Thursday, March 27, 2008
Having just been to Hawaii in September of 2007 to celebrate Ana's 40th, St. Lucia was the most unique island out of all the ones visited on this cruise and the one that reminded me of Hawaii. Who needs to fly half way across the world when St. Lucia is right around the corner? From the moment we stepped on the port in Castries and on the bus to take an island tour (no beaches this time), it never failed to impress.
For a more textbook description of the island, you can read below, but to me the highlight of the tour was eating lunch at Ladera overlooking the famous Pitons. Lets first talk about Ladera. "Ladera was once part of Rabot Estate, one of Soufrière's oldest and most famous cocoa plantations. In 1982 it was transformed into the unique resort it is today. Taking full advantage of its natural surroundings, Ladera offers a unique design in guest accommodations. The 9 villas and 23 suites all have an "open wall" - the west side of each unit is left open to expose the breathtaking view, and the orientation of the buildings maintains complete privacy. The villas and suites are constructed of tropical hardwoods, stone and tile, furnished with 19th century French furniture or replicas, wicker and accessories crafted by local artisans. All units are decorated with local artwork and feature magnificent views of the Pitons and Caribbean Sea."
After the lunch where we sat overlooking the valley and the Pitons, Ana and I went exploring. We found an open villa and the maid let us go in to see for ourselves. The description above says it all and in my own words there were no walls along the back and you slept outside, but not really. Each villa had it's own pool and although you were outside, you had privacy and you had the view. Absolutely a place to come back sans kids to celebrate a special occasion. Check out http://www.ladera.com/ for more information. Prices range from $600 to $9,000 USD per night.
On the way back from Ladera, the bus (actually there was a bus and a small van), we stopped at a swimming hole with a nice waterfall. It was a nice way to finish off the day in the last port of call for the cruise. We had two full days at sea ahead of us and I was starting to get end-of-vacation blues, but the next two days would prove to be fun and relaxing.
According to Freestyle Daily, "St. Lucia is the sort of island that travelers to the Caribbean dream about - a small, lush tropical gem that is still relatively unknown. One of the Windward Islands of the Lesser Antilles, it is located midway down the Eastern Caribbean chain between Martinique and St. Vincent, but north of Barbados. St. Lucia is only 27 miles long and 14 miles wide, with a shape that is said to resemble a mango or an avocado (depending on your taste). The Atlantic Ocean kisses its eastern shore, while the beaches of the west coast owe their beauty to the calm Caribbean Sea.
In natural beauty, St. Lucia seems like an island plucked from the South Pacific and set down in the Caribbean (I told you so...see first paragraph above). Its dramatic twin coastal peaks, the Pitons, soar 2,000 feet up from the sea, sheltering magnificant rain forests where wild orchids, giant ferns, and birds of paraside flourish."