[Be sure to read part I first!]
We had four whole days and two travel days on our trip, and they flew by. On our third morning, we had to be at the beach early for our tour (8:45 – vacation early), so we ordered a room service breakfast to fill us up. The best thing about all-inclusive resorts is it’s all included! Fruit, an omelet, baked goods, coffee.
We booked a tour of St. Lucia through Our Toy Boat Tours, who had sold us on the experience the day before. Our journey started with a shuttle to a speed boat which took us 25 minutes up the coastline to the famous Pitons.
The boat ride was lots of fun, and we got to see a lot of the island, including the homes of Mick Jagger and Oprah (!!) and the cove where they filled Pirates of the Caribbean. That’s Oprah’s house I’m pointing to!
The Pitons were huge, and we got to snorkel underneath them. It wasn’t the greatest snorkeling ever, but I saw some beautiful iridescent fish, which I loved.
Our next stop took us to the town of Soufrière. Here, we hopped out of the boat and took a shuttle up the mountain to the Sulphur Springs Park where we got to dip into the mud baths that are fed by a dormant volcano. The springs were over 100 degrees and the experience was like soaking in a hot tub filled with stinky charcoal paint! (Nicer than it sounds!)
After a dip, we were encouraged to cover ourselves in the mud which is apparently “soooo good for the skin!” The ultimate spa treatment : ) Then we got to rinse it off again in the hot water.
We also went to a small waterfall, but it was way too cold for me to get in! On the way we stopped at an overlook to see the Pitons from up high.
Then, finally, we went on to lunch, which was amazing!! Our buffet was filled with local dishes like jerk chicken, taro root, plantains (my favorite!), beans, rice, and local tuna. This was my favorite meal, as it tasted homemade.
We also got to explore the town a bit, and enjoyed getting to experience a bit of the St. Lucian culture.
Back in the boat, we headed home through the famous Love Tunnel and sipped on rum punch and moonshine – yee haw!
That evening we relaxed by the bluffs pool for a bit, and had our second dinner at Neptune’s under the stars (I had a salad and a mixed seafood dish with shrimp and mussels). Dinner was followed by a Super Bowl party with a huge crowd in the big pavilion.
On our final full day, we had breakfast on our balcony again so we could relax a bit more before getting all sunscreened up for the day. Granola parfait, breakfast sammie, chocolate and strawberry crepes.
There are three Sandals resorts within about 30 minutes of one another, and you can visit, dine at and enjoy all of them no matter which one you’re staying in. So we headed over to the Sandals Grande to check out the beach there. The La Toc beach surf was quite rough, and there were red flags up most of the days so I never got in (T did a few times), but the Grande beach is calm as can be in a big bay, and a lot of the water sports like sailing and water skiing are housed there. There were practically no waves, so we did a lot of swimming around and floating on some big rafts.
Aside from the pretty beach, we were really glad we chose La Toc for our trip because the Grande just wasn’t….as grand! We loved the dramatic beauty at La Toc and the views – the Grande had a much more casual feel.
We had lunch at Barefoot By The Sea, and loved this lunch of blackened mahi, cobb salad and nachos!
We found a gazebo out over the water to read and relax in before heading back to our resort that afternoon.
For our final dinner, we went back to The Pitons restaurant, and I finally got to have the famous Chicken Roti. This reminded me of curried chicken salad cooked into a fried pastry. Delicious!!
The best dessert of the trip was the chocolate lava cake with coffee ice cream from the Pitons. It’s on the plate at the top right, with a sweet potato ganache on the left and a coconut pie bite on the bottom. #tripledessert
There are photographers all around, and guests can book a complimentary photo session, so we scheduled one to catch the sunset off the bluffs. I wanted to buy all of the photos from our shoot, but at $20 a pop, we settled on just a few to remember the trip by. This looks like a fake studio because of the flash, but it’s a 100% real cliff sunset!
Overall, we had a great time at Sandals. The hospitality was great, there was plenty to do, there was a lot of variety in restaurants, and the grounds were gorgeous. If you can swing it, stay on the bluffs! I’m not sure I would have been as happy to be down by the main pool area.
We didn’t make it to either of the reservation required restaurants, but we loved the beach-side al fresco dining, and the menus were extensive enough that we didn’t have to order the same thing twice (except for those lava cakes!!). I thought the food met expectations for a resort of this size, with a few dishes really impressing me and a few that left a bit to be desired. One part we really did think needed improvements was the lack of tropical fruit. I was expecting mango, passionfruit, papaya, and pineapple like I had gotten at previous Caribbean resort vacations, but they didn’t offer any of those – they just had cantaloupe, honeydew, grapefruit and even canned fruit. So that was a big disappointment (maybe we just hit an off week or something?). But you win some and you lose some, and overall we were very happy with our stay.
St. Lucia itself was so pretty, and we loved the friendliness of its people and the cuisine. I’d say I hope to return, but there are so many other islands to see! Let’s just say I wouldn’t mind going back soon : )