St Lucia, non beach, non party, non honeymoon...

Old May 21st, 2012, 01:11 PM
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St Lucia, non beach, non party, non honeymoon...

I'm seeking advice on a possible trip for what is probably an unusual reason to visit St. Lucia. My father died in Feb at age 96. We weren't close, far from it, but one thing I do remember from my childhood is his talking about what a paradise St Lucia was. He was stationed there for a while during WWII. He always wanted to return, but never had the opportunity.

Crazy as it may be, I find myself wanting to make the trip he never could.
I've never been interested in Caribbean travel (and so have never been in the Caribbean, although I've traveled to many other places). I'm not a beach person and don't even know how to swim. I'm not into partying or nightlife. I'm not a hiker or into "adventure" travel.

I would be interested in seeing birds, walking on beaches to look for shells, visiting local markets (if there are any), seeing natural sites (volcanoes?), listening to the local dialect (love languages), relaxing, thinking, writing... Perhaps visiting where my father might have been stationed, if the base is still there.
I'd be traveling alone and am a middle-aged woman.

I don't enjoy driving and would really not want to rent a car. Is there public transport? I've seen mention of a bus. I'd also be willing to hire a driver, if that is possible.
I'd be happy to rent an apt, which might might provide more local flavor and which would allow me to prepare my own meals. VRBO shows a few apartment rentals for under $100/night.

What do you think? Might I have an enjoyable time, or would I be miserable?
And if I do do this, what might be the best way to get to Santa Lucia from Boston? And are there any times of year that one should absolutely not visit St Lucia?

My thanks in advance for your advice/ideas/suggestions.

Cindy
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Old May 21st, 2012, 04:58 PM
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your story is quite interesting so i did some research. it seems we - US govt - traded a bunch of naval ships to the brits in exchange for land on numerous islands including st. lucia early in the war. he would have been stationed at what is now hewanorra airport.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hewanor...tional_Airport
any time of year is good. jet blue flies bos to uvf (hewanorra) for about $850

birdwatching: http://www.islelander.com/stlucia-bird-watching.html or http://www.birdingpal.org/Stlucia.htm

driving is not advised - roads very challenging. tours & taxis available. many use water taxis

i think there is open air market is castries
tour available to (dormant) volcano. rodney bay has shopping.

apt should probably be in rodney bay, where you can get groceries easily. but note it's at the opposite end of the island from the airport & it is a considerable distance so you'll definitely need to get a driver

hope this helps
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Old May 22nd, 2012, 12:42 PM
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Virginia, thank you so much! Much useful info in your message.

Any one else with thoughts? Does it matter what season when visits, or is the climate pretty much the same year-round? Would July or August be ok?

Cindy
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Old May 22nd, 2012, 01:29 PM
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I'm no expert on St Lucia specicfically but I know generally speaking summer months in the Caribbean can be very hot, humid, and rainy.
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Old May 22nd, 2012, 04:01 PM
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from http://stlucia-guide.info/weather/
"The average temperature in St. Lucia ranges from 70 degrees Fahrenheit to the upper 90s. Humidity on the island averages between 70 and 90 percent throughout the year. December through January are generally the coolest months with the temperatures being in the mid 70s to mid 80s in degrees Fahrenheit. The summer months of June through August are the hottest in St. Lucia where temperatures in the mid to upper 90s Fahrenheit are not uncommon.

Due to its location near the equator, St. Lucia does not have very well defined seasons. There is, however, a rainy season that generally falls between June and November. During this season, vacationers should be prepared for heavy, but sporadic showers that come on quickly. Visitors should not worry about traveling during the rainy season as the showers may come about rapidly, but blue skies are quick to follow."
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Old May 22nd, 2012, 06:30 PM
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I've attached a link to my trip report from 2 years ago and will reply further tomorrow.
http://www.fodors.com/community/cari...a-295173-2.cfm

Renting an apartment is a great idea but also consider staying in a Plantation house (maybe for part of your stay for an island feel).

I saw more hummingbirds in St. Lucia than anywhere else!
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Old May 25th, 2012, 07:09 AM
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Hurricane season is also June through November, and you could try staying in the mountains to avoid the heat a bit - Fond Doux, La Haut Mago Estate - not apartments but charming inns amidst lush grounds. They would be quiet and peaceful and surrounded by nature but not within walking distance of much.
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Old May 29th, 2012, 03:03 PM
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Thank you all! A bit of rain won't bother me, but I'd prefer to avoid hurricanes...
Sassy-cat, nice trip report!

Cindy
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Old Jun 3rd, 2012, 03:33 PM
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Cindy,

Very interesting regarding your Dad's experience in St Lucia. We travel to St Lucia often for vacation and ministry purposes and can give you much advice. There is no longer any base there...it left many many years ago...but the airport that the U.S. built in WWII is their larger airport and till operation. I Just finished a great book " A History of St Lucia" published in 2012 by JoulienHarmsen http://www.jolienharmsen.com/ that give much details of View Fort and the U.S. building days. They tell have much interaction between the military men and the locals! I assume your dad was not married then...perhaps you have some relatives on the island Anyway we are going down with a team from our Baptist Church to help with A VBS and build a club house at the end of July. If you are serious about going there...I would love to communicate more with you regarding the place that your Dad often spoke about. Do you have any pictures from when he was there?
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Old Jun 3rd, 2012, 03:35 PM
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If you are going to stay down near the airport I would suggest:

http://aupicparadise.com/wp/
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Old Jun 3rd, 2012, 03:57 PM
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Cindy, the market in Castries is incredible especially if you've never been to the Caribbean before.
You'll see all manner of fruit and vegetables, spices, livestock and street food.

Yes there are local buses. They're more frequent on week days and during the day. Don't try to use them to get around at night. Very few tourists tend to use the local buses but it is a cheap method of getting around.
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Old Dec 29th, 2013, 09:13 AM
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Cindy, if you are reading this, please come back here, I need to ask you a question.
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Old Jan 24th, 2014, 09:07 PM
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What a very interesting reason to want to visit Saint Lucia. I am a St. Lucian who lives in Canada but visits often ((twice in 2013). What one of the previous writers did not mention is that there were two bases on St. Lucia. The one on which the international airport operates was for the air force while there was a naval air station in the north from which there was much anti u-boat activity.

I understand your not wanting to focus on just lying on a beach but I would still recommend your staying on Reduit Beach in the north. By doing so you will have much more flexibility with your vacation because I can assure you that you will fall in love with the island and its people and may want to adjust previously held intentions. It would be wonderful to take an evening dip in that sea after a day out. I can refer you to a lovely lady who can really guide you once you get there and even arrange for a good and reliable driver to take you around the island in comfort.
From the north you can easily take any mini bus to Castries on an early Saturday morning to visit the market. You should stay in an apartment where you can try to cook some of the local food. You will need a local friend to help you in that area.

The best time to visit in my opinion would be between February and May.

The beaches range from white (at the southern tip near Hewanorra Airport) to black near Soufriere because of the volcanic nature to a rich golden hue elsewhere.

Visit my travel blog to get more background on the island and also see some pictures. Scroll down a bit to find it.
Go to www.mytb.org/whirl-traveller and leave comments if you please. If you want me to refer you the the person I mentioned earlier, place that in your comments in my blog and I will reply.
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