Adventure is Out There: St. Lucia
This morning I told you there would be another post, and I wasn’t lying. Here it is. Whew ok good. Even if I don’t write anything else, I’m set. Just kidding.
What inspired this post, was actually an email from My Publisher, that my Aunt Megan loves, and she has been trying to get me to make a book with them because it’s so easy (it really is!). I got a coupon code for a free book (minus shipping) and was all over that. (Love that if you wait long enough you can get really good deals in your email from this company!) The book came on Saturday, right in time to celebrate the first anniversary and it was a great ‘buy’. Thanks Aunt Megan for the nudge on that one! I knew you’d be right, and I’m super glad I got that coupon too!
If you read the post I linked to earlier here, then you know I’ve travelled a lot. I was really really blessed with that. You also know we considered a ton of places before finally settling on St. Lucia. The one island, lots to see and do, the fact I hadn’t been there before and it wasn’t experiencing a socio-economic climate we didn’t want to support (Dominican Republic, Mexico, Jamaica) sealed the deal.
Typically, on most people’s dockets once deciding on a location is to debate all-inclusive or not. This one was a no-brainer. I’m a firm believer in the idea that if I’m paying a lot of money to fly to another country, then I don’t want to pay a lot of money to be stuck on one very American-ized view of tropical paradise. If I want ‘American paradise’ I’ll stay in America, it’s much cheaper that way.
I’m an explorer, I like to immerse myself in the culture, and don’t like to feel like I spent so much money on the all-inclusive part of the stay that I can’t possibly leave the resort to go somewhere else to eat, etc. (Sure there are people who will spend a lot of money and still leave and explore, but I don’t make that kind of money to justify it [especially since it often means that you are still with the resort, just a traveling caravan of tourists], and there are also those who say the ‘all you can drink alcohol’ is worth it (which isn’t our cup of tea in the slightest, since we don’t drink) so it’s not for us. If you are going with a huge group of family, say to celebrate your grandparent’s anniversary (it happened, there were a ton of us and it was fabulous because there was something for everyone, and it was a painless way to make sure my Grandpop always got the check at the end of the meal instead of that silly game that’s played when everyone takes a chance to snatch the check (at least it happens with the working/retired men in my family. Dad even got my brothers in on it at least once when they would snag it away from Grandpop… but on this trip, Grandpop paid (thanks Grandpop (and Nana!)
So, we were going the non-inclusive route. We wanted something a-typical, something ‘honeymoon worthy, but still luxurious. It seemed our options were quaint, but quirky bed and breakfast style places, or ginormous resorts. I’d rather be one of a crowd trying to find a spot on the beach, then one of the few guests staying at a B&B, so we were leaning towards a resort, like the Marriott and then we stumbled upon the best of both worlds (luxury and intimacy) in Villa Beach Cottages.
Villa Beach is a slice of quiet paradise on a gorgeous tropical island. There are approximately 20 villas on the property, fully equipped with a kitchen, bedroom, large porch, access to two pools and two hot tubs. The beach was just a few steps down from the sea-wall, and it was family owned, and real small boutique adventure. There used to be actual cottage accommodations, but over the years they have been upgraded into fancy wonderful villas, at least as nice as any fancy hotels I’ve ever stayed at.
And the price! The price was amazing for the amenities (similar style room and proximity to the beach at Sandals (just next door) would have been twice our entire honeymoon budget, and with Villa Beach we’d end up under budget for flights&rooms so there would be extra bits here and there left over to go out to eat (we were planning on saving money by stocking up our fridge and doing our own breakfasts and lunches whatever days we were around the resort ourselves) and sight-seeing around the island. Bonus- if we booked the honeymoon package they’d give us a fruit basket (fabulous tropical in-season fruit) and free use of the 2-person kayak (Bryan was in heaven, and since he was strong I hardly had to paddle).
SOLD. We booked it. And we had a fabulous time. St. Lucia is this amazing island with a conglomeration of all things ‘tropically islandy’. It has rain forests, (massive trees that belong in Jurassic park, check!), a volcano (hot mud baths were enjoyed, check!) fabulous terrain (the Piton Mountains are a World Heritage Site, check!), and great food (inspired by British, French, Indian, African and Caribbean foods, check!
[Seriously, St. Lucia was fought over by the British and French and was 7 times a British territory, and 7 times a French territory, and with these different European reigns brought workers from India (English) and workers from Africa (French).]) Not to mention the water, gorgeous clear turquoise Caribbean waters on one side of the island with plenty of snorkeling and scuba adventures for us to enjoy, and crashing waves and carved rock caves on the Atlantic side.
Plus the fruit! Did I mention the fruit?? St. Lucia can grow any tropical fruit. And we were there when everything was in season. It was amazing. They have this law that says things that grow along the side of the road anyone can gather and eat. And thank goodness for that. Bananas, Coconuts, Cashews, Almonds, Oranges, Lemons, Limes, Calabash, Mangoes, Wax Apples, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Cocoa, you name a tropical fruit/spice it was there. And we ate our fill. I’ve never had bananas as sweet, mangos as perfect, coconuts as juicy…I could go on and on and on.
We toured the island, enjoyed a Friday Night Fish Fry, sunset cruise with steel drum band, lunch on the side a mountain in a three walled restaurant named Ladera(loved by Oprah apparently), snorkeled between the Pitons, visited a cocoa plantation, swam, kayaked to a little island off the shore from our villa, swam in the pool, laid in the hammocks, visited the market in the capital (National Geographic lists that market as one of the ten best markets in the world) and basically had the time of our lives. I’m saving my pennies for the next big trip. I have 4,200 of them right now. 🙂
As for my reference to Up? I first watched Up when Bryan and I were in the midst of 4 months of not seeing each other while I was studying abroad. Basically it’s the story of us. I’m the outgoing loud one, and Bryan is the steady not so loud one, and we have dreams together. Dreams that someday, if my family history and his family history prove true means he will be moving our house to St Lucia with a bunch of balloons as a cute old man. Plus he bought me the grape soda pin in Disney World for my souvenir. Basically, Bryan is my Mr. Ferguson.
So basically, what I’m saying is save your pennies and book a trip to St. Lucia. You won’t regret it. It was seriously one of the best places I’ve been to, and not just because I was on my honeymoon, because this vacation, we were the ones paying, not our parents 🙂
p.s. since this post is just going up-as is you ought to know I haven’t actually taken the time to correct the coloring in any of these photos, I thought most of them true to life, and I’m just feeling a bit lazy. Hope you can enjoy anyways!