Before going on my latest vacation to the Caribbean (Saint Lucia and Martinique), I researched popular things to do, costs, tips etc. and while there are a lot of blogs out there, none was giving me ALL the information I wanted. So naturally, I thought to do my own complete piece for likeminded individuals, in search of a multilayered vacation full of adventure, relaxation and fun. I’ll give you five useful tips before I start.
- There are 2 airports, UVF in the South gets the international flights/ larger planes and Castries airport in the North which is smaller and does more inter-Caribbean flights. It takes approx. 2 hours to drive from UVF to Castries and another 25 min or so to Gros Islet. There are multiple car rental booths at both airports.
- Rent a car. Let’s just say public transport there isn’t the greatest. It costs around $50 us/day to rent a small 4 seater, while an airport taxi costs about $70 US to go from UVF to Gros Islet. You do the math.
- Convert your money to EC! Their EC prices are usually cheaper than lets say US/GBP/Euro conversion.
- Stay in 2 places if you can. I actually stayed with friends in the South for 3 nights and then moved to a villa in the North for 4 nights. I would do that again as it made sight seeing way easier.
- Two words: Air BnB.
Now here’s my succinct list of 8 great things to do when in Saint Lucia.
My Top 8
- Hike the Gros Piton
The Gros Piton is the ultimate representation of Saint Lucia. It is one of the two famous mountains that frame the iconic landscape of Saint Lucia – and it’s the easier one to hike. It takes an average of 4-5 hours to hike up and down. There are 3 requirements to hike it : 1. You need to have at least 1.5 L of water with you . 2. You entrance fee includes a guide. It’s a little pricey for a hike at $30 for foreigners and cheaper ($22 ish) for locals, but the experience is worth it. Oh and 3. You need stamina/will power.
Disclaimer: If you’re in the Southern part of the Island you should visit a few nearby locations as Saint Lucia is very mountainous and it takes around 1.5 hours to drive the hilly roads from Soufriere to Gros Islet, so you probably won’t want to make multiple trips depending on where you stay. Here are the southern activities that are relatively nearby to each other are
- Visit Soufriere
- It is one of the bigger cities of the island but really is a quaint and picturesque beach town, with a few restaurants ,bars, shops and a great view of the Petit Piton.
- Visit the Sulfur Springs and Drive in Volcano
- The springs and volcano are actually found in the same location steps away from each other. It costs $5 US for the bath and $11 for the tour and bath. The springs were nice and warm and provides good exfoliation for your skin if you lather up with the minerals. The volcano is the only drive-in volcano in the Caribbean, which was actively bubbling and was a pretty cool sight to see.
- Go to Sugar Beach
-Sugar Beach is one of the most famous beaches in Saint Lucia due to its stunning location between the two Pitons. It’s a great land, sea and mountain scape for any picture. The catch- the beach is free to access, but its quite a walk down hill (they say approx. 15-20 min). However, there are hotel shuttles that will take you down for free if you agree to patronize. (Grab breakfast or a drink at their bar – or just say you will at least)
So now we move on to the North.
- Gros Islet Friday Night Street Party
-If your there on the weekend, this is something I would not miss! There is a huge street party, packed with people for at least 4 blocks, filled with music, dancing, different local food stalls , drinks and little souvenir stalls as well. You will have a great time interacting with the local people on a more personal fun level.
- Ride Horses at the Beach
-This was my absolute favourite activity in Saint Lucia. We actually got a great deal after we met up some of the horse ‘trainers’ at Majorie’s on Cas en Bas Beach. We rode for about 2 hours and paid about $100 EC each. It was amazing.
- Go to Rodney Bay and Pigeon Island
-Another beautiful and popular beach in Saint Lucia. You just have to come lounge here for a few hours, have a drink and watch the sun set, just because.
- Hop on over to Martinique
-It was only a 20 minute flight way. Or 1.5 hour ferry ride. I flew in on Air Antilles Express
(cost approx. 75 USD one way) and came back on the ferry, L’Expresse Des Iles
, cost approx. 55 EURO . The ferry has a specific schedule and does not run everyday, so I would reference http://www.express-des-iles.com/ before planning. Also if you get seasick easily, stock up on your anti nausea medications. I definitely had to zonk myself out for that ride.
Martinique is pretty much the Paris of the Caribbean. It’s pretty small, beautiful and oh so Frenchy, which I loved. I stayed on a boat there and it was like waking up in heaven where angels eat crossaints and watch the sunrise. If you can sail that would be a great activity to do there as they have an extensive boating community. If not I recommend staying near Trois Ilets and Pointe du Bout, as a lot of the tourists hubs are here. I’d also recommend renting a car here as well (cost 40 euro daily on average) and driving around to the beaches, markets, Mount Pelee, and all the cute small towns. Oh and if you get a chance go to http://www.lannexedestroisilets.fr/en/ , an amazing restaurant, where you grill your own food on a stone plate. It was so good we went there two nights in a row!
I hope this helps someone out there! Have fun!