St Lucia was a great choice of destination for my family, as the island had something to offer for all of us. I love going somewhere hot in the winter, my husband Jon likes to get out and about and explore, and our daughter Kira is a bit of a waterbabe, so a decent swimming pool is all she asks for! St Lucia delivered all of our wishes and more besides; we had a wonderful holiday here and found it very easy to slip into the laid-back Caribbean pace of life.
We stayed on an All Inclusive basis at the Almond Smugglers Cove in the far North of the island. The guest accommodation was comfortable, clean, and perfectly adequate for our needs. The property is set in a small cove with direct access from the pool area to the beach. This was great, as there was always a lovely gentle breeze coming in off the sea to take the intensity out of the heat and it was easy to keep an eye on our daughter whether she decided to splash in the pool or the ocean.
It was the first time we had tried an All Inclusive property and it worked really well for us. The food was good quality, and with 4 different restaurants to choose from we didn’t tire of eating from the same menu every night. Our firm favourite was the “Waterside Grill”, partly due to the menu, as we all enjoy eating fresh fish (the Red Snapper was to die for!), but mostly because of the setting, it’s on a decked area looking back across the cove towards the hotel and was magical when lit up with candles in the evening.
As well as lounging around the pool, we took some time to explore the island. The landscape is truly stunning - it’s mostly rainforest and there are plenty of places to stop by the roadside and admire breathtaking views. The view from the top of Marigot Bay was one of our favourite spots - plus you can buy some fantastic spiced rum here (allegedly the local Viagra!) We saw the famous Pitons (the twin peaks of St Lucia), the botanical gardens, and, a must-see on any tourist itinerary to the island - the worlds only “drive-through volcano” – the Sulphur Springs at Soufriere.
I think the best excursion we booked was a 4WD Jeep Safari which took us off road through countless banana plantations, including a short rainforest hike and some fruity refreshments supplied by a local farmer (see photo gallery “Bongo & his Machete!”). This was a brilliant family day out. We stood up in the back of the jeep to get the best views. It was a bit of a rollercoaster ride at times as the roads undulated to the top of hills and down into steep valleys with plenty of hairpin bends thrown in for good measure! I can still hear Kira screaming “go faster, go faster!!!” with great delight as we reached the top of a steep hill and started our descent. We finished the trip with a couple of refreshing Piton Beers (the local brew) in the village of Anse La Raye, home to the Fish Friday Festival.
One other trip, which I would personally recommend, especially for families, is to venture out to sea on the “Brig Unicorn”. Used in the filming of The Pirates of the Caribbean, this ship runs several daytime and evening excursions. We opted for a sunset cruise … which, with plentiful rum punch, a steel band playing, canons at the ready, and a friendly pirate crew … was a perfect end to a hot sunny day.
Overall we thoroughly enjoyed our holiday to St Lucia. We had fabulous weather, saw some beautiful tropical scenery and had a really relaxing time. But I think what makes St Lucia particularly special are the people, who are so warm and genuine. I would not hesitate to return to the island again one day.