Easter In St. Lucia

When Hildon told me his cousin was getting married in St. Lucia on Holy Saturday, I was ecstatic. I heard so many great things about the beauty of St. Lucia. I could not wait to go and see for myself and be able to tell my own story. The first thing you notice about St. Lucia during your drive from the international airport, which can be quite a haul if you are heading to Rodney Bay, is it’s many curves. The island was named after St. Lucia of Syracuse by the French, its first European settlers. It’s the only country in the world named after a woman. I would like to think the French were inspired by the many hills and valleys, which reminds one of the shapely body of a woman. However, legend has it that a group of French sailors who were ship­wrecked on the island on 13th December, 1502 named the island after the Virgin-Martyr, who was killed during the Great Persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire in 303 A.D.

Where we stayed 

The lush vegetation covering the many hills of the island was a great distraction from the length of time it took us to get to our bed and breakfast.  We stayed at Heritage House in Rodney Bay. I’m so glad we found that great four bedroom house to stay in. Although it is a five minute walk from all the action on the main strip, the neighborhood is quiet, except for the occasional barking dog. The house is beautiful. It does not have a pool, but I am not a pool person so it was just right for me. Besides, with it only being a three minute walk from Reduit Beach, you won’t miss the pool. The staff is friendly. We were greeted with homemade lemonade at the door by Nicole, a very young and sweet girl. They left treats for us on the kitchen counter and each room has its own compartment in the fridge. They also gave us towels for the beach. One note I must make is you have to let them know if you will or will not be down for breakfast the next morning. The breakfast was mainly meat filled pastries, but sometimes we got scrambled eggs and fried bake.

What we did

We started Maundy Thursday (the Thursday before Easter) at Rodney Bay Marina and ended it on Pigeon Island. The entrance fee for PI is around $7US. There are two beaches on the island and a couple of restaurants as well. Technically it is no longer an island, since in 1972 it was artificially connected to the western side of the mainland by a causeway. The hike up Fort Rodney was not as bad as I thought it would be. I learned that Fort Rodney was named after Royal Navy Admiral George Rodney when he took over Pigeon Island between 1779 and 1782. He used the higher peak Signal Hill to spy on the French Naval Base in the neighboring Martinique. We did not hike to Signal Hill because it is much steeper, but if you are up for a challenge I say go for it.

After that hike in the hot sun, a nice dip at one of the beaches was more than welcomed. We paid $9US for two beach chairs and an umbrella. The nice young men also provided us with beer at a reasonable price. And then a man pulled up on a boat selling fresh coconuts. It was a day well spent.

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Great food options on the beach. 

Good Friday on the island is quiet. We went on a half day boat tour with the rest of the wedding guests. It was cloudy, but rain showers throughout the day did not stop the fun. The DJ played great soca and it made sense to spend the day out to sea since many of the shops and restaurants were closed for the holiday. They took us to the Pitons and then snorkeling.

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Our last stop was glamorous Marigot Bay, where celebrities go to hide from everyone else. When we were in the airport we saw a man holding up a sign saying “Jeff Bridges.” This is probably where he stayed.

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When we got back in from the cruise, we were famished and ended up eating at one of the few eateries that were open. I forgot the name, but it is tucked in a little corner in Rodney Bay behind Ultra Lounge. All the locals were eating there so we knew the food had to be good. We were not disappointed. It looked and smelled so amazing that I forgot to take pics of my plate.

Holy Saturday was wedding day, so we did not do much. I found a nearby nail salon to have my nail fixed because all that frolicking on the beach did a number on my pedicure. Then we hung out at Cockpit Restaurant & Bar at Harmony Suites. It is right around the corner from Heritage House.

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#WeddingFlow

By the way, if you even need a place to have an event, might I suggest Cap Estate? It’s beautiful!

On Easter Sunday we spent the day on Reduit Beach, the main beach. Spending Easter Sunday on the beach is a tradition for many locals.

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In St. Lucia, like many other Caribbean islands, Easter is celebrated on Monday since it falls on a Sunday. I had booked us on a full day boat tour prior to learning that we would be going on a cruise with the other guests on Good Friday. I am still glad I did. I heard that the best way to see the island was by boat, so I booked a 9 hour Tout Bagay Catamaran Day Tour with Sea Spray Cruises. Tout Bagay is creole for “everything” and they weren’t lying. This tour took us to Soufrier, a small town further south on the west side of St. Lucia. It was a long trip to Soufrier but the great crew of the catamaran gave us snacks and rum punch. We also saw some cool things along the way.

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Like Mount Gimie (above). This is actually St. Lucia’s highest peak. Lots of people think it looks like a face. I can kind of see it…

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…but I think this guy looks more like a face. I don’t know if he has a name, but can you see it?

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Jade Mountain Resort. It looks like a car garage or an unfinished building because the rooms only have three walls.

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And of course the Pitons, which we were able to get a better view of the second time around because the clouds weren’t low.

Once at Soufrier, we filed into mini buses that took us to some of the small town’s main attractions. The bus driver gave us a little history on Soufrière. For instance, Soufrier was the first capital of St. Lucia. Back then, there were large estates run by French plantation owners. The descendants of these owners still live in the area. During the French Revolution of 1789, many Royalists were executed, which resulted in the slaves being freed. However, when Napoleon seized power in the 1799 coup d’état he reintroduced slavery. The British invaded St Lucia shortly after, but the slaves and French deserters fought them in a guerrilla campaign until 1803 when they were defeated and St Lucia became a British colony. It is during that time Castries became the capital of St Lucia.

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Our first stop in Soufrière was Toraille Waterfall.

Then the Sulphur Springs, the world’s only drive-in volcano.

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We were then taken to Morne Coubaril Estate, one of the many 18th century cocoa estates. We were provided a traditional creole lunch at the lovely restaurant.

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Look at all that delicious creole food. And we were allowed seconds.

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Then we were treated to coconut candy.

After lunch, we were given a tour of the cocoa plantation and a bit of history on how the slaves on the plantation lived.

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Above is a bar where male slaves went to drink. Women weren’t allowed there.

The rest of the plantation is gorgeous. Paradise even. Of course, if I was held here against my will I would not have the same views.

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I ate raw cocoa for the first time. Not bad.

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Got this great shot on the way to the port.

After our tour of Soufrier, we got back on the boat and pulled into Anse Cochon Beach or “the bay of pigs.” The water was clear and littered with what I thought were flowers, only to find out they were frigging jellyfish.

I looked at one of the crew members and said, “Of all the beaches to take us snorkeling, you pick one with jellyfish.”

One of the locals in a boat selling souvenirs told me not to worry, because the stings “aren’t that bad.” He then pointed to children swimming among the jellyfish with a smug look on his face, as if to say, “You gonna let these kids show you up?” So I went, and I got stung, and he was right. It was not that bad. More like a mosquito bite. The snorkeling there was great. Lots of fish. And the black sandy beach was beautiful.

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On our way back to the marina, we stopped at gorgeous Margot Bay.

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We learned that Nicholas Cage offered the owner of this little house (just above) $8 million for it and he or she declined. I would have too. That view is worth at least double that amount.

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Amazing! 

During the last leg of the tour, we all drank and danced. It was so much fun.

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Hildon won a beer drinking contest. They say he didn’t win but he won.

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We did the limbo and there was even a Congo line.

I recommend this tour. They were right. The best way to see St. Lucia is by boat. But be sure to eat breakfast before you go because drinking rum punch on an empty stomach on the sea is not a good look. LOL! If you are not a tour person and wish to go snorkeling on your own, I recommend going to Anse Chastanet (an hour and a half from Castries) or Anse Cochon (44 minutes from Castries). The waters are crystal clear.

Night Life

The main strip in Rodney Bay Village comes alive at night. The street is lined with restaurants, nightclubs and bars. We hung out at Coconuts Bar & Grill and Verve. Ultra Lounge was poppin too. The drinks were strong and the music is not bad, especially after those drinks. Verve and Coconuts are both across the street from each other. We ended up hanging at Coconuts the night of the wedding. We all went home and got freshened up after the reception. I did not get to Coconuts until around 1:30am and then the DJ said that the music was ending at 2. Steups! We Trinis were not pleased. But it was a great half an hour. It seemed like at 2 all the music on the strip suddenly stopped. The crowds from the bars and lounges flowed onto the street and we people watched and enjoyed the local vibe. Then the cops came and broke it up. LOL!

Where to eat

We ate mostly local while there. We had great creole food from food trucks. It was cheap and delicious. We also ate at KFC. If you’ve followed this blog for some time, you would know that I, like most Trinis, consider myself a KFC connoisseur. I make it a point to try local KFC wherever I go. The KFC in St. Lucia was very good. There was actually some heat to it. We ate there three times. I’m not ashamed. The locals seem to love it. There was always a line. I recommend.

On our last night, we ate at Delirius, which is also on the strip. We had the ribs and OMG it was like a mouth gasm. The meat was falling off the bone and melting in my mouth, and it came slathered in their house made Calypso sauce. Please have it.

It was the perfect end to a great vacation. St. Lucia is a stunning island and the people are friendly and always glad to help and offer advice, even when you didn’t ask for it. Like when we went to a cafe, that shall remain unnamed, in Rodney Bay Marina and I asked for a coffee with four creams and four sugars and the lady at the counter made a face and said with a hint of disgust, “FOUR sugars?” Yes, heifer!

Anyway, here are better views taken by Hildon’s drone.