It's goodbye to sunshine, Caribbean warmth, traffic free roads and nightly cocktails
16.03.2015 - 16.03.2015
Our flight doesn't leave until 20:30 this evening, so we have some decisions to make this morning. We can either stay in the hotel until late afternoon and take advantage of the free lunch (or rather pre-paid; there is no such thing as a free lunch); or we can take the long way round to the airport doing some sightseeing on the way. We decide on the latter. I get easily restless and bored, and we have to check out of the hotel by 11:00, so we can't really go anywhere too far in the morning; and having a sunbed for the day is out of the question unless you get up at 05:00 and secure it with a towel.
We check out of the hotel soon after breakfast and make our way along the west coast rather than taking the main road across the island. There are some beautiful vistas of the rugged coastline along the way.
Just outside Anse la Raye, we stop at a woodcarving place where we have a lovely long chat with the owner of the workshop – he explains how a university education from England is the most coveted here in St Lucia, way above any others, including the US. Canada is the second best he reckons. Who are we to argue.
We choose a smallish but somewhat unusual piece for our collection - partly because of the price of the work, partly because we are running out of space for the masks on the walls at home.
Cape Moule a Chique
From this small peninsula in the far south of the island – with an awesome road leading up the steep hillside – the view is pretty spectacular in every direction.
Maria Island, a wildlife reserve only accessible by boat and a steep scramble to get ashore.
Vieux Fort Town - parts of which were the most unsavoury areas we have come across on all our travels criss-crossing St Lucia.
Hewannorra International Airport
Vieux Fort Lighthouse is said to be the highest lighthouse in the Caribbean and the second highest in the world at 730ft above sea level. Built in 1912, the lighthouse is no longer in operation.
Naturally we kept an eye out for birds while on the peninsula.
Having driven through the somewhat grotty town of Vieux Fort, we were keen to find somewhere else to stop for lunch. We spot this resort hotel from the top of the hill and decide to head for that for a nice, long, leisurely lunch.
When we get there, we find that it is an All-Inclusive resort, and the restaurant is not open to non-residents. Time for Plan B. Not sure what Plan B is, so we drive along the coast until we find a cute little rustic beach shack which is also a kite-surfing school. It's a cool, popular, laid back place, set amongst mature trees right on the beach.
We order a lunch of fish fillet baguettes and the most enormous “basket of fries” I have ever seen – enough for at least six people. I can't even finish the fish sandwich, let alone the fries.
We stay a while, just chilling with a cool drink, watching the kite surfers out on the bay, the birds in the trees and the dog in the shade, then walk along the beach taking photos. Life is good.
Antillean Crested Hummingbird
With still some time to kill before the flight, we head further along the coast to some mangroves we noticed on the map. This really is off the beaten track, if you can call it a track. Once again we are grateful for the four-wheel drive.
The mangroves may be remote, but they certainly aren't unspoilt. Judging by the amount of rubbish strewn around and I would say this is a popular BBQ place for local youngsters at the weekend. The beach is not a sunbathing place for sure, with huge amounts of sea weed washed up on the sand.
I have mentioned several times before how incredibly chilled the St Lucians are. The handover ceremony for the hire car proves just how laid back they are: leave the car in the airport car park, unlocked, with the paperwork and key under the mat.
And there ends another holiday. St Lucia was not how I expected it – good and bad – but thoroughly enjoyable all the same. The All-Inclusive concept and the hotel was way better than I feared, the bird watching a little disappointing, although we did notch up 31 different species in the end, 10 of which were new to us. Would we go again? No. Not because we didn't like it, but because there isn't enough here to warrant a second visit. Would we recommend it? Most definitely!