Trip report (my attempt) June 10-June 22
Family of 4, parents in low 40’s, daughters of 21 and 17. Dogs at home.
Day 1. So after realizing we missed our flight by 24 hours, (long story, but we/I got confused on the midnight departure and the actual day of departure) Delta jumped through hoops (except Atlanta) to help us get going on the trip. We flew standby all the way routed from SLC to JFK to ATL to UVF. All was going well and according to original schedule until we hit the ATL gate, the last leg, whereas the gatekeeper was not hearing or willing to look at making any changes. The plane was still boarding and he acknowledged several empty seats on the plane still but his responses made it very clear he wasn’t willing to go the extra mile. Was frustrating for us knowing we were so close, felt lucky we had made it that far and recognized it was probably our fault to begin with it taking the 16hour layover in ATL.
Day 2. Arrive at UVF stayed BGBR met by Dillan from Luxury Car rental after airport transfer from same company. No complaints from car rental, first time driving on left side, more on that later. Dinner at Spinnakers, walk to beach out of BGBR and go left. Hit on by vendors.
Day 3. Heard of and went to Cas En Bas Beach and Marjories. Once we found it after being on the wrong side of the hill, we were the first ones there for the day, however it was a local holiday of some sort (wheat day?) and within a short time we were surrounded by many locals spending their holiday on the beach with us. Not at any time did we feel unwelcomed and was a unique experience we enjoyed ‘with’ locals and how they were celebrating their time off with their families, literally 100 people. Cricket was played, portable tables were brought for dominoes, sampled some breadfruit. There was one vendor that would not leave our daughters or us alone and I eventually needed to tell him to give us some space as did Vick the guy that seemed to be ‘in the know’ at Marjories. That individual turned a little ornery about it, he seemed a little soused up probably from the money I had given him earlier for some crafts. Early dinner at Marjories when it rained and listened to the one man guitar band play his tunes. Nice experience. Snorkeling ok.
Day 4. Hiked to the top Pigeon Island and appreciated the deep history of the island and the views. Humidity, even on that short hike the heat really makes a difference, so we lounged ourselves on the beach for the rest of the day there. Visited the little beach bar to the far left and the hurricane damaged homestead even further down that path. Also was told that the irish pub that was supposed to be in Pigeon is no longer. Was visited by the fruit boat vendor and had fresh cut pineapple, wax apples for snacks. Snorkeling ok. Hit on by vendors coming to car upon departure. Had dinner at the Triangle Pub, a little local hole behind Rituals coffee, and went to try our luck at the casino, kids shopped.
Day 5. Castries market in the morning was worth going to but by this time it seems like everyone is selling the same thing. Tried to have some lunch but the cafes weren’t open yet so we headed back north. At this point my wife had asked me how much dinner at Marjories cost to which my answer was ‘uh-oh’. We had realized that we had forgotten to pay for our meal at Marjories, 2 days earlier, so we went back to see Vick and square up. We explained to him that when we were having trouble with the individual pestering us, that we had left abruptly and forgotten to pay for the meal. He understood why and apologized for the individual and said he had forgotten about it too. ‘It’s the island, life goes on’, something to that effect is what he said. That afternoon we were invited to go on a sail with friend we had met earlier in the trip at Happy Day Bar so we broke anchorage in Rodney and took off down the coast to Castries and came back. This was the highlight of the trip for us and George, if you are out there please pm me, we would love to stay in touch. Dinner at Charterhouse in Rodney.
Day 6. Found the staircase leading down to Smugglers Cove. Much better snorkeling and the beach was deserted. Great day of snacks and drinks. Dinner at the food trucks across from the mall in Rodney. Nice laid back , low key day.
Day 7. Today we did the Saluna tours with Dave and Capt Dan. The money spent of $100pp was worth the time saved and stress of going to the locations ourselves. The trip included drive by of each resort down the coast, Marigot and ended at Soufriere whereas we were boarded onto a taxi bus and taken to Diamond waterfall/pools to board again for the mudbaths to board again to go for lunch at Ladera, good food, and the view of the Pitons from here looked very real. After Ladera we boarded the boat again to snorkel at the marine reserve next to Joulisie resort. Better snorkeling again. Headed back to Rodney to try our luck at the casino again and exchange currency and went to Gros Islet Jump up for dinner. Food was great, drinks were flowing but we probably stayed a little too late for tourists, 1 am-ish and either had our camera stolen from my pocket or it may have fallen out, don’t know. We don’t really care about the camera itself, but the memory card with the 500+ pictures has us sick. We had gathered some great family photos that my wife was looking forward to transposing and at this point in the trip was impossible to duplicate with the other camera in our group. Should have downloaded the pictures earlier this day and I have been reminded of that too.
Day 8. Had to check out of BGBR and had preplanned an extended stay somewhere else. While searching for other options we had decided on Marigot Bay area, Mango Beach Inn and Rainforest Hideway. Stephen at Rainforest is the real deal and was a pleasure to talk to each night we were there about the little things of St Lucia like school schedules for kids and local life. Thank you for your great insight Stephen, you represent your country well. Mango Beach is a great little place and definitely a disconnect. Its on the other side of the bay and accessable by boat taxi only. John and Judith made sure we were comfortable and were pleasant to be around. Boat taxi back across bay for dinner at Hurricane Hole. After losing the camera from the previous night, Im feeling lucky to have all my body parts this day.
Day 9. Fathers Day, my wife finally talked to me. Rained all day this day and hard, probably deserving since I lost the camera. We had tried to find the short hike through the Oasis Resort next door to an overlook but was so humid and rainy we explored through the resort and headed back to Mango. Not hard to deal with the rain when its so warm and refreshing, so we played cards and read by the pool under the gazebo. Swam in the pool when it got muggy. Locals were celebrating Fathers Day with a street party in the village above Marigot Bay, but Im not allowed to go to street parties for awhile so we had dinner at Juliettas up on the hill by the village overlooking Marigot. Incredible sunset, well worth the trip up the hill.
Day 10. Last full day on island and we wanted more beach time so we stayed close and went to the little beach at marigot, Laboie? Bought Pitons from the local vendor there but didn’t need any more baskets. Pretty low key, kayaked and slept, ate dinner at JD’s, the little bar at the end of the bay. Probably the best jerk chicken all week, all of us agreed.
Day 11. Said good bye to Loosha and began our journey home, we were reserved for this flight so pretty uneventful. We were able to avoid scheduled 7hour layover in the Vegas airport by arriving to ATL earlier and making the SLC flight direct.
Summary and overall, It rained every day we were there, usually at night, but at random times too. Not once did the rain affect anything we wanted to do outdoors or indoors, its just part of it, its refreshing and it is rainy season I guess.
Driving on the left is no big deal, just have to consciously think about some of your turning at the intersections and we kind of made it a team effort with everyone in the car. Hit the wipers while looking for the blinker many times and forgot to put car in park a few times, but being hesitant going into the trip about it, found it to be easy.
We were hit on by vendors almost every day. Really no different than going into downtown of any major city in US. However there are only so many baskets and coconut bird things I can buy. A polite ‘no, thank you’ does the trick with most of them except for the individual at Cas En Bas and the kids on the beach in Soufriere, they seemed a little miffed and I even got a stare down from the joint smoking 14 year old kid on the dock after I denied his request to just give him money.
As a family we ate out once every day, no more. Our other meals were furnished ourselves by carrying deli meats, cheese, bread and snacks with us. No meal really blew us away, many meals were good and we were not disappointed but the food was local fare as it should be. We go there to eat what is available and expect nothing more than that.
My wife and I have been to a few islands already and we can say without a doubt that St Lucians are about as genuine and true as a culture that we have met. Anguillans are pretty similar too. They seriously seem to care about what they do and are grateful for the simplest compliment. This goes for wait staff to housekeeping to grocery clerks. It is easy to have a casual conversation with them and they don’t seem to take their tourism industry for granted. They are proud of where they are from and they should be.