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STJ versus St Lucia

Boston
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STJ versus St Lucia

Hey all, we are huge fans of STJ and are getting ready to plan trip #7 for late November. BUT Hubbie thinks we should try again to at least consider another island and he thinks St Lucia might be worth looking at. We have already discounted a couple of islands based on comments made about them here in TA.

If you've been to both, we would appreciate your comments. It seems that St Lucia will cost us much more money but other than that- what about getting around, snorkling, hiking, music at night (seems like we'll find more places for music on St Lucia?), cost of food at restaurants, need for rental car, and of course overall impressions/comparisons? Thanks!!

Colorado Springs...
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1. Re: STJ versus St Lucia

We have been to both. Stick with St John. St Lucia is not a very friendly place. High crime and many of the locals really hate tourists. We were actually told once we got there it is best to stay at the resort and not be too adventureous Not my kind of vacation. I like to to go out and find all the cool small bars/restaurants and hidden beaches. We used to go to a different island every year, but once we found St. John we have been back 3 years in a row and a fourth is scheduled for April. BVI, I would do again if you are looking for something new, but St. Lucia is off my list.

Bonaire
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2. Re: STJ versus St Lucia

I have been to both, but it's been several years since I have visited St. Lucia. Here is my take.

St. Lucia is a large island, seemingly much larger than St. John (although I don't know exactly how much larger without googling it). The main airport is at least an hour drive from many of the tourist areas. The topography is absolutely stunning, with the gorgeous pitons providing amazing scenery. It is green and lush and mountainous, similar to St. John. The water and beaches are where you will find the major contrast to St. John. St. Lucia's beaches have darker, golden sand. The water is not as clear as VI water, and the water color is darker and more greenish in places. It is not the sparkling turquoise that you find in the VIs, nor is the visibility anywhere near as good. I have been diving/snorkelng in both places, and there is no comparison in the quality of snorkeling. St. John wins. But, there is some decent snorkeling in St. Lucia, especially around the base of the pitons if I remember correctly.

I think the St. Lucians are lovely people, in general. I visited several of the towns, including Soufriere and Gros Islet, and had many interactions with locals. The people that I met were warm, friendly and seemingly good natured. We left the resort to explore almost every day, and we had some wonderful adventures. There are definitely many more opportunities for cultural interaction in St. Lucia than in St. John, and you really have a feeling of being in another country with a unique culture.

If you are interested in music at night, St. Lucia has many opportunities for that. When I visited, there was a weekly "jump up" in Gros Islet where St. Lucians take to the street for music and dancing. I would guess it still exists because it seemed like a long-standing tradition. It was great fun, and I felt welcome as a tourist.

We stayed in the Rodney Bay area, which is a busier area with a large international marina and many restaurants. If I had it to do again, I would stay somewhere different. The beach by our hotel was unimpressive, and there were so many beach vendors that my friend and I (two women) were completely uncomfortable sitting on the beach. We were hasseled relentlessly, and we quickly realized that we needed to stay by the hotel pool and refrain from venturing onto the beach (kind of like some Jamaica beaches in that regard). I believe that there are other beaches on the island that are more calm/serene, and in retrospect we chose the wrong hotel/beach for us.

There are some gorgeous high-end resorts in St. Lucia with gorgeous views of the pitons, private plunge pools, nice spas, etc. I think it is worth considering a trip there, as long as you don't have the expectation that it will be similar to St. John. I guarantee you that you will be awed by the beauty of the island, and if you can splurge a bit on one of the higher end resorts, I think you will be very happy.

I hope this helps.

Edited: 30 January 2011, 19:19
Boston
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3. Re: STJ versus St Lucia

Thanks for the comments! Maybe some more folks?

Fishers
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4. Re: STJ versus St Lucia

I agree with Karrieb regarding St Lucia. We have been to St John several times and St Lucia twice. Planning on returning to St Lucia in the future. You will find crime and unfriendly people where every you go in the world including the islands. We find St Lucia to be very friendly. We have never experienced any crime but I'm sure like other places in the world you will find it either on St Lucia or even St John. That's just the way it is today. You just have to be a smart travelor. I never wear my expensive jewelry anywhere. We travel all over the world. Leave it at home and then you don't have to worry.

But go to St Lucia, enoy!! Give it a try. It is a breathtaking location. We have stayed on Rodney Bay but have traveled to the Pitons, Marigot Bay and into the inner area of the island. Do some day sailing and relax and have a great time.

Fishers
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5. Re: STJ versus St Lucia

Opps meant to say I agree with "luv4travelNJ". Also we stayed in the Rodney Bay area which is close to resturants, shops etc. But do get out and explore the island.

Pennsylvania
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6. Re: STJ versus St Lucia

We have been to St. Lucia only once but we enjoyed it. We didn't rent a car so we didn't explore on our own but we took a land tour and a snorkel sail. The snorkeling was great but the beaches aren't as nice as STJ. St. Lucia or Grenada would both be nice choices if you want to try another island. Have you thought about Belize? We loved that too!!

Toronto
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7. Re: STJ versus St Lucia

I've been to St Lucia twice - it's my favorite vacation spot - the people are great - very congenial. IMHO St Lucia is the prototypical tropical paradise - exotically beautiful with magnificent scenery everywhere. I would highly recommend staying in the Soufriere region - great local flavor and it is the most beautiful region with great snorkeling off several beaches - yes the water is not as clear as other regions but there is an amazing abundance of sea life. St Lucia is also blessed with a fair amount of rainforest where you can hike, zipline, explore by ATV or mountain bike. If your budget allows have a look at Jalousie Plantation and Anse Chastanet - both have amazing locations and offer altogether different vacation experiences - Jalousie is nestled in Piton Valley next to Petit Piton, has an imported white sand beach with great snorkeling - accomodations are modern Caribbean style villas. Anse Chastanet is more eco-oriented with charming rooms built on a hillside in and around the rainforest - some have trees growing through and many have an open wall. Anse Chastanet also has some good snorkeling off the natural dark sand beach. St Lucia is an awesome vacation destination, there's something for every type of traveller.

Toronto
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8. Re: STJ versus St Lucia

forgot to mention one other great thing about Soufriere - the dormant drive-in volcano at Sulphur Springs Park provides numerous spots to have a thermal mineral bath and even a mudbath. The waters have been shown to have similar therapeutic properties to the famous baths in France. The mudbath is amazing - leaves your skin feeling as smooth and soft as a newborn's and it's helpful for skin, joint and ligament ailments.

Boston
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9. Re: STJ versus St Lucia

Thanks again everyone! We'll visit a travel show in Boston in a couple of weeks and will see what kind of deals we can get to St Lucia

10. Re: STJ versus St Lucia

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