So far on our Island Hopping quest we’ve visited Puerto Rico, St. Thomas and Barbados. The next stop on the Carnival Valor itinerary was the luscious green island of Saint Lucia! Unlike the other islands, I had actually seen a few pictures of St. Lucia so I knew that it was very tropical and densely forested. I had also seen the famous Piton peaks in pictures. However, nothing could really prepare me for just how breathtakingly beautiful this island truly is. It’s exactly what you think paradise should be. It’s like Jurassic Park minus the man-eating dinosaurs. As you pull into the port and you look over the ship railings, you will see that the islanders certainly know what a treasure their home is. It’s “Simply Beautiful”.
The night before, my mom, son and I had made arrangements with our dinner table family, Seth, John, and Kathy, to explore St. Lucia together. We had been laughing at dinner together every night, so I knew we’d have a great time exploring the island together. John had already gone ahead of the group and before the throngs of cruise passengers disembarked to try to make arrangements to secure us a driver/guide for the day. When the group finally met up with John we were literally bombarded with eager drivers. The only problem was that the drivers were literally ready to fight over who John had actually made the arrangements with. Apparently they send scouts to make deals with the tourists and then walk you to their cab. The first guy lead us through an alley way to a van that looked like it had been through a war. It had a cracked windshield and no A/C. None of us felt comfortable with that and we were quickly offered a ride by another driver in the alley with a much nicer looking van, WITH air conditioning. You are the one that has to ride in the cab so don’t be afraid to say no if you feel the least bit uneasy.
We all had a few things in mind to see but we were really just along for the ride. The roads wind up into the mountainous terrain of the island providing some absolutely glorious views of the coast line. There were so many places where I was longing to jump out of the van to get pictures. However, because of the winding roads we had to be choosy with our stops to ensure we didn’t run out of time. That’s the downside to cruise travel. We did stop at a couple of lookout points and I managed to let the window down and capture some of the amazing scenery along our journey.
Our first stop was at a rum factory. We each paid $4 and we were led to an open air room with bottles of rum lined up from wall to wall. My eyes lit up almost immediately. We were left there on our own free to sample as many bottles as we wished as many times as we wished. This was the best $4 I’ve every spent. My favorite rum was a Marigot Bay banana rum. It was like southern banana pudding turned into an alcoholic drink. It was delicious! After we were all satisfied and had a respectable buzz it was time to journey on.
We opted not do the drive through volcano because the driver said it really wasn’t worth the money. My curiosity regrets this because I’m still not exactly sure what “drive through” volcano really means. After what seemed like over an hour we made it to the look out point to see a clear view of the famous Pitons. They really were a sight to behold. You can get some pretty amazing shots but be prepared to wait your turn and maneuver around other tourists and the locals pedaling their wares. I really wish it was a bit less congested. It was such a stunning scene and I would have enjoyed the chance to just sit and be alone with my thoughts and the mountains.
We were back on the bumpy, winding road for what seemed like hours. Just when it seemed like the chorus of hungry grumbles from our bellies would soon become unbearable, we saw it. Right there off of a sandy path from the road was an open air restaurant situated on the beach overlooking turquoise waters, with small hilly islands setting the back drop in the distance. It was almost deserted except for a few wind surfers in the water and 3 or 4 people sun-bathing. This was Eden. Once that ocean breeze hit my face and I smelled the food in the air, I was in a trance. I wanted to stay there and never come back. The Island Breeze open air restaurant served up the freshest king fish filet, vegetables in garlic sauce, and a starchy potato like root vegetable (similar to yucca). It was divine. I was so relaxed just listening to the crashing waves and looking out at the stunning seascape. I must find my way back to Sandy Beach in Vieux Fort again when I can come and spend more time. Alas, reality set in that we were on the complete opposite side of the island from the port and we had a ship to catch.
There was just so much beauty along the way. I’m a sucker for bluffs, rocky cliffs, and crashing waves. It was really disheartening that we weren’t able to make anymore stops for pictures. It is definitely on my list of places that I would like to come back to spend more time. The island truly lived up to its saying because it was “Simply Beautiful”. Stay tuned for next week’s island hopping adventure in St. Kitts!
Lauren G. , Outdoorsy Diva