A small note about cruising for non-cruise lovers

Before starting to write about the beautiful island of St. Lucia I would like to explain my ideas about going on a cruise. From when I started travelling I had never ever considered the idea of going on a cruise. It may be the dream holiday of many but not mine. I was always reluctant of going on a ship with thousands of others with limited time to visit destinations that deserve much more than a couple of hours. So how was I convinced to go on a cruise this time?

  • I was travelling long haul for the first time with my 8 month old baby – hopping from island to island carrying around luggage, finding accommodation with kitchen facilities to prepare her food and shopping for food etc. was too much of a hassle this time.
  • The islands in the southern Caribbean are very small and 1 day was a reasonable time to visit most of the interesting places.
  • Money-wise it was totally worth it. Going on cruise may seem beyond affordable and against all budgeting ideas. However we would have spent much more had we decided to fly from island to island. There are no low-cost airlines in the area and accommodation is quite expensive. Therefore if you are looking for the most convenient option, I would suggest taking a cruise.
  • The ship we were cruising on was quite small and it did  not feel like being in a crowded place. Disembarking and embarking was very easy and there were no queues.
  • We did not take any excursions from the ship; they were over priced in our opinion and we preferred going around on our own rather than having to stick to schedules with other people we did not know. We rented a car in each of the ports of call and explored the islands on our own.

Having said this, taking the decision of going on a cruise implied saying goodbye to my beloved sunrise and sunset photos from the best spots of course (I still took some good shots from the ship). It also involved planning very well our days to make sure we visited the best places yet have some relaxing time as well since we were on our own. However it worked very well for us.

If you would like more information on this Caribbean cruise I invite you to contact me on the Travel Planner page.

The tropical island of St. Lucia

The island of St. Lucia was our next stop in the Caribbean after visiting Barbados. This island had been on my mind for very long and I had heard so many nice things about this place. St. Lucia may seem a small island, but don’t get the wrong idea. Getting from a place to another is very time consuming since the roads go up and down the mountains. We arrived at Castries at around 8 in the morning and our idea was to visit the southern part of the island focusing on Soufrière and its surroundings (Don’t even think of visiting the north and the south in a day as it is absolutely impossible).

Here are the main sights that we managed to visit in a day:

Diamond Falls Botanical Gardens

If there is one place you should not miss while in St. Lucia this is it! These beautiful gardens are a must when visiting St. Lucia. Not only for the beautiful tropical flowers and colourful birds you will see, but also for the waterfall. The water is far from clear and you may wonder why it is so grey.  It is due to their volcanic source. You can even dare to swim in the mineral baths that are steps away from the waterfall.

Soufrière

This is the main town in the south west of the island. You can enjoy a walk in its centre and get a taste of the local life. There are people selling different types of food along the roads and you can even enjoy a good lunch here. If you would like to visit the nearby Sugar beach (the most beautiful beach on the island lying between the two pitons), getting the boat from here is the only option. This is because the road that leads to this beach is owned by a resort. However visiting this beach was not in our plans since it is beyond our budget (costing around $120 per person). Moreover the sand on this beach is fake and having seen so many beaches, we were not interested.

Anse la Raye

You will encounter several viewpoints along your way down to Soufrière and the one over Anse la Raye is one of the most spectacular. These viewpoints are clearly marked and in some of them you may even meet locals selling souvenirs.

Recommendations

Our plan was quite different from what we actually managed to visit. We had to skip the Tet Paul trek as it was raining heavily in the morning. Moreover driving took longer due to the rain and also the winding uphill and downhill roads.  I was disappointed with the beaches of St. Lucia. We tried to visit Anse Chastanet and Anse Cochon however after driving along the bumpy roads we were stopped metres from the beach by resort securities claiming that the beach was private (even though I had researched before and online there is written that all beaches are public). We ended up not visiting any beaches in St. Lucia! In conclusion I don’t suggest visiting St. Lucia on a cruise. It was our first port of call and I was quite upset at the end of the day. It was one of the reasons I had chosen this cruise but it is the only place where I think a minimum of 3 days are required to visit well. My favourite part of the island was the greenery in its centre and I would have loved to trek in the jungle. I hope to visit again and spend more time only on St. Lucia.

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