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kmhaven Aug 2nd, 2007 05:32 AM

St Lucia Help
My boyfriend and I are looking to go to the Caribbean (for his first time) 8/23-8/31/07. We don't want an AI or mega-resort, and we'd like to stay somewhere with some level of seclusion but not too far from town/restaurants. We definitely want a/c and I'd prefer to be on the beach if not very close to it, with a view of the water. We don't want to sit on the beach the entire week - we want an island we can explore, hike, sightsee, historical, snorkel/dive, with nice beaches. Not concerned with nightlife apart from nice dinners out. Since we want to explore, we were thinking we will rent a jeep. So we narrowed our search down to St Lucia, but have a few concerns/questions.

Should we be concerned about hurricanes/tropical storms this time of year on St Lucia?

What area do you recommend? I prefer the Soufriere area for the scenery/seclusion, but he's concerned its too far from the restaurants shops in Castries. Anything nice in between the two areas? Or are there places in Soufriere that aren't too far from the town? We were looking at Jalousie but he feels thats too secluded.

leavingsoon Aug 2nd, 2007 08:35 AM

if you have a jeep and stay at jalousie, you'll be a very quick drive from the best natural attractions in st. lucia. you'll also be close by to organize climbing in the pitons if you're wanting to do that.

but your boyfriend is correct that you will be nowhere near castries.

there will be no nightlife except dining, and sadly the food just is not that great in st, lucia and especially not in soufrieres (ladera's dashene just did not live up to the hype).

you will have air conditioning and most likely some view of the water, but the way jalousie is set up, the accommodations are on one side of a hill, the beach and pool on the other, so you will either have a 10 minute walk to the beach or a shuttle ride.

your jeep must be parked near the entry way so the coming and going is a little more cumbersome than if you could drive right up to your doorstep, but doable.

there are easily 3 -4 full days of exploration you could do from jalousie.

the rough guides makes a slim pink book that is really perfect for st. lucia, called "directions" and you should get it.

another idea is splitting your time between soufriere and castries.

kmhaven Aug 2nd, 2007 09:23 AM

thanks for the advice, I'm wondering if we should split our time b/w the north and south. Are there any restaurant options nearby (driving distance) Jalousie? Or just Lareda?

doug_stallings Aug 2nd, 2007 10:09 AM

There are a couple of restaurants in Soufriere. There is Hummingbird, of course, which is right in Soufriere, and some rooms there do have a/c ... but not all, I think.

Maybe you should consider Stonfield Estate .. just south of Soufriere. For just a week, I probably wouldn't bother splitting the time between north and south. You can see the south in a day excursion.

Consider staying at Bay Gardens Beach Resort, a locally owned, fairly modest and moderately priced resort in the Rodney Bay area that's actually on the beach. It shows openings for as little as $157 a night. The people who run this hotel are really nice and have 2 other good off-beach properties in Rodney Bay.

kmhaven Aug 2nd, 2007 10:45 AM

Thanks Doug- I will check out Stoneyfield. I read some mixed reviews of that on Trip Advisor, but they were a bit dated.

Before I read your post - I was thinking of staying the first few days near Rodney Bay (CoCo Palm, or now Bay Gardens Beach Resort), renting a car, and then driving down to the Soufriere area for a few days (and stay at Jalousie, or now maybe Hummingbird or Stoneyfield) and do some hiking, exploring, snorkeling/diving down there for a few days.

But do you think we should just stay in Rodney Bay the entire 8 nites and just do a day trip to Soufriere? (Or am I confused and Soufriere isn't the south!).

kellybeaches Aug 2nd, 2007 11:32 AM

Hi kmhaven,
We stayed at Stonefield and loved it, but it doesnít have AC and is remote (which we loved-but youíll need to know that going in). We were never hot due to the nice breezes. Itís not on the beach, but the views of the pitons and private plunge pools more than make up for it. Also you can use Jalousieís beautiful beach which is a short drive away (the taxi service at Stonefield can bring you there). Iíd recommend it in a heartbeat, although itís definitely a totally different experience from a big hotel.

Hereís the link:

And hereís more on St. Lucia from another post. Check out my post here to see the link for Jalousie, and my pictures from out trip. Youíll love St. Lucia. Itís beautiful!;tid=35020124

Regarding hurricanes, thereís no guarantee on the weather. We always travel to the islands during low season (May-Sept) and have yet to run into bad weather-just make sure you get travel insurance. Weíll be heading to St. John on Sept 1, so weíll be praying for no hurricanes too :)

doug_stallings Aug 2nd, 2007 01:08 PM

I really do not like driving on St. Lucia. The roads are pretty bad, and since you must drive on the left, I've always preferred taking tours. A really nice way to get to the Soufriere area is by boat. It's a much quicker trip than driving, and then you have more time to see the Pitons and beautiful scenery. You can easily get around the Rodney Bay area by public minivan (very cheap and safe) and by taxi at night if you want to go to the Gros Ilet Jump-Up (highly recommended).

The advantage of spending your last 3 nights in Soufriere is that you are marginally closer to the airport at Hewanorra. But if you are flying into and out of the airport in Castries, then I'd probably counsel you not to split up your trip. The nicer beaches are also at the north end of the island, for what it's worth.

kmhaven Aug 2nd, 2007 02:22 PM

Thanks, we are flying from NYC and for a little more $ we can fly into SLU and then depart out of UVF so this might work.

dominick2 Aug 3rd, 2007 04:00 AM

I realize that I am very much in the minority, but I don't think that driving in St. Lucia is nearly as bad as people make it out to be (unless the idea of driving on the left makes you too uncomfortable). The main road from Castries to Soufriere was recently completely redone and, while not up to North American standards, is a pretty good road. The road up the east coast from Vieux Fort to Castries has been almost completely repaved over the last 6 months and is much better than it used to be.

By the way, before you book your airfare into and out of different airports, check to see if the rental company charges extra for pickup and dropoff at different locations. From Soufriere to SLU takes only 15-20 minutes longer than Soufriere to UVF, so it might not be worth it. I prefer flying out of SLU because the planes, and therefore the lines to check in and go through security, are much smaller.

Finally, if I were you, I'd take Doug S's advice and stay in the north and do a day trip or two to the south.

kmhaven Aug 3rd, 2007 05:18 AM

My boyfriend is British -- so driving on the left will be a pleasure for him (he does it all the time in NY, ha ha).

He also agrees with you and Doug, and prefers to just stay in the north and do the day trips. I guess I was just looking for more seclusion, but its adding alot of $$ to the trip to do that.

So if we stay in the north - any preference for CoCo Palm or Bay Gardens Beach resort? Is it worth the upgrade to swim up room at CoCo Palm?

Thanks again for all the advice!!

beachdreams3 Aug 3rd, 2007 06:36 AM

I think the big difference between the Coco Palm and the Bay Garden Beach Resort is that the latter is beachfront and the former is not. All things being equal, I'd prefer beachfront, although it is a very short walk from the Coco Palm to the beach, and you can rent chairs or umbrellas (from the resort or a beach vendor, the latter probably is cheaper).

I stayed in a swim-up room at the Coco Palm when I was there last December (they upgraded me for free). Personally, it would not be worth it to me to pay for an upgrade, but if one of you likes to swim while the other is in your room, or if you like to take a quick swim at night, you might enjoy the swim-up room. Also, if you are very sensitive to noise in the evening, you can hear the music from inside your room (with the sliding glass doors closed) on the nights the Coco Palm has live music if you stay in a swim-up (or probably any pool view) room. When I was there, the music never went beyond 11 pm, so it wasn't an issue for me, but everyone is different.

leavingsoon Aug 7th, 2007 09:03 AM

With all due respect to Doug, the roads in St. Lucia were excellent- wide, freshly paved and no potholes. Sure, there are some turns and hills, but so little traffic that it was not at all harrowing.

We found the driving on St. John much worse and traffic-clogged. St. Lucia was a dream!

Have a wonderful time. If you do reconsider, by the way, the beach in front of Hummingbird, while scenic, is not a place you would want to relax.

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