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Crickets, Pitons, Chocolate and other St. Lucia Adventures

Did you know St. Lucia is the only country in the world named after a woman? Yes, imagine that!

Shortly after our arrival, we were driving down the roads of St. Lucia, admiring the beautiful scenery. Looking back, we were so happy we rented a car, which allowed us to explore the island at our own pace. Getting a car could not have been easier in St. Lucia. After minimal paperwork the staff walked us to our car about 50 meters away and didn’t even push extra insurance on us. This was a first. So far, St. Lucia rocks! Unless you are coming from the UK or the few other British colonies previously including St. Lucia, drivers beware! You will be in an “opposite world”, meaning whatever your instinct tells you to do, just do the opposite. Stay on the left side of the road. British people seem to love keeping the rest of the world on their toes. ;)

There are basically two roads to get around the island. We had to drive from the south tip to the north tip, which was about a two-hour drive. Staying south, closer to the airport would have been more ideal from a sightseeing perspective; however, the hotels in that area were limited and pricy. As we took off, we ended up on the more run-down roads. It led us through many villages, with barely any road signs. It was a beautiful drive, however not knowing IF or WHEN we’d arrive at our hotel, was keeping us from a full enjoyment.

We barely saw any other cars on the road. Where did all the other tourists go? There would be an occasional jeep driven by locals that would pass by. We knew it was the locals because no tourists would attempt to drive these serpentine roads at that speed. Oh, and there was this loud bam bam music, which is the only way I can describe the genre (maybe there is more sophisticated name, but I am just not aware of the name)? Don’t get me wrong, I am not fussy, and I love music of any kind, techno, reggae, country, pop…but this was just a tad outside of my Slovakian/American taste. Oh, and it was played only EXTRA loud.

We got lost for ten times thanks to our “navigation lady” GPS. She didn’t really know what was going on, but we finally made a turn onto a dirt road that was supposed to lead to our hotel. Thank goodness! We were really hoping this was it, given the fact that from our departure from the airport we had taken a few wrong turns. Finally, after a seven-minute drive on this dirt road with the car shaking from every turn of the wheel, we parked at our hotel. Our (basic) room in this resort cost $350 so we were expecting a ride just a little bit smoother than the one we had to endure to get there. Oh well, smooth roads are the western luxuries we take for granted! A few days later, we came to terms that smooth and paved roads are not a priority on this tropical paradise.

The view from the hotel was stunning. It was located on a beach, surrounded by a beautiful jungle. The Caribbean Sea was warm with clear waters, perfect for a swim. The rest of the first day, we stayed at the resort, enjoyed the ocean and relaxed. Later that night, we were introduced to the REAL music of the island, which I think the locals were subconsciously trying to compete with: the crickets. We had never heard louder cricket serenade us at night. It was a little shocking at first, but it was romantic, and we quickly got used to it.

The first full day, we explored the Northern part of the island. We saw the Pigeon Island Nature Park, where the hike led us to beautiful views as we explored several beaches where the water was even warmer than at our hotel. But most things we wanted to see were back down south.

On day two, we skipped breakfast and took off at 6:00 am to explore the southern part of the island. At least now, we were mentally prepared for the 2-hour drive on winding roads. We got to our first destination: Sugar Beach, which is owned by the luxury Viceroy hotel. Fun fact: all beaches on the island are public so the hotel had to allow us on their property and the beach. Ha! With its powdery white sand nestled between the two pitons, which are the main attraction of the island, “out of this world” is the most accurate description for this stunning beach. Piton means “peak” in French, not python, as in snake, as someone originally thought. ;) This is the most recognized scenery of this island. Just google it and you’ll see what we’re talking about. :)

I was planning to shoot some drone footage here, but there were too many people walking around, and I am just a beginner pilot. We aborted this mission a few minutes later and instead, took a ridiculous number of pictures with our camera. Sam even discovered his hidden talent and possible job opportunity if he ever decided to move to this tropical wonderland permanently: cracking coconuts. The coconut man we met at the beach, who truly resembled the Bali monk Ketut from Eat, Pray, Love, put Sam to work as soon as we bought a few coconuts. To be fair, it was hard to watch this old man struggle cracking the biggest coconut that Sam had picked. Therefore, my Italian gentleman volunteered to help. By the end, Sam was cracking coconuts like a pro.

Next stop was the Chocolate hotel. This was an outstanding experience, guess why? ;) The hotel is just a short drive from Sugar Beach and has a cocoa plantation near it, so ALL chocolate used in the hotel’s restaurant is grown and made there. We had lunch and yes, chocolate was incorporated in every dish. Wow! We loved it, this was how we imagined our dream world. Between the best lava cake of our life and unreal scenery from the stunning restaurant, this certainly was an experience for all senses.

We also stopped by another beautiful resort called Landera to have a drink and enjoy more Pitons views. Sam and I even wandered around the property for a bit and admired the lush gardens of this eco hotel. We were seeking that perfect shot of the Pitons. You can judge for yourself if we succeeded. Next stop was the active volcano, which was a little disappointing and if you don’t have time, I would skip it. Last part of the day was a nature trail walk where our guide offered some insight on the local customs, plants and flowers, and yes, more views of Pitons. We were happy. Then, we started the long journey back to our hotel.

We spent the remaining days in St. Lucia exploring the beautiful nearby beaches and having some R&R time. By the way, what’s up with all the local people hanging out on the side of the road all day or night, in town or outside? I know they were not there to see or greet us, lol! I have never seen so many people sitting or standing by the road doing nothing on Tuesday morning at 8:00 am.

In summary, our trip to St. Lucia was an adventure, we loved it and would recommend it to you. But be prepared to pay, as hotels and meals are quite expensive almost everywhere. The nature is stunning, the locals, despite their crazy driving and questionable music choices are very friendly, their roads will get you to appreciate your smooth drive to work, the food is oh so delicious and the ocean is clear, beautiful and warm. Go and have FUN!

~ Written by: Viktoria Rusnakova & Samuele Bagnai, authors of Enthusiastic All the Way & Tuscan Who Sold His Fiat to the Pope, respectively.

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