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On a budget and can't afford expensive tours...

Lexington, Kentucky
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On a budget and can't afford expensive tours...

Thoughts on how to spend our seven days? We are staying at la Haut Plantation and will probably rent a small 4X4 if it all works out. In our lower 30s and have spent a week in Dominica driving ourselves around... can we do the same here?

What hikes are okay to do without paying $100 + for a guide?

Toronto
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11. Re: On a budget and can't afford expensive tours...

Coming from Canada the best advice I can give you is to remember to keep the passenger side to the curb. Other than that I found the most difficult aspects to driving a right-hand drive vehicle are 1. the reversal of the wiper and signal switches, 2. getting accustomed to the location of the rear-view mirror and 3. actually reversing the vehicle. I'm so used to looking over my right shoulder to see where I am reversing that I had a lot of trouble looking over my left shoulder and steering with my right hand, so I used the mirrors if I had to reverse any distance.

As mentioned by reedprincess, roads are not well marked so don't be afraid to stop and ask for directions if you get lost. There are relatively few roads so most Lucians know them fairly well and will be able to help you find your way.

Edited: 12 January 2013, 01:01
Montreal, Canada
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12. Re: On a budget and can't afford expensive tours...

Thank you very much !

Greatly appreciate it.

Cornwall, Canada
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13. Re: On a budget and can't afford expensive tours...

We are also heading to Smugglers at the end of February and would like to explore the island a bit however was hoping that transport could be by boat rather than those winding roads. Is it possible to hire a boat for a day to tour around, or is it less expensive to hire a driver instead? I am an avid photographer so always looking for shots... also interested in seeing the real island, not just the tourist spots.

Cheers,

Kathy

St. Lucia
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for St. Lucia
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14. Re: On a budget and can't afford expensive tours...

A driver will be less expensive, and you will see more of the actual island, rather than just the coastline. A boat tour down the west coast is great and some stunning scenery, but you will not see any of the interior, any of the villages, from actually inside them and so forth.

Land/sea tour combos are also great, but keep in mind, any organized tour is going to hit the tourist sites and not really experience much of the "real St. Lucia" Neither are you going to experience much of the "real island" from an all-inclusive resort! I am sure you will have a wonderful time there - it is a very fun resort - but most defintely won't see/experience the "real island".

To really see much of the island - I would suggest (what will be a long day from Smugglers Cove) that you do hire a driver, head south, spend some time around Soufriere (Pitons and such) and then also continue even further south to Laborie - it is a beautiful, untouched by tourism working village with gorgeous beach, lots of history and culture - there is a heritage walking tour that explains some of the history, architecture, etc and also a small museum with a few artifacts found around the village and surroundings.

Finish up by heading into Vieyx Fort for the lighthouse, then lunch/afternoon meal by Sandy Beach, ether at The Reef or Island Breeze and complete the circle up the East Coast for the dramatic coastal scenery.

Good luck and enjoy your visit.

Newark, Delaware
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15. Re: On a budget and can't afford expensive tours...

AuntBee

We did many hikes. Barre de L'isle has two options. A longer guided hike that goes North and a shorter unguided hike goes south. Either way, you park on the side of the road and pay the $10US pp in a house that was starting trees to be transplanted in mudslide areas. We went South and it was nice and beautiful. You can see the Atlantic and Caribbean at the same time and it goes through a few different ecosystems. It is well-maintained with many steps up and down. Some of the numbered and labeled tree identification signs still remain, but they have not been completely restored following Hurricane Tomas. The mudslide damage is pretty amazing too and the trail extension does not go as far as it used to, but was a nice quick hike for us on our way over the ridge. There is a sign that says "End of trail, but you can go further if you want" and after a bit you come to an obvious end where there was a huge mudslide. We found the estimated hiking times all over to be extremely conservative and we did this there and back trail in 45 minutes not the estimated 2 hours.

The Gros Piton was our favorite hike and worth the $25 or $30 US followed by the Maria Islands tour which is $75 EC pp with a minimum of 4 which we paid just for the two of us. Des Cartier trail was not that easy to get to as the roads were unmarked and extremely narrow. The sign on the east coast highway says 6 miles, but it took us quite awhile. It was nice, but not one of the best. Dennery Falls was great and is free and we enjoyed Latille falls and a guided hike as well. Pigeon Island is not in the wilderness, but has nice walks up to two great lookouts. The Soufriere waterfalls and baths are all inexpensive and pretty close to each other so you can do many in a short amount of time. One thing you might not realize is that there is not much wildlife even deep in the rainforests other than birds and small lizards (we saw bigger lizards on Maria Major). Around the island we also saw a few small frogs, a giant frog at Mamiku Gardens, and a ground crab high up, far away from the coast near the En bas Saut trail. All areas were beautiful, but it was a bit strange being in such lush surroundings with no animals. The last trip for my wife and I was in Costa Rica which sometimes looked similar, but there you had to watch out for numerous poisonous snakes and painful bullet ants while also seeing monkeys, sloths etc.

A couple longer hikes we did not do are the Edmund Forest Reserve and the very long Mount Gimie hike.

There is a lot you can do for not much money.

16. Re: On a budget and can't afford expensive tours...

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