Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Honeymoon - St. Lucia

The next day was St. Lucia. We’d booked a land and sea tour through the cruiseline. The tour started off with a bus ride around St. Lucia – with stops at various spots around the island for pictures. Now, on all of the islands there were locals who would try to sell you things, but typically they’d leave you alone as soon as you declined. This was not our experience in St. Lucia. One of the stops, which included a bathroom break, was overlooking Marigot Bay, a beautiful inlet at the bottom of lush mountains. Unfortunately, as soon as we got off the bus, we were swarmed by people trying to sell crafts made of banana leaves. They were persistent. It didn’t help that only one restroom was in order. It also didn’t help that we were stuck in the back of the bus with an incredibly obnoxious fellow traveler. I try hard not to let other people’s ugly attitudes bother me, but this woman just wouldn’t quit complaining.
One of the first photo stops on our land tour.

Marigot Bay from above
Anyway, St. Lucia is incredibly beautiful, by far the most lush, mountainous, green island we visited. But it is also incredibly poor. On our tour we drove through some fishing towns on our land tour and it was eye opening to say the least. In addition to those towns, we heard countless stories along our ride of mudslides from hurricanes that wiped out entire homes that were on the mountain. Now, I think it’s really important to know what the reality is when you visit these tourist areas, but it was somewhat of a shock, especially as St. Lucia has become such a “hot” tourist destination in the past few years. It seems like the all-inclusive resorts are pretty insulated. 

We continued through the windy roads until there was a view of the Pitons, the twin volcanic mountains that St. Lucia is famous for. I’d been really excited to see the Pitons - unfortunately my camera battery died after only a few pictures of them from afar. Tourist fail!

The Pitons from afar.
The tour also included a stop at a local botanical garden and hot springs. By this point my camera battery had died. I think this day was just out to get me. The tour guides also started to rush us, saying that we’d be served lunch in the order that we got to the catamaran (you share a catamaran with two or three other tour buses for the afternoon portion.)

We got to the catamaran second, and were served a delicious lunch of local favorites including a breadfruit salad, and a few types of chicken. The lunch was very good. So was the rum punch, though not as good as the in-ocean service from our time in Barbados. After the last tour bus arrived we set sail on the catamaran. 

One thing I noticed right away was that some locals in a small motorboat were following behind us. Our experience with the overzealous salesmen was far from over at this point. After a tour of the coast, we anchored at a beach to swim. Several motorboats and kayaks pulled up offering coconuts, shells, and other local items. They would pull up directly next to the boat and look over the edges. They were also hollering at people who were swimming, even though they clearly had no cash on them while in the water. At this point I felt like it became harassment, as they started guilt tripping people, telling them they’d come to their island and must support the local economy. After the swimming time, we headed back to the docks, making a stop in Marigot Bay, which we’d seen from high above earlier in the day.

Overall, this day was not our favorite. It was really eye-opening though. At one point we’d considered spending our entire honeymoon on St. Lucia, and I think from our experience, we were both glad we hadn’t picked to do that. 

Bananas grow everywhere in St. Lucia

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