3 things you have to do on the Caribbean island of Saint Lucia

Posted by keribainborough on 16 September 2013

Ok, let’s not beat about the bush. To honeymoon in the Caribbean for a newly wed South African couple is a little unheard of. With Mauritius, Seychelles (read: Top 10 African island breaks) and even Thailand in much closer proximity to South African shores, a nine hour flight to London, followed by another eight hour flight to Saint Lucia seems like a bit of a mission. And it was. Luckily our honeymoon was in two parts, and a week spent in the UK with our friends and family split the rather lengthy journey from Johannesburg to the Caribbean.

 

Saint Lucia, Caribbean Sea

Saint Lucia is the only volcanic island in the Caribbean Sea and it reminded me a lot of the Northern KwaZulu-Natal coast – hot and humid with fields and fields of fruit crops. Saint Lucians pride themselves on their fruit, and our taxi driver from the airport urged us to try their world famous bananas during our stay.  The roads, and driving in general, in St Lucia is rather hair-raising. Due to high import taxes, buying or hiring a car is expensive. The island is made up of mountainous “pitons” and while this makes the scenery really gorgeous, the roads are steep, windy and not very wide. There are no road rules really and our taxi driver laughed when we asked him about road blocks to curb drunk driving. Despite all this, the day we took to hire a car and drive around the island was one of the best days of our trip. But then we are a little more on the adventurous side – a lot of other couples would have panicked at the gravity-defying roads and lack of road signs. We got lost in Soufriere on our way to view the Gros and Petite Pitons at Ladera Resort, but most locals are happy to show you they right way. Despite the safety and comfort of the resort, please, please do not be one of those couples who don’t venture out the front gate once. There really is so much to see and do on the island.

Sunset at Rendezvous - a couple friendly resort perfect for honeymooning.

 

Things to do in Saint Lucia

 

1. Hire a car and drive around the island for the day

We drove from Castries down the west side of the island and stopped at Ladera Resort for lunch before continuing around the island. We left at about 10h00 in the morning and we were back home by 15h00. Ladera is a great place to stop for lunch as you have the most magnificent view of both le Gros Piton and le Petite Piton. A word of warning: the food and drinks are very expensive – treat yourself to a cocktail (they are delicious), but if you’re going to eat lunch there, have a wrap – they seemed to be the most value for money. En route around the island we stopped at various viewpoints to take photographs, and at one sky-high stop just before Soufriere, a little old man sold me the most delicious mango I’ve ever tasted. Well worth the stop.

Road tripping through Soufriere.

One of the many viewpoint stops on the way to Soufriere.

Le Petit and le Gros Piton - from a viewpoint above the town of Soufriere.

Ladera Resort - great for cocktails and a beautiful view.

 

2. Attend the Friday Night Street Market in Gros Islet

A sunset cruise around the top of the island on a random Friday night resulted in the biggest party of the trip. We organised the cruise through our hotel and met a lovely middle-aged couple on the boat called Susan And Joe from Florida. They convinced us to join them afterwards at the Friday night street market and so waved all our American honeymooning friends back onto the bus as they left for the safe haven of the resort while we went “street”. It was so much fun – the locals are inviting and friendly and there are stalls and stalls of food and drink. I ate kidneys on a stick, drank a lot of beer and had to explain all about life in Africa to the locals. My new husband and I danced in the street among hundreds of other sweaty bodies and had an absolutely amazing time. Needless to say, a lot of the next day was spent in our hotel room, nursing banging headaches. It was well worth it.

Sunset Cruise around the north of the island

Making friends for life at the Friday Night Street Market

Some rather interesting cuisine at the street market - I ate kidneys on a stick!

 

3. Take a day trip around the Grenadine Islands

This day was simply magical. We ummed and ahhhed about going on this, wondering about its validity for us as we were already on a beautiful Caribbean island. The swimming with turtles as well as all the positive reviews on Facebook and Trip Advisor however sold us and we booked a Grenadine Island Day Tour with Serenity Vacations and Tours. We hopped on tiny five-seater plane from Castries and flew to the Grenadine Islands where we then boarded a yacht and set sail around the beautiful Grenadine Islands. Out here was the “real” Caribbean – turquoise waters and white sands, magnificent coral reefs and tiny islands. We snorkelled with turtles and even managed to touch them when they came up for air. We lay on the yacht and sunbathed while drinking some rather strong rum punch. If I were ever to do the Caribbean again, and had a load of money, I would do all the islands on a yacht. The Grenadine Islands is the stuff mermaid and pirate fantasies are made of. In fact, one of the islands we stopped at was used in the filming of The Pirates of the Caribbean. This was the day when the honeymoon we’d dreamt about for months was fully realised.

View of The Grenadine Islands from our tiny plane

One of the many islands we stopped at to swim and snorkel

Swimming in some luxurious turquoise waters at the aptly named, Paradise Island

 

Accommodation in Saint Lucia

While on honeymoon in Saint Lucia, we stayed at the Rendezvous Resort, a couples-only hotel perfect for honeymooning. Located in Castries, it has easy access to the Castries airport and car hire. The food is really amazing for a resort hotel and make sure you try out their local Piton beer battered fish. Truly delicious. I’d advise going all-inclusive for your stay as drinks (especially bottles of wine) are rather pricey.  Be sure to use the hotel for any advice on day trips and cruises. The best thing about this hotel is that the water sports are included in the price and my husband spent many hours playing in the surf, waterskiing, tubing and wakeboarding while I lay on the beach, reading my book in peace. Bliss.

Rendezvous Resort.

 

For more information about the Rendezvous Resort visit: www.rendezvousstlucia.com

To book a tour with Serenity Vacations and Tours visit: www.serenitytvl.com

Images: Keri Bainborough and Ladera Resort






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