointed. First this is the second largest center on the island. So, it's not a sleepy little fishing village. Second, most of the plantations have been bought up by the resorts and converted into luxury accommodations, sucking up much of the local culture along the way. I had at least six plantations on my list to visit. All but two had been gobbled up. Of the two left Morne Conbaril Estate and Fond Doux, Morne Conbaril was far, far superior. And, I almost didn't go there do to it's split personality, half plantation half amusement park.
Be prepared for just about everything being more difficult. I've been to the Caribbean about 14 times. I' rented scooters probably 5 or 6 times. Never taken more than 1/2 hour to arrange the whole thing. St. Lucia 10 1/2 to 11 hours 4 buses and over 70 miles. I rented one in the village of Somerset in Bermuda, a tiny village of several hundred people in less than a half hour. I went down and signed the paper work picked up the a scooter and left it where we stayed and they stopped by and picked it up. Compare that to Soufriere with a population more than 20 times that of Somerset. When I finally arrived at the shop rented them they were out and I had to rent a 125 cc motorcycle that didn't have enough power to make it up the steeper hills. So, after all that half the time I ended-up, you guessed it, renting cabs and water taxis.
Our lodging included a full kitchen. One of the things that Tanya and I wanted to do was to make sandwiches and bring them with us. A three day quest for the Holy Grail ensued. First we went to the supermarket on church, then we went to the market one bridge by the town square, then we went to the local bakery, then we went to the market on Sir Arthur Lewis up near the Cool Breeze. Nothing, for THREE days we kept checking all four, not a single loaf to be found anywhere.
Cabs are extremely expensive and water taxis are even worse. In St. Lucia all beaches are open to the public. While that sounds good on paper most are landlocked by the resorts. The result is that you are forced to pay $50-60 to take a water taxi to a beach that's 1-2 miles away. Transportation cost add up real quick. Everything seems to be done to scale. I heard about the snorkeling and that the Anse Chastanet, "Situated in the heart of St. Lucia's world renowned (Soufriere Marine Management Area)", so I paid $50 for the 4 minute water shuttle and made a day trip, well most of a day trip out of it. Again, I was very disappointed. It was the size of about a half football field I saw maybe 1/2 dozen different species of fish and when the tout boats started dropping 25-30 or more folks in the water even they disappeared. The snorkeling that was less than a five minute walk away, and included with the room I didn't even need to rent the gear at the Cancun Club Med was miles and miles ahead and the drinks didn't cost a arm and a leg. But, then it wasn't at the foot of a resort that was charging $1500 and up a night.
When I travel I love to eat like the locals. Did extensive research and made a list of more than a dozen resturants that featured local Cajun/Creole cuisine. Most were closed or not to be found. Most that were open didn't serve food and were in fact bars. I ended up finding two that were on the bottom of the list. We ended-up eating at the Hummingbird more than any were else. Actually we ate the more than the rest put together. So, much forthe affordable local cuisine. While there was nothing wrong with Hummingbird, other than it cost at least twice as much than a local cafe, it was standard resort food that you could get at just about any resort in the world. Even Club Med did a better job of tailoring their menu to at least include some of the local dishes. I remember walking down bridge street and seeing a restaurant/cafe not on my list, "Susie's Restaurant & Bar". So, we stopped by one night and I asked for a menu and was told that they didn't have one. I asked what they were serving and she said nothing. I asked if the EVER served ANYTHING and was told no. I said but it's a RESTAURANT and bar. She said yes. So, it's a restaurant that never did nor never will server any food at all and she said yes. Go figure.
The last day we were down by the pier and started the last walk back to our apartment and I was bemoaning the lack of local restaurants and the abundance of the bars, most having serving ten or less people, so I decided to count the ratio of bars to restaurants to bars on our way back. The bars won 11-0. Not a one served as much as a bag of chips. And, this primariarly on Sri Authur Lewis and did not include the waterfront or bridge were they seem to appear at every other door. Apparently, there's a lot more money to be made serving drinks than food.
There is a real disparity in income levels for inhalants of the island and the US which isn't a problem. The constant begging for handout, offers for guides, taxi's and water taxis begging to really wear you out after a few days. From our hotel to hummingbird beach is about 20 minutes each way. I don't think that we ever made the trip without being approached at least 6-8 times. Add in an afternoon walk and the number approaches 20 times a day, day in and day out. It really starts to wear on you after a while.
So, out of my list of places to see, things to do and places to eat I hit less than 10%. I usually get into 80-90% of the top tier, with a lot less effort and expense. I didn't even try for anything on the second tier. I was hoping to come back and report that I had found a hidden gem in the Caribbean, but sadly I cannot.
Enjoy the pictures, any questions or comments send an e-mail