When imagining tropical paradise, my mind has always bounced between a colorful collage of images that I have seen online of Bora Bora, Fiji, Hawaii and St. Lucia. All of those places have always been high on my bucket list of places that I want to visit. A few months ago, I was casually looking at vacation packages online (as I frequently do) and started looking into cruises, not at all planning on actually booking a trip that day. However, as I was looking through cruise itineraries, I found one that stopped in St. Lucia! And suddenly I got serious about going! I got even more serious when I learned that Expedia allows you to make payments on cruises! I did some quick calculating to make sure I’d be able to pay off the trip in time and then with one click of a button, I booked a cruise for Dustin and I to surprise him for his birthday! Waking up that day, I had no plans of booking a Caribbean cruise but it’s funny how things change when your dreams become attainable and get dangled in front of you!
Fast-forward to the 3rd full day of our cruise. We awoke around 630am to the sun rising over St. Lucia as we passed by the iconic Pitons (the twin peaks at the southwest side of the island).
I was giddy at the sight of this gorgeous island that I had dreamed of going to for so long! We had booked a tour ahead of time with a company on the island called Spencer Ambrose Tours. Many of the tours that we looked at booking went to the exact same places, but Spencer’s tour was unique in that they took you from one end of the island to the other by speedboat (versus driving or slow sailing in a catamaran), and were amongst the first tour groups to arrive at each destination because of this. They also made a few extra stops that other tours did not. Wanting to make the most of our time on the island, we went ahead and booked with Spencer. Since we had to meet him immediately upon docking, we ordered a room service continental breakfast and enjoyed our meal and coffee in our cabin while we got ready for the day.
After getting off our ship, Spencer was waiting for us right out front. After gathering each member of our group, he led us over to the marina where his boats were docked.
We were split into two groups and boarded our speedboats which would take us 45 minutes to the other side of the island to a town called Soufriere. We were very pleased with our decision to take a speedboat to Soufriere rather than driving, as it offered stunning views of the mountainous island’s coastline.
Soon, the majestic Pitons peered out of the sea and then towered above us as we got closer.
Just before arriving in Soufriere, our captain approached a long, slender cave where we could see and hear thousands of small bats screeching within! It was crazy to see how many bats there were! This stop was not included on the driving tours, as it could only be seen by boat, so again, we were happy we had chosen this particular tour.
In Soufriere, we got off of our boats and met up with our drivers who took us to the next portion of our tour, the volcanic mud baths!
After a short winding, uphill drive, we arrived at the location for the mud baths. We were expecting naturally occurring mud baths in the wild but instead, found very modern brick tubs full of naturally hot spring water constructed under an overpass.
A bit disappointed that it wasn’t more natural, we decided to make the most of the experience and hopped in the tub. After sufficiently submersing ourselves in the hot water (which was not so pleasant for Dustin, as he had been badly sunburned 2 days prior to this), we got out and were handed a bucket full of sulfur mud from the volcano. There was one bucket of light colored gray mud and one of dark black mud, so we decided to be artistic with how we applied it to ourselves! 🙂
After letting it thoroughly dry, we got back into the hot water to wash it off. Our skin was baby soft afterwards, but we wreaked of sulfur, which smells like rotten eggs. They say it has healing properties and although stinky, it is actually supposed to be good for your sinuses. There were outdoor showers for people to clean off in, but we decided to wait for the next stop, which was swimming in a waterfall!
After a short drive, we arrived at the waterfall. Although it was pretty, it was once again way overcrowded with tourists and a bit too cramped for our taste so we decided to pass on swimming. Instead, we snapped a few photos and enjoyed the scenery for a bit until everyone was ready to move on to the beach!
From here, we were driven back to the docks and got back into our speedboat for a short ride up the coast to Jalousie Beach to do some snorkeling.
This is one of the most coveted beach locations in St. Lucia due to its picturesque location. It is tucked in a charming little cove directly between both of the Pitons, Gros and Petit. Jalousie translates to “jealousy” so the name is fitting because the beach is beautiful!
There is a marine reserve for snorkelers to explore at this beach. The resort there rents snorkel equipment but Dustin and I brought our own so we were good to go.
Before getting in the water, we were served a homemade traditional Creole lunch on the beach. We had jerk chicken, lentils, plantains, sweet potatoes, noodles and breadfruit all served with garlic sauce and homemade BBQ sauce. It was delicious! They also served us local Piton beer and rum punch!
And if that wasn’t enough, there was a guy on the beach with a blender and a kayak full of fresh tropical fruit making smoothies too!
After lunch, we were eager to do some snorkeling!
The water was very refreshing and really clear so we were able to see all kinds of pretty fish! I tried out my new waterproof Olympus digital camera and was pleasantly surprised with the quality of the photos that it took underwater.
We saw parrotfish, sergeant major, oysters, crabs, sea urchins, brain coral, etc. I was in Heaven! I’ve been completely enamored with the sea since I was a little kid and am always thrilled when I get to interact with its wildlife first hand!
After snorkeling for a good couple of hours, it was time to say goodbye to this little slice of Heaven and head back to Castries. On the way back, we made a couple more sight-seeing stops along the way. Our tour guide pointed out the Jade Mountain Resort, which is a luxury resort offering rooms that each have their own infinity pool overlooking the Pitons. It was incredible, but very pricey!
Another quick stop was in the fishing town of Canaries. While our boat was stopped for people to take photos, one of the locals kayaked over to us and he was selling large conch shells. The tops had been cut off so you could blow in them to make a horn sound. Dustin ended up buying one as a souvenir!
Also near here, we stopped to watch some guys cliff jumping off of the “tunnel of love” or the “lady’s slipper” into the water. This was seen in the movie “Pirates of the Caribbean” with Johnny Depp.
Our last and final stop was in a charming little cove called Marigot Bay, where we were shown Mick Jagger’s house. Along the ride home, they gave us more rum punch so they let everyone out here for a bathroom break. The area was obviously wealthy, as the docks were lined with gorgeous catamarans and sailboats! The town was very well kept and clean. I would’ve liked to spent more time there.
After our stop in Marigot Bay, we headed back to the ship. I don’t think our day in St. Lucia could’ve been much better than it was! We had a fantastic time and saw many of the highlights of the island. We agreed right there and then that someday we would return and spend a good chunk of time on the island. It was beautiful, the people were wonderful, there were a ton of things to do outside, and the weather was perfect. God really blessed us with a perfect day that day and I will always hold St. Lucia dear to my heart. 🙂 Below are photos of our fantastic tour guides from Spencer Ambrose Tours, Shi-shi and Kelly, and our captain, Nixon.
That night on the ship, we had our second elegant evening. After a nap, Dustin and I went out to a late fancy dinner in the main dining room and then went around to some of the photo sets that were situated around the ship to have some professional photos taken. They were ridiculously priced, so we only bought a few but it was really fun. Especially since we had never gotten the chance to have engagement photos taken. We did not receive digital copies of the photos so the ones below are not the best quality because I had to take a picture of a picture in order to include them on the blog. We also took a couple of our own 🙂
Overall, I have nothing but great things to say about St. Lucia! It definitely lived up to my expectations for it and I can’t wait to return someday!